The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild recently received the ultra-hard Master Mode difficulty as part of its first DLC, The Master Trials, but it turns out there's another way to make Zelda much more challenging in a way the developer never intended. Due to a recently discovered glitch, it turns out you can play the entire game without gathering the Sheikah Slate, i.e. the in-game menus.
Discovered by YouTuber Nintendo3DSChannel, this bizarre save-and-load glitch radically alters the game in strange and interesting ways.
As outlined in Nintendo3DSChannel's site, Gaming Reinvented, the most obvious impact not having a Sheikah Slate has is that you won't have a map (or mini-map for that matter). So be prepared to get lost, and say goodbye to fast-traveling.
However, that's not actually the biggest alteration performing this glitch does. That would be the fact that it disables the game's day/night cycle. This is because the glitch requires players starting a new game to die in the first room, then respawn outside of the Shrine of Resurrection without triggering the game's title screen - a predetermined cutscene of Link overlooking a cliff edge at sunrise. Since Nintendo wanted everyone to experience this same vista, the day/night cycle is not actually in play during the game's opening moments. So skipping past this means time will never change. Eerie!
This quasi-frozen universe drastically changes how the game plays. Since there's no day/night cycle, there's also no Blood Moon, i.e. the recurring timed event that respawns all enemies and items into the world.
"You can pretty much permanently kill every monster in the world while this state is active, turning Zelda into a game with (NPC only) final death," the pioneering player discovered.
Almost all of the game's content can still be accessed without the Sheikah Slate. You can still select your powers and weapons from the quick-draw menu and cutscenes involving the Sheikah Slate will still play as if you had it.
The only major pieces of content that aren't accessible without the Sheikah Slate are the Divine Beasts, as you need your Hylian tablet to hack into their control systems. Outside of that, there are some sidequests that require gathering materials that can't be completed this way.
Still, one doesn't need to do any of these things to access and defeat the final boss. It will just be a lot harder without such perks.
Perhaps the best thing about this glitch is that it's not permanent. At any time the player can return to the Shrine of Resurrection and snag the vital piece of tech they went out of their way to avoid many moons (or rather no moons) ago. Once you pick up the Sheikah Slate, you're stuck with it, and the game will resume in its intended state with maps, respawning monsters, and dynamic weather effects in place.
If you're set on giving this inadvertent mode a go, here are the instructions to trigger it (via Gaming Reinvented):
- Open a save file where you're outside the Shrine of Resurrection, and go to a ledge.
- Press A to climb down and pause on the same frame
- Once this is done, head back to the title via the menu and start a new game
- If done correctly, Link should collapse the second he wakes up in the Shrine of Resurrection
- And voila, he's now outside the Shrine minus Sheikah Slate!