I’ve finished Breath of the Wild, now what?

This post does not contain any Breath of the Wild plot spoilers. However, the endgame is discussed. Proceed with caution.

There is little to play on the Nintendo Switch. One solution could have been to release The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild exclusively for the Wii U; and the Switch’s release could have been delayed to coincide with the launch of more games, including Mario Odyssey. That said, any informed consumer has to have been aware of how few games there would be for the Switch at launch. And frankly, the Switch’s launch lineup isn’t substantially weaker than most other console launches.

Moreover, the constant argument I’ve heard is that despite how few games are launching with the Switch, the mere fact it’s launching with a Zelda game makes the launch lineup impressive. But when you can quickly finish that Zelda game, it weakens the strength of the system’s strongest title. Specifically, I’m disappointed by the endgame of Breath of the Wild. Or lack thereof.

Breath of the Wild producer, Eiji Aonuma, has stated in an interview with Polygon:

Users may not actually get the full story depending on how they play this game and how they strategize and solve puzzles. Anybody who can go straight to the goal without doing anything else — there’s two possibilities. Either they’re a really good gamer, or they could be somebody that’s a little bit crazy. But it’s not impossible. I created the game like that.

I kind of like the idea of a game like this because it allows the player to scale the difficulty level of the game to match the player’s own skill level. For example, if you attempt an area of the game but find it too challenging, you know to explore other areas first. By contrast, another player who followed the same path up until that point, might not find that area as difficult and be more comfortable tackling it right away.

But the issue is, it can greatly change the length and substance of a game. An experienced player is all of a sudden seeing less content because he is able to skip easier sections of the game. In fact, he might not even realize he’s jumped to “the hard part” when he didn’t find it extraordinarily difficult in the first place.

This wouldn’t be an issue except with Breath of the Wild, there is no way to continue playing after defeating the end goal. The only options are to start a new game or load an earlier save (before the end goal was completed).

Why can’t I return to Hyrule with my current character and continue exploring and completing Shrines? If the argument is that it wouldn’t fit with the lore (i.e. you’ve defeated the end boss, so why would there still be enemies?), you could have had a New Game Plus mode like a lot of games these days. Perhaps it has something to do with the rumor that a New Game Plus or a “Master Quest” mode is coming as for paid DLC.

While I had a great time playing Breath of the Wild, since rolling the credits I have had to load an earlier save to be able to continue playing. While there’s still more to do now, and 100%ing the game is always an option, as someone that doesn’t usually shoot for absolute completion when playing games, I feel the quality of the replayability is lessened since I am no longer aiming for a grand goal.