The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Review
[Spoiler Alert: This Review may feature minor spoilers, including minor story details and references to specific locations in game.]
Few video games offer true adventure. The unique feeling you get when you create your own story in a game is unlike any other. Yet most of the time you end up experiencing the same moments as everybody else. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you create your own stories time and time again over its 50+ hour run time. It breaks out of the safe mold that open world games have followed in recent years and it creates an experience unlike any you have ever had, true adventure.
In the first minutes of the game you’ll notice the lack of a real tutorial. Gone are the lengthy, multi-hour hand holding snooze fests, instead you’ll find yourself thrust into the open world right away, able to explore a sizeable chunk of land known as The Great Plateau. This area has a wealth of activities to try, from activating your very first tower (which acts as a lookout and is a tool for unlocking specific areas of the map) to tackling a few shrines (mini puzzle filled dungeons), and works as a tutorial without you ever realizing it.
While The Great Plateau is large, it only encompasses around 2% of the entire game. When you finally descend into Hyrule proper, the true game begins. Virtually everything is an option available from this point on. Do you head east towards the shoreline, or do you head north towards the ominous Death Mountain? Maybe you head southwest to the desert or get distracted trying to tame a horse straight off the plateau. You may even attempt to run straight to Hyrule Castle, where you can attempt to end the story before it ever begins. Wherever you go, whatever you decide to do, everything is an option from the get-go. This is true freedom.
(Only a small portion of the enormous game world)
When you eventually decide to tackle the story, you will continue to find similar freedom. There are four Divine Beasts you must free from Ganon’s corruption which serve as the game’s main dungeons, and you are free to tackle them in any order. While the beasts themselves may not compare to Zelda dungeons of old, I found the lead up to be far more enjoyable including some of my favorite moments and characters which I’ll refrain from spoiling here.
Another point worth mentioning is the game’s combat. The Legend of Zelda series has never been known for intricate or difficult combat but like most other normal Zelda conventions, Breath of the Wild once again reinvents itself while showing off the same openness as the rest of the game. Often times you’ll find yourself dying meaning you must learn from the enemies and sometimes hold off on certain areas until you have better gear. The loot system in Breath of the Wild is outstanding and one of my favorite parts of the game, especially the different outfits, all with their own attributes.
(Oftentimes you’ll find it difficult to take on a large mob of enemies without using creative tactics)
Whether taking on one of the Divine Beasts, or simply just exploring, the world of Breath of the Wild is outstanding. There is a huge variety of different locales ranging from vast snowy mountains, to dark mysterious forests and everything in between. Not only is the world large but the breadth of content is what is truly astonishing. There are the aforementioned towers and shrines, Korok puzzles, side quests, mini games, enemy camps, mysterious roaming characters and more all begging to be discovered around every corner all while the colorful art style entraps you in a world you’ll never want to leave.
With a game world so large and with so many options, one would think the game must have a handful of problems. Skyrim comes to mind naturally, a game so diverse can’t be perfect, can it? Well no, obviously not, but the list of issues I have with Breath of the Wild is short, and I often forget these problems exist. Occasional frame rate drops, and so-so voice acting are easy to overlook when the rest of the games oozes charisma. Although the biggest issue worth noting is climbing in the rain, something I hope is addressed in a future patch. Exploration is key but constant rain, and severe loss of grip while climbing in the rain, hindering your ability to explore is easily the worst feature by far.
(Rain is the worst)
You will forget about these problems almost instantly however for Breath of the Wild really does offer a truly magical experience through and through. There is so much more I would like to say, but really it is all worth experiencing on your own, and is unlike anything I have ever had the joy to play. From the colorful world to the almost infinite wealth of activities and exploration opportunities, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an adventure worth taking, and may very well be the one of the best games ever made. I cannot recommend it enough.
-Occasional Frame Rate Issues
-Average Voice Acting
-Rain Hindering Exploration
This review was based off of around 70-80 hours of gameplay on the Nintendo Switch version of the game.