A few disclaimers before we move forward:
- Traveling Thoughts is a means of putting down my thoughts in a bit-by-bit process that will eventually lead up to a formal review of the overall subject. These posts will be more personal than objective, though one should expect a good amount of both as is my personality of habit.
- These posts will absolutely contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
I would also like to state before continuing that this post will not cover the Divine Beast or the things pertaining to its conditions for entrance. I will dedicate an article to the Divine Beasts in general at some point in the future.
This series of Traveling Thoughts is beginning to look like it’ll take as long to write out as completing the game itself. I should probably pick up the pace before a new Zelda game arrives.
During my first playthrough of this game, it was at Gerudo Desert where I finally began to feel the sludge of monotony clawing at my knees. It felt too big. Too much work to satisfy both my desire for instant narrative gratification and the lingering addiction to uncovering every spot on the map, picking up every rock, or seeking out shrines on the way. Breath of the Wild may as well have been called Exhaust from the Wild. My disappointment with Goron City was starting to spread to my optimism for future cities. In the case of Gerudo Town, I was only partly-correct.
Gerudo Town has this interesting rule where you cannot enter if you are a man. I can only imagine the kind of issues they’d have with transsexual citizens. Thanks to this, Link cannot get into the next major area without some sort of disguise. Luckily, a “lady” in a nearby residence by the name of Kara Kara Bazaar will offer you some sexy threads in exchange for some sweet cash. A scene plays out where “she” will compliment how good Link looks as a trap, and many a fanfics were created. The important thing is that Link can now access Gerudo Town, which is essentially a giant money pit. Vendors and shops everywhere, with private homes and spa resorts and bars; whatever people loose with their change will spend on.
I like the design of Gerudo Town. It feels almost like stepping back several hundred years back in time, in a desert setting. Walls adorned with mosaics and a bright, bleak yellow that almost mirrors the sand below. The town, despite its relative lack of size, makes up by having a number of points of interest. There seems to be a lot more happening in this place compared to the other major areas so far. Not to mention, there’s a lot more for the player to concoct here. Complete with a number of neighboring species, it almost feels like a ye olde version of Chicago or something.
What I don’t care for is how little personality the Gerudo species have collectively in that town. Their current leader has some nice spunk, but the rest are typically pretty straightforward with their one-dimensional ways. Someone wants to cook. Another really likes archaeology. Most are pretty much just buff. The town they reside in is an interesting and opportune place for history and personality, but they don’t capitalize on it. My already dive-bombing expectations were only remaining stable talking to the people of Gerudo Town. My heart wasn’t really in it, but I was at least entertained enough to listen.
And then… there’s the Yiga Clan Hideout. God, kill me now.
Among my personal preferences for video games is the minimal use of stealth and hide-and-seek tactics. The Yiga Clan Hideout is the game’s one of very few implied stealth sections. The enemies within (specifically buff dudes with wind-cutting katanas) can one-shot you in an instant, which will trigger the game to send you all the way back to the beginning of the Hideout. Best of all, you can’t save while inside. So, unless you want to risk being killed in a single shot by a large number of enemies who can do so (Protip: ancient arrows are a lifesaver), you better crawl and crouch your way to the final room, buddy. The first time around, this area took me a few tries to pass through unscathed.
The proverbial cherry on top is the boss of this hideout, who is a joke. No, really, he’s a joke. His entire person, battle, and voice is played off for laughs. When you finally defeat him, he falls down a hole while yelling almost exactly like Goofy from the Mickey Mouse cartoons. Didn’t really fit the tone of the torture I was going through beforehand, but sure, incorporate some humor to appease me in the end. Likely the most memorable aspect of going through Gerudo Town’s main quest, both in terms of dread and cringe.
One last thing I will note is the desert itself surrounding Gerudo Town. Minding my own business, I was running along the outskirts, exploring for new stuff and whatever, when wouldn’t you know, the sandstorm becomes more intense! Not only was my visibility shot, but my map wouldn’t function! I had no indication of where I was or where I was going. This… was genuinely spooky. With a game that allowed me that freedom of pinpointing myself at all times, to suddenly take that away and isolate me within a storm of low visibility, that gets pretty tense. No joke, my heart started pounding when I willingly threw myself deeper into the storm, with the fuzzy display of the map serving as a grim reminder that I don’t know anything of what’s ahead.
Also, the molduga are pretty fun to battle against. Especially if you bomb arrows.
A hit-and-miss step in the quest to calm the Divine Beasts, Gerudo Town is a place I only stop by whenever I need something that I can only find there. Its music is dry (hence my never mentioning it), the setting is dry, the characters are dry. Not much to look forward to, but mostly memorable due to its willingness to do something a little different with its progression, which I appreciate (despite hating it). One would think after reading this that Gerudo Town would be hard to beat for the worst major area in the game. The answer to that shall come with the next entry.
(All gameplay screenshots courtesy of, once again, MKIceAndFire.)