Starting at Wasteland Tower, I notice on the map that the tower is standing on Spectacle Rock. It doesn’t feel like Death Mountain to me, but what do I know. To me, Death Mountain is in the upper northwest corner of Hyrule, and this is not the north. The tower is standing on the northwest “spectacle” so I decide to check out the other end of it before I take off. It is just a desolate, flat mesa, from what I can tell, and I don’t even find so much as a korok seed on it. Although, I do find one on a smaller hill nearby.
I continue following the East Gerudo Mesa, and start climbing another mountain, called Mount Garajh on the map, and find another korok on the top. This mountain is tall enough to have snow on the top, and it’s cold enough that I take damage even wearing the warm doublet, unless I eat a cold-resistant food, so I can’t spare a lot of time up here.
Nearby, there’s what’s left of an old shack, and here I find a journal left behind by whoever lived here. There’s some clues about how to find a shrine that is nearby. It mentions a pedestal on the top of the mountain, which glows faintly at night, and to reveal the hidden shrine, I have to “cast a cold shadow on it”. I don’t know what that means. What casts a cold shadow?
The tall mountain nearby where I found the korok has a couple of stone pillars topping it that seem like they’re the only thing around that could be a “pedestal”, and I can’t quite tell if they glow or not. I’m not sure, but I think I can see it, maybe, but it may just be the reflected moonlight. It’s hard to tell. They certainly aren’t illuminated like towers and shrines are. But the book does say that it glows “faintly”.
I stand around overnight watching to see if there’s any clue revealed overnight, but there’s nothing to speak of.
I give up and continue south, descending altitude until it’s no longer cold enough to hurt.
I find a few more korok seeds, and a couple of Guardian hulks, and a couple of live ones, which I fight and defeat, earning a bunch of busted ancient technology parts.
Nearby, I find an Ice Wizzorobe, and try to fight it, but I miss with my first arrow, and he’s alerted, and completely destroys me. He freezes me with his ice wand, it one-shots my healthbar, I resurrect with a fairy, and as soon as I thaw out his attack timer has counted down and he freezes me again. I have no chance, and it’s shameful. It wastes all my fairies, and then I die-die. It feels a little unfair.
I restore from my last save, and go at him again, this time using a fire arrow, and it does the trick, he is destroyed with a headshot, well placed and very effective. He drops his ice wand, and I pick it up.
Later on, I use it to take a couple of coyotes that attack me, and discover that it changes their meat drop to “icy prime meat” which has heat resistive power. So that’s very interesting. Not only does it matter what you kill, but how you kill it, and it can drop something different if you destroy it through an elemental attack. This game is full of thoughtful touches like this, it makes me wonder how much I’ll never find because there’s simply too many possible combinations of things. After getting the frozen meat, I die stupidly, and decide to restore from my last save point, and lose the meat. But I make it a point to pick up some if I can get another opportunity.
Continuing down hill back into the Gerudo desert canyon, I find an interesting circular emblem on the canyon wall, and puzzle over it, wondering what it could be, and what it means. There are no answers forthcoming, but I take a snapshot of it for later, in case I see anything similar.
I’m very annoyed with the limitations they programmed into the Sheikah slate camera. I can only take a limited number of photos, and if I add a discovery to my Hyrule Compendium, but later delete the image off of my camera roll, it also deletes it from the Compendium as well. There are way, way more things to take pictures of for the Compendium than there are slots on the camera memory. This is really unfortunate, I would have liked to get a 100% Hyrule Encyclopedia, or at least try to.
I reach the southern border of Hyrule’s west end, an unclimbable cliff face, and can’t continue in this direction. The game explicitly tells me you cannot go further in this direction, so that’s that. I reverse direction and head back north, this time at a lower altitude, the mountains I’d just come over to the east of me.
My Sheikah sensor starts picking up a nearby shrine, and I head in the direction of it, and come to a huge rectangular building with very tall walls. I’d seen it from above, so it’s not a surprise, but it’s still impressive how big this thing is in person.
It is a labyrinth. I glide down to it and land on top, and walk around the outer perimeter first, trying to see if I can make out anything of the layout of the place, but it’s not possible. I run into two bokoblins, both fairly tough ones, and decently well-armed, but I’m fighting with my Soldier’s Claymore, and it hits hard, knocking both of them right off the wall, out of my way to where I can’t fight them. I don’t want to jump down and finish them off, and when I end up down there later I don’t want them to surprise me, so I lob bombs down on them until they die. This takes a while but is the only way to do it that doesn’t involve wasting a lot of arrows for no good reason.
I glide down into the labyrinth, and it’s revealed that it is a shrine challenge. The shrine is in the exact center of the maze, and I just have to find the way to it.
This is easier said than done. I explore the twisty maze of passageways, all alike, and find three treasure chests in the middle of the three quadrants of the rectangle, but have a hard time finding a way to the center.
I get wise and climb the walls to get back on top of the labyrinth, and using a stamina elixir am able to do it. This lets me cheat a bit, I take a random guess and drop down a shaft into the unexplored fourth quadrant, and it leads me to the shrine at the center. I get there, and am rewarded with a suit of armor that buffs my attack power. It’s not great armor, but perhaps it can be enhanced at the fairy pond.
I don’t bother searching for the fourth treasure chest that I infer must be somewhere in the last quadrant of the labyrinth. The others had 50, 100, and 300 rupees, or perhaps an opal, and it’s not worth the time and effort to find it when there are so many easier ways to get those items.
I move on, checking out the corner of the valley, to the northeast of the Labyrinth’s main entrance, and find a couple more korok seeds.
Next, I proceed west, through a narrow pass called the Champion’s Gate, and run into a few lizals, who I kill without much fuss, and pick up a few nice boomerang weapons.
Further up, I reach the barren wastes of the Gerudo desert, where it is too hot during the day to survive in my current outfit, and I do not have any cooked dishes that confer heat resistance.
I find that if I stay in the shadow of the canyon wall, I am just under the heat limit to take damage, so I continue along, following the canyon wall, and hope that the sun doesn’t kill me if it comes around to cast shadows on the other side of the world. It doesn’t, and I eventually make it to an area where I’m close enough to the Divine Camel Beast that I can hear it’s thundering hoofsteps crashing in the distance. It sounds awe inspiring.
I’m at a position just south of the ring of giant statues, and all I need to get to them is to climb over the canyon wall. The first time I attempt this, I run into a live Guardian, who immediately activates and starts advancing towards me. I’m climbing and don’t have any fighting gear equipped, so I jump down to what I think is safety, arm myself, and climb back up, only to find myself nose to nose with the Guardian, who is already targeting me and ready to fire. I miss with my arrow, and it blasts me off the canyon wall, and I die.
I respawn and return to same general area, but climb up a bit further down the wall, and don’t see the guardian anywhere. I cross the mesa and drop down into the ring of giant statues.
At this low altitude, the heat of the day is again damaging, but I can stay in the statue’s shadows and survive as long as I am patient.
Toward the evening, the temperature dips, around 4:30pm I am able to move about freely. I find a ladder going up to a scaffolding around one of the giant statues, and use it to climb up, then look at it up close, find nothing interesting, and move on to the next statue, and the next. I find a korok seed, and then I find a large metal orb, too heavy to lift. I try pushing it and it is too heavy to push. I try placing a bomb next to it, and it shoots off the statue’s arm and crashes into the ground below.
I glide down and, using bombs, nudge it toward a basin with a hole that looks like it was meant to receive the orb. This takes many bombs, but I eventually succeed in bomb-golfing it into place. Nothing happens. I look around and see many more orbs. At this point, I realize that I should try ot use the magnet power, and sure enough this works, and it is much easier to manipulate the orbs this way.
I spent so long with the first orb because of how awkward it was to bomb it into position that the rest of the orbs takes me until the heat of the day has returned, and I have one orb left to go, and I don’t see it anywhere.
Eventually, I discover that I had accidentally put two orbs into one basin, and correct my error. Then, nothing happens. I’m puzzled, but eventually I figure out that the badges that I noticed on the statues match with glyphs on the orbs, and they have to be placed in the correct basin. I use the map to mark the basins that I have correct, and check each on in turn until I have the solution.
A shrine erupts out of the ground, and I’m awarded a spirit orb and a flaming spear.
I now have 6 spirit orbs, so I go to Kakariko village and upgrade my stamina meter again, visit the fairy pond to upgrade my clothing and get my rubber pants enhanced, and then I go to the arrow shop but they are out of normal arrows, so I transport to Hateno village instead, visit Purah, and get my Sheikah slate upgraded to improved bombs. I try to upgrade the Stasis power as well, but I don’t have the right materials for it still.
I visit the shop in town and replenish my bomb arrows and normal arrows, both.
I also talk to a few townspeople, and uncover two new side quests. One has to do with finding a shrine that I already found, it’s in line with the three trees on the mountain tops to the north of the village. I found the korok up there, but didn’t realize that the shrine was in line with them until the lady from the village pointed this out to me.
Then I meet a young boy who asks me about weapons, and he wants me to bring him back some weapons to show him. Specifically, he wants to see a traveler’s sword. OK, fine, I’ll use an inventory slot to store a shitty traveler’s sword so you can see it. I’ll even give it to you. I guess I’ll probably have to show him a few other weapons, and then he’ll give me something. Probably it’ll be shitty, but maybe it’ll be something that belonged to his grandfather and is moderately not-shitty.
In general, the vast majority of rewards in this game are not that great, relative to what I expect to find. Like, in the original Legend of Zelda, I liked finding sword upgrades, the magic wand, the book of spells, the red candle, the red ring, and the magic boomerang. But in BOTW, everything you find is only temporary, and thus can’t be so powerful that it is essential to completing your quest, and so isn’t all that memorable or essential, so it seems like a letdown when you complete a challenge and all you get is some weapon that’s maybe not even better than what you’re already carrying, or like 50 rupees, which is what ONE bomb arrow costs at Hateno market.
Another sidequest I can’t seem to figure out is the guy in Hateno who has a crush on the girl who runs the inn. I’m supposed to talk to her to find out what she loves most, so I can tell him, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to talk to her other than to rent a night in the inn, and this doesn’t advance the quest any. Maybe I need to arrive at a different time of day, but I don’t know. I don’t go to the inn much, and I haven’t gotten anywhere with this sidequest.