Nintendo has become the company to produce top-charting hits, at a sub-occasional level. In what can be described as elasticity, Nintendo keeps developing high-quality system selling titles once every couple years that make gamers come back to their platforms.
It is rare that I find myself so compelled to play a video game nowadays that it keeps me from putting it down. The enemies are fun to fight, the world is expansive and curious, and the story doesn’t stray away from its true purpose. Players aren’t told too much at the beginning of the game, due to the fact that our protagonist, Link, has lost his memory. Besides the knowledge that Calamity Ganon has taken over Hyrule, and gained control of mechanical weaponry known as Guardians, the game doesn’t tittle you with uninteresting information. All you know is that Ganon needs to be taken down, Zelda needs to be saved, and all you have on your back is a tree branch as your weapon and… well, that’s it. Link must fend for himself, and at the beginning, you feel utterly useless, as you scrounge up everything you can to survive in the fields of Hyrule.
It’s this feeling of helplessness that makes you want to get stronger. As a player, you will more than likely go through a progressive state, picking up the “Woodcutter’s Axe,” players learn that it is an item that is suited for cutting down trees, not hacking and slashing at enemies. It isn’t until you find your first sword that you become attached to the weapon, only to have it break on you mid-battle. Nintendo forces the player into making decisions of weaponry right out of the gate, almost subconsciously, and scrounging for resources to survive in this unknown land.
Something that stood out for me was how much the weather would play a part in the decision-making process. Through different parts of the game, players are greeted with a mixture of weather. Rain. Lightning. Snow. It has it all. What I didn’t anticipate was that I needed to plan my situations out depending on the weather conditions. My typical style of gameplay in Breath of the Wild was to climb every peak and scout out my next destination. When it is raining, that is no longer an option, as Link slides down the cliffs and mountains due to the slipperiness of the rain. It sucks, but it forces me to plan out my next plan of attack and not stick to the same resolve. Other situations force you to change your apparel, such as lightning. After you first encounter your first bit of lightning, you begin to understand the importance of including wooden or cloth-like items in your inventory. I could no longer rely on powerful metallic weapons of justice, and rather, have to rely on wooden spears. If I didn’t change my apparel, I would surely be struck down, similarly to how my boss denies me a raise.
Games have an expectation of providing some sense of direction, with some thinking that direction means holding your hand through the beginning parts of the game. Breath of the Wild does not do that. Besides being shown how to understand your basic controls and the general sense of where to go to advance the story, the game allows you to enjoy it how you want to. There are many different routes a player can take, and each experience is different than the last. I’ve gotten into conversations with people on how they collect apples from the top of trees, with my method being that I would scale the tree and collect the apples. Others mentioned that they would chop the tree down, or throw items at the apple until it fell. It was at this moment that I realized there are different ways to approach situations within the game. From tackling puzzles to scavenging for weapons.
The enemies are a bunch of fun to face, often being filled with rewards and tools to aid on your quest. If you aren’t using the items that monsters drop, chances are you are clearing out a camp to gain access to the unique treasure that is held there. Early in the game, you are introduced to the fearful Guardians, and it takes you about two seconds to realize you are out of your playing area when you face one even without legs for the first time. It is at this moment, you realize, you screwed up, as the giant structure of sadism destroys you in the most humorous way possible; with lasers. After facing off against them the first time, and understanding their true power, you notice that there are Guardians capable of walking and moving around at quick speeds. This is when I avoided them like the plague. I was truly scared of what these things could do, and when you are limited on weapons and resources, especially within the first 10 hours of playing, you tend to watch you surroundings to ensure one of those ancient beasts aren’t looming around the corner. The items play a crucial part in the game’s exploring mechanic, as they are required to brew different concoctions to assist you in battle.
When I think that there is nothing more to explore, only to find repeated scenarios found in other parts of the game, Zelda surprises me with a new challenge. A problem found in other open-world games is the lack of unique content found in the enormous world; Finding copy-pasted sections of the game, scattered throughout the land. Zelda however, managed to develop one of the biggest worlds I have ever played in and managed to fill the game with content beyond my level of comprehension. I’m impressed and astonished with how the geniuses behind the game managed to create a massive world, filled with this much. While I expect Nintendo to produce great quality titles like they have many times in the past, I could have never expected something with as much depth and detail as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is what I would describe “Perfection.”
I’ve been a fan of the series since it’s inception on the Nintendo Entertainment System, meaning I have a real understanding of that special feeling you get when you start off in an open field and begin exploring a 2D map. Nintendo managed to capture that same wonder I experienced in the early 90’s and make it even better with beautiful sceneries and exciting challenges. Breath of the Wild captures that wonder of imagination and captivates the true spirit of what made great titles like the original Zelda, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask so much fun.
The development team was ambitious with what they set out to achieve, and it paid off. The enemies are fun and challenging, the land is vast and rewarding, and the characters are memorable and personable. I have completed the game, yet, there is still stuff I have yet to explore. I feel the need to explore areas I haven’t yet had the opportunity to scope out, and after 50 hours of gameplay, there is still a lot here for me to do. Alas, I would still be playing it, but I had to take the time off to actually write up this review. So, if you excuse me, I’m going to go spend some more time exploring the land of Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo Switch.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was reviewed using personal funds.