Hyrule Castle in 'Zelda: Breath of the Wild' is incredible and you should explore it ASAP

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world game — a first for the series — meaning you can skip the dungeon-esque divine beasts scattered throughout Hyrule and head straight for the final fight with Ganon if you so choose. Some speedrunners have already taken that route, but the game doesn't exactly encourage it. Instead, it uses a mix of enticing challenges and menacing mechanical Guardians to nudge you in the "right" direction. 

I'm not suggesting anyone head straight for the finish line, but if you wait until the end of the game to visit Hyrule Castle — where Ganon is gathering strength — then you're missing out. Breath of the Wild's Hyrule Castle is its own mini-game, one full of hidden treasures, exciting battles and challenging puzzles. 

In about an hour of exploring, I found a magic ice sword, a working mine cart, an ancient Hylian recipe for "Monster Cake" and enough weapons to arm the entire royal guard.

In about an hour of exploring, I found a magic ice sword, a working mine cart, an ancient Hylian recipe for "Monster Cake" and enough weapons to arm an entire royal guard. Plus, Hyrule Castle boasts one of the best soundtrack selections the game has to offer.

Breath of the Wild: Adventures in Hyrule Castle

I ended up visiting Hyrule Castle on a whim. A friend who had expressed some skepticism about Breath of the Wild came over, so I decided to seek out some real action to show off the game.

My first attempt to charge Hyrule Castle on horseback failed miserably. But I was eventually able to make my way around to the back of the fortress, paraglide over the moat and sneak in through a back entrance.

I found some pretty sweet gear in Hyrule Castle.Jacob Kleinman/Mic

I made my way through several dark castle rooms, inspecting every torn painting and empty barrel for potential clues. In the desecrated dining hall I found four massive monsters carrying flaming spears, forcing me to use up my remaining fire arrows. In the library, I rifled through old Hyrule family recipes among the damaged books. At the top of a long staircase, I discovered a treasure chest with a magic sword inside hidden behind a wall of Ganon corruption.

Hyrule Castle is a mysterious place.Jacob Kleinman/Mic

At one point I was forced to dive off the side of the castle to avoid a guardian's laser blast. I assumed that was the end of my adventure plundering Hyrule Castle, but as I glided downward I spotted a small cave near the base of the fortress. Heading inside I found a working minecart, which carried me back into the center of the castle.

After a little more exploring I decided to leave the castle. I figure I'll want to leave some weapons for when I actually decide to fight Ganon, though it may not be much longer before I find myself back at Hyrule Castle ready for another small adventure.