Everyone on the internet is raving about the latest game in the Legend of Zelda franchise and its all for good reasons, Breath of the Wild was originally announced in 2012 when the Wii U was released and it had an expected release date of December 2013 but unfortunately due to development issues it got delayed multiple times before it was finally released to the general public five years later on March 3rd 2017 along side the companies latest gaming system the Nintendo Switch.
So the reason a lot of people are falling in love with this particular game in the franchise is because when compared to the earlier 3D Zelda titles this is a brand new and unique experience, instead of the usual formula of controlling Link from the first dungeon to the last while following a linear path Breath of the Wild takes place in a free roaming environment and even though there is a main objective the player is encouraged to explore Hyrule to its limits in order to find secrets and gather side quests.
Dungeons are now called shrines and are much shorter and simpler than usual, shrines are small puzzles that the player can try and solve in order to unlock new fast travel points on the in game map and along with this each shrine contains a Monk that will reward Link with a spirit orb once the shrines trial is completed.
Link can trade every four spirit orbs he obtains for either a new heart container or increased stamina by praying too one of the many goddess statues that have been placed throughout the world.
The shrines make up the bulk of the game and even though they are not necessarily important to the plot it is still highly recommended that you solve as many of them as you can in order to make the game a little bit easier, if you would rather challenge yourself to a really difficult run of the game then you could skip all of them and remain at minimal health, however the first few shrines are forced upon the player as these shrines are needed in order to unlock runes.
Runes replace the traditional items from previous Legend of Zelda titles and unlike the older Zelda games the runes in Breath of the Wild have an unlimited stock, these runes offer a number of abilities available to Link throughout the game including Magnesis which allows Link to pick up heavy metal items with ease, Stasis which allows Link to temporarily stop time, Cryonis which grants Link the ability to spawn large climbable structures of ice in watery areas and the remote bomb which is simply an unlimited stock of bombs that only explode when prompted by the player.
Finally the most useful ability in the game is the wind glider which allows the player too glide through the air with ease, this is useful when trying to reach areas that would be difficult to reach by other means, however the glider does use up Link’s stamina metre and therefore the player must use cation so that they don’t fall to a most unfortunate death.
There are a lot of things to do in Breath of the Wild and personally the best part of the game for me was all of the additional content other than the main quest, it is obvious that the developers took inspiration from other franchises such as the Elder Scrolls and Assassins Creed by adding the large open worlds, the ability to steal horses, climbing towers and other Buildings, needing to kill animals and collect plant life in order cook food so you can heal since the game does not use the usual system of collecting hearts from pots and bushes, Link can now buy multiple outfits to help him survive in different climates such as intense heat and freezing cold environments and on top of all of this the game even follows a similar system where your weapons and shields will break over time but unfortunately I can not recall any repair system in the game for fixing these broken weapons, thankfully there are plenty of replacements spread across the map so this wasn’t much of an issue for me.
the plot is very interesting to say the least and I really don’t want to talk about it in this review as a means of avoiding spoilers since the game is still essentially brand new, I will however say that it does still follow some of the traditional Zelda formula which is to be expected, Link still needs to defeat Ganon and save Hyrule but everything else that has been built around this allows the game too stand out as a very story driven game which may be the darkest the franchise has seen yet, this is the first time that Nintendo have added voice acting to the Legend of Zelda series and personally I hope it stays, I think they did a stellar job with the voice cast and unlike Super Mario Sunshine the voice acting here is not in the least bit cringe worthy.
Graphically Breath of the Wild is the most outstanding game in the series, Nintendo has really gone out of their way to make game feel real and alive, the original Wii U version pushes the console to its absolute limits and the final results are breath taking, this the cleanest and smoothest graphics you will ever see on the Wii U and it really is a shame that not many other games pushed the console for its visuals quite as much as Breath of the Wild does, the Nintendo Switch port has all of the vibrant colours and smooth textures of the Wii U version but pushes the visuals to look even better, more depth and shadow effects are added to the in game textures and other small details such as dust floating around the sandy areas of the game and snow falling from the sky help to bring more realism to the game, one issue I found was that occasionally during my play through the game suffered from lag spikes that really took me out of the experience and I believe that this was caused by the game trying to load too much at once, it should be noted that the Wii U version is known to have pretty horrendous loading times so keep this in mind.
I played the game on the Nintendo Switch and as can be imagined from Nintendo’s quality of service the controls were absolutely flawless, the clever thing about the Nintendo Switch is that it can be played both at home and on the go, the new Zelda is an amazing experience from the couch but every time I played the game while taking the bus or during long train journeys it was really difficult for me to see most of what was going on, the screen on the switch is way too small for a game of this size, it was difficult for me to read the map and plan routes and exploration is one of the biggest selling points of the game so I would recommend playing from the TV unless you have no other choice.
I have never disliked a Legend of Zelda soundtrack to this day and Breath of the Wild may have one of the best soundtracks yet, the entire soundtrack was created by Manaka Kataoka who had worked on previous titles in the series, there are a lot of points in the game that are silent and this is due to the player needing to listen for approaching enemies they may need to take care of as well as any wild animals that can be killed for food, I have linked the entire soundtrack above so please click play if you would like to listen to it.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is my new favourite game in the series which is something I haven’t been able to say since 1998, however the game is not flawless and I don’t think its fair to say its the best of all the 3D titles since it is so different from the previous games, I think it stands out in its own way as a unique and individual title and should only really be compared to the next Zelda game that follows this new formula, I had a blast playing this game and the only real complaint I have are the occasional lag spikes which is why I wont be giving Breath of the Wild a full score.
it’s not perfect and it isn’t flawless but no matter what at the end of the day its still may be Link’s best outing yet.
It was very difficult for me too not give away any spoilers in this review so I hope you enjoyed it for what it was, it may be a while before the next Nintendo Switch review since the console isn’t even a month old yet,in the mean time there will be one more review coming out this month so I will see you then.
I hope you enjoyed my review of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U
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