Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the latest iteration in the incredibly popular series, and also the driving launch title for Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch. This is a lot of weight for any game to carry upon its shoulders but especially so for a game as long awaited and hyped as this one. Can Breath of the Wild live up to the extreme expectations and wildest of dreams we all have for such a title?
The answer is simply, yes.
There’s no denying it, this new Zelda is good, very good, and so far it seems a fact universally acknowledged. Gamers and media alike are praising this new title, and I’m going to break down exactly what makes this game a must-have masterpiece.
Breath of the Wild starts with the familiar scene of Link, our hero, waking up. This is classic Zelda and positions long time fans nicely to expect a grand adventure. For those new to the series, it puts them almost perfectly in the shoes of the protagonist who’s waking from a long sleep with no memory. From there you are given the bare basics and dropped into a beautiful colourful world, with the immediate sensation that not only can you go anywhere, but more importantly, you want to.
I feel like this go-anywhere-do-anything mentality is echoed nicely in the Switch’s hardware. Having a game where I can go anywhere paired with a console I can take anywhere, well it’s a bit wanky, but also kind of beautiful.
This drive to explore is constantly rewarded by what you discover. The draw distance is always just long enough to allow the player to spy something interesting off in the distance, and with a plethora of enemy camps, puzzle shrines, and random encounters I’ve never felt like I was wasting time while roaming the vast map.
While simply roaming around I have stumbled across sleeping giants, wary sentries, a survival island, and dozens of puzzle shrines. The latter of which I find an ingenious inclusion into the game, as after the first area these shrines are noncompulsory for the player to progress. This allows the designers to make these as simple or as difficult as they like, really being able to test the player without worrying about the frustration of potentially getting stuck in the game. The bright orange beacons scattered all over the world, offer even more incentive to explore, just to see what the next bizarre puzzle will be.
In addition to this Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays beautifully in all configurations of the switch. On my TV it’s bright and colourful, and although not the most graphically impressive game, where it lacks in pixels it makes up for in art style. Personally, TV mode is the only time I’ve noticed frame rate drops, and they’ve been infrequent and quite forgivable, never causing problems in gameplay.
Handheld and table-top modes both play flawlessly, with no noticeable drops in frame rate and the high-quality Switch display handles the game very nicely. The only downside to these compared to TV mode was simply that things in the distance are not so easy to see on a smaller screen. This is quite a fair compromise for the ability to take this game on the go, it’s definitely worthwhile having such a large open game that you don’t really have to put down.
An interesting twist on the usual Zelda formula is just how difficult this game can be. Weapons need to be constantly replaced as they break during use, and dying is an almost Dark Souls regularity but with somewhat less harsh consequences. Your death will come fast and often, and sometimes completely at random but rarely is it something to be too upset about. Saves aren’t usually too far behind, and dying is almost more of a teaching mechanism in the game than a severe consequence for mistakes. That said, being one shot mid-boss battle and having to start again can still afford a bitter taste, much like the cartridge itself.
There’s not a lot of hand-holding offered in this Zelda game either. Players will have to work out most of the mechanics on their own (or consult the internet) which feels fresh in an era where often tutorials can be overly utilised. Knowing I could cook, and knowing how to cook are two very different things in Breath of the Wild, but after discovering some of these secrets myself the satisfaction was much greater for it.
Breath of the Wild has this interesting way of causing me to ask “I wonder if I can” and then the game replying with “of course!” as I run off into the distance to see what my next question to be. Pair this with an interesting new Zelda story, in a simply beautiful world, and it’s easy to see why this game is being touted as one of the best Zelda titles ever, and honestly, I’d have to agree. This is a must buy, and I’d recommend it to almost any gamer.
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a beautiful game that's broad appeal will satisfy many gamers. With incredible scale and depth Breath of the Wild will keep players enthralled for hours. This game is a masterpiece and certainly earns its price tag if you've got the console to play it.||4.8 4.8 ( on 5 rating)|