GUG Presents: The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
Woken from a 100-year slumber, Link must explore the wilds to regain his lost memories and save Hyrule.
- Discover a world as never before seen: by making your own path, choices, and consequences
- Ingenuity is the key to survival: find multiple solutions to tons of dynamic puzzles
- Surprises hide around every corner: scavenge weapons, armor, plants, animals, and more
- Live off the land: find weapons and armor, cook food, and brew elixirs
- Utilize special technology: the in-game Sheikah Slate controls objects and enemies in fun ways
- Gear up: many weapons and armor have unique stats, resistances, effects, and durability.
- Shrines offer hundreds of clever challenges even veterans won't see coming
For speed runners, about one hour.
For you? FOREVER! FOREVER! FOREVER! FOR-EV-ER!
March 3, 2017
Nintendo Switch, Wii U
I got my Switch nearly a month after launch, and yet I don’t feel late to the conversation. Many people have brought up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at least once every week since release day across every podcast I subscribe to. I finally havethe pleasure to see what they were all talking about, and what I am seeing is far more amazing than I imagined.
Breath of the Wild does something no other game does so well: it lets you carve your own path. Players can see nearly everything there is to see while hardly engaging in the story. The title may have Zelda’s name on it, but this time, the legend is yours. No matter gear you equip and horse you ride, just pick a direction and go.
Having said that, the first hour and opening area does not do justice to the rest of it. I wanted to go and explore just as I heard others were doing, but it wasn’t until I completed those first initial objectives that I could do that. Some time later I began to realize that these limitations were actually teaching me to crawl before I could walk. It wasn’t until I was able to spread my wings when everything finally made sense.
If I had to pick on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at all, I would have to complain about the music. Firstly, I want to state that I am that weirdo that listens to Enya and soundscapes at all hours of my working day and quite enjoy it. I don’t mind the atmospheric scores and I do understand the creative decision on the part of Nintendo to go with this approach to their music. However, every Zelda game has had at least one theme that stands out—at least one that makes it into the realm of being remixed in every way possible. Breath of the Wild, features a very limited soundtrack, and all of it leans very heavily on the piano. There are some remixes of popular songs from previous games, like my all-time favorite “Dragonroost Island” from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and the classic “Zora’s Domain” from OOT. Breath of the Wild doesn’t have a single title to itself that I can even begin humming. Furthermore, what I find very strange, almost to the point of it being jarring enough to take me out of the game’s experience, is the piano taking center stage. An open, grand world could use some piano, yes, but that instrument is often times associated more with water. The score for riding your horse, for example, reflects better a light spring drizzle than a gallop across a vast landscape. “The Hylian Steppe” from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, especially the initial minute, is better at getting the blood pumping. Horses are represented, traditionally, by percussion to represent hooves, French horns to represent their noble nature, or even violins to reflect their flowing manes as they run forward. I know this is a nitpick, but that grand feeling from previous games’ music was completely lost.
What the game did not accomplish in the realm of music was beautifully achieved in every other creative faucet. The graphics are a stunning blend between a realistically scaled world with anime-esque characters, crisp cell shading, and realistic movement. The characters are animated with personality, weight, and emotion. Even with Link being a silent protag, he speaks volumes. When he’s cold, he’s shivering miserably, chattering his teeth and rubbing his reddening arms. When he’s hot, he sways and wobbles in misery. When he’s exhausted he’s bent over double, catching his breath. He winces, smiles, and even breaks down. Those around him, however, actually break the mold of the LoZ series and have speaking lines. I was a little skeptical about building a speaking world around a mute lead character but Breath of the WIld has made it work beautifully. The voice acting is fantastic, and the characters have a lot of heart despite being given maybe a paragraph or two of spoken dialogue through the course of the game.
+ Absolutely every single thing you could possibly think of that is not in the Negatives section
- Some framerate drops
- Almost inexcusably sparse soundtrack
- Weapon degradation with no ability to repair
- Would be nice to have a cookbook that saves recipes as they are discovered.