Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Title: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Platform: Wii U / Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: With an incredible feeling of freedom, it’s easy to forget the threat of Ganon looms over Hyrule.
Price: $60 / £60
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
In 1986, the world was introduced to the Legend of Zelda, an open world adventure game that followed the story of a young boy rescuing Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon. The hero of that story was known as Link, a young boy clad in green who fought his way against Ganon’s mighty forces that threatened the land of Hyrule. Time and time again, Link either as a descendant of the mighty hero, or just some boy resembling the hero of old would rise up time and time again against the evil Ganon.
Fast forward to 2017 and the very same Ganon threatens Hyrule once more, and so Link must rise up to defeat his ancestors’ dastardly adversary once more and reclaim the land from his evil clutches. Nintendo has brought us another game that will go down in history, and it just might steal the crown from the 1998 title, Ocarina of Time… find ou as I bring you my definitive review for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Now, I know my review has come a little later than others but unfortunately I had to wait until the official release of both the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild. Not only that, but this game is huge and after two weeks, I still haven’t dug through every nook and cranny of the vast land of Hyrule! I have a list of side quests to clear and about 25 shrines left to clear… just don’t get me started on Korok seeds; I’ve collected 200 and thought I was doing well until I discovered there are 900 of those little shits hiding throughout the land of Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shakes up the Zelda formula in the sense of not holding your hand or guiding you to your next objective. Breath of the Wild to starts within the first five minutes and can be harsh and unforgiving, I died more times in the opening hours of this game than in any Legend of Zelda title. Not only can enemies pack a punch, they have incredible and intelligent AI, such as avoiding a bomb that I placed in front of them by casually strolling around it.
The game opens with you awakening at the Shrine of Resurrection to the soft tones of girl’s voice. You obtain the Shiekah Slate (ancient iPad) and leave the shrine, where Link runs up a hill and looks out over the sprawling horizon of Hyrule, all whilst Breath of the Wild’s theme plays over the scene and gives you goosebumps! After a few pieces of dialogue, you are tasked with completing four shrines to obtain the treasures hidden within, which turn out to be runes and abilities for the Shiekah Slate. These are bombs (square and round), cryonis, statis, and magnesis. These five runes will help you solve the various puzzles present in Hyrule, and in the shrines scattered around the land. Completing these four shrines progresses the story, and you receive a paraglider to make a safe descent off the Great Plateau onto the fields of Hyrule.
Hyrule is massive, and this isn’t an exaggeration, Hyrule is huge and contains a vast supply of puzzles, shrines, towns, outposts and vast variety of personalities that wonder the map and fill the towns. The puzzles usually relate to the 900 hiding Koroks throughout Hyrule, whether you’re completing a circle of rocks by filling the gap with a nearby rock, bowling boulders down a hill into a hole. or completing a block puzzle to match the nearby block formation. Even though there are 900 of these puzzles, they never feel tedious or repetitive because it’s rare you will encounter the same one, twice in a row.
Shrines, the ancient Sheikah technology used to test the legendary hero with 120 shrines scattered and hidden across the land, various shrines test you before you can even enter. For example, I had to find missing pieces of a tablet for a treasure hunter was waiting outside, I found the missing pieces and he translated the text, which presented me with a riddle to open the shrine. Upon solving the riddle, Link was allowed to enter and receive the Sheikah’s blessing. The other trials are usually puzzles that require quick thinking or observing your surroundings, or you may fight to prove your worth in a test of strength at three different difficulty levels, minor, modest and major test of strength.
Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule is so massive, you can find wondering mini-bosses scattered about the field from a Hinox to a Lynel to a Moldega! Fighting these guys will give some rare drops and some will be required for side quests, upgrading the incredible selection of equipment Link can find on his journey, or to use the guts of a beast to create potions and elixirs. There is so much in Hyrule, and after a certain part in the story, you will acquire a camera for your Shiekah Slate to take pictures of fauna, fruits, vegetables, weapons and enemies to fill up an encyclopedia. You can then use a tracking feature to hunt down any of the above to grind out equipment or food for your desired recipes. You acquire this tracking feature after you climb the second tower, and these towers open up a section of the map in the region they’re based, sorta like in Ubisoft games.
Cooking in Breath of the Wild is essential for making your way across Hyrule in both battle and exploration. Various recipes give you different enhancements and buffs, like combining a fortified pumpkin with some meat will make a fortified meat stew, which will enhance your defence for a period of time depending on how many fortified pumpkins you throw into the mix. You make meals that increase attack power, increase your stealth, prevent your health from dropping in cold or hot environment,s or extend your hearts and stamina! All of these have helped during my adventures and saved my ass more times than I can count.
Now, the disappointing part of Breath of the Wild is the dungeon design. This can be a tad lacking, although how you complete the dungeons are interesting and intricate, but they’re too short in my honest opinion… The only defence for the dungeons length could because of the vast amount of shrines scattered about Hyrule, and that the puzzles within those shrines are amazing as mentioned above.
Lots of people complained about frame rate drops but I never really experienced it past the Great Plateau; the frame drops could be due to network connections whilst playing the game, but my internet is pretty consistent and rarely dips. I tried Breath of the Wild in tablet mode to see if similar frame drops happened, but I could find no evidence of this. Hopefully, Nintendo finds a way to patch this to give everyone consistent frames during gameplay on and off TV play.
Overall, Breath of the Wild is quite possibly my new favourite Zelda game of all time, with plenty of exploration and intricate puzzles scattered about through the 120 shrines. This game will keep you entertained for hours on end, and if you have a Nintendo Switch, you can take the game on the go, so the fun will never end.
- Massive open world that’s full of life.
- Shrines have well crafted puzzles.
- Interactive NPCs and fun side quests.
- Dungeons feel too easy.
- Upsetting reward for collecting all 900 Korok seeds…
Fantasy violence using swords and other weaponry. PEGI 12. ERSB E10+ Rating.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy for the Nintendo Switch purchased for the purpose of this review.