THE LEGEND of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is sometimes seen as a challenging game, with many tough boss fights and environmental hazards.
But when playing it, I discovered a simple trick in the Nintendo Switch game that makes it almost impossible to die, and it almost ruined the game for me.
Not many players know this, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a hidden system called ‘One Hit Protection’.
It essentially means that if the main playable character Link is at full health, any single hit from an enemy will bring him down to one quarter heart, rather than killing him.
No matter how strong the enemy, even if it’s a powerful Lynel, a terrifying Guardian, or even the final boss Calamity Ganon, there’s no way for it to kill Link in one attack.
As soon as you figure out this system, it’s easy to come up with ways to exploit it and make Link effectively invincible.
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Always taking stamina from the Goddess Statues instead of health means that most big attacks will be within the damage range that keeps Link alive.
Eating raw meat and apples you find out in the world helps to keep you at max health, and with a low max HP, it doesn’t take much to fill up.
But it’s when you stumble across a cooking pot that the whole game becomes trivial, and any challenge is effectively removed from the game.
Cooking food gives you all sorts of buffs and perks, like big boosts to damage and the ability to withstand different environments like the snow and the heat of a volcano.
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Between cooked food and One Hit Protection, just about every combat encounter becomes essentially the same, with no risk of death and very little challenge.
I’d run in, get a few big hits in with my boosted stats, get hit myself, eat a new meal, and start the process all over again.
The One Hit Protection and low maximum HP meant that it was almost impossible to die, and food boosts made short work of most enemies.
There are some situations where this strategy doesn’t work, such as when enemies hit you multiple times in quick succession.
But even the fastest-hitting enemy in the game, the dreaded Thunderblight Ganon, only took five attempts to take down, thanks to this simple strategy.
Taking on fights with this method has its downsides though, and after a while things started to become a bit tedious and frustrating.
While it doesn’t take much time to gather ingredients, since they’re scattered throughout the world, it’s easy to spend a lot of time cooking.
Cooking is a long and often tedious process, where you have to enter the menu, select each of your ingredients, and manually drop them in the pot.
This sets off a cooking animation that, while skippable, is annoying to have to put up with, and if you’re cooking in large batches, cooking can take up to 15 minutes at a time.
That’s not to say cooking is a flaw though, but if you’re like me and you spend a lot of time strategising, you might find that this method sucks the fun out of the game.
With the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom around the corner, it’s hard to know what could be changed about this system to make it fairer.
Removing One Hit Protection unfairly punishes players who accidentally stray too far into a high level area, which discourages exploration, the main theme of the game.
If you make cooking quicker then everybody will have incentive to exploit the system like I did, which would make it less challenging for everybody.
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Either way, there’s likely to be excitement and plenty of new things to discover in Tears of the Kingdom when it launches on Nintendo Switch on May 12, 2023.
Written by Georgina Young and Oliver Brandt on behalf of GLHF.
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