In 2017, Breath of Wild, the latest instalment in The Legend of Zelda franchise, launched to critical acclaim. Viewed widely as a significant contributing factor to the initial sales of the Switch console, the game was a huge success. While the franchise is known for branching off into alternate storylines, such as Link’s Awakening, this story is not done. Two exciting announcements have since been made regarding the future of the franchise, with plans to return to this narrative. A prequel game known as Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is soon set to arrive on the Switch. However, it is the 2019 announcement of a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild that has fans tantalised. On the other hand, not every moment in the game was necessarily a fun endeavour. Bearing these flaws in mind, here are 6 Breath of the Wild sequel improvements I hope to see.
1. Reduced Rain
There was never any doubt that this would be the first and foremost issue raised on this list. For fans of the original game, rain exists in despised infamy. While it certainly is a welcome addition in terms of visuals, functionally it serves as a huge hinderance. Breath of the Wild is a game that leans heavily into its openness and its climbing mechanic. The ability to traverse the lands in whichever direction and order you choose is its greatest appeal. While there are some narrative roadblocks, most areas are accessible at your own leisure. This is what makes rain all the more insufferable, as it suddenly brings this sense of continuous forward momentum to soaked stop. For you see, rain is not just for show, as it makes every outdoor surface slippery and unclimbable.
Some of the smallest structures can be tedious to climb during a bout of random rain. A cliff face, tree or tall structure is entirely impossible to scale during a downpour. This can put an immediate halt to your exploration. What’s worse, it can come on extremely suddenly, so even half way through a tiring mountain climb. You will find yourself stranded on a nearby ledge, unable to ascend or climb down. Additionally, rain extinguishes fires, making any fire related task a chore. All of this seems to only be in service of making Zora’s Domain a challenge to enter. Simply put, when considering Breath of Wild sequel improvements, a reduction to rain is a must. Alternatively, arming players with a means of combatting these conditions would go a long way to improving the experience. Perhaps a water-proof elixir or special climbing tools could ease the torment of torrents.
2. Underwater Exploration
Continuing on from our previous water-based woes, all forms of aquatic traversal are somewhat tedious in the game. Due to the implementation of the stamina wheel, water is a perilous obstacle to confront. Link cannot swim for long before his stamina is drained, and so it is advised that he find alternate paths. This is a shame, as there is a lot of untapped potential within these bodies of water. Occasionally, metal treasures rest on the bottom of rivers to be scooped up with the magnet rune. However, it is frustrating that Link cannot dive beneath water to explore what lies below. This is particularly strange as in the series’ past it was known for its underwater levels, even if unpopular. Water overall just serves as another hinderance, and while it can be a fun challenge to overcome, it halts exploration.
It seems that any Breath of the Wild sequel improvements should take a good, hard look at the implementation of water. Whilst the constant sense of puzzle solving when traversing the world is welcome, tedium is not. Furthermore, the next game will have a challenge if it is taking place in the same setting. To avoid the boredom of repeated material, opening up the underwater terrains make it feel new and revitalised. This would likely require a mechanical work around, such as an armour for diving, or maybe a rune or elixir. This would allow for water to still be a challenge in certain circumstances. Perhaps use rapids or currents to make diving impossible when water is meant to be a deliberate obstruction.
3. Fire Starting
Fire is an extremely useful tool to have in the game due to its wide variety of applications. It can be used to create a campfire to rest at, melt ice, cook food, and even complete certain puzzles. However, as mentioned above, it occasionally is hindered by issues such as rain. Whilst that is frustrating, it is all the more annoying when you lack a means of lighting a fire. Although the game does provide players with various means of sparking up some embers, they are never consistently present. One such way is through striking flint with a metal weapon, a material that is mined from ore deposits. Another is to use a flame weapon to quickly light tinder.
Unfortunately, flame weapons are a rare resource that you won’t wish to waste often due to the weapon durability mechanic. As for flint, it is a one-use item that is destroyed during the process. You may find yourself unable to start a simple fire when all you need is a torch or to cook. Breath of the Wild sequel improvements should be cautious not to make the game too easy however. As such, in order to keep fire as a puzzle solving tool, they should implement blue fire only solutions. This would allow players to have a quick-fire starting tool without it breaking the game’s riddles.
4. Motion Control Puzzles
Puzzles as a whole are a major part of the game’s experience, especially in so far as the various shrines are concerned. While many are a joy to tackle and solve, there is one sect of puzzle that players universally despise. Due to the Switch’s implementation of motion controls in the Joycon, some puzzles use this as the means of completion. Unlike motion controls for aiming the bow, the puzzles don’t allow you to turn these controls off in the settings. As such, players are confronted with tediously difficult puzzles to control. It is not that players don’t easily understand the aim of the puzzle, it’s simply not accurate. The sensitivity of the controller requires you to wrestle with its intent and yours, with the puzzle often moving wildly. The delicateness required of the puzzles does not align with the motion controls erratic responsiveness.
The solution for any Breath of the Wild sequel improvements seems abundantly clear. Either remove the motion controls entirely, or at least provide a toggle in the settings. It would seem a shame to completely remove this option for any players who might actually enjoy this playstyle. As such, to cater to everyone’s preferences, it seems wisest to give players a choice. Whilst this might make certain challenges too easy, it is better than being tiresome for those low on time.
5. Easy Inventory
A common complaint raised throughout this article so far is any presence of tedium. Whilst the game is superb at immersing players into the trails of surviving the wilds, mechanically it is sometimes unnecessary. The most glaring example of this is present when looting items from chests. Players will be aware that Link has a limited inventory space for each item type. As such, his inventory becomes full rather rapidly, especially as weapons frequently break and you need a backup. Players will also often wish to replace improvised weapons for tools of greater damage value. The issue with this occurs when encountering a piece of look found in a treasure chest. If Link opens a chest when his inventory is full, he will not claim the item and shut the chest again. This means you have to drop an item and go through the looting animation all over again.
For some bizarre reason, the game never implemented a swap feature when looting chests. In other words, the game does not allow you to take a reward item by exchanging it for another. This is also the case when being gifted an item by an npc. It is such a glaring oversight that gradually begins to build an accumulative frustration when encountered frequently. For weapons it is a quick fix, as you simply through your unwanted item. However, bows and shields cannot be discarded without opening the inventory and selecting drop. This makes the whole process of picking up look extremely tedious and unnecessarily time consuming. As such, the above-mentioned exchange feature would go a long way when contemplating Breath of the Wild sequel improvements.
6. Horse Controls
Another challenge the game might not have intended is the entirely disobedient behaviour of your horse. Taming a horse in the game is a matter of bonding, gradually soothing the horse for good behaviour. This is supposed to result in the horse developing less of a sporadic behaviour. However, even when maxed out, the horse will still seem to possess a mind of its own. Simply travelling in a straight line is difficult as it will inevitably try and veer to one side. Going where you wish to go simply isn’t as easy as aiming in that direction, it’s a matter of luck. This is not a fun means of traversal, and yet without a horse you will be doing a lot of tedious running. Furthermore, they are big, lumbering creatures, that are awkward at turning whilst moving, making precision nigh impossible.
This is made all the more difficult due to the AI of the horse and it often being unusable. Much like in Red Dead Redemption, horses have a limited hearing range for your whistle. They will not coming running to you if you have travelled far from where you left them. In a game filled with mountain climbing and gliding, it is very easy to become separated from your horse. Additionally, horses have issues moving in any direction except forward, and so they often become stuck on difficult terrains. Your horse can become somewhat glitched on inclines or between rocks, forcing you to move on without it. For any Breath of the Wild sequel improvements, horses need a general overhaul, improving their responsiveness to player input. Expanding their accessibility would also prevent them from being constantly marooned by glitches or Link’s wanderings.
Here’s to a bigger and better Hyrule
Despite this article’s criticisms, there is no doubt that Breath of the Wild was adored by gamers. The sequel is bound to give us more of what we loved from the original. It is just with out fingers crossed that we hope for the creases in the original to be ironed out. What are your hopes for Breath of the Wild sequel improvements? We are sure to have answers from Nintendo soon enough.