Warning- this post may contain a few minor spoilers for completionists
I’ve always been a completionist when I play Zelda. I complete every side quest, open every chest, get the highest possible tier in every game, collect every item, explore literally every nook and cranny, and, up to this point, cut every blade of grass and pick up every single rock. I love the feeling of mastering a game, of knowing it inside and out, and of feeling like I gave it everything I have. So when I started playing Breath of the Wild there was never any question of whether I would collect all the Korok seeds, explore every area thoroughly, and complete as many missions as they threw at me.
I started with a game plan: I would explore every new tower area completely and 100% before I unlocked the next area. It was the only way to ensure that I didn’t miss anything. I block off the new area before I activate the tower and then I start exploring. Literally every single square foot is explored before I move on to the next tower. I slowly move my boundary inward until I have seen all the amazing, incredible landscape and admired every lovingly-rendered scene. If I see anything suspicious that I haven’t figured out yet, I stamp it and come back to it once I’ve had time to figure it out.
It’s been a fantastic way to see everything. I have definitely gotten hours of excitement and enjoyment from this game I would have missed if I had focused on the story alone. It’s nice to be the one my little brother questions when he can’t find a shrine and it’s fun to feel like I gave the developers the exploration they were intending.
But sometimes it’s a struggle. When I climb yet another craggy peak at Death Mountain it can get boring and tedious. When I run across yet another empty field, zig-zagging until the entire thing has been viewed I wonder what I’m doing with my life. And when I accidentally notice how many hours I’ve played and I’ve barely finished half the map I worry about my life choices. Sometimes I worry that, by choosing to play the game this way, I’m losing all the spontaneity and pure excitement that comes from random exploration. And, frankly, sometimes I worry that people are judging me for not spending my time the way they think I should.
So there’s the dilemma… What I am doing vs. what I feel I should be doing vs. what other people do. It’s been hard. Sometimes I don’t want to keep playing because Hyrule field took forever to explore and there was literally nothing there. And sometimes I get bored climbing and climbing and waiting in the rain to do yet more climbing just to get to the top of spires that don’t contain a single item. But when I find something all the spark and energy come flowing back. It’s rewarding to find a Korok seed in some random area I never would have explored. It’s awesome to be obsessed with killing every Lynel only to find out there’s a medal for doing so. It’s breathtaking to find a view you never would have seen unless you were in the right place at the right time.
And you know what – it doesn’t matter what people think and how other people play the game. This is your game and your experience. Don’t let anyone take that away from you! They can keep their judgy comments to themselves because this brings you joy and life is about having joy. However you choose to play the game, just do it! Because Zelda is about adventure and someone else’s adventure should never take away your adventure.
So has it been worthwhile to become a 100% completionist for Breath of the Wild. You bet. I wouldn’t change this experience for the anything.
So how about the rest of you? Are there any completionists out there pushing for 100% like me? Have you been working a different strategy to make sure you get every piece of awesome you can?