After much anticipation, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is here. The land of Hyrule has been ravaged and it’s time we discover the mysteries hanging behind this land that is very much wild and alive. After years of development, Nintendo has graced us with what could definitely be called the greatest masterpiece in gaming of the past decade.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild has decided to break many, if not all, traditions of series. In this new game, a proper setting was put to introduce the franchise to an open world adventure that will definitely put a whole new standard to the word “survival”. This time, when your adventure begins, Link wakes from the Shrine of Resurrection only to find that he has no memories of his past or his purpose. Only the mysterious voice guides him outside of the Shrine and discover the lush green wilderness that was once the Kingdom of Hyrule.
The starting area will serve as merely a stepping stone or test area to really get acquainted with the game’s laws and physiques. This is key in Breath of the Wild since the environment will constantly interact with you every step of the way. At times, it can be your greatest ally or your harshest obstacle. Like any wilderness, the world presents itself with vegetation of all kinds as well as creatures to inhabit all of it. Animals and monsters all behave quite naturally and Link will need to know how to hunt properly if he is to remain successful in his survival in this scary world.
One learns the power of the nature when not only the creatures but the world interacts through the weather changes. Prepare to feel the sun glazing upon the land as well pouring rains and even thunder storms. With such attention given to weather, there is also a thermometer to measure up how well dressed Link is in order to go through the hottest deserts as well as the freezing mountain tops. Exploration in itself is so fun and sometimes even as puzzle just to reach certain points in the game. The developers were absolutely serious when they mentioned that any point you see in the game can be reached. The tough part is actually getting there and having Link trained enough to be able to reach these areas.
All this with such a vibrant color scheme makes the world of the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild be the ultimate experience of an open world adventure game. The world is beautiful and alive and the more learn about it, the more you grow into it. Most things aren’t simply taught to you. Players will need to use their creativity and their ingenuity in order to learn what can or can’t be done. If it makes sense that something can be done, such as burning grass lands or unequipping metal weapons to avoid getting struck by lightning, then it can be done.
For the first time ever, Link can freely jump without the use of upgrades of any sorts. This is a clear change in the Zelda series and there is no better setting to introduce this than a world where Link will need to do a lot of climbing. The stamina bar makes a return and our hero is a lot bolder and more athletic than other past depictions of him. Combat is dynamic and demands to make quick decisions as to how you approach your enemies. Should Link go in “swords blazing” or hang back quietly approach for a silent kill? Perhaps using the environment and the different tools to take out the targets by distance? The choice is always entirely up to you.
The best part is that the game hands you al the major basic tools upon the completion of the starting area: The Isolated Plateau which was presented in past demo gameplays. This includes the paraglider and all the runes to use with Link’s new item: the mysterious Sheikah Slate. This mysterious item is used as both a navigation tool as well powerful tools such as magnetism, freezing water and stopping time off some objects.
The game does a great in leading the player in understanding in what they are about to jump into. Upon having gained all the initial tools to use in your journey, the game will kick off the main intrigue into multiple quests in which Link can attack at his discretion. Every player will play the game differently and will experience the world presented in Breath of the Wild in their own way. Furthermore, the main storyline will always remain as engaging and as impactful no matter what quest, sidequest or errand you are occupying yourself with. It is mind boggling how everything is somehow intertwined and even a small side quest could give you hints on how to do or make certain things that will make your adventure a little easier. It’s a simple concept of you getting back as much as you put in. The game will respond.
Of course, all these tasks that you can undertake will keep you busy for so many hours. It will take over 40 hours just to do the bare minimum to properly complete the main quests and well over 100 hours to complete everything. The sheer number of tasks that can be completed is impressive as it is.
The one thing that makes all of this possible is the concept of freedom the adventuring is based on. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild has so much going on at all times and the best part is that everything can be tackled at the player’s pace. Everything you can want to do can be done through your own decision and not dictated by the game’s narrative structure. There is no order at which the quests must be completed as well the trials that hiding all over Hyrule. Over 100 Shrines are scattered across the land and completing them will only make Link stronger, faster and ever more determined to defeat the evil that shrouds the land.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is no doubt the single most anticipated title that got me anxious as to how well this game was going to deliver. I am graced with a masterpiece that revolutionizes not only how a Zelda game is played, but how an open world adventure game is played. This game will forever remain embezzled in my all-time favorites and I can objectively day this game is offering a lot more than Ocarina of Time did all those years ago.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is a serious contender for the Game of the Year, but also for the Best Game of all time. On Wii U or on Nintendo Switch, this game is a reason to buy a console for.