I Finished Every 'BOTW' Shrine, But I Can’t Stop Playing Yet

I don’t know about anyone else, but the ‘Breath of the Wild’ DLC is landing at the perfect time for me.

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Jun 23 2017, 1:00pm

Screenshot courtesy of Nintendo.

The 118th was at the edge of Salari Plain, just a short ride southwest from Serenne Stable. Halfway up the side of a cliff, but clear enough once Link got close, via a few angry Bokoblins. A bomb arrow, a couple of hops across some handy ledges, and bingo.

The 119th was in the shadow of Hebra Peak, close to the crackling fire and gentle music of Selmie's Spot. Quite what Selmie herself is doing way up here, so far away from anyone, who knows—all she'll talk to Link about is shield-surfing. I cooked myself some tea in her pot, and she didn't bat an eyelid. Not one word. Obsessed, I tell you.

The final shrine to be found in my playthrough of Breath of the Wild was hidden on the western shore of Lake Kilsie. Link could see it, almost touch it, through a crack—a crack not quite wide enough to squeeze through. It took a few explosions to solve the riddle, a few shattered boulders and breezy pathways before The Way In presented itself between a couple of gloom-splitting torches.

You'll find them in a different order. But the end result is the same, however you solve all 120 shrines spread across this version of Hyrule. If you don't know what that reward is, I'm not telling here—but it's neat, and way more satisfying than a pop-up notification of a "trophy" worth however much "G."

But while that's a Big Tick beside my personal BotW experience—Ganon fell hours and hours ago—I'm far from done yet. Even without the imminent Master Trials DLC, I'd still be eager to continue my wandering above and below these fantastic lands. Because, if this Zelda's taught me anything over the last, at a guess, 120 hours, it's that there's quite probably something over that hill, behind that ruin, or beneath that rock.

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The Korok Seeds, crikey, I've hundreds more to find. But what I've loved about this Zelda is everything that isn't aggregated on the pause menu. I'd played for over 110 hours before even approaching the darkness-shrouded Typhlo Ruins, and 115 before I found the Forgotten Temple. I'd calmed the Divine Beasts, regained all my memories, and I'd brought peace to Hyrule—but these little parts of the map had gone completely unexplored, until I just stuck a marker on the ground and made my way there, simply to see what I'd find.

I want to know what other areas of this vast play space I'm yet to run through, Royal Broadsword in hand. (Everyone's got their blade of choice, right? I've a couple of 36-ers right now, and one that's got a 60 rating. And yes, of course I've got the Master Sword, sheesh. And the Hylian Shield, too.) Which is why the DLC arrives at a perfect time—its Hero's Path feature, mapping up to 200 hours of play, will immediately illustrate where I'm yet to tread. And you can bet I'm heading straight there.

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Course, there's the Trial of the Sword to look forward to, as well—by the look and sound of things, a tougher take on Eventide Island, spread over multiple challenge rooms. (Look, go and do Eventide Island, already.) And Gold Lynels, I cannot wait to take on those brutes, chomping through a dozen meals as I do so because ouch. But, again, I'm happy right now—collecting recipes from stables and concocting new dishes of my own questionable design. Filling in the Hyrule Compendium, something I'd not been keeping in mind until the last few hours of play. Rolling snowballs and surfing shields. Placing bets on what's inside the box. Hanging with Kass and Beedle, my very best boys. Watching the sun rise. Simply having a wonderful Zelda time.

Because I've not enjoyed a game world like this since The Witcher 3 and its expansions. As I say to my wife, when she asks me which I prefer: BotW is my Ghibli Witcher, and much like Geralt's story in Wild Hunt and beyond, I don't want it to end. I'm hopeful that the story DLC coming at the end of year, The Champion's Ballad, will be a substantial time sink (in the best, always-doing-stuff way) and be based around a great yarn. And might we be able to play as someone other than Link? I reckon we will, y'know.

But what do you think? Visit our forum to discuss your Breath of the Wild experience so far—and where you want it to go with The Champion's Ballad, now we know a bit more about it, post E3. (And yes, we did chat about the winter-due DLC before E3, but now it's got a title, and we've had a tease, so.)

Is this the greatest Zelda, ever? I've not played them all, but of those I have, yes, absolutely. There's a reason why the game I want to play most, in late June, is one that came out at the start of March—it's just the best thing that's come out this year, and probably still will be come its end.