I had not played a Nintendo game in some time. So, when I heard Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BOTW) was being released in March, I told myself this was a good excuse to start playing Nintendo again. I enjoy open world games, I have been anticipating BOTW, and I had researched the world of Zelda and had become intrigued by it. I played but did not finish Twilight Princess, unfortunately. This was not going to happen with Breath of the Wild (or any other game if I could help it!) I was ready to play some Nintendo; I was ready to play BOTW, though I did not know for certain what to expect. And this made it even more exciting for me. By the way, I am still playing this game.
Being I have not played Zelda games often, I am not familiar with all of the story details, save for Link being a Hyrule warrior who needs to save Hyrule and Princess Zelda. However, I did not need to know much about the story to be drawn into BOTW, as the story is clear and Link’s goal is to not only find and rescue Zelda but to go through a series of dangerous obstacles, battling some ferocious enemies to finally fight the main antagonist – Calamity Ganon. Hint: it is recommended to play as much of the game as possible, collecting all the memories and finding the Divine Beasts, before attempting to beat Ganon. Personally, the story helped guide me through the HUGE world of BOTW, discover new territory, enemies, and allies. Nonetheless, though the story captures my interests from the start to the end, it is only a fraction of what makes playing BOTW exciting, magical, and memorable, and one of my favorite games of all time. The gameplay, despite some frustration with Link’s stamina and weapons breaking, is unique, fun, and provides what seems like an endless amount of activities to do throughout the game’s enormous world. I recall Witcher 3 and Skyrim being a few games that have made me want to play and explore more.
Discover and complete more than one hundred shrines, each unique from the other. Inside, are fun puzzles and treasures to find. Also, tread carefully throughout all of Hyrule and the rest of the land, including in the shrines, as dying is much easier than living in BOTW. Danger lurks from every mountain top, from beneath rivers, in the air and beneath the earth. There is never a dull moment for me playing this game. I’ve found it easy to become distracted from the main quest, but this is not a downer for me.
There are towers to climb to open areas on the map. Once on top of a tower, players can get a bird’s-eye view of what is in the area. Names of areas will be revealed, as well as nature and pertinent land marks. Talking to characters while exploring will reveal more about the territories, and inform them about the back story and generate side quests.
There are a variety of weapons for Link to use to defend himself against the monsters from bokogoblin clubs, swords, spears, rods that shoot neon-green electrical light, to axes, and variations of these weapons. Oh, there is of course a boomerang. Paragliding is a blast and a helpful way of escaping enemies and hastening travel. The weapons and choice of attack -stealth or head-on never makes for a dull moment with the combat.
Design and visual art in this game are amazing. The environments and nature are not as detailed as they are in Uncharted 4 or Horizon: Zero Dawn, but the visual art is nothing less than stunning – from the mountains, ruins, terrain, nature, etc. Then there are the sounds of nature and the realistic splashing while wading through water to truly put me in the world of BOTW. Birds sing, creatures call out… I am wandering along to my next destination, then unexpectedly a giant rock begins attacking me. I realize I am in a sudden boss fight. A rock is hurled from a river, knocking me in the head. Watch out for these, as these rock hurlers can do significant damage. But it is easy to become distracted with the design and art in this game, and costly, because attention is key while roaming the lands in the Hyrule Kingdom and beyond.
I am not one to rate games 1-10. A number is a number. I know how I feel about this game. I love open-world games with many things to do, a game I can play long after I have completed the main quest(s). When a game makes me feel a part of it, involved, and steals me away from reality for sometime, and makes it difficult to turn the game off, I know it is special to me. I am not fully familiar with the world of Zelda, but I am so tempted to explore and learn more about Breath of the Wild. As a fan of open-world games, artistic, visualized design, gameplay variety, and countless options of exploration, I think this game is for you, regardless of whether you have followed the Zelda series or not. On the other hand, some Zelda fans may have a problem with BOTW not being exactly similar to previous Zelda games, including there not being any of the traditional Zelda dungeons to explore. In my opinion, there is much that makes up for this, and there is a fresh sense of gameplay and adventure in Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Below is the link to my video review of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!