The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
- Developers: Nintendo
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Genre: Action RPG, Open World
- Platforms: Switch (Reviewed), Wii U
- Release Date: 3rd March 2017
- Microtransactions: No
Switch It Up
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the newest entry in the long running franchise by Nintendo and boy oh boy it has come back to claim it’s mantle at the top in a big bad way. At this point I would assume most of the gaming community has experienced this game and said what has needed to be said about this game but for me this game has changed my outlook on how I see games going forward.
I went into to this game with an open mind but cautious after the long 4 year wait wondering how this game was going to eventually turn out. Would it be another Ocarina of Time or would it fall into the Skyward Sword category? Strangely enough it fit into neither, this game has truly changed The Legend of Zelda series going forward and has set a new benchmark which I don’t know if they will be able to top.
Glossing over the story of the game this is where it’s most in line with the rest of the series. It features the same tropes and locations of the previous games all mashed into one giant new Hyrule setting. You start the game after a 100 year sleep to be awoken with a mission to save Zelda from Calamity Ganon by recruiting the Divine Beasts from iconic locations in Zelda lore – the Zora domain, the Goron city, the Rito village and Gerudo valley. The story is fairly rudimental in this regard but the story isn’t where this game truly shines, whilst having a solid story that fits into the Zelda lore it’s the other aspects of this game which truly stand out.
Breath of the Wild is a true open world adventure in every sense of the word. In most open world games there is a freedom of exploration but at certain points you will hit a crutch where you cant climb this certain hill or go past this point just yet. This game changes all that. You want to scale this mountain straight off the bat? Sure you can do that if you want too! You want to go right to the end game boss and get destroyed straight away? Go for it buddy! The fact you can literally go and do what you want from the get go at any point in this game is simply breath-taking, and such a simple little extra you would’ve thought would be standard in these sort of games, but really is fresh. Bear in mind at certain points going this way in the game you will fall time and time again it still makes you feel you are in control of the game the whole time
Whack ‘n’ Crack!
It’s time to move on to the big bone of contention for a lot of people with this game – weapon durability and item limits. Weapon durability is by no means a new mechanic in video games let alone the RPG genre but this one caught a lot of people off guard. The standard Zelda formula is you head to a dungeon and find out you need a particular weapon to move forward and find it there and then and it’s in your possession the rest of the game no question asked. This game does not do that in the slightest. From the start you are thrown in at the deep end, you have no standard green tunic clothes or basic weapons. Instead you have to fight and gather weapons throughout the game from enemies and a lot of the time the weapons will shatter 2 or 3 fights later.
The limited space you have to carry the weapons can early on make this a frustrating process as you will have to learn fast which weapons to keep, which enemies to fight to conserve items and space and generally which are needed to help progress the story in the best possible manner. Whilst there is a couple of ‘unbreakable’ weapons and items scattered throughout, finding them can ultimately be very time consuming and difficult especially to novice players of the series so I can understand the frustration this may have caused quite a few fans throughout their play-throughs.
The dungeon set-ups in this game also change up the formula from the standard gameplay you expect from the franchise. Whilst there are 4 of what you might call the ‘traditional dungeon’ style in the Divine Beast sections you also have over 100 mini-dungeons in the form of the shrines. This shrines work as a way of increasing even your heart containers or stamina bars as you get Spirit Orbs for each Shrine Trial you complete and for every 4 orbs that you collect you can exchange them either for a new heart container or a slight stamina increase.
The Shrines level of difficulty fluctuates throughout the game in different ways as some are riddle and puzzle based which can be a pain at times trying to figure them out and some are more skill and action based with different level AI opponents. Adding so many of these little extra missions give the game more life and longevity as there is no standard area to come across this as they are literally scattered at random points throughout the map so no matter where you are currently exploring chances are your Sheikah Slate is about to tell you that you are close to one of these mini-dungeons.
A Breath From The Wild
Overall for myself I can now tell I am going to find it hard going back to the more linear approach of the Zelda franchise after this game. The sheer sense of wonder and enjoyment this game brought by just standing on top of one of the Sheikah Towers and looking over Hyrule was unreal. It brought back memories of the first time in Ocarina of Time when you head in to Hyrule Field and sense the scope of the world just at a much larger scale. Graphically whilst this game may not be on the same stage as some of the top-tier PS4 or XBOXONE game it is absolutely gorgeous to look at and the fact I played this game practically entirely in handheld mode made it look even more impressive.
The colours and textures of everything is amazing to see, it blends the perfect mix of traditional 3D Zelda titles (like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword) with the art style and direction of The Wind Waker. Nintendo have now kind of backed themselves into a corner with this game, as how can they manage to top this game with not only another Zelda title or any other Switch title is anybody’s guess. After 70+ hours into the game and still many secrets to find, I can see myself going back into this world for many more hours and possibly years to come.
- Completely immersive world with everything is within your reach and truly open world
- Graphically the textures and art direction look stunning
- Completely fresh take on the Zelda franchise and reinventing the series for a future generation
- Story is standard but tried and tested formula which makes for a gripping adventure
- Weapon durability – can be frustrating at times until you get the hang of the system
- Voice acting left a lot to be desired, should probably stick to no voice option in future as the series doesn’t really require this function and the less said about this the better