Well, where to even start here …
I can easily say that this is potentially my favourite game of all time. It already had a head start simply by being one of my favourite franchises, as Zelda games have been with me since I was old enough to start playing video games (Ocarina of Time was one of the first games that I owned).
This was certainly the most adventurous game in the series, as it couldn’t be much further from the standard formula of the series. Typically The Legend of Zelda follows a linear format, where you tackle a number of dungeons and bosses, increasing your arsenal of items and weapons as you go, allowing you to access new areas and solve different puzzles. Well, you can forget about all that!
The very first thing you’ll notice as you start a new game is the lack of a green tunic – well, for the first time Link is going to have a whole wardrobe of options! As you adventure, you will find different items of clothing with varying buffs and effects. They can be bought, rewarded, and found!
The next big change is the weapons and items! Link is now much more versatile with his weaponry, as you will see him handling swords, spears, axes, hammers, broadswords.. but not for long – they all break! You will find weapons all round the world (mainly on the floor after you have felled an enemy) and part of the challenge of the game is maintaining a good inventory of weapons to deal with whatever Hyrule throws at you. The same rule applies for shields, and also for bows, which will be available right from the beginning.
Instead of the classic gadgets and items that we all know and love, Link will be given a few runes in the tutorial area which will help him interact with the world and the various puzzles found.
Breath of The Wild features an absolutely stunning open world, where you can go wherever you like right from the beginning (after you complete the brief tutorial area). Some areas are more difficult to venture to than others, as there are environmental hazards to bear in mind (a volcano, the desert, mountains).
The new temperature gauge is something you’ll be keeping your eye on, as Link will start to lose health if he gets too hot or too cold! This can be dealt with by either wearing clothing to keep Link warm/cool, or by consuming certain meals or elixirs which will give Link a temporary buff.
One change which I didn’t enjoy so much was the low number of dungeons. This was supposed to be supplemented by the 120 puzzle shrines found throughout the world. While I did enjoy the shrines, I didn’t feel it was a good enough substitute for the large number of dungeons we are used to. For example, both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess feature 9 main dungeons, whereas Breath of The Wild features 5.
The tone of the game is also like nothing the Zelda franchise has seen before. Typically the worlds we experience are teeming with life, with a bold soundtrack to compliment this. But in this age, Hyrule has been devastated, and only a number of settlements far away from Hyrule Castle have actually survived. You will also encounter plenty of ruins as you journey through the world. The soundtrack has been carefully composed to reflect this empty land, quiet, mostly consisting of gentle piano melodies.
This is by far my favourite open world that I have experienced in gaming, so many spectacular sights to discover, beautiful and striking locations to visit, I actually enjoy just wandering through Hyrule on horseback without any particular destination in mind. Without a doubt this game gets my full recommendation for anyone who has yet to get their hands on it.
I personally can’t wait to see how this world will be adapted and tweaked for the sequel!
- Platform: Wii U, Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: 03/03/2017
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy RPG