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
For weeks after the launch of arguably one of Nintendo’s greatest games of all time, I wrestled with significant anxiety. Released in the midst of other massive open-world games like Horizon Zero Dawn and NieR: Automata, the sheer amount of game here has been almost paralyzing to me at points. Where do I go? What should I do? I can’t decide!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has undoubtedly been built with the exploration made popular by games like Skyrim in mind. The world is gargantuan, and when they said you could go anywhere you see, they weren’t joking. In 15 or so hours with the game, I’ve completed only 15% of the game’s shrines, visited approximately half of the towers, and completed no major plot quests. That’s also considering nearly everything I’ve seen has been on the run, as I’ve rarely taken the time to savor and explore the sites I’ve visited.
The few stops I’ve made to really sink in and enjoy Hyrule have been awe-inspiring. The terrain is gorgeous, shifting from lush fields teeming with wildlife to rolling hills and dangerous crags. There’s always something new to discover. Seeing the physics of the world at play is fascinating, too. Metal weapons conduct electricity, fires create thermal wind, and rain can make cliffs unclimbable.
There are few complaints I care to levy against Nintendo’s masterpiece. I would love to have a persistent cookbook for food and elixirs, but with a little ingenuity, you can otherwise get by. Breath of the Wild relishes its transience. At first, I despised how quickly I tore through weapons and shields. As I’ve continued to play, however, experiencing the variety of Hyrule has become a treasure I relish.
If you own a modern Nintendo platform, Breath of the Wild is an absolute must-buy. It was a brilliant, cunning move to release it at the birth of their new platform. This is sure to be a fan-favorite for years to come.
I have been a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda ever since I traded Zool in for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past at a pawn shop back in the 90s. The first game I got for my GameBoy was The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and the fandom in me was beginning to take shape. Fast forward to the early 2000s and OOT comes out. My dad and I crowd around the TV and N64 like it gave us warmth during a harsh winter. So many monsters to take down! So many places to explore in 3D! Giant bosses! And…Ganondorf changing into Ganon! Surely, this was the pinnacle of gaming and storytelling! Ever since, OOT has safely rested on many people’s top gaming lists.
Ever since entering the LoZ fandom, I’ve heard about the original game for the NES and how kids would talk about the secrets hiding all over the land of 8-bit Hyrule before the Internet could spoil the surprises. I wished so badly to be able to experience what that would have been like, but nearly every game that has come out since then would hold my hand and keep pushing me to the next checkpoint. Why explore? There’s a bad guy that needs to be stopped after doing X, Y, and Z; there’s no time to look for treasure or secrets!
Enter The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Oh. My. Din! No matter how many times I saw Link waking up and walking to the cliff for the first (or, uh, second) time, getting to finally see it on my TV screen made it feel like I had an entirely undiscovered world crammed into the front of my living room. Every hill and mountain hiding something yet to be discovered! Some of those discoveries went something like this: What’s in that tree over there? Apples! Can I climb it? I can! Oh! There’s something else up here! Eggs? No, a rock! Wait, a rock? What’s a rock doing up here? I’ll just pick it up; that’s not supposed to be here… *poof!* A Korok! What are you doing in this game, little guy? Aren’t you supposed to be on an island surrounded by miles of water…in a different game in the timeline? Well, whatever, because I…missed…you cute little guys.
Another thing that I absolutely love is how Breath of the Wild sneakily hides stuff for long time Zelda fans to find. Not only are there geological areas that are named after or have a striking similarity to other places in the previous games—I just found Tal Tal Peak, which is reminiscent of a place in Link’s Awakening—but there is also the return of enemies that haven’t been seen in an oddly long time, like the Lynels, or even the Keese that invoke the look of Chasupas—the Dark World equivalent of the bat creature. I love the beasts in LoZ, and the more variety there is, the more alive the game becomes (and the more it feels like Ganon has an actual army instead of just various types of Moblin-families).
Rag. Doll. Physics. The only thing I can fault the game on so far. Some people may complain about the lack of music or the constant breaking of weapons, but my biggest gripe about this game is ragdoll. You defeat a moblin on a slight incline and his insides explode to the four corners with the wind (on a side note, it’s slightly disturbing that you can collect body parts from dead enemies. I always interpreted the puff of smoke and cross bones during death as a being animated by magic, and thus returns to magic powder rather than not an actual living, sentient being. You fling an arrow at a Keese while you’re up on a cliff, and their spoils fall into the vast sea. One time, I was facing down a Lynel on top of a hill and failed to perfectly jump out of the way. He smacked me with his huge sword and I slid like that Canadian curling ice game that you only hear about during the winter Olympics! I did not stop ragdolling until I was at the very bottom of the hill. I began to wonder if the Lynel had just peered over and assumed I was dead, because he did not pursue me any longer. He didn’t even bother to fire off a shock arrow!
Also, the rain is pretty and very well done and all, but geeze! Every time ( and I do mean Every. Time. ) I try to climb something, it starts to rain and I slip and fall and OH MY DIN! You know when you’re playing Sonic the Hedgehog, zooming around at the speed of sound and then all of a sudden you just turn into a giant, cumbersome, progress-stopping werehog? And you just hope that it’s a phase and you just want to get through it as soon as possible? Yeah, that’s rain in this game. Rain is werehog. There, I said it. It’s out there. You’re welcome. Sometimes I’ll just set my controllers down and go get a snack or do my laundry or something and wait for it to pass. Now, I don’t mind weather, I think it makes the game more dynamic;. I just wish it rained…less.
I am convinced that this game is a love letter to long time LoZ fans, while maintaining a certain level of ease for the uninitiated. LoZ has a vast lore but the story is so light that I don’t think anyone would be lost if they have never played a LoZ game and picked this up as the first game for their Switch. It’s a love letter, but it’s also an open letter.
+ 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.