I really loved that Breath of the Wild let me play this way (even if it surprises people when I tell them)

The way I played Breath of the Wild was that I followed the game’s bread crumb trail for the first 6 hours or so explored and did strines for the next 10, then started methodically working my way through all the beasts which took about 6 hours each with a bit of time in between each one to go get the Master Sword and collect all of Link’s memories.

I then made my assault on Hyrule Castle, beat Ganon, saved Zelda, and then put down the game and haven’t picked it up again.

All told I had 32 shrines, all the memories, all the beasts, the Master Sword and a game clock of about 45 hours.

It might sound like I didn’t like the game — on the contrary, I loved it! And one of the things that I loved about it is that unlike most open-world games — other than some of the big broad stroke quests (which I did) — the game never nags you about the stuff you didn’t do! I got to feel cathartically done with the game the way I played it, and nothing within the game tells me I didn’t finish. There’s no unfinished lists or dangling threads. I’m just done.

In fact, I would say that the greatest pressure to go back and do the 90 or so shrines I didn’t do is from other people, not the game itself.

I just find that an interesting contrast to people who kept talking about being drawn back, since I loved that Zelda just let me be satisfied by the finished.


I think I did pretty much the same thing. I made sure to get all of the towers and maybe a few more shrines and then I just finished it and was happy to be done and satisfied. Maybe 50 something hours. It was just long enough for me to start getting sick of cooking and not want to bother with it anymore.

Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s totally not how I’m playing it. I think I’m over 100 hours in, although I have no idea how to check that on Wii-U. But I love the spirit of what you’re saying.

The way I’ve thought about it is that every moment I play this game, I know that I’m doing it because it’s what I genuinely want to be doing. A lot of modern games train people to think that “progression” is the goal, specifically “progression towards the end.” But because I can attempt to fight the final boss at any time, everything that I do is my choice.

Awesome. One of the best aspects of that game is that whenever I asked (not literally) the game, “can I do this?” it almost always said yes.

Hey, the switch version let’s you see your playtime in the system menu, so I presume the WiiU version does too? If you want to know that is…

I think it’s in a Wii U system option called Activity Log or similar. Mine was around 180 hours by the end, which is absolutely staggering given how little time I have for gaming these days.

I haven’t returned since defeating Ganon, but it was a game I just felt happy meandering through in a way that open world games haven’t inspired in many years.

I have logged 80 hours I think and got to the point where I was a bit bored of Shrine hunting so decided not to “finish” the game but leave Ganon until the DLC started coming out. Strangely I haven’t gone back to it this weekend though, despite loving those 80 odd hours. I really love how people are playing this is so many different ways though, I think I have enjoyed reading the stories about playing style almost as much as playing the game itself.