One of the most exhilarating experiences in Breath of the Wild beyond the exploration of the world (and by extension your curiosity) is encountering overworld bosses. More often than not the overworld bosses you meet tend to be more challenging than the dungeon bosses that you battle. This is likely due to the optional nature of their existence. Unlike the dungeon bosses which need to be defeated in order to progress with the story, the overworld bosses can be skipped and are untethered to the plots progression which is why their difficulty can be set more extreme than the dungeon bosses. Developers don’t have to worry about encumbering all players with the difficulty of overworld bosses when their very presence in the players adventure is one of choice. If a player decides to engage with such an opponent, they have a choice to learn the mechanics of the fight or to avoid these enemies altogether. And this is where the satisfaction of accomplishment comes in. By taking the time to learn from ones failures and utilising those lessons as stepping stones to success, players get to experience the core feeling of what gaming is about – that rewarding feeling of playing the game. And that is one fantastic feeling.
My first Overworld boss encounter within Breath of the Wild was the Stalnox. Driven by the curiosity of what it will drop and the challenge of taking down a named enemy that had an HP bar, I battled the Stalnox. Having only fours hearts, one fairy and only a few minutes until dawn rose and the Stalnox disappeared, I utilised different strategies to try and defeat but after many failed attempts, I ultimately ended up having to exhaust my strongest weapons in order to defeat it. Despite having my best weapons either broken down or close to breaking, the satisfaction of taking down an enemy like the Stalnox was immense.
My second boss encounter was the Lynel. Technically, I know they do not have an HP bar but by all that is just and logical, Lynel are freaking bosses. I came across the Lynel that shoots Lightning arrows and after a few unsuccessful attempts at engaging it, I gave up and opted to loot the chest near the Lynel and leave. Their ‘auto-homing’ arrows that shocks you, disarms you and severely damages you, such an encounter makes for quite the first impression. The first encounter I had with them was terrifying and so was their massive field of vision. I only really attempted to battle a Lynel on my second encounter after I tried using the Lynel to learn to shield block their lighting arrows which amusingly ended unsuccessfully – I failed every single time. Entertaining my own desperation, I decided to melee it and after around an hour, I finally defeated it! Euphoria and immense glee overwhelmed me. I defeated what I thought was overwhelming! There is something about taking on a Lynel with a few number of hearts and no fairies that sets the stage for a memorable challenge to overcome. It only during my third encounter with a Lynel that I finally learned to dodge its attacks, counter with flurry attacks and block with shield parries. Now whenever I encounter a Lynel, I make sure I battle it because it is just so much fun. With more hearts, fairies, upgraded equipment, Mipha’s grace and Daruk’s protection, it does make it easier and quicker to fight the Lynel. Still, you need to follow through with the mechanics to defeat it.
My third boss encounter was the Hinox which I initially didn’t even see because it was sleeping near some hills and I did not expect to see some sort of Snorlax-like Ogre Cyclops. Bombs were my best friends and through the course of many minutes and many bombs, the Hinox’s health was eventually whittled down. I now know to aim for its eye to get it off balance and to utilise a spear with its long range for the fight.
There is really is something entertaining about encountering an enemy that you have never seen and slowing learning about the mechanics of the fight through trial and error and eventually overcoming that uncertainty with your own analysis done. The Stone Talus Overworld bosses and its variants may not be the most terrifying mini-bosses but the first encounter with them was memorable and fun in learning how it attacks and where its weak-point is. Plus the ore and minerals they drop are reason enough to engage them when you come across one. Rewarding a player for playing the game inspires positive emotions toward such a game. A simple as that sounds not all games succeed in achieving that end.
Other encounters that I can’t not talk about are the Guardian encounters. Their battles through the temple fights or the world encounters where you have to deflect their lasers back at them are so much fun. Overcoming such opponents requires you to utilise the combat mechanics present in the game. You have to time your attacks, time your blocks and even use the terrain to your advantage to block an attack or to prevent an attack from reaching you. The Lomei Labyrinth which contained several Guardians both flying and walking was a complete blast to overcome. I perfected my shield parry timing in the labyrinth and cleared every single one of the Guardians from the Labyrinth not because it was necessary to complete the Labyrinth but because I wanted to.
Finally, the other memorable boss encounters I would like to mention are the Spirit Dragons. They may not have a HP bar and you may not be able to kill them but when you had to cleanse the Dragon (Naydra) corrupted by the dark energy on Mount Lanayru, the battle that ensured to shoot the corruption off Naydra with your Bow and Arrow as you glided through the skies was truly exhilarating. I even forgot until that point that when you pull your bow back when in the air, time slows down (bullet time!) allowing you to shoot your bow and arrow while gliding. That short battle to cleanse the Naydra was such a satisfying encounter. The other Spirit Dragons you meet may not involve the same level of interaction but needing to still glide around the skies and shoot a scale, claw, fang or horn fragment from them is still a satisfying experience. At the moment I am tracking Farosh to get a few “Shard of Farosh’s Horn” required to upgrade some of my gear. I absolutely love being surprised by its presence when crossing the Bridge of Hylia only to notice the music change and a massive Dragon flying through skies above the Lake Hylia.
I have not fully explored the world of Breath of the Wild yet – I have just arrived at Rito Village and still need to visit the Gerudo region. I am extremely excited to discover what other mysteries and surprises the world of Breath of the Wild has and I still have to pull out the Master Sword located in a certain area.