So my impression of the pilgrimage has become FINFAL FANTASY XVIASDF: EL CAMINO, because walking it really is just like an RPG:
*The way is marked by official signs with yellow scallop shells on them, or in some places by fancier scallop shells the towns have put into the sidewalks or along the walls, and by painted yellow arrows that are slapped up in every damn place: walls, trees, lampposts, rocks, the sidewalk, anything fairly immovable. In towns there tends to be one every block or so, but in the country they’re more once a kilometer. In other words, it’s a sandbox world with markers to keep you headed towards the next level, and spotting the right markers can be a challenge.
*You have a limited inventory which you are constantly performing maintenance on, and you’re often forced to carry weird random things just in case they become useful.
*You run into the same dozen people through the whole thing. Occasionally they join your party.
*With each new stage you gain XP and get stronger/more tan/your Spanish gets better and you level up.
*If you want to skip particularly difficult stretches, there are codes available to do that. (They’re called “bus routes” and “taxi companies”.)
*The background graphics are amazing but the foreground is full of bugs.
*The final boss battle is looming. (A 1200 meter climb up O’Sobreirio.)
*It costs an ass-ton of money and time, and you can’t really tell until you get to the end whether all the times you wanted to throw your stick across the room and give up were worth it. But you’re pretty sure it will be. It got really good reviews.