Have just climbed on top of a hill from the east. It’s evening, the sky is orange-red, clear of clouds. It isn’t a tall hill, but its sides are steep and rocky. The top is covered with waist-high blades of green grass. Walking towards the west, the grass waving with the air, then I notice a tall figure strolling, dark in my eyes as the sun is the background. He noticed me too, stood still, likely looking towards my place. I walk towards him, it’s eyes flash yellow. I think his wild hair moves with the breeze. Exclamation. He keeps walking towards me, a red-haired, dark-skinned centaur-like creature.
Later I would realize, this would be the first time I—Link witnessed a Lynel. At that moment, all I knew was climbing to a high ground would give me a way to inspect the surrounding unfamiliar area in the Faron province.
This is not a story of fiction, but a real memory —as much as memories can be real— of a fictional time where I walked the fictional land of Hyrule, during my playthrough of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, a videogame for the Nintendo Switch console.
This wasn’t a “scripted encounter”, something that every player is guided to experience, but it a chance encounter with a non-playable character. A fearsome figure at that.
Two or three years after my awakenin from my slumber, I would now remember. There was a time that I walked through this land without fear. Mighty allies beside me, honed skills guiding the Master Sword. Guided through a linear plot this time, or fate as called by the seer, I-Link was walking down a resolution.
A resolution towards their doom, the allies, Link. The hero had fallen, I knew that much already. His allies had turned to ghosts, chained in machines their power they thought they could control.
Where “Breath of the Wild” was a loner’s tale, “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity” is a soft pillow of reversed memories. Things are alike, but the helplessness of the future looms above.
Then, an aspiring fighter; a chosen hereo; always without a voice. In his future stranded; without memories; without the attire of past experiences.
So many things are alike, the bells of the fairies called Koroks, the rustles of leaves, the grunts of beasts, the glow of things elusive. Still many things are glorious, a might you come to realise will be lost. A retro-techonological progress that will be devoured by the gloomy shadows of the calamity. Ancient allies, eternal, as if they have always known what was to happen.
To be present in this past and still fight to change this land’s future, against hordes of beasts in numbers impossible, is fulfilling. To know the slumber will take away whatever was earned, is satisfying, somehow.
This known strength will be lost, allies will fade, but Link persists. A jump in time; possible futures; possible past? Hard to tell, perhaps up till the last stage.
Two very different principles of gameplay, part of the same fable, working together. Such an enjoyable memory making machine.