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.
As a small aside before we begin, for those
who even remember reading along this string of posts and have noticed my multiple quips about “I’ll get to ‘blank’ later” and what-not, know that I have not forgotten about these. Unfortunately, my busyness (or you could call it laziness) has made me reconsider upholding these promised future explanations. Seeing as the game has been about for over a year now and no one other than those already slightly familiar with the game will even care about my elaboration of small tidbits, I figured I could scoot my way out of creating super short posts concerning elemental rods—promised in the very first post of this specific Traveling Thoughts thread—and such. That said, I will list the topics of the remaining posts I plan to do for this game:
- Zelda’s Memories
- Side Quests
- Shrines/Notable Events
- Player Customization
Hopefully I will force myself to write all this out before next week so that I can plan accordingly for other things.
Anyways! The bosses for Breath of the Wild are typically piss easy.
Though what exactly constitutes as a boss and a mini-boss, first of all? Well, importance of scenario is good to note. Bosses are those found at the end of Divine Beasts or the end of Hyrule Castle; that is, Ganon and his deformed minions. While technically that means there are five bosses in this game total, four of those bosses are essentially the same thing but with different tricks. So boss-wise, this game’s a little lacking. As for mini-bosses, these are the creatures that are given boss-like statuses (noted by health bar adorning the top of the screen) that one can find just wandering around. They aren’t super important to kill, but they provide a nice assortment of loot that will prove useful. These mini-bosses are a lot more varied, as well, which is why they will be more discussed in this post.
Let us begin with Lynels, likely the most recognizable mini-boss in the entire game due to strength and quantity. These things are no joke, as without the proper equipment, these things can take up to ten minutes to defeat. As with some other mini-bosses, they have four forms (outside of DLC): red, blue, white, and silver. Each color has a different strength capacity, with the order of strength being as I listed it (weakest to strongest). These forms vary by how far the player is into the game, or the strength of their equipment (maybe both?). As with all mini-bosses, they respawn in certain areas upon booting up a save file (or perhaps fast-traveling; I’ve never tested it). Oh, I forgot to mention that Lynel actually don’t have health bars adorned at the top of the screen when encountering them, but come on. They’re mini-bosses.
What’s nice about the enemies in this game is that they don’t just run around and spam one move. They randomize moves based on their scenario and the opportunity it provides. With Lynel, they have a number of different attacks, some easier to exploit than others—which is also dependent on their weapon. What makes them hard is not just the amount of hits they require to defeat, but how agile and powerful their attacks are. I noted in an earlier post that my first time facing a Lynel caused a lot of frustration on my part because I felt their moveset was a little tricky to pin down. Now-a-days, fighting Lynel is something I find to be genuinely exciting. Whenever I see a Lynel as I’m floating by on my paraglider or flipping the camera every which way, I immediately get the urge to fight it not just because it provides nice items, but because I just adore fighting them. It’s one thing to fight something that takes a couple shots from a wreck-your-shit sword, though that gets repetitive quick. Lynel are always a nice, time-consuming way to pass the time.
Other mini-bosses aren’t so fortunate, sadly. Nice variety as there is of these mini-bosses, not many of them even stand a chance at the difficulty provided by the Lynel. The next example, the Stone Talus, is the first mini-boss I ever faced in the game, situated close to the Shrine of Resurrection (where Link first wakes up). It is essentially a smaller Thardus (from Metroid Prime) without being controlled by phazon. As a first-time player, I saw the health bar and thought, “Oh, geez! A boss right out of the gate!” It took me some six tries until I finally killed the thing, only to be rewarded with ore. I was disappointed… at the time. Going further along in the game and becoming more adept at handling its tricks, Stone Taluses don’t improve in strength at all, only in elemental proximity (normal, fire, and ice). Their elemental properties don’t make much of a difference, only that ice and fire ones require ice and fire arrows to climb onto their bodies safely. Otherwise, they’re really easy and, unless starved for ores, aren’t worth the fight.
Then we have Hinox, which come in three different colors AND a skeletal form. The skeletal form is more annoying than difficult, but I’ll get to that. Hinox are giant fat goblin things that are always napping in the middle of the woods or some green area. Sneaking up on them isn’t required, but one can safely pass them by if they don’t feel up to the challenge (Lynel can see you from far away; Stone Taluses are disguised as normal boulders that will transform upon coming near them). Unlike other mini-bosses, fighting them has the added benefit of being hilarious. Lynel have too much health to take down immediately and Stone Taluses have a certain weak spot that is the only way one can harm them. With the Hinox, you can spam them with bomb arrows repeatedly, as they take a few seconds to register the hit and actually stand up to face you. By the time their health shows up on screen from the onslaught, they’ll already be close to dead; one time my brother killed one before it even stood up all the way! It’s always satisfying to hear the beginning of the Hinox theme two seconds before the scripted end that plays upon its defeat. Again, really easy while also funny to exploit.
Skeletal Hinox are less fun. They’re not any harder to take down, but the process is more agitating. Hinox have a giant eye in the middle of their forehead. As is expected of any Legend of Zelda fan ever, one knows that that means it wants to be shot at with an arrow. Skeletal Hinox, as implied by the name, have no flesh, so there is no means of harming it, except for that said giant eye. Upon doing so, the eye will fall out and one has to strike it repeatedly until it dies. Only problem with this is that the eye bounces like crazy, making it hard to land consistent enough hits to kill it efficiently. At some point, the eye will become invulnerable and pop back into the head of its skeletal host, leaving the player to repeat the process over and over until it’s finally dead. Thankfully, there aren’t many of these in the game, so the chances of fighting one outside of desiring the Hylian Shield is pretty slim.
There are a number of Guardians types one can face in the game, but for the sake of this post’s brevity I’ll only look at the main one: Guardian Stalkers. Protip: parry the lasers back at them. That’s really the best advice I can give, because trying to take these things down with straightforward brute force is no picnic. The timing is very precise, I know, but parrying the laser back at them, outside of ancient arrows, is the most effective method of taking them down easily. It’s just a high-risk move considering the consequences of getting the timing wrong. These things, especially early on in the game, are terrifying. My first time playing through the game I spotted one on my way to Death Mountain. My first reaction was “NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE,” and promptly and carefully avoided its gaze (they can see you from miles away). I wouldn’t face one until I learned of the laser parrying trick. I died. If not for said parrying, Guardians would be harder than Lynels almost by default, though they’re also not as scary when one has the Master Sword, which destroys these things easily. Bonus points for the scariest opening to a track accompanied with being spotted in the entire game. That erratic piano playing gets me every time. They’re fun to
destroy fight against with the Master Sword.
Finally, there’s the Molduga, a sand-burrowing monster that shoots out of the ground like a whale. Only found in the Gerudo Desert, these things are a bitch to face when you’re not on some sort of high ground. Protip: Don’t fight these things on surface-level ground. Using arrows as a distraction (the Molduga track prey through sound), it rises from the ground to swallow whatever is left behind. One must use this chance to spam it to hell with bomb arrows. I think bomb arrows might be the only thing that hurts it, too, so that’s good to note. Sometimes the game will glitch out and the Molduga won’t register that you shot an arrow near it, but usually if one follows the process of “Shoot arrow away from yourself → Wait for Molduga to pop out of the ground where the arrow landed → Make it rain explosions,” these things aren’t very hard either. The best thing to come out of the Molduga fights is the accompanying track. All mini-bosses have decent accompanying them, but the Molduga have by far the most memorable and catchy one of the bunch.
Oh yeah, and then there’s the Master of the Yiga Clan, but he’s a joke. Fuck him.
Now that I’m 1,750 words into this post, let’s move on to the bosses: Ganon’s deformed minions (which I already talked somewhat about in the Divine Beasts post) and Ganon him(?)self. The [Insert whatever elemental thing here]blight Ganon fights are all practically the same only they have a different gimmick to each of them. One teleports and shoots ice cubes (if I recall), one goes Sonic speed™ and has metal rods that conduct electricity rain down, one has a flame shield and sucks in energy to use as a giant blast, and the last… is accompanying the Rito Village Divine Beast and I remember fuck-all of that one. The first one mentioned is by far the easiest, as one can spam bomb arrows and it does nothing to stop you outside of occasional teleportation. The second one is tricky because is requires you to do a parry and that timing can be hard to pin down. Also it’s so fast that trying to hit it with its own rod (ha) can be frustrating (Everything about that Divine Beast is frustrating). It admittedly took me a while to realize what I had to do when the fire-themed-blight Ganon was sucking up energy, so its difficulty is only predicated on how intuitive you are (also the heat prevents bomb arrow usage). The last I remember being pretty easy, too.
I wish the boss variety was as good as the mini-bosses. The sight of the whatever-blight Ganons loses its edge after the second one, and it becomes another formulaic thing to look forward to with the already copy/paste style of the Divine Beasts. I wish there was something else Ganon could come up with when he’s trying to formulate his evil black-ooze army. Why not make a super-powered Guardian as a boss? That’d be memorable and on further thought absolutely terrifying. Why not give Dark Link a cameo and have Link fight himself as a boss? How about something that doesn’t feel like a “Been there, done that” addition to save time? I realize being so critical of this may neglect the fact that the rest of the game is so expansive and detailed, but why make the bigger things count less than the smaller details? It just feels lazy.
And so the final boss, Ganon, is the only thing worth talking about. With all the build-up, all the mystique and the ferocious roaring and epic music, just how great of a final fight is it?! Actually, it’s not. It’s really anticlimactic. Disappointingly anticlimactic. Defeating the Divine Beasts prior to fighting Ganon will cut his health immediately in half, so thanks, game? Disregarding that, Ganon’s moves are easy to avoid and his exploits are easy to spot. The only thing about the battle that’s notable is that it’s time-consuming. One won’t be able to beat him(?) by spamming with bomb arrows, but keep one’s patience in check and it’s smooth sailing. I barely recall even using a healing potion during the entirety of it.
Of course Ganon has a second form that eclipses his(?) initial might, because this wouldn’t be Japan without a two or three-phase final fight. In his(?) bestial form, Ganon sits around and makes a lot of noise while you hop on top of a horse that comes out of nowhere (Fun fact: outside of the events that require riding on horseback, I rode on a horse once), then Zelda shows up and hands you some light arrows, because convenience. This fight can easily be considered a non-fight, because Ganon barely does anything and all the player has to do is wait for a G-I-A-N-T hit point to appear somewhere on his(?) body to shoot the light arrows at. If the last sequence was easy, this one is pitifully so.
It may sound like I’m mocking this fight and I’m not taking it seriously. I am, to some extent. I’ve stated before in past entries that I think the story to this game is super cliché and hard to take seriously with all the bad voice acting and one-dimensional characters. For me, the experience is in the gameplay, the exploration, the atmosphere of nature and discovery; this final boss fight feels like an extendable limb of the not-even-worth-trying plot, making it feel epic and special when it’s really just dull. The amount of dialogue with Zelda, the token special weapon for the final fight, the laughably easy climax, and the grandiose soundtrack make it way more important than it needs to be, especially when I never really connected with the story at all. This boss fight is just a statement of that. Is this a huge deal? For some it might be. The final boss usually serves as the final testing point, the hardest part, the crème de la crème. Here, it’s more theatrical than satisfying. Personally, it’s not too much of a disappointment as just the getting there is enough to satisfy my gaming needs without some final hurrah, as nice as that would’ve been. It’s just that I find it funny that the final boss isn’t as hard as some mini-bosses.
This post ended up really long. I commend you if you’ve read this far. Thanks so much for reading and tune in next time when I look at the hopefully-not-as-long side quest involving Zelda’s memories.
(All gameplay screenshots courtesy of, once again, MKIceAndFire.)