Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
When you think of Nintendo there are quite a few games that immediately come to mind, and Zelda is definitely one of them. The franchise has been with them since the beginning and is still as popular today as it was in the very first days. While we have seen its popularity wane at points (some of us like Majora’s Mask and Skyward Sword, but to each their own) this particular game has seen a boost the likes of which could be easily compared to Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. Does it deserve all the hype? Well, in all truth we feel it does. While there were a few who were wary at the thought of such an open-ended version of Hyrule, when they finally got their hands on it, there was nothing but ‘wow’ to be said. Breath of the Wild certainly took the breath out of the room and ever since we have been seeing an overflow of merchandise from toys, books, and journals, to actual gaming equipment and videos on everyone’s ‘easiest route’ through the games absolutely stunning world.
This game truly has the best when it comes to Zelda’s mechanics for the switch, and the graphics don’t fluctuate between cutscene and gameplay as many previous games have had to do. What you see is what you get, whether you are fighting Guardians or watching a scene from the past where they are coming at the heroes en masse. This game used every inch of capacity and made you want to explore every nook and cranny, even if it wasn’t part of the main plot. This is likely to be the next ‘Ocarina of Time’ for quite a while, with fans comparing each new Zelda to this one for gameplay and quality. While OOT may not have been graphically the best, like BotW, its playability and exploration along with the story were what made it compare out even to the later games where the graphics were so much better. Sometimes it isn’t how it looks that matters most- but with BotW we certainly did get the whole package.
So, we want to delve into this game with the good and the bad, to be fair as we are with all the products we review. While we gush at what makes this stunning, we are willing to step back and lay out what could use some improvement so that you know what you are grabbing off the shelves and don’t find yourself disappointed.
- Open ended game play
- Stunning graphics
- Easy to learn controls
- Amazing musical score
- Extra content (downloadable)
- Available on two consoles
- Wii U Price
- Can’t play the game in a ‘complete’ mode
- Difficult to finish with 100%
- Switch version expensive
In the colder regions, you will find yourself immersed in the way that the area seems to cling to fog, and the same goes for swamps. When you are nearer to the volcano known as Death Mountain, you will find yourself feeling as if you are surrounded by steam and ask. Even the presence of materials called ‘malice’ your visuals will shift to feel that warping of air and sight that it is meant to cause. The atmosphere draws you in at every corner. Despite its fantasy element, this is one of the most realistic feeling Zelda we have seen to date, and even those that were entering Hylia for the first time fell in love with it all. The world is both expansive and beautiful, and there are plenty of things to explore and see, enough that just looking for every little detail could take weeks or months of playtime to find.
Of course, the big addition in games now is the talent of voice acting, and for those cutscenes, we could hear and feel the emotions in the voices of the character. We could sense their joy, their apprehension, their moments of courage, heartache and even fear could be easily felt. Some games can have the best music, sound effects, and visuals, but the mood is destroyed when a character opens their mouth- not so here! Unlike many, the voice actors were chosen who had perfect blend to the character and to appeal to the player. No hesitation, just emotion and perfectly adapted vocabulary for each character to feel alive.
Now Link can climb, jump, use his weapon, sprint, use items, and has new abilities. He even has the option to combine items! With this open world scenario, the belief was that the player should have use of the gyro controls as well to help aim their bow or throw a weapon. With the additional fact that weapons and swords can break and do, and you have limited capacity to store them, having the ability to throw something that’s ready to break anyway to get additional damage out of it and to quickly free up the slot for a newer weapon nearby is actually great!
Overall the controls may take a little while to get used to, but they are very well thought out, and in the end, are easier to work with. And don’t worry- Link doesn’t have an annoying companion to constantly remind you long after you’ve learned them as to how they work- instead you can simply go into your menu and bring up the controls screen if you have forgotten something or just want a quick refresh on your own time.
There are a few, undoubtedly, who have somehow pulled this off with wooden shield and Gobo weapon in hand, but for most of us, we want to go in a bit more prepared. So how does this play out? Where do you go to first? Surely there is some specific route to take- Gerudo, Goron, Zora? Nope! You can decide to head into any of the expansive areas of Hylia and take it on via cooking the proper foods or finding and buying the right equipment. It is truly open-ended. Each area has its own stories to tell, and even the NPCs seem to have their own lives they are going about. Some will welcome your aide and others not so much.
If you are wanting to see the full background story to tell you how Link ended up in the Temple of Resurrection and why everything ended up the way it did, there is an entire side quest for it. While seeking out each and every memory recorded on Links tablet is technically the main backstory, it isn’t actually required to do in order to complete the other quests. You can get all of the other Heroes behind you and collect all of the best equipment and never get more than the very first memory. If you are a completionism like us, though, and love story, you may want to do it. Once again though, this isn’t necessary to win, and heck, if you think about our very first comment- nothing is really necessary to win except the ambition to do it!
As a little side note, for those of you who don’t know, there is an additional side quest that you can take on that will help you out immensely in the fights ahead- finding the Master Sword! So go on! Grab your copy and set out on your own adventure to save Hyrule the way you think it should be done!
With BotW they introduced an idea that, honestly, I couldn’t have agreed with more! Why is it only Zelda and Link seem to have the passion and spirit most of the time to save the world? Why do the rest of the races just hand them gear and then just sit back and watch? Isn’t there one Zora or Goron willing to stand up for their race and say, “We have heroes top”? And Ganon, according to myth, was born to Gurudo, don’t they want to redeem themselves or show that they aren’t all like him? Well, this time we have four unique races outside Hylian’s that have stepped up and sent their own heroes in, to aide Link and Zelda, and not just hand them supplies to wave them on their way. This is an amazing idea and most fans would love to see more of this type of thing show up in Zelda games! There is a definite underlying theme to the current of this game of feeling resolve in the fight ahead. We don’t want to give away too much though- you’ll have to play through and finish the quests to find out what we mean!
Not only is it worth playing over and over, it feels like you can never really feel you have completed the game because each goes through will feel different. You can take a new route, try a new tactic and for those of us who didn’t get certain items in time to change the dialogue, you just want to know what would have been said if you had the ‘heroes legendary sword’ on you before you talked to the people around the quests. This game is so open-ended that playing it over again is well worth it!
There is one disappointment, however, at least for some of us. Many Zelda’s left us wondering if you could go back in and play after Ganon or the big villain was taken out. With how open-ended this world was, and the fact that you don’t have to complete all the quests to win, some of us were wondering if this was finally the one where we could save Hyrule and still go back out to finish the quests that didn’t involve the main villain. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. If you start the save back up, you are standing just outside the main battle and Hyrule is still on the verge of destruction- oh well! If you left a few loose ends before you went it, just head back out knowing that when you come back, your likely to have even more awesome stuff to kick him around with whenever you do decide to tromp him again!
-Easy to learn
-Available on Wii U and Nintendo Switch