The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The definitive Hyrule adventure
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What more needs to be said? This game has been touted by every reviewer on the web, whether in 30 words or 3000, as an absolute masterpiece. An incredible achievement that has captured the hearts of fans and newcomers alike. An experience that conquers and perfects exploration in a way that few games even come close. And after playing through it myself, I wholeheartedly agree.
“When buying my Switch, this was the first game I grabbed off the shelf.”
When buying my Switch, this was the first game I grabbed off the shelf. Well, I actually picked up Cave Story because it didn’t have a price tag on it – but ‘then’ I picked up Zelda. I’d played through it with a friend earlier in the year, but ‘play’ may be a bit generous. In reality, I just watched him traverse Hyrule for hours, and where I could, helped navigate through the Divine Beasts. It wasn’t a complete beginning-to-end playthrough, and certainly not a true #JustBeatIt worthy accomplishment. I was itching.
“Popping it into my Switch, I was hooked.”
Of the 3 games I picked up that day, I wanted to save this one for last. Being the most robust, I wanted to make sure I had it for my upcoming 3-week business trip through the US. So for days, it sat on my shelf collecting….well, not a lot of anything. But it sat there nonetheless. It was only after my 4-day stint playing through Mario + Rabbids, and my 4-hour stint playing through Cave Story (not a long game at all), that I ran up to the Games Room and grabbed it off the shelf. Popping it into my Switch, I was hooked.
“A story of awakening, Wild takes place 100 years after a tragic battle with Ganon”
A story of awakening, Wild takes place 100 years after a tragic battle with Calamity Ganon; a dark entity set on ruling Hyrule. Amassing a team of Champions who represent the very best in the land, and an army of ancient machinations of extraordinary power, the forces of good fight back to defend their kingdom. But, in a cruel twist of fate, the hands of evil manipulate these ancient guardians, turning them on the Hyrulians. Calamity Ganon triumphs. All is lost. Though in a last, ditch effort, Zelda, the titular Princess of Hyrule, sentences Link into a century-long slumber, only to reawaken and finally put an end to the evil forces of Ganon.
“Breath of the Wild opens its world up to you within minutes of starting the game”
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild opens its world up to you within minutes of starting the game. Your encounter with a mysterious ‘old man’ yields a series of tasks to complete, but once these are finished, the rest of the game is yours to explore on your own. Whether you want to travel to every region of Hyrule to unlock the looming Towers that overlook the land, or travel directly to any of 4 Divine Beasts to solve their puzzles, or speak to the wealth of NPCs that litter the land in search of sidequests, or begin your adventure to solve all of the Shrines, or find and recruit all 4 Great Fairies to upgrade your armor, or embark on a photography adventure to fill out the entire Hyrule compendium, or forage the countryside for ingredients to discover that perfect recipe, or scour every corner of the untamed wilds to unearth the rare Korok seeds, or become a legendary raider while looting camps for the most powerful weapons, or…or….or…. The list is as close to endless as you could imagine. In fact, you can bee-line right to the final boss if you so choose (though you’ll need an incredible amount of luck and skill on your side to survive). It’s YOUR choice to play how you choose.
“By far the most majestic open-world map I’ve seen in a game”
Now to some, this could be daunting. The game is far from linear, and at times, the number of Main Quests and Side Quests may seem overwhelming. But fear not! An intuitive Adventure Log will keep you pointed in the right direction anytime you need it. And if you happen to get lost…well it couldn’t happen in a more beautiful setting. Post-apocalyptic Hyrule is stunning. By far the most majestic open-world map I’ve seen in a game. The scale is perfect; from beachside encampments to rocky mountain peaks – EVERYTHING is accessible. If you can see it, you can get to it. Couple that with mysterious and abundant landmarks scattered across even the most forgotten of areas, and you have yourself a full-fledged discoverer’s paradise.
“Hyrule stands as a ‘character’ in its own right”
Most of this is perfection – but taking it one step further, Nintendo provides players with a layer of environmental interactivity never seen before. See a tree you don’t like? Chop it down. Or blow it up. See some rocks in the canyons? Go chip away at them to unearth rare gemstones to sell at the local markets. Or blow them up. See a herd of goats grazing atop the cliffside? Go bow-hunting for some restorative roasts. Or….you guessed it…blow them up! While not quite the geo-modding wonders that Red Faction brought to us all those years ago, Hyrule stands as a ‘character’ in its own right. And the flora and fauna that inhabit it are all yours to do with as you wish.
“A musical masterpiece on all accounts”
The music only adds to the wonderment. I was honestly worried when I heard that the staple overworld theme would be replaced with much softer, ambiotic melodies. I want the HYRULE THEME, not chirping birds! Or so I thought… After hour 3 I was sold. After hour 10 I was enthralled. After hour 50 I was in love. And after completing the game, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. It’s perfect, in every way, shape, and form. A musical masterpiece on all accounts. And while the tracks themselves may not stand well on their own, they are forever embedded in the experiences of the game.
If you go into this game hoping you can knock it off the ol’ backlog in a handful of hours, you’re sorely mistaken. I’ve logged an easy 80 hours, and still have TONS to do. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve finished the game around Hour 60 – but the desire to get a little more powerful, to complete just 1 more part of the map, to discover just 1 more shrine – it’s always there. It’s the perfect pick-up-and-play game, and that’s why I love it. I can easily see how Breath of the Wild would hold a top spot in 2017’s best. It’s the Zelda we’ve all been waiting for.
If it’s not clear by now – Breath of the Wild is a game that allows you an experience unique to anyone else’s. It’s difficult to review because the adventures you’ve had are relative to the path you’ve chosen. All I can say is that this is exactly what it sounds like – an artful masterpiece in video game form. An experience that you’ll be talking about for years to come. A quest that’s sure to please ANY fans of the franchise. A MUST play for all owners of a Nintendo Switch.