It took longer than expected, but The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild is finally here for both the Wii U and the newly released Switch. I personally have always enjoyed the Zelda games as classic linear adventure games, so seeing the series tackle open-world gameplay in a 3d entry was definitely intriguing. But I kept my hype in check and went in with 0 expectations.
I came out with the firm belief that Breath Of The Wild is one of the best open-world games ever made, let alone my new favorite entry in the Zelda series (sorry Windwaker). It's not perfect (no game is), but it reaches a caliber of quality that is rarely met nowadays in the industry.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild is available on Amazon for both Wii U and Switch for $59.99
Most people probably think that Breath Of The Wild has the same story as previous entries in the Zelda franchise. It makes me extremely happy to say that they couldn't be more wrong. Well, half wrong at least. Yes, you're still traveling around Hyrule and exploring dungeons to defeat Ganon and save Zelda, but Breath Of The Wild's story has much more depth to it.
Calamity Ganon took over Hyrule 100 years ago, where he now rests at Hyrule Castle gathering power so that he can rule the entire world. Link wakes up in a strange cavern and sets off to find out what happened 100 years ago and why he has been awoken from his slumber.
I don't want to spoil too much; as the story and lore here is extremely well written and interesting. Characters are also very charming and well rounded when you get to know them throughout the story. You're able to see certain things that happened 100 years ago that help build the world and tension of the situation Hyrule is in now. It's all expertly crafted.
Where do I even begin? I guess a brief overview is in order. This isn't your typical Zelda world where Hyrule field is just a way for all of the levels in the game to seem connected. No, this is a true massive kingdom that you explore in Breath Of The Wild, and theres plenty of things to do in it. But first, let's talk about fighting Ganon's minions.
Old school Zelda fans might find that combat feels a little off from previous entries. That's definitely how I felt when first engaging enemies. It almost feels like that took several steps backwards with combat. You can no longer do many of the fancy sword moves that Link knew in the past. While at first this feels lackluster, you soon realize that taking several steps back actually let you have way more options in how you tackle situations.
For the first time in the series, stealth is an extremely viable option when dealing with enemies in the world. You can sneak up behind enemies and perform a "sneak strike" to do double damage. You can also pull off headshots with your bow for extra damage on enemies.
Most enemy setups provide you with a ton of options. You could use one of your Runes (more on them later) to take enemies out, or use fire arrows to blow up explosive barrels, sneak around to take enemies out one by one, or try to go all Rambo style and take them all on at once, etc. The freedom of choice here is a breath of fresh air (pun somewhat intended).
As with most Zelda games, puzzles range from extremely easy to mind bending. I found a lot of puzzles to be extremely logical and was happy with the variety of challenges there was. Most puzzles will be in mini dungeons called shrines. These shrines have many unique puzzle types and are a joy to play through. Some puzzle types repeat, but there is enough variety so nothing feels overdone.
The only puzzles that I found frustrating were the motion control puzzles. There are multiple times where you'll need to move the joycons to rotate a platform or control a hammer of some kind. Personally I am not a huge fan of motion controls and felt that the game didn't really need these types of puzzles in them, even if they do make the game feel more varied.
Exploration and The World
As with any open-world game, exploration is huge in Breath Of The Wild. The world itself is huge and is filled with all kinds of things to do, people to meet, and quests to partake in. The best part about exploration, similar to combat, is the variety in choosing how you want to explore the world. You could just travel everywhere on foot, but you also use your paraglider to soar through the air, climb up seemingly every mountain and tree you want, or even find wild horses, elk, and even bears to mount and ride throughout the world.
The game also has random dynamic weather that affects how you play. For example, when it rains climbable things like mountains become slick, making it harder for you to climb up them. Or if its a thunderstorm and you have anything metallic on you you'll be struck by lightning. It's these little details that make the world of Breath Of The Wild feel real and keep you interested in exploring it.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
I was also pleasantly surprised with the game's soundtrack. Usually Zelda games just reuse and/or remix older songs, but Breath Of The Wild has a lot of great piano pieces that set the tone perfectly for any given situation; whether it be in the heat of battle or enjoying a view of Hyrule. Sound effects too are pretty good here and remind you of previous Zelda slashing and monster noises fare.
You guys know what's coming. I really didn't want to do this, but Breath Of The Wild reaches a quality that is extremely rare in today's market. I'm sure some kind find bigger complaints with it, but anything that I could complain about would simply be nitpicks. Nintendo has brought us another classic for years to come.
Special thanks to Jake Thompson for capturing the screenshots for this review.
|+ Well written and interesting story||– It didn't come out sooner|
|+ Fun engaging combat|
|+ Massive and interesting open world|
|+ Amazing attention to detail|