Where to go before a new Hyrule drops
It is the week of a new Zelda game, and you might be getting ready by revisiting its predecessor. I’m not surprised to see that a few people I know have been booting Breath of the Wild back up, just in time for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
In fact, I’ve been doing the same. I was looking for a refresher, as well as an excuse to finally try the Champion’s Ballad DLC. Sure, I’d dipped back in to do a few shrines here and there. But the bulk of my own Breath of the Wild playtime was around launch, back in 2017. Going back to re-explore Hyrule and uncover any last surprises I missed felt like seeing it anew all over again.
So maybe you need some direction on where to go and what to do, or just want a suggestion on something neat to see. Or, perhaps, you’re only burning time until Tears of the Kingdom. Either way, there’s a decent chunk of content waiting off the beaten path of Link’s quest to bonk Calamity Ganon on the head. Here are some Breath of the Wild quests worth seeing before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom hits.
The Champion’s Ballad
We can start with the easy one, as it’s the main reason I came back to Breath of the Wild. I imagine the same holds true for others too. This DLC arrived in December 2017, as part of Breath of the Wild‘s post-launch roll-out. While I enjoy the Master Trials, what I loved about the Champion’s Ballad was how it tied in more story around the four champions and the tragedy that befell them when Calamity Ganon returned.
Through retracing their steps and undertaking the accomplishments they did 100 years ago, you get to relive moments of their lives. And those little snippets are wonderful, eventually culminating in a new dungeon and one heck of a new boss fight. While I wasn’t as keen on some of the second rounds with old bosses, the Ballad is worth completing, and will play well into another entry on this list too. Plus, you get a motorcycle for it!
While Link might be able to buy and build his own house, establishing a new village is even more compelling. Tarrey Town is built through a series of side quests for Hudson, a member of the Bolson crew that’s helping with your house. Keep following his side quests, and you’ll gradually establish a new village.
It can take a bit of time, but is ultimately worth it. The vendors you unlock are quite valuable, and putting a new town on the map is its own reward. Plus, it culminates in a heartwarming love story. If you’d rather stay away from open-world danger and get some cozy town vibes instead, Tarrey Town is a Zelda side quest worth looking into.
I debated even putting this on the list, because to me, getting all of Zelda’s memories using the Sheikah Slate pictures seems like a must-do. However, I’ve gradually heard more and more folks who didn’t do this, or just looked them up online. Wild!
Though you could just go watch them in a video somewhere, I’d argue that actually visiting these places is a big part of what makes these memories work. Some you’ll find as part of the main quest. Others you’ll need to explore for, letting you see more of the world; it’s basically a guided tour of Hyrule, courtesy of Zelda. And I do think there’s a powerful feeling of going somewhere and seeing the current state of Hyrule, leaping backwards into the past to see a memory, and then returning to its current state. If you haven’t seen them all, go find them!
One of the more infamous shrines in Breath of the Wild, Eventide Island feels made for those who have gained some mastery of the game’s systems. Even getting there means either understanding its tools well enough to voyage out to the island, or having enough stamina to glide there.
Once on Eventide Island, you get to undertake a trial that will ask whether you’ve truly learned how this game works. If you’re a returning player, it’s a fun challenge to get back into the swing of things with. I found myself gaining a new appreciation for all the ways in which I could use tools like Magnesis, Stasis, and my Remote Bombs. It’s a bit of an undertaking, but a fun one worth doing before this Friday.
Recital at Warbler’s Nest
While small in the scheme of things, this particular quest captures an often overlooked side of Breath of the Wild. The Recital at Warbler’s Nest is a Shrine Quest, which you can start at the Rito Village in northwest Hyrule.
It’s pretty straightforward. Some young Rito are trying to hold a recital, but you’ll need to convince them to meet and actually practice. Breath of the Wild has plenty of these little quests in its towns, which can point you towards different areas and activities to undertake. This particular quest draws on cooking and environmental interactions in enjoyable ways, and overall put a smile on my face. Many remember the open world and Divine Beasts, but Breath of the Wild has plenty of small town stories to explore, too.
I had completely forgotten about this particular section until I was doing some venturing and found myself back here, in the deep, deep darkness. Thyphlo Ruins is an area you can hear about by talking to locals at the nearby stable, but it’s worth just going in and checking out.
It is, ultimately, a shrine area. But it’s a cool use of light and interactions that might not naturally occur to folks. Eric’s Pro Tip: Remote Bombs glow! Venturing through this area is pretty neat, and worth taking the trip north of Korok Forest to see.
The Forgotten Temple
Speaking of forgotten areas, you might notice The Forgotten Temple on your map as you fill it out. Which is a bit strange, to be honest. If the temple is forgotten, it probably shouldn’t be on a map.
Either way, this area is a fun one to explore with a neat surprise I won’t spoil. Aside from that, this also touches on Nintendo’s ability to craft big, fascinating secrets within the world. Finding what lies at the end of this temple gave me a little moment of pause, and reminded me that discovering things in Breath of the Wild is still fun after all these years.
The Eighth Heroine
If you like environmental clues and puzzle solving, then The Eighth Heroine is the Zelda side quest for you. You’re pointed in its direction by someone running laps around Gerudo Town, as they inform you about an old legend involving the massive statues out in the desert.
And they are quite massive. You’ll have to scale them to find clues about how to solve the puzzle and summon the missing heroine. Discovering all the different visual clues is enjoyable in its own right, along with the physics-driven puzzle-solving that makes Breath of the Wild so enjoyable to go back to.
I’m in the process of finishing this one right now, but it might be one of my favorite quest lines. Kass is the travelling bard who chronicles stories of Hyrule, even playing a starring role in the Champion’s Ballad DLC.
But he also has a number of other quests to complete around Hyrule, all with special requirements and conditions. It’s a cool way to revisit Hyrule, as a returning player, and even links back to old Zelda tunes in an interesting way. This feels like one of the better ways to see Hyrule again before Tears of the Kingdom drops.
The Leviathan Remains
Finally, if you still need more excuses to visit the fringes of Hyrule, try hunting down the Leviathan remains. You start the venture by talking to the three researchers at the stable in northwest Hyrule, the same place you learn about the Thyphlo Ruins.
These three are looking for the remains of ancient beasts, and have some hints about where to find them, too. I actually found one before I found these brothers, just through exploring corners of the map I hadn’t yet. And there’s something about finding those giant, ancient bones that’s really something else.
Those are my picks for side quests to undertake if you’re looking for some before Tears of the Kingdom drops. Considering how big Breath of the Wild is, there are probably at least a few I left off, so let me know down below if there’s a personal favorite of yours I skipped over.
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