Seriously, f**k Lynel. F**k his spiky hairdo, f**k his little mountain, f**k lightning arrows of which he never fired a single one at me. Sometimes I feel sympathy for a boss once I deliver the final blow, but not Lynel. Not only did I jump on the ground where he finally fell, I also immediately tossed his sword off the cliff just to erase all proof of his existence as soon as I could.
For those that don’t know, Lynel is an optional mini boss that exists in Breath of Wild that you’ll encounter on your way to one of the four optional dungeons. I stress optional because I did this to myself. I didn’t have to fight Lynel, especially as early as I did, but once I stumbled upon this challenge I couldn’t walk away. I had to defeat this thing.
Weirdly Lynel isn’t a new concept as they were the race of crazy difficult centaurs you faced towards the end of the original The Legend of Zelda game that hurled glowing swords at you. It’s coming back to you now, isn’t it? He’s back in this game and somehow even more difficult in an already pretty challenging game.
Yes, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild is remarkably good at kicking your ass. We’ve written about it before but the game expects you to die a lot. It’s not quite Dark Souls, but considering it’s entirely possible to beat most Zelda games without a single death, to play one where it’s very common to get one-shot killed by a new monster seemingly at random is a surprise. It’s like catching up a buddy back from college that’s now into molly – it’s great to see you again, I’m sure we can some unforgettable experiences, but man you used to be a lot easier to hang out with.
LoZ: BoW quickly takes the training wheels off and thrusts you into an open world to explore allowing you to unlock the game at your pace. It’s captivating and unique for every player, but hard to control so, at least for us, we found ourselves heading into wildly challenging areas early equipped with tree branches and a backpack full of nuts to keep the energy up. I was hoping the element of surprise that a lunatic would charge in so unprepared would work with these guys.
So let’s set the scene. A race of mer-people ask for your help to prevent the imminent flood. Simple enough. To do this, you need to find the mythical animatronic elephant creating water non-stop in the nearby lake. To stop it you need to hit it with several lightning-infused arrows. There just happens to be a cache of these rare arrows on mountain patrolled by “Lynel.” Yeah, you can get these arrows elsewhere. Yeah, you can just steal them from Lynel and run away. But seriously when you hear a guy named Lynel stands between you and saving a race of people you go for it as you conjure up this in your head
If you do chose to fight this guy, there are several ways to take him on but almost all of them assume you do it much later in the game when you’ve upgraded your health and have armor that allows you take at least one hit. That wasn’t our experience though. Every single connecting hit sent us to an early grave / reload screen. Begrudgingly we’d march back into battle like Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow knowing we didn’t stand a chance but didn’t see another option. After about an hour of attempts we finally had a breakthrough when we miraculously timed a dodge allowing us the chance to unload several blows which took off 1/20th of his health. “Great!” we thought. Now we just have to perfectly dodge 20 times in a row and pray we have enough swords since they are apparently made of tinfoil in this game.
All in all it was 45 minutes of us taking on this, again, optional mini boss before got that satisfying final blow. This game isn’t Dark Souls but that fight certainly once. There was a tremendous sense of relief quickly met with a strong sense of urgency to save to make sure I don’t lose this precious moment to something absurd like a power outage.
I’m gathering that Lynel is the fight people remember from LoZ: BoW. People much farther along in the game than I still refer back to that encounter. For me, I wildly underestimated Lynel and what Nintendo would make me face. Without specific guidance of a more traditional game it’s entirely valid to find him too early. So consider this the warning I didn’t get, gamers. Lynel is waiting for you on his mountain. He is a complete bastard so come prepared for a fight with at least 10 heart containers and your best gear and settle in – it’s going to be a tough, long battle. Seriously, what kind of name is Lynel anways?