At its core, The Legend of Zelda has always been a series of adventure games. These typically contain a main trunk of mandatory content required for progression, with branches of optional objectives for players to complete at their leisure, if at all. Whether they result in the tangible upgrade of a weapon, a piece of heart, or the intrinsic reward of improving an NPC’s day, pretty much every Zelda game has a decent amount of things to do besides saving the world from imminent doom. Some players are more or less inclined to engage with this content, but what kind of player are you? How much optional content do you complete in Zelda games?

Obviously, the fun and motivation of completing optional content can depend heavily on the game in question. Games like The Legend of Zelda or Zelda II: The Adventure of Link have modest collections of optional goodies, but most players will definitely want all of them in order to curb the difficulty of those games. By contrast, almost all of Breath of the Wild‘s content is optional, and there are mountains upon mountains of it. Doing a 100% run of this game is quite the undertaking and, honestly, sounds miserable. A game’s progression structure can also play a role in how enjoyable completing these noncompulsory tasks is. I think a more open-ended title, like A Link to the Past, better accommodates completing discretionary objectives than more linear affairs like Twilight Princess. Finding and completing optional quests has always been more compelling to me when naturally retreading areas of the game world, rather than arbitrarily returning to areas that have something I couldn’t engage with the first time.

Regardless of the game, I definitely have the completionism bug. Besides Breath of the Wild, I typically exhaust all of the content in any Zelda game I play. Occasionally, I’ll leave prohibitively annoying quests undone. Something like the Nintendo Gallery in The Wind Waker, which I find boring, tedious, and unrewarding. With a few exceptions, I generally like to collect all of the pieces of heart or whatever the primary collectible is. I’ve been surprised to learn that this is actually a pretty rare approach to these games. Most conversations I’ve had with other Zelda fans reveal them to focus primarily on the main progression path, only doing optional stuff that is quick and easily accessible. To each their own, but the side content has always been what draws me to these games. They flesh out the world and expand the scope of the experience, which is ultimately what I’m here for.

What about you? How much optional content do you generally complete in Zelda games? How many games have you done 100% completion for? Let us know in the comments below!

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