Screenshot by PC Invasion
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild produced a lot of buzz and headlines pre and post-launch over the fact that you could travel to and defeat the final boss right after finishing the Great Plateau tutorial section. Of course, actually accomplishing this proved immensely challenging, but the fact that you could do it at all proved that the game did not mess around in providing absolute freedom to the player. So it seems safe to assume that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom also allows players to do an early final boss run if they wish.
However, due to the slightly more guided story quests and the lack of information on where you can find the final boss at the start, it’s not immediately clear that this remains the case this time. So does Tears of the Kingdom let you have an early go at the final boss after all?
How soon can you challenge the final boss?
Fortunately, the game does indeed allow for an early final boss attempt soon after completing the tutorial at the Great Sky Island. You can’t necessarily head there right away, though, as you have to obtain the paraglider from Purah at Lookout Landing first. After that, though, you’re free to skydive down the chasm below Hyrule Castle, which contains the path leading to the final boss’s location.
But if you thought that early final boss runs in Breath of the Wild were daunting, then get ready, because Tears of the Kingdom kicks things up quite a few notches. Just like everywhere else in the Depths, the path to Ganondorf almost exclusively features gloom-based enemies, which can temporarily cut down your maximum heart count until you eat a dish that can recover those hearts back. And that’s assuming that they don’t one-shot you outright, which will probably happen if you come in with low hearts and defense. At the very least, you don’t have to fight most of the enemies you encounter if you want to stay on the safe side.
Heavy spoilers below
That all changes once you make it down to the very bottom of Hyrule Castle’s Depths. At this point, the game pits you against waves of monsters that you would normally fight alongside the sages. But if you go down here without finishing any of the main dungeons, you will have to fight every single monster by yourself.
And after that, the game follows in the footsteps of Breath of the Wild by forcing you to fight all of the dungeon bosses that you haven’t already beaten in the main quest. But whereas Breath of the Wild only contained four main dungeon bosses, Tears of the Kingdom bumps that number up to six. This includes the Seized Construct found in the Spirit Temple as well as the Phantom Ganon fight at the end of Hyrule Castle.
And, of course, you still have Ganondorf to contend with after all that. This fight already presents a formidable challenge even when you beat every main story quest. But with low stats and a lack of sages to help out in the second phase, the battle becomes all the more tense. Needless to say, bringing in sufficiently strong and durable weapons from elsewhere in Tears of the Kingdom, such as Hyrule Castle, is a necessity if you want to make it through the final boss early in one piece. Even then, expect to die plenty of times before you learn the ins and outs of all the fights in this intimidating gauntlet.