I was thinking about my first playthrough of Breath of the Wild the other day. It seems like nothing will ever top it. I wish that my mind could forget all of my experiences playing the game so I can relive all the firsts. Nothing in my entire gaming life has ever been as fun as walking randomly through a new Hyrule. Knowing nothing and having no idea what to do outside of the game’s recommendations, I had a huge undiscovered world to explore.
I remember the first time I left the Great Plateau, that was the moment the game truly started. The plateau felt bigger than Ocarina of Time’s overworld, yet there was still a huge map waiting to be explored. A map that makes the Great Plateau seem small excited me and I knew that the adventure that was coming my way would be nearly impossible to top in the future.
The game told me to go to Kakariko Village, but I chose to wander aimlessly around instead. Eventually, I did arrive in the town and found Impa, but it was at my pace. No one told me when I had to go to see Impa, nobody bothered me endlessly about the clouds around Death Mountain looking strange. There was none of that because the game lets the player do as they please and makes their own experience exploring this great new world. Unfortunately, I can’t relive my first experiences playing through Breath of the Wild. It is impossible to experience something for the first time more than once.
These thoughts came upon me when I was running through Hyrule Field for the second time and fighting the Guardians. I planned to do that, then I set out to complete some Shrines in the nearby area. After that, I planned to walk through Hyrule Castle and find the Hylian Shield. The keyword here is “planned”. I plotted out too many things rather than just randomly finding shrines and Korok Seeds like I did the first time I played. The excitement of finding a secret had become rare. Now that I know where the shrines are, the excitement of coming across one randomly can’t be experienced ever again.
When I had left the Great Plateau on my first playthrough, I continuously kept discovering new secrets. I ran across Hyrule finding Shrines and Korok Seeds, as well as occasionally running into an enemy camp. Each new discovery filled me with excitement and I recall wanting the world to become bigger so I would never run out of secrets to find. Unfortunately, the game does have borders and I was stopped from progressing further. The only time I felt disappointment in the game was at these borders. Wanting a bigger world to explore makes me feel spoiled, but that’s how much I enjoyed exploring the world.
For a game like Breath of the Wild, discovering the new lands, finding secrets, experimenting with the game mechanics and being completely clueless is what makes the game fun. I still find new secrets every once in a while but nothing compares to the first time, when everything is new. All these firsts accompany some type of thrill that can only be lived once. I miss the excitement of randomly coming across a shrine and wondering what trial awaited me. I long for an experience similar to the first time I came across a White-Maned Lynel and died multiple times trying to fight him, or how hard I laughed after I fell off a cliff and exhausted every fairy I had pocketed.
I can’t relive these experiences for the first time ever again.