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  • Uncommon Time: Hyrule Castle's theme alternates between 5/4 and 6/4 time.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: This game is basically The Legend of Zelda but with real-life rules, removing a lot of video game tropes that are taken for granted throughout the series.
    • Link can't reliably find the supplies he needs just by cutting grass and breaking pots (though that's not to say that nothing can be found this way). Instead, he'll have to scavenge them from places where one would expect to find them, like taking arrows from bow-wielding Bokoblins and restoring health by eating meat from hunting animals. Most rupees are obtained through selling items. He also doesn't hold items dramatically in the air whenever he collects them.
    • Unlike most other Zelda games, you are free to ignore where the story tells you to go and even skip to the final boss, missing out on a lot of secrets and Link's origin. In real life, you are not restricted to follow a plot, but you won't be able to find answers to your questions unless you search them out.
    • If you're caught in a thunderstorm, your metal equipment acts as a lightning rod. If you're expecting it to act like the Skyward Strike from the battle against Demise in Skyward Sword, you'd be sadly mistaken: lightning can and will kill you. note 
    • Going into freezing environments without a source of heat or insulated clothes is bad for your health. Likewise, the heat of the desert day will wear down Link's health if he's not dressed for it (or dressed at all).
    • If you fall into freezing water, no amount of clothes will prevent you from freezing to death.
    • If you get into a tough fight while on horseback, your horse can be killed -- and won't come back — if you're not careful. Although the presence of the Horse God kinda makes that a moot point.
    • If Link falls from a very high area, rolling on the ground won't save him this time, he'll die when he lands. On a similar note, if he gets thrown back and sent rolling down an incline, Link will take damage as he rolls.
    • In previous games, Link was durable enough to shrug off laser blasts as little more as a quarter heart of damage. Here, lasers are potentially lethal (especially charged barrages). Being set on fire, frozen solid, or electrocuted are also as harmful as you'd expect.
    • In previous games, there was No "Arc" in "Archery". Here, though, you'll need to account for drop when aiming at far targets.
    • Rainy weather will make Bomb Arrows useless due to the fuse being wet, while making electrical damage all the more dangerous. Conversely, trying to use a Bomb Arrow in the burning heat of Death Mountain ends with it blowing up in your face before you can even draw your bow.
    • The Gerudo desert is punishingly hot in the day, and freezing cold at night. The wild temperature swings are true of real deserts, where the lack of humidity and cloud cover mean no protection from the heat of the sun during the day, and nothing to keep heat from escaping during the night.
    • If Link or any enemy gets electrocuted, they'll drop their weapon and shield.
    • In a cold area, equipping a Flame weapon will help warm Link up. The opposite is true as well, as equipping an Ice weapon in a hot area will help cool Link down. Similarly, holding a flaming weapon near a block of ice will gradually melt it.
    • Rupees no longer drop from grass or monsters, just as how one wouldn't expect to find money just laying out in the field in real life. While they're still found under rocks, in pots, and in boxes, they only drop from one enemy type: the Yiga Clan, who are human.
    • Weapon types matter when you're using them to gather resources. Trying to use a bladed weapon to break open an ore vein will both take longer and do a lot of damage to its durability; same thing for trees and blunt weapons. By contrast, using something that would logically be better at breaking ore (like a sledge hammer or a two-handed axe) will do almost no durability and break it in one hit, while swinging at a tree with a heavy axe or a two-handed sword will be much better than swinging at it with a sword meant only for combat.
    • Wooden objects that were indestructible in previous Zelda games will break and shatter under enough force. Shoot a bomb arrow at a tree, and the tree will fall. Even wooden chests containing key items aren't immune; if they take enough damage, they'll be reduced to splinters, and the item inside will drop onto the floor.
    • The time it takes for stores to restock take varying amounts of time. Stores that sell monster parts will only restock after a Blood Moon, because either they go kill the monsters themselves or are supplied by adventurers, they need to wait for respawns just like the player does.
    • In high temperature areas, wooden items and weapons will smoke and burst into flames. So will plants, animals, and other flammable materials.
  • Unique Enemy: In Master Mode, because all enemies are scaled up a color to up the difficulty, the base form of the various enemies become this to enable players to still complete Compendiums with personal pictures. There's only one Red Bokoblin on the entire map for example.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: It is possible to do certain things in shrines and put yourself into a situation where the shrine cannot be completed, usually by falling onto a remote ledge that you can't escape from (as dying dumps you back on that same ledge). The solution is to teleport out of the shrine, which resets it back to the default state.
  • Utility Weapon: Every weapon in the game can be used to interact with the environment in multiple ways, though certain weapons are better at tasks than others. Even something as seemingly useless as a rusted sword can be used to chop down trees or grass, smash open crates, strike flint to start a fire, or be used in an electric circuit puzzle.

  • Vacuum Mouth: Rock Octoroks attack by first suctioning up dirt and random detritus from their volcanic surroundings and releasing it in one huge exploding boulder. You can kill them by tossing a bomb at them to make them swallow them and then detonating it. They can also be able to clean any "rusty" weapons or shields by either throwing it at them or dropping it near them when they start to suck them in. However, they eventually spit the cleaned gear back at you as projectiles unless you're quick to grab it out of mid-air.
  • Variable Mix:
    • In the field, music is typically low-key and ambient. Going indoors or traveling in a snowstorm will muffle the music.
    • When approaching a town or stable, its music will start quiet and crescendo until reaching full volume as Link enters the town proper. Every town theme has a separate version for day and night, with the latter having a slower tempo and more relaxing arrangement.
    • The background music for the Divine Beasts starts off simple and ambient, but develops as Link activates more terminals.
    • Tarrey Town's music gains elements of the music from Rito Village, Goron City, Hateno Village, Zora's Domain, and Gerudo Town, respectively, as Link invites denizens of those regions. This also extends to the wedding at the end.
    • Hyrule Castle's music dynamically switches between a bombastic orchestral arrangement while outdoors and a sinister pipe organ version while indoors. Both variants gain an extra drum part during combat.
    • If Kass is at a stable, he will play Epona's Song on his accordion over the normal background music.
  • Vendor Trash: Unlike previous games, there is very little liquid cash just lying around in the field. Most of your rupees will come from selling items, and the vast majority (other than weapons and certain pieces of armor) can be sold anywhere. However, basically every item has some use in crafting, so this tension provides incentive for turning in sidequests for some extra income.
    • Special mention to the various precious stones—while they can be crafted into jewelry in Gerudo Town, they are fairly expensive to enhance, and none of them carries unique effects. Better to find other equipment (which will likely confer Set Bonuses as well, unlike the headgear-only jewelry) and sell off the stones. Diamonds are unique here, since they can be used to craft new Champions' weapons, preventing them from being Too Awesome to Use. The real vendor trash is the extremely common and conspicuous luminous stones; their only use is crafting the Radiant Set, and beyond that can be sold for a bit of cash or converted to diamonds at a rate of ten-to-one in Zora's Domain. This is a financial loss, but it provides an easy source of diamonds for Champions' weapons.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The player is explicitly told from the start of the game that Hyrule Castle is housing Calamity Ganon. If you ignore all the dialogue and cutscenes, the giant darkened castle in the middle of the world map, with black smoke swirling around and hordes of giant death-robots on patrol, is still pretty conspicuous; and even if you don't pick up on any of that, each main dungeon's completion adds a miles-long laser-sight pointing directly at Ganon's lair. Interestingly played with in that not only can it be visited at any time to fight the final boss, stopping by sometime before actually confronting Ganon is encouraged — a few sidequests and one of Link's memories require the player to visit the castle early.
  • Vestigial Empire:
    • Averted with Hyrule Kingdom. While much of the nation's infrastructure remains intact and three large communities are thriving, nothing remains of its central government or massive military (aside from the corrupted Guardians). Though many citizens fondly remember or wish returning to the lost golden age, there isn't the leadership or safety to pursue it. For all practical purposes the kingdom is dead... at least until Link defeats Ganon and saves Zelda.
    • The Gerudo. There was a time when their civilization spanned across the desert and highland. In size and grandeur it might have rivaled Hyrule Kingdom itself, having the luxury to craft gold weapons and armor covered in gemstones. To the direct north of Gerudo Town are ruins of an ancient city larger than the modern one. To the far east are monolithic statues dedicated to the Seven Heroines. To the far west are additional ruins of a massive lost community (perhaps even two). To the far north, past Gerudo Summit, is the missing statue of the Eighth Heroine. It's never clarified what caused the fall of this mighty nation, or why the Gerudo have fallen so far from their former glory.
    • Done more subtly with the Zora, but the traditional path to Zora's Domain is full of markers made of the same sort of stone as the main Zora City, indicating that at the very least the main road used to be under their control, but lost it to monsters and Vah Ruta's punishing rain, and the nearby Toto lake is also full of ruins with some Zora armor buried there. While the Zora still control their reservoirs and surrounding lakes, one of their major diving spots is cut off by a Lynel armed with shock arrows, which are lethal to the Zora.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Horses have to be tamed and cared for in order to be of much use, and can die, making it a lot easier to care about them. Until they're used to being ridden, they can be calmed by patting them. If they get hurt, they can be fed to heal them. Or just if you want to. You can acquire wild Horses from defeated Bokoblin riders which already have max bonding. This seems to imply that the Bokoblins have already tamed them or mistreated them so harshly that they would rather serve humans instead at the first available opportunity. That Bokoblin horses will return to their fallen riders to allow them to remount them suggests the former.
    • Using monster masks, you can avoid conflict with some monsters and even feed them.
    • At several points, travelers are attacked by monsters, and the player has the opportunity to help them out.
    • You can hang out with dogs, and feed them fruit and meat, and they'll become friendly and follow Link around. Feed them enough, and they'll usually lead you to buried treasure. You can feed sand seals, too, and you never actually need to. Feeding Riju's seal Patricia will give you hints, but otherwise, like with horses, it's also just a feature if you feel like being nice.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can force Link to suffer in cold areas by removing his warm clothes, leaving him shivering. Conversely, you can also make him trudge through deserts and volcanoes in full metal armor. However, if he's poorly equipped, he will take damage from extreme temperatures, making it a problem for the player.
    • Unlike other games in the series, horses can actually die from being hit by attacks. While this mainly means that the monsters you encounter have another target, this doesn't stop you from murdering your own horse if you feel it's outlived its purpose, or if you find a horse with a nicer-looking design or even better stats. And it's ultimately unnecessary, since you can have up to 5 at a time in the stables, and can let go the ones you don't want. Also, if you try to bring it near the lava in the Eldin region, the poor thing will burst into flames unlike other damage-registering NPCs.
    • While NPCs can't be harmed, you can still swing your weapons at them to make them scared or annoyed. They'll have a different reaction to your bombs, where they'll look at it in terror, track where it goes if you toss it, and then freak out proper when you detonate the bomb. They also have a different reaction to your attempts at setting them on fire with the Fire or Meteor Rod.
    • Fighting monsters has so many ways you can utilize: blowing them up with Bomb Arrows or Bomb Barrels, shooting elemental arrows at them, setting them on fire with a torch, blowing them off a cliff with a Korok Leaf...the possibilities are endless! But what takes the cake is what you can do to Stalmonsters: You can beat one with its own arm (or explode it with a Remote Bomb or scatter it with a Korok Leaf), then steal its skull and run away with it while the rest of the Stalmonster desperately tries to take it back, and finally kick the skull off a cliff, after which the Stalmonster throws a fit in rage before collapsing into a pile of bones.
    • Want to catch a whole school of fish but you’re too ill-equipped/lazy to swim after them? Simply let loose a Shock Arrow into their general area and watch them all float up to the surface of the water!
    • An old lady in Kakariko Village yells at you for stepping in her garden where she's growing her plum trees. She'll also yell at you if you blow up a tree with a bomb. Blow up all the trees and she gets depressed that her trees are all gone.
    • Like most games in the series, attacking Cuccos earns you the wrath of the Cucco Revenge Squad. However, due to the open world nature of this game, it is possible to kill them without consequences by carrying one all the way up to the hottest parts of the Eldin region and then throwing it into lava.
    • An NPC will give you 500 rupees if you agree to meeting a Great Fairy and making an offering in his place. Nothing is stopping you from ignoring the request and just keeping the money for yourself, though doing so does deprive you of a means of further upgrading your armor.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • Even though you can hunt wild animals for food in this game, domesticated animals are off limits, and true to Zelda tradition, this especially includes Cuccos (so you'll be substituting other birds for poultry). Even though you can get an egg from doing so, attacking them directly still earns you the wrath of the Cucco Revenge Squad. On the plus side, if you trick an enemy into attacking a Cucco, the Cucco Revenge Squad will target them.
    • Attacking the Goron leader with a weapon will have him uppercut Link and knock him flat on his ass.
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: Surprisingly Averted with the Master Sword, which is actually not needed to defeat Ganon. Played straight, however, with the Bow of Light, whose projectiles are one of the few things that can harm Dark Beast Ganon and is obtained and used only during the final battle.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Common monsters can sometimes be found hunting in the wild. Similarly, when they're at ease in their camps, they'll dance around and chat with each other.
  • Violation of Common Sense: If you're planning on Perfect Parrying a Guardian's laser, it can be more beneficial to stand at point blank range; the laser isn't hitscan, so the closer you're standing to the Guardian, the easier it is to time the parry due to the laser having almost no travel time from the very brief startup animation. This only works on Decayed and Turret Guardians, as well as Stalkers that you've disabled by slicing a leg off.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Link's appearance changes depending on what he's wearing. If he's not wearing anything on top, he'll be shirtless, and if he he's not wearing any pants, he'll wear shorts instead.
  • Voice Grunting: Even though there's voice acting in the game, it's mixed up with grunts in the cutscenes not using voice acting.

  • Walking Shirtless Scene: It's possible to play with a shirtless Link. But pulling this for the entire game won't be easy, especially in the cold or exceptionally hot areas. However, the Barbarian and Desert Voe armor sets are more-or-less shirtless, with only a few straps from armor covering Link's chest. Both sets can be upgraded and safely worn through most of the game.
  • The Wall Around the World:
    • Hyrule is a rectangular landmass with its northern and western borders defined by wide, bottomless gorges. The eastern and southern borders meet the sea and part of Gerudo desert. All of these obstacles can be surmounted by a very determined player, but they will eventually hit an invisible wall and be unable to proceed.
    • The edge of the Great Plateau serves as one initially, as jumping off without the paraglider has the same effect as Link falling into a bottomless pit inside a Shrine. After getting the paraglider, however, the player can come and go as they see fit.
  • Wall Crawl: Link can scale entirely vertical surfaces, at the gradual cost of his stamina.
  • Warp Whistle: The Sheikah Slate allows Link to instantly warp to activated shrines, towers, and a few other select locations.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The Master Cycle Zero from The Champions' Ballad DLC is this compared to the Unskilled, but Strong horses of the game. Horses are ultimately faster but the Master Cycle Zero far outperforms them in terms of maneuverability and versatility on various terrain. It can safely jump off the highest cliffs and while the player will be hurt by running into things, it's only a small amount and it takes almost no time to resummon it, compared to horses, who stop short in front of a barrier and need to be remaneuvered. Also, it is less prone to spontaneously combusting if ridden on Death Mountain that its organic counterparts.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Anything that shoots lasers, including Guardians, is dreaded for such lasers because of their high strength. However, there is one caveat to this: Guardians and their brethren can almost never hit you while you're gliding through the air. Start a brush fire or use Revali's Gale to make an updraft and fly into the air, and suddenly the Guardian is rendered a non-threat. Even when you aren't giving any directional input, the laser will just hit the air right above you. Even worse, you are probably now free to land on the Guardian's head and ride it, or start smacking it with the Master Sword if you desire. Guardian Stalkers can also be tripped when walking over a bomb when chasing you and the bomb is detonated when under them.
  • We Buy Anything: In full effect, but it is justified or lampshaded depending on the vendor in question. The clothing vendor in Kakariko Village will gush about how she doesn't get to see "exotic goods" often because the village is so remote. Another travelling merchant who specializes in food will happily claim that "someone will want it" whenever you sell him something.
  • Wham Line: A small-but-effective one comes at the end of the of the Champions Ballad DLC, especially for those who thought they were finally finished with it and hadn't been spoiled on the duel against the Shiekah Monk Maz Koshia.
    "In the name of the Goddess Hylia..."
    *cue the Wham Shot mentioned below*
    "I offer this final challenge"
  • Wham Shot:
    • In the final photo memory scene, after Link has been fatally wounded, Zelda slumps over his unconscious body, only for Fi's trademark chime to play. The camera then focuses in on the Master Sword in Link's hand, which is shining with a familiar glow.
    • Once you reach the final monk at the end of The Champions' Ballad DLC, he begins congratulating you, as with every other monk. But then he starts moving...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Yiga assassins merely Smoke Out when Link defeats them and their leader Master Kohga does himself in by accident at the end of his fight, since they're fellow people and the game doesn't want Link to be directly responsible for murder.
    • The rule with organic enemies seems to be that if they have animalistic attributes, it's okay for them to drop body parts that Link can take. Bokoblins, Moblins and Hinox are all partially piglike, and even though Lynels appear to be the most intelligent enemies in the game, their lion faces and horse bodies seem to be why their body parts can be harvested as well. Wizzrobes are creepy imp-wizards, but they're the only humanoid enemy without any animal qualities, and as such, they only drop their weapons.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • If you manage to kill your horse, you can revive it at the (slightly hard to find) Horse Fountain. But not without being scolded by Malanya, the Horse God:
      "This horse says that YOU killed it! You! How could you?! Do you plan to revive it just to kill it again?"
    • If you see an NPC being chased by a monster, you’re perfectly free to watch them get clobbered. Should you talk to some of them afterwards, they will berate you for doing so. This can happen even if you kill the monster, but were too slow to stop them from knocking the NPC out.
  • Where It All Began: In "The Champions' Ballad" DLC, it begins by completing four Shrines on the Great Plateau, like the start of the game, and the Final Trial is accessed by using the Shrine of Resurrection as an elevator down into the dungeon. The subsequent boss fight against Maz Koshia takes place on a platform levitating over the Shrine's entrance. And the last bit of story for the DLC, with Kass completing the eponymous song and giving Link his final flashback to the inauguration of the Champions, takes place on the outcropping overlooking Hyrule Castle that was the first place Link stood upon exiting the Shrine of Resurrection at the start of the game. It's an unusual example of this trope, because while the DLC is the last bit of content released for Breath of the Wild and wraps up in such a climactic fashion, Zelda chimes in immediately afterward to remind you that Calamity Ganon still kinda needs to be defeated.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: An explicit goal for this particular game is to give players the kind of freedom that hasn't been present in the series since the original game. To further emphasize this, Aonuma even stated that it's possible to reach the Calamity Ganon as soon as the opening segment is over, before doing a single thing (though he obviously advises against this, as you're way underequipped at that point and you'd miss the whole story). Hyrule is stated be 140 square miles/362 kilometers in size. In comparison, the overworld in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (a game famous for its huge size) is merely 16 square miles/42 kilometers. It's still slightly smaller than Xenoblade Chronicles X, which is 154 square miles/398 kilometers in size. Many of Xenoblade's developers worked on this game, so a wide open world is assured. This article shows the world map's size in comparison to Skyrim, and shows that the entirety of Twilight Princess almost fits inside the starting area.
  • Wreaking Havok:
    • The physics are far more extensive than any previous game in the series. Shigeru Miyamoto has said that the main reason for the delays was due to development on the physics engine.
    • You can push boulders down cliffs and hills, and see them tumble around.
    • The Magnesis power exists pretty much exclusively for this purpose. Using it, you can even pick up dropped weapons and just beat enemies with them.
    • The game uses Ragdoll Physics for both Link and enemies, and if either goes limp on a slope, they can roll quite far.
    • Stasis can be used to build up kinetic energy in an object until it shoots off once the rune's power runs out.
    • Many puzzles found in the game's shrines are based on real-time physics, unlike in past Zelda games, where the physics puzzles used set states instead.
    • One can create a makeshift catapult using a treasure chest, a plank, and a boulder.
  • Wutai: This time around, Kakariko village is closely based on a traditional Japanese village, and Sheik's ninja thematic from Ocarina of Time now applies to the tribe's warriors (as well as the Yiga Clan) as a whole. Link can also buy the Stealth Mask, Stealth Chest Guard and Stealth Greaves and dress up as one of the Sheikah, complete with needles in his man-bun.

  • You Are Already Dead:
    • Hitting an enemy with a fatal Ice Arrow shot won't kill it immediately. Instead, the enemy will be frozen and intangible until it thaws, at which point it will collapse and die.
    • An enemy under the effect of Stasis+ won't take damage as it is attacked. Rather, it takes all of the accumulated damage in quick succession after the effect wears off.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The King's diary mentions prophets and a prophecy about Calamity Ganon's reawakening. His efforts with reviving the Guardians, repairing the Divine Beasts, funding a massive military build up of Hyrule (look at all those ruined forts and garrisons), assembling the Champions, and getting Zelda to unlock her powers as soon as possible were to prevent the kingdom's fall. It fell nonetheless. All of this was foreseen 10,000 years ago. The towers and shrines didn't activate during the fall of King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule. It wasn't the right time. That wouldn't occur until after the fall of Hyrule and another 100 years later.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • Link still resembles himself in the face, but all the merchandise and advertising shows him in the blue Champion's Tunic rather than his usual green, and without a hat. Most of the game will be spent in this and other miscellaneous outfits that bear even less resemblance to Link's typical appearance. note 
    • The bird-like Rito tribe have undergone a heavy redesign since their last appearance. The "human with a beak" design has been ditched in favor of a more birdlike appearance, complete with full-body feathers and ever-present wings.
    • The Sheikah still have white hair but have a much wider variety of eye colors, when previously only red was seen.
    • The Zora now come in multiple colors rather than just the standard/minor variations of blue, and are based on marine life, mainly sharks.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already:
    • There are points at the Great Plateau where Link can actually climb down to Hyrule safely without the need of the Paraglider. But if you try to do so before actually obtaining it, the game will just send you back as if you fell into a Bottomless Pit.
    • You can reach various Divine Beasts via exploitative methods before actually triggering their respective sidequests, only to find that they lack collision data and serve only as an aesthetic until you go through the story proper.
    • If you go to Hateno Village first instead of Kakariko Village to try and skip a step in the main quest, you'll find your efforts thwarted by the research lab's furnace inexplicably missing the actual brazier you're supposed to light with the blue flames.
    • If you happen to reach Master Kohga's boss arena via any other route besides through the Yiga Clan Hideout, it will be completely empty and nothing will happen there. Kohga is scripted to not appear unless you actually take the secret passageway from the hideout. And if you try to enter the hideout without officially starting the associated quest, the entrance will be sealed, and you won't even find the Yiga archers that normally ambush you near the entrance.
    • Trying to ignore the Koroks for the Lost Pilgrimage shrine quest by navigating the path without ever talking to them will instead lead you to an empty patch of grass where the shrine is supposed to be.
    • The shrine at Warbler's Nest is technically just unlocked by using a Korok Leaf to blow air through a group of statues in the correct sequence, but the sequence is only revealed after a sidequest that starts in Rito Village. At the end, the Rito sisters are reunited at Warbler's Nest for singing practice and the order they sing in reveals the sequence. Trying to solve the puzzle beforehand will not do anything. You need to learn by completing the quest, even if you already knew.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The game begins with Link awakening inside a mysterious place called the Shrine of Resurrection, with only the strange machine he lay in and the mysterious Sheikah Slate. The way out is locked; however, Link can just use the tablet to unlock the door.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Should you be unlucky enough to be in the sights of a Lynel, there is no running or hiding from their arrows unless you warp out of the area with the Sheikah Slate, even more so if they happen to be carrying Ice Arrows.

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