So is “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” a Game of the Year title? Possibly. In fact, I dare to say it has a solid case for being the best game of this year and several years to come. If you’ve seen other reviewers praising this game, let me say this, it’s earned every single accolade it’s gotten from reviewers. So instead of just rehashing what everyone’s saying, I’m going to look at Breath of the Wild differently. So if you wanted to know whether you should pick it up or not…
Well, do it. So if you have a Wii U, then you should most definitely have this game in your collection. However, if you don’t own a Wii U, then simply pick it up for the Switch instead (at least if you were thinking of getting that system). And, yes, this is the killer app that will make getting a Switch all the more worth it, especially with more games coming down the line. So I just hope that Nintendo doesn’t pull a 2014 here and delay any other great games for a few years after this one like they did after Hyrule Warriors, and Bayonetta 2 came out.
There is a good deal of stuff to see and do, and even if you’ve been to an area before, there’s a chance you’ve missed a lot just from not looking around enough. It’s not just shrines, which are where you’ll find spirit orbs that you can trade in for more hearts or a larger stamina gauge, but Koroks and their seeds, which can be traded to increase how many items you have on hand, and stables and other places that you can only find by exploring every nook and cranny. This game sets a brand-new bar that previous Zelda games, outside of Hyrule Warriors by Koei-Techmo, will never be able to match up to. In fact, future Zelda games may be very similar to this one going forward. And that’s not a bad thing.
You see, Breath of the Wild takes the best parts from the previous Zelda games (the Aestetics of the second half of Ocarina of Time, the open-world of the first Legend of Zelda, the difficulty of Adventure of Link, the cell-shaded graphics of Wind Waker, the expansive world of Twilight Princess, the designs of Skyward Sword and there’s a bit of Majora’s Mask with all the side quests. So you need to do for the NPCs thrown in for good measure) and put them into a blender and then ramps up the result to an extreme degree.
So, what about the story and the gameplay aspects of the game then? Well, the story is basically a mix of Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time mixed together. Ganon, in this case, Calamity Ganon, has laid waste to Hyrule and now everywhere you look. It’s over-run with monsters, the reasoning behind this?
Well, 100 years ago, Link and Zelda stood with an army of magi-tech forces, including four giant pilotable mechs ready to face down Calamity Ganon. Then Calamity Ganon took control of the magi-tech forces, killed the four mecha pilots and took control of them and wiped out a good portion of central Hyrule. Cut to present day and Link is back, but with no memory of what happened to him, Zelda or Calamity Ganon. One of the main quests of the game is to recover your lost memories and see what happened 100 years ago, both before and during the Great Calamity that wiped out a good chunk of Hyrule. However, as you go further away from the castle, the devastation is less severe. As there are several small villages and cities across Hyrule, but the largest of them are as far away from the center of the map as possible, which explains a lot, actually.
The biggest gripe that anyone can have about the game is the difficulty, and having breakable weapons doesn’t do much to alleviate that in the slightest. As you complete challenges, shrines and go along in the game, you’ll find that the game gets… Somewhat easier. An unfortunate blow will still kill you if you’re unlucky. And watch out for Lynels, they’re the most dangerous things in the game, and they will murder you with ease without the Ancient Arrows on hand.
So if you’re curious about the timeline that this falls on, well, then you aren’t the only one. Because Lynels have only appeared in the Fallen Hero timeline before and then there’s the Rito, the bird people, who first appeared in the Adult Hero timeline of Wind Waker. Even so, it turns out that Breath of the Wild falls on the Child Hero timeline, which means it’s set after Twilight Princess. In fact (with the exception of Link to the Past and Link Between Worlds) this game makes it very difficult to go back to previous Zelda titles, not because they’re bad, but because this is so much better than them. That is also why I don’t have much more to say about the matter. As BOTW is best Zelda game that I have ever played. So if you have a Wii U or a Switch, but you don’t have this game already, then what’s wrong with you?
I got two more things to add before I wrap this review up, and that would be the following. 1. you can’t cut down grass or smash pots to find hearts, arrows or money anymore is a sign that the Minish are either extinct, have left Hyrule or can no longer help. They try, but it’s so diminished it’s sad.
And 2. With this game, every timeline post Ocarina of Time has had Hyrule get destroyed in one fashion or another. Flooded in the Adult Hero timeline, all-out War in the Defeated Hero timeline and now Calamity in the Child Hero timeline.
+ Unbelievably fun
+ Physics engine is on point
+ Completely open-ended
+ Getting lost is actually enjoyable
– Breakable weapons
– High difficulty may turn people off
– The Wii U version has some issues when things get hot and heavy as the game tends to lock itself up for a few seconds
Replay Value: 5/5
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” was everything I have ever wanted in a Zelda game and more. It took me six days straight, playing six to ten hours a day to do as much as I could, finding all the memories and expanding the map, before finishing the game. And there’s STILL more to do! So if you’re looking for a Zelda game to blow the rest out of the water, then this is it.
Title: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Format: Wii U
Release Date: 2017-03-03
Spent time: +50 hours
Average grade internationally: 97.21% Gamerankings.com
ESRB Rating: M
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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