Honestly, I didn’t want to beat Breath of the Wild. Yet there I was, standing at Ganon’s doorway, trying to decide if I should take that single step separating me for whatever was awaiting me inside. I took a peek inside, looked up, and saw it — saw him, in a way — that beating, heart-like sack hanging from the ceiling, threatening to break open and reveal whatever eldritch horror it was concealing. The moment I saw that, I froze and got chills down my spine, my head spun and my heart skipped a beat. I swear, not even Majora’s Mask terrified me like that.
There was something so unsettling about seeing that fleshy, beating ball of malice, I felt scared, grossed out, but curious and fascinated. In other words, it was morbid. Never before had any other game in the series made me feel that way. This game was special. This game beat me before I could beat it.
I took a deep breath. “Come what may,” I said to myself, pushing the control stick forward and stepping into the Calamity’s chamber.
Everything turned white, and memories from all my travels and adventures through Hyrule flashed before my eyes, a slideshow presenting the very reason I got the game in the first place. I suddenly remembered why I didn’t want to beat it: This game wasn’t about the destination, the ending; it was all about the journey, the memories, the quest for self-improvement without a particular goal in mind.
I wanted to finish the game 100 percent. I wanted to clear all the shrines, max out all the Heart Containers and the stamina gauge, find all Korok Seeds (of course, back then I didn’t know what the “reward” was), find all the equipment and have all the armor upgraded to the max, complete all sidequests — I was even happy to grind for loads of materials and rupees, just for the sake of having them. I wanted to enjoy every bit of this huge game before moving on and then, when fully prepared, face Ganon and give him a battle that none of his incarnations had seen before.
My quest for completion eventually took me to Hyrule Castle, and while exploring its hallways, I came across the gate. I tried to stop myself from rushing in so I could gaze at what I imagined would await me in there. But then it was too late: I was already inside.
I came back from my regressive trance, hearing Zelda’s voice telling me she couldn’t hold Ganon any longer. I couldn’t hold myself either. The sack broke open, releasing a disgusting being like it had just given birth to a deformed, inbred deer. As I fell down, the Champions attacked the foul creature in an epic cutscene, chopping down half of its life bar. “Huh, guys? Can you do that again?” I asked nervously, as I was face to face with the most horrible and terrifying incarnation of the Dark Lord. I had already made it that far, so it was not the time to pull back (not that it was even possible).
Despite its menacing appearance and ominous ambience, the fight was lacking, to say the least. I was expecting more of a challenge since, having not yet fulfilled my goal of completing everything in the game, I felt I wasn’t fully prepared for the fight. Yet it went by like a breeze. There was really nothing new, nothing I hadn’t faced when battling the whatever-blight Ganons, or even Guardians. And let’s not even talk about the Dark Beast phase, where the huge boar just stood there, eventually shooting lasers, while I just poke it with some arrows until it was over.
I’m sure many people will relate to this not only in video games, but from experiences in our real lives.
The credits rolled, and then I was back at the same gate I was so anxious to go through before, like nothing had even happened. Now, though, I felt empty and slightly ridden by guilt. I could now go on and continue my adventure, finishing the remaining sidequests, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t have the same impact as before, since I already knew what was beyond all that. I could go back in there and beat Ganon again, either in that moment, or later after completing some more quests, but it wouldn’t really change a thing. I felt like it made no more sense to do anything.
In the end, after some time of contemplation, I accepted the outcome. I had to just live with it and keep going forward, doing what I had left to do. In a way, this felt similarly to a personal experience I once had. I’m sure many people will relate to this not only in video games, but from experiences in our real lives. Often we rush into doing things despite not being completely prepared or even sure that we want to do it, only to find out that the end result was not as expected, and that nothing will be the same again.