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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review



For over thirty years Nintendo has been working with the Legend of Zelda series. What started as a revolutionary adventure game evolved into a cult following over the years. Each Zelda game brings something new to the series good or bad. From Zelda 2’s unique (and polarizing) side scrolling gameplay, Ocarina of Time’s revolutionary Z-targeting system, and even Skyward Sword’s focus on Motion controls the series has been an innovator.

So how do you innovate a genre that seems to have reached its potential in a modern age? You strip it down to its basic concept: adventure. This is Breath of the Wild in a nutshell. Discovering the locations of 120 shrines, filling an encyclopedia, or hunting down another one of 900 hidden Koroks the game is always about adventure and exploration first.

Before I go any further I need to address the topic of Spoilers. When I picked up this game on the Nintendo Switch I had stayed in the dark about everything to expect from this game; I even avoided the E3 coverage of this game last June. I have to say I made the right call because nothing can compare to the feeling of figuring out something in this game on your own. Beyond that mild plot spoilers will be in this review with another in the near future taking an in-depth look at the plot in a “Spoiler Corner” review.

So the game will begin with you waking up in a cave being introduced to the Sheikah Slate, a tablet of sorts you’ll be using for the game. You have the option to gather clothing from some chests and then you exit the cave to see the land of Hyrule. It is massive that it defies explanation. You spend a tutorial segment of sorts on this plateau region picking up runes for your Sheikah Slate. You learn about shrines, basic combat, and activating towers. Once you visit the four shrines in this area you will be given a paraglider to leave this area and begin playing the rest of the game your way.

First, Let’s talk combat. You will find a branch shortly after leaving that first cave and when you start to fight the bokoblins you will realize something that will haunt you for the rest of the game: Your weapons break! While this is annoying at first, it is a subtle way of the game forcing you to “get good” or die. You will always be finding new weapons and shields lying around so inventory management becomes an acquired skill as well. Another thing about combat in this game is you can die very easily. Some enemies will one shot you while others will have you breaking all your weapons trying to take them out.

Then there is harvesting. You will find so many things to harvest in the wild you may end up spending several hours of playtime dedicated to just farming for materials without thinking much of it. While it does sound tedious in theory, it is very fun in practice. You’ll be discovering new things to harvest or new ways to get stuff. You can use the material you harvest to craft potions, cook food, or strengthen armor if you know who to go to.

The aspect of discovery is easily my favorite part of this gaming experience. Like I stated earlier, I’m glad I went into this game blind because learning how to do stuff on my own was such a rewarding aspect of the game. This also means you could be learning some obvious stuff you were supposed to figure out at the beginning of the game the same day as some of the more advance and cryptic secrets the game has to offer. A good example is within a few hours of each other I learned how to cook food (after several real days of playing no less) and figuring out the secret to navigating the Lost Woods to find a certain sentient sword. Truth be told I didn’t even know what was waiting for me in the Lost Woods beyond a character I can give those Korok seeds to. It was definitely a nice surprise.

The shrines littered throughout the game serve as micro dungeons where you can find treasure and acquire Spirit Orbs. The puzzles vary from simple to complex but you will almost always have all the necessary tools for the job on your Sheikah Slate. The Spirit Orbs can be used to expand your health gauge or Stamina meter for every four you collect. While these shrines are fun they pale in comparison to the Divine Beasts.

I don’t want to give away too much here but the Divine Beasts are the four “Temples” in this game. Each one is massive and its puzzles require a good spacial awareness. Truth be told I loved the water temple in Ocarina of Time because of its focus on spacial awareness, it just fell flat because it was literally the only temple in the game to require that kind of approach. The Divine Beasts take that concept of a spacial puzzle like the water temple and streamlines it for easier access. It needs to be played to fully be appreciated but they are some of the best temples Zelda has ever offered.

So let’s wrap this up by discussing some of the negatives about the game. First we have the music; It’s too simple and a lot of the majesty of what Zelda music is known for is missing. I get what they were going for but it still distracts when the music is so similar but different at the same time. Then we have some areas of the game with forced motion controls. These areas are in a few of the shrines but they are so infuriating to navigate with a joycon if you are playing handheld mode. My advice is to separate the joycon and use the right one individually for these segments. I don’t know how it plays differently on a Nintendo WiiU but I’m not going to buy another version of the game just to find out. Finally the frame rates; I never wanted to be the girl who complains about frame rates but here we are. They can drop pretty low especially in areas with a lot of grass and creatures around. Sometimes I use it to my advantage by having it be an indication stuff is hiding in the grass but that doesn’t fix the problem. You get used to it after a while but every now and then it becomes a pain.

With all this said I have to give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a solid 9.0 out of 10. Between the music, frame rates, and forced motion control segments there is flaws with this game. Everything else greatly overshadows this making it a solid game to own and defiantly a game of the year contender.

this articles comes to you via @MegumiMary