The Legend of Zelda games always provide a stellar experience that is talked about for years, but Breathe of the Wild may be talked about for even longer!
I, like most gamers, have played numerous Legend of Zelda games across Nintendo’s various consoles over the years. While the games were incredible in each adaptation, they never felt like that advanced massively over OoT and Wind Waker, providing a fun experience with more of the same. As you exit the Cave of Restoration though, and stare out to the gorgeous landscape of Hyrule, you’ll instantly realize that Breath of the Wild (BOTW) is the next evolutionary step in the Legend of Zelda series.
If you’ve ever played a Zelda game before you’ll have a basic understanding of the plot already (Princess Zelda is in trouble, and Link must save her from the evil Ganon). From there, everything changes as you aren’t on some quest to find the Master Sword or the TriForce. Instead Link is tasked with finding the 4 divine that assisted him in the past, and taking down the dragon-like Calamity Ganon to save Princess Zelda. The thing is, you don’t even need to find the beasts if don’t want to! After completing the game’s first area, you can head right to Hyrule Castle and attempt to take on the game’s final boss. While this is a possibility, there are reason’s you’ll want to avoid this strategy.
One of the most significant changes in Breath of the Wild over past Zelda games is the way it plays. Instead of placing you in a linear plotline tasking Link to go from point a to point b, BOTW leaves most of the paths up to the player. While the game gives you ideas as to where you might want to explore next, you don’t have to immediately go that way to advance the story. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to explore Hyrule before trying to advance too far into the game to get better equipment as weapon & armor stats actually matter this time around.
Adding in elements from other rpg titles, BOTW adds stats to armor and weapons to make you consider your loadout. This time around weapons, shields, and bows are all perishable after enough use. While this may sound like a pain in the ass, there is a reason for this. Throughout your exploration of Hyrule, you’ll find various areas such as goblin bases or Shrine Trials that allow Link to earn powerful weapons that cause more damage and last longer. The Shrine Trials also serve a more important purpose as they grant Link Spirit Orbs. After obtaining 4 spirit orbs, Link can trade these in at any Goddess Statue across the map for either a Heart Container or Stamina Container (the stamina containers allow Link to climb, swim, paraglide, or run for longer periods of time). With all that can be found, it makes sense that the game doesn’t want you to become too comfortable with any one weapon.
As I searched through Hyrule, I constantly stopped to look as the massive world that is gorgeous! The color scheme of the game is not only vibrant and joyful, but serene in a sense. Matched with a beautiful musical score that adds to the beauty in a strange way. Unlike past Zelda games, instead of constantly playing music for every area you visit, BOTW randomly plays little snippets as you explore. While this sounds strange, as you stare at a snow-covered mountain top with the snippets of the game’s music playing at various points, it creates a more epic feeling that can’t easily be explained. While the details of the area aren’t as beautiful as you get closer to them, it does little to ruin the experience.
Aside from the game’s main story, the game’s side quests sometimes rival the enjoyment of the main quests. The side quests aren’t the typical fetch quests, instead providing a new concept every time. One quest may have you searching for a Zoran Prince on the top, while the next may have you searching for the famous fairy fountains throughout Hyrule. The best part about these side quests is that they usually reward you with items that make the quest worth the effort! As with the Fairy Fountain quest, completing the quest rewards you with the ability to buff your armor. While the rewards are amazing, most of the quests were just purely fun to complete regardless.
While I could keep going on about everything that Breath of the Wild does right, I would be writing for another few pages worth of reasons. Breath of the Wild broke the traditional ideology of what a Zelda game needs to be, and creates a masterpiece that rivals (if not exceeds) the success that OoT attained. If there is a game that you must play this year, this is the one!
- Massive world to explore with more than enough content within to keep you searching for days-on-end
- Deviation from the typical Zelda storyline creates for a new experience
- The level of detail in every aspect of the game really makes you think about everything you do
- Ability to customize Link to your play-style changes the established ideology of the series
- Frame rate drops in console mode
- Visual details in certain areas drop