Unraveling the Dual Destinies of Hyrule: Inside Breath of the Wild's Endings
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BOTW) is replete with wonder, adventure, and the enduring spirit of heroism that fans have cherished for decades. As with many great tales, the ending brings a sense of closure, but in BOTW, the finale comes with a twist: a standard ending and a more elusive 'true' ending. Each conclusion to Link's quest offers its own emotional resonance, satisfying different aspects of the narrative that has captivated players throughout their journey across Hyrule. Let's explore the subtleties of both endings and how they enrich the experience, setting the stage for the game's eagerly anticipated sequel.
The Courageous Conclusion: BOTW's Standard Ending
Confronting Calamity Ganon stands as the culmination of an epic saga. Players who journey straight to the heart of Hyrule Castle without recovering all of Link's memories face a formidable foe. The battle unfolds in two phases, the first inside the castle's Sanctum, where Link leverages his battle-hardened skills to counter Ganon's onslaught. The Divine Beasts, if liberated, lend their power to weaken Ganon, though players can opt for a more challenging fight by facing him at full strength.
The conflict spills out onto Hyrule Field for the final standoff against Dark Beast Ganon, a towering, malevolent entity. With Zelda's aid and the Bow of Light in hand, Link targets the beast's weak points, eventually allowing Zelda to use her powers to seal the menace away. The aftermath sees the spirits of the fallen champions and King Rhoam looking on with pride as peace is restored, at least momentarily, to the kingdom.
The Quest for Closure: Capturing All Memories
Beyond the clash with calamity lies a deeper narrative thread, woven through the 'Captured Memories' quest. It's a journey of remembrance, as players track down the locations of Link's lost memories, guided by the photos on their Sheikah Slate. This quest is more than a pilgrimage across Hyrule's vast landscapes; it's a quest to piece together a past that holds the key to understanding Link's true connection to Zelda and the fate that has befallen their world.
The Path to the True Ending
Those who delve into the depths of Link's past are rewarded with a more nuanced finale. Upon Ganon's defeat and the land's liberation, an additional scene unfolds. Zelda, with a newfound clarity about the future, discusses plans to visit Zora's Domain and address the malfunctioning Divine Beast Vah Ruta. It's a poignant moment between the two characters, acknowledging the arduous road ahead and the kingdom's need for restoration.
Zelda's revelation that she can no longer hear the voice inside the Master Sword, thought to be Fi from Skyward Sword, adds a layer of mystery and foreshadows the possible trials ahead. The scene closes with a panoramic view of Silent Princess flowers, symbolizing hope and rebirth amid the ruins of the past.
Connecting Threads to Tears of the Kingdom
While BOTW's endings stand on their own, they also set the stage for the sequel, Tears of the Kingdom. The true ending's implications about the Master Sword and Zelda's powers hint at the challenges that may lie ahead. A memory from Tears of the Kingdom, featuring Link, Zelda, and the Deku Tree discussing the Sword's condition, suggests a direct narrative bridge between the two games, inviting speculation and excitement about what's to come.
In essence, the two endings of Breath of the Wild express the game's central themes of resilience and renewal. Whether you experience the standard ending or go the extra mile for the true ending, the journey of Link and Zelda in BOTW is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Legend of Zelda series, captivating players' hearts and setting a high bar for the adventures that await in Tears of the Kingdom.