Reviewed by: Braden
Developed by: Nintendo
Published by: Nintendo
Price (USD): $59.99
What is this game?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U video game consoles. It is the 19th release in the main The Legend of Zelda series. The story is set in Hyrule and follows amnesiac protagonist Link, who awakens from a 100-year slumber to a mysterious voice that guides him to defeat Calamity Ganon.
Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across fields, through forests and up mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule in this stunning open-air adventure.
- Official Zelda website
You wake up to a voice...a woman's voice. Who could it be? Who is this girl in your head, and why is she telling you to wake up? Better just do it and see what this is all about. Wake up, Link. You have a journey to begin. Again.
As the hero of legend, Link, you learn you have been asleep for 100 years. However, you do not remember anything from 100 years prior. Fortunately, that may not matter. You jump out of your magical flooded tanning bed of the future (past, technically?) and are given control for the first time. First thing's first, grab yourself a WiiU gamepad/Nintendo Switch/Smartphone Case and open up the door. Now grab some clothes. Or don't. We don't care. You're hot anyway.
Moving on from the humorous introduction, you see what could be an exit to begin the journey of a lifetime. Open that bad boy up (the door) and walk outside to a new era of the Zelda franchise. Welcome to the new Hyrule. Welcome to the post-Ganon Hyrule. Things may seem fine, but you still have an entire journey ahead of you, my friend.
Your newfound adventure will take you across this sprawling landscape giving you plenty of new tools and concepts, such as the runes that replace items on your Sheikah Slate, the Towers that are scattered throughout the landscape similar to the perching in Assassin's Creed to expand your world map, and the addition of these Shrines scattered throughout the world. Completing one of these shrines snags you a fancy spirit orb, and these will be your upgrade currency of sorts for more hearts and/or a bigger stamina meter depending on how you choose to spend these upgrade points. It's worth noting that there are about 120 shrines in the game, and upgrades cost 4 orbs each, which will leave you with 30 possible upgrades.
Breath of the Wild pulls no punches when it comes to having you trek across this massive version of Hyrule. You will cross sprawling deserts, freezing mountains, and massive volcanic landscapes, along with plentiful plains and dense forests and sizable lakes. Basically, expect to travel, and a lot. To avoid spoilers, I will just say that you'll need to explore every inch of this map if you want to get the full experience given to you by the developers.
What I liked:
As is with any new game, there are going to be things I both like and dislike, but for now let's focus on what I quite enjoyed about the game.
I was very happy with the presentation of the game even just at launch. There are no menus; you are just thrown right into the game. Something that is worth noting is how they present the world to you as soon as you leave the Shrine of Resurrection. The game temporarily revokes control from you to have Link perform that iconic scene where he jogs over to the cliff overlooking the new Hyrule. Nintendo really delivers some rather...breath...taking views.
All jokes aside, there was a whole slew of stuff I enjoyed in this game. The combat felt simple but fluid, the environments were massive but fun to navigate, and the world felt incredibly animated and alive. The animals act exactly as you'd expect them to in real life, which was pretty neat. You could find horses wandering around grazing, birds casually pecking at the ground to find worms, and ducks just bobbing for fish and doing their little duck things, plus so much more. I laughed a little bit at the end credits when I realized how large the team was for the animal AI. It honestly made me appreciate how much detail and effort was put into this game since announcement. Nintendo really hit the nail on the head.
Something else that I feel is worth noting that I really enjoyed was how they tackled dungeons in this game. Obviously we don't have a bunch of fully fleshed out dungeons, but we did get 4 'dungeons' per say for story purposes. Whilst they weren't nearly as long as your typical Zelda dungeon that everybody is used to, they certainly kept you at constant attention and always had you thinking of ways to accomplish certain tasks within them. Plus, you can always go tackle the many of the 120 shrines in the game if you really want that dungeon fix.
Little tidbit about the combat not everybody may have realized or even known: the game scales enemy difficulty based on how many dudes you kill. The more enemies you slay, the harder they will become. This was noticeable to me while wearing the tunic you receive for the first memory obtained. The health and color changed, with the health reaching 720 for just the Bokoblins alone.
What I disliked:
While I did quite enjoy this game, there are still thinks I will admit to disliking. Games may come about that we may consider masterpieces, but that doesn't mean they don't go without faults. As much as I may drool over this entry into the Zelda franchise, I must admit it has some issues.
One of my biggest pet peeves with the game is how useless armor feels. I finished the game with 15 hearts and a total armor count of 15, and not once did I feel my armor stat made a difference in how much damage I took. It genuinely felt like the damage I received and was able to sustain was entirely dependent on the enemy I was up against and how many hearts I had. If you've played Dark Souls, think of using any armor in this game like Fashion Souls. Maybe I'm just wrong, but that's what it truly feels like.
A second complaint I have, while minor, is the frame drops. They're fairly common, especially in overly complex areas. To name a specific issue, the Korok Forest felt like I was getting no more than maybe 15fps. 20 at best. Also, my game had a habit of freezing at random spots mid-combat and taking several seconds before letting me play again. Luckily, this wasn't too often. It wasn't a big factor on my enjoyment of the game, but it certainly was annoying to deal with.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The performance issues were a little irritating, and I was frustrated at points, but that doesn't take away from the beauty that is this new entry in the Zelda franchise. The environments are beautiful and work very well, despite geography not making any sense; I mean, it isn't supposed to anyway as this is a video game. Taking into account my enjoyment of the game, the issues I noticed, and all other aforementioned points...I feel that Breath of the Wild is a solid 8.5 out of 10. Not quite perfect, but a fantastic game nonetheless and I highly recommend it for anybody to play, whether it be on the Switch or the WiiU.