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As wonderful as Breath of the Wild is, overabundance of resources can make the game less exciting after a while. I've discovered a way to increase challenge and immersion by cleaning out my inventory of ingredients and meals every time I boot the game.

Joe Stack, Blogger

March 10, 2020

5 Min Read

I am nearing the 300 hour mark in my favorite of places to escape to: Breath of the Wild's artfully crafted world of Hyrule. One day, after I had finished the final shrine, after all of the DLC content was done, after I'd found probably about half of the korok seeds, I clung to the very top point of Hyrule Castle and looked out over the land. I had been everywhere. I had seen everything that could happen. I had broken every type of weapon, killed every type of monster. It was time to start anew with Master Mode.

As I set out from the Shrine of Resurrection, I found that now I actually needed to master the combat mechanics if I was going to go about this playthrough in a fun way. For people who don't know how to fight, Master Mode becomes a stealth game. So I got good in Master Mode. I practiced flurry rush and shield parry timings until, eventually, I was having a blast tearing apart enemies in white knuckle, long lasting fights that I will remember as some of the funnest times I've had with the game. It was a nostalgia trip to get to relive cautiously building up my weapons and farming for ingredients until I began to stand a chance in a fight. Unfortunately, this is where I encountered, once again, my main issue with the game design. 

Pretty soon, It wasn't exciting to find consumables in the world anymore because I had stupid amounts of every useful thing. I had fallen into the same meal ratio as I had in my previous playthrough: A page or so of hearty meals, just PLENTY of mighty meals, a few stamina elixirs for emergencies, and some stealth food for when it's cold outside [she hands me my raincoat] and I can't wear my stealth armor. And, all of these, backed by a ridiculous supply of ingredients that had me set for life. Who would want to be set for life? The value of experience comes from adversity. But don't take it from me, take it from Alan Watts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU0PYcCsL6o

Anyway, I had an idea to fix this problem of overabundance in my inventory, while also increasing immersion, by doing one simple thing. I decided that, depending on how long my last play session was (sometimes I don't play for far too long), I was going to start cleaning out my inventory every time I boot up the game as if the food I made a few days ago had spoiled. So, see? That's what the title means. Keep your food fresh. Act like it goes bad, and every time you pick up the controller to escape into this fantasy world, eat every edible thing you have gathered. Now, when I get an idea in my head to go do something, because I have a clean meal bag, I have to go gather any fruits or critters I'll need for the task, just like it was in the beginning. 

I started by selling everything to the incredibly well-to-do Beetle each time, but I ended up with tens of thousands of rupees, and I think it's obvious that's not what I'm looking for. Eating 40 pounds of food to no effect is the only other way to get rid of meals, so it was a better choice for my immersion. So now that I start every Breath of the Wild session with a clean slate, I end up getting excited to see something like a hearty radish again, with its pink flower. I honestly think that the hearty food mechanic is a little OP, but that's for another article. 

Of course, there's the argument to be made that having to go scrounge for supplies before an adventure is unnecessarily time consuming, but, personally, this is the way I wish the game had been set up in the first place. I believe ingredients and meals should expire. This mechanic could also create meaningful in-game time considerations other than just the Blood Moon mechanic. You could build a fire to wait out the skeletons, or the rain, but if your essential meals and ingredients were to only last a few in-game days, it might be better to just power through. 

We all know what happens in this game when you embark on any undertaking. You end up on the other side of the map because of how many exquisite distractions lie around every corner. Say you load your save in Hateno Village and you decide it's time to go tackle the Divine Beast in the desert. Now that your bag is refreshingly empty, begging for goodies, you can consider which path you will take to get there that will yield the most helpful ingredients. You are forced to learn where in the world certain plants and critters reside. Will you make a stop in the Faron region for durians and bananas? Will you travel through the various woods of central Hyrule for radishes and mushrooms? Maybe scale a mountain and sneak up on some cold darners for the hot desert sun. You were going to lose yourself on a tangent anyway, but now the flora and fauna you find will be exciting again.  

I couldn't find whether this specific thing is something people do already or not, but I just wanted to share my experience of finding a way to augment a videogame by will alone. I think it's cool. It's like a mod, except it requires nothing more than deciding you'll play the game in a new way. I'm going to be sitting here and applying that idea to the rest of my life, but you should go and play Breath of the Wild while listening to Alan Watts lectures. They mix really well. This is Joe with Stack Media. Stay fresh, cheese bags.    

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