I started out doing some exploration around Hateno village, first attempting to get into the mountains to the North, but it’s too cold to travel safely, even with my warm doublet, and I don’t want to expend cooked foods that give me boosted cold resistance just yet. So instead I try exploring to the South of Hateno. I traveled quite a ways, and got in over my head. The glider takes me a long way, and I explore an area where I encounter monsters I don’t think I’m ready to fight yet. And I’m not looking for a fight, really, I’m on a scouting run, mainly looking for shrines. As I’m coming in for a landing, I see a formation of three rocks in a triangle, which I think looks like a point of interest that I want to check out, and possibly find a Korok seed. Instead, as I come in for a landing, the three rocks come to life and pop out of the ground — they’re baby Stone Talus guys, and I have to fight them. I hit one with my sword but it does nothing, so I switch to sledge hammer, and they go down in one hit. They hit decently hard, but are pretty slow and clumsy and it is easy enough to stay out of their way.
I find two shrines out this way. One is at the end of a broad, flat sloping plane that just out into the sea. On my way there, I run into a bokoblin camp, and it’s a big one. There are four archers on stands, and inside a large skull cave there are another 5 or more bokoblins. It’s night, just before dawn, and they’ll be awake in moments. I think about how to attack.
There’s a large boulder that I can climb, and still stay out of sight. It’s a very long way to shoot an arrow, but by aiming way, way high, I can arc in and take out one of the tower guards, which will let me get in closer. I can see there are some explosive barrels inside the skull cave, and if I can hit one with a fire arrow, it’ll probably take out the whole lot of them inside. It’s like artillery, indirect fire, and very difficult to estimate the proper range and angle. Fortunately, it’s not windy, or this would be all but impossible.
I manage to nail the tower guard with a headshot on the 3rd or 4th try, and no one seems to notice him go down. Crouching, I sneak up closer and shoot a fire arrow in, but my aim is too high, it goes over the barrels, and hits the far wall of the skull cave. This wakes up all the bokoblins, who go to the back of the cave to check it out. One lights his weapon on fire, and they’re all alert now, and will probably notice me in a few more seconds. I quickly send out a second fire arrow, this one hits the barrel, and it explodes, in a chain reaction taking out the other barrels next to it. But because the bokoblins were in the back of the cave investigating the first arrow, they take minimal damage and none of them are killed by the blast. There’s nothing else for it, but to run in and take them out with the sword. I end up getting dog piled, and die a couple of times, but I’m carrying enough fairies that I’m able to get through it. I also break one or two weapons, but these bokoblins are very well armed, and I pick up 3-4 extra soldier’s broadswords, which do 26 damage and are probably the nicest weapon I’ve found so far.
I loot the bokoblin camp of everything I can find and carry, and I figure if nothing else I should be able to sell off the extra weapons and probably they’ll fetch enough to get me close to buying the house in Hateno.
I go to check out the shrine at the end of the peninsula, and it is a combat test, but it is far too difficult for me. The guardian has 1500 hit points, and I managed to take it down only 1/3 before it kills me. I can’t avoid any of its attacks, and any of them kills me. I go through 2-3 fairies before it takes me out, and have broken several more weapons and shields on it. A complete waste of time.
There’s another shrine nearby, on a small island in the bay, and I think I can glide there. I do, just barely making it, and it’s another combat test, this one with an even tougher guardian who has 3000 hit points, and I can’t do anything against it, either. I really need to practice the combat techniques they have shown me in tutorial, but I lack the timing and spacial distance. Whenever I get into a fight, the camera focus thing doesn’t seem to work well, I end up with a horrible camera angle, can’t see what I’m doing, where I’m going, or the enemy, and it fucking ruins the encounter, every time.
I wonder if my switch has bad gyroscopic sensors or something, because anything that involves them or might likely involve them seems very off.
I give up on the combat shrines and teleport to Kakariko village to replenish my fairies, and fortunately I manage to grab 5 of them, which is more than I’ve ever had.
I still haven’t figured out what to do next, so I decided to work on side quests. I decide to explore the stream behind the stable, and see if I can capture a bear, forage, and collect wood. I go there, and I find a bear, and try to sneak up on it, but before I get very close it notices me and attacks. This bear doesn’t just charge like a goat and then run away, it seems to be intent on killing me. I managed to kill it this time, thanks to the nice swords I have obtained from the bokoblins. It drops 2-3 chunks for “gourmet meat” which I guess is a leveled up version of raw meat that other animals drop.
I collect wood by bombing trees, an discover that when a tree is felled and turns into a log, if you bomb the log a second time, it will turn into wood bundles, 1-3 in number, and so finally I am able to rapidly acquire the needed 30 bundles for my house.
While I’m in the area, it becomes night, and I come across a huge skeletal giant with a cyclops eye! I’d seen a huge pile of bones during the day; I guess at night sometimes it animates and I am not sure what triggers this, because I’ve been there at night and it doesn’t always. I try to fight it, and it kills me 2-3 times, and eventually I’ve got it to a point where I can usually avoid its slow attacks and hit it a few times, get out of the way, and I’m feeling like I’m finally making progress, when day breaks, and it sinks back down into the ground and disappears.
This was probably the most fun fight I’ve had so far in the game. The giant destroys trees, and then picks up logs and uses them as a club, or even throws them. He also has some kind of fire attack. I had tried hitting it with fire arrows, but they did little damage. Usually fire is good against undead in a lot of games. I also tried to hit it in the eye, but it was hard to do, and I didn’t succeed. Each time I was close with my first shot, but it saw me just as I was about to let loose, and started moving and spoiled my shot.
Oh well. I ended up killing a second bear in the woods, and then I finally found that elusive shrine that I couldn’t find the last time I explored the area. It was down in the river, in a cave just on the far side bank, behind a bomb-able rock wall that I had failed to notice before. I lobbed a bomb and it didn’t go halfway across the river. So instead I swam across the river, and dropped a bomb in the water on the far side, and let it float downstream until it was close, then blew it.
This shrine was another gyroscope puzzle, and was pretty challenging, but only because motion sensors on my Switch are shit. If there’s a way to re-calibrate them, I really need to find this out, because it’s ridiculous. Motion in the real world correlates very loosely, wrongly, and unintuitively with motion in-game, and it pretty much ruins the experience. I can’t believe that Nintendo would make a game this buggy, so I have to believe that it’s my joycons instead. Nevertheless, after expending considerable time and effort and contorting myself in very strange angles, I manage to succeed at clearing the shrine.
Among all these different things, I also managed to find another 3-4 Kurok seeds, and it seems like there are a huge number of these, all over the place. I still have yet to encounter Hestu again to give them to him and expand my inventory slots. I really would like to, because I can’t carry enough weapons. I’m sure I will run into him eventually, but so far my exploration hasn’t turned him up yet.
By now, I have close to 2500 rupees and a ton of forage that I can sell off and get to 3000, so I travel back to Hateno and buy the house. After I buy it, one of the man’s workers tells me he’s going North for his next assignment, to a part of the map I haven’t been to before, and he invites me to look him up there if I ever go that way.
I check out my house. There’s a free sledge hammer that respawns out back of the house, so good, I know I can always get one of those if I need it. The house comes with a display case for ONE weapon, which annoys me. Apparently I have to grind out more rupees so I can upgrade the house to be able to store more stuff if I want that capability. It seems hardly worth the effort, as all that grinding will consume far more found weapons than I would ever be able to store in the house.
The house also has a bountiful apple tree which has more apples on it than any tree I’ve come across yet, and a few other random herbs and mushrooms nearby. The stream that runs by the house has a small island in it, where I found a rusty broadsword, which is an OK low-end weapon if I ever need one badly enough. Down a short ways past that I found a statue, which I tried praying at, and discovered a new mechanic. This statue seems to be some kind of sinister deal-with-the-devil type dealer of soul energy for money, but it turns out that it’s just a way that you can re-balance your character’s powers, trading heart containers for stamina containers, which you can do by selling one and buying it back at a markup. When you buy back, you can decide which type you want to get, so if you’re out of balance and need to change, this is how you can do it.
Well, OK. So that’s a lot of stuff. I feel like I’ve explored and made some progress, but little of it is meaningful in the way of advancing the main quest.
One last thing I do before closing tonight’s session, I spend more time studying the photos of Princess Zelda’s memories in my album, and try hard to see if I can recognize any landmarks. I do see a few features that look like areas I’ve seen far off in the distance. And in one of the photos, I see the Dueling Peaks, which I’ve passed through already, from a vantage point that looks like it’s back toward the way I came from when I descended from the Great Plateau. So I think that’s where I’ll try to go next time. If nothing else, I haven’t really explored that part of the world near the Plateau much yet, and I expect that by now the monsters I’ll encounter in that area should be easy to deal with.