After enjoying the latest installment of the Legend of Zelda series, I discovered a few things that may be helpful to new and returning players of the Legend of Zelda series. Some of these might even help for other open world games. Exploring and surviving in Breath of the Wild can be a puzzle in itself sometimes with its higher difficulty and smarter AI. BotW offers many firsts for the LoZ series and for Nintendo as a company. Yet, this is the game that you will crave playing every day. Although, some of these survivor tips are a bit spoiler-ish, the rest of this mini-guide is free of story-spoilers aside from what was released through Nintendo’s trailers.
The Sheikah Slate
You will soon discover how wonderful this item is while exploring the vast world. It houses Link’s map and has hidden abilities. Make sure to continuously check the map to make sure you’re heading to your intended destination. As you play the game you’ll find yourself getting lost many times while attempting to visit a certain area. While it’s fun to explore freely and find new materials, treasure and friends, sometimes you just want to head to a specific place.
The Slate or Seeker Stone (as it is called in the Japanese version) is an old piece of technology that will guide Link through his journey. Players will encounter lots of side quests and main story quests which are conveniently stored on the slate. Anytime Link needs a bit of a refresher on what he needs to do in order to complete a quest, the player just needs to take a quick look by using the left shoulder button until the quest list appears while looking at the slate.
Use the abilities wisely. Since Breath of the Wild was first revealed as a complete game, Nintendo has shows us a few of the Sheikah Slate’s more special abilities. Link will come across some various objects and puzzles that look a bit odd to a traditional LoZ player. Occasionally all that is needed to solve the puzzle or grab some treasure is some cunning wit and the use of the Slate’s abilities to move objects around.
Weapons & Battles
When first starting the game, Link will learn weapons such as tree branches and leaves can be extremely useful. The inventory for shields, bows and melee weapons can be expanded later on in the game. Don’t worry about the limited space when first starting out. Be careful when choosing which weapon to use in battle. The items have a limited durability and it’s easy to break a sword after a few strikes or smash a shield after blocking a couple of attacks. Equipping weaker weapons to deal with presumably weaker enemies is generally a good idea. Saving strong weapons is ideal so you can actually survive more strenuous battles.
Not every enemy you encounter is meant to be defeated right away. It’s perfectly acceptable to sneak away to fight another day when Link has more hearts and better weapons. Those enemies you want to engage in the early days of playing BotW can be defeated with careful planning. Using a bow and hiding from a distance can grant Link extra protection and time to escape if needed. By attacking indirectly, Link can avoid unnecessary damage and still become victorious. Just be careful to move away if the enemy hoard finds your hiding spot and move in to attack.
Epona is a special companion to Link. However this time, since Link is journeying through an open wilderness, he must rely upon finding various friends. In various areas throughout Hyrule, you will find horses of great beauty galloping freely across the region. Link can stealthily move behind them and jump on top and train them into becoming his steed. The horses have many different personalities. The multicolored horses are the easiest to tame but have the least strength and power. The strongest horses and the most challenging to befriend are the multicolored ones. They don’t care much for people and can kick Link or throw him off with great force. Before attempting to tame a multicolored horse, make sure you have increased your stamina. This is what determines how long Link can stay on a horse while they are trying to throw him off.
It took two hours, but I managed to tame a single-colored horse after playing the game for a few days. By forcing the horse into a town and keeping her there, I had extra time to tame her. Horses will run much faster than Link and can easily escape when in an open area. By forcing the horse into the town, I kept her from wandering off. Also, Link should drink elixirs that extend his stamina wheel. This lets Link have a few extra seconds or even minutes to calm the horse down. Horses also have a bond with Link that can be maxed out. Rewarding your horse by treating them to apples, carrots and patting them on the neck at the right time will make the bond stronger.
Collecting Materials & Cooking
Gather everything that you see. If you see a shiny spot, it means there is an item to collect. Everything has a use in Hyrule. If you can not eat or combine it with anything, consider selling it to gain a few extra rupees. Eventually as Link explores more of the world he will encounter more uses for his various items. But in the beginning it’s best to keep collecting to build up a strong inventory.
Each region offers plentiful herbs, flowers, vegetables and game. If you are like me and oppose hunting animals, you can even be a vegetarian in the game. Just collect and cook mushrooms, fruits, vegetables and plants. I found it easiest to cook whenever I’d find cooking pot already set up with a flame. If you see one that has wood but no fire, simply place flint next to it and strike the flint with a metal weapon to ignite the fire. Occasionally a NPC will be gracious enough to tell Link about a recipe but most of the time Link must try out recipes for himself. Experiment with left over ingredients and create some helpful dinners that will not only heal Link but also give him a boost for combat too!
By now many Nintendo system owners have at least an amiibo or two. For the first time, we have a game that utilizes every single amiibo. This may be considered cheating by some but if you have the amiibo around you should use them. Scanning an amiibo figure or even amiibo cards grants Link some goodies. A non-Legend of Zelda amiibo figure and card will give players herbs, meats, flowers and various consumable items. These types of amiibo are a blessing to scan in when wandering around a more barren area that offers little food. These items are random each time, but after using scanning in a few of them over a long enough period, you can build up your food supply nicely.
The Breath of the Wild amiibo grant the same food items along with a treasure chest. Depending upon the individual figure, the BotW amiibo have the best and most useful items to give. ALL Legend of Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. line all the way to the anniversary ones, offer presents of flowers, herbs, meats, and treasure chests. The chests vary from clothing, weapons, arrows, treasure items and various other things that are all extremely welcome while surviving in the wild. A couple amiibo offer extra bonuses. Wolf Link will appear to fight by Link’s side if you scan in the Wolf Link amiibo. By scanning in the Twilight Princess Link SSB amiibo, a special four-legged friend with hooves will appear to help you.
Nintendo did an excellent job crafting this phenomenal game. If you want to learn about the process the great developer team did on this title, watch the official Behind-the-Scenes Nintendo videos. Do you have any questions or your own tips about surviving Breath of the Wild? Leave them in the comment section below, we love to hear from you!