It’s over. It’s finally over. No more Zelda Months. This will end it all. And it had quite the impact throughout its hype, which I’ll explain.
The Wii U was out and nobody cared for it, but once Nintendo announced a Zelda game for it, it seemed people would buy the console just for that game, but nothing came out of that for a while. Then the Nintendo Switch was announced and when the livestream show was aired online, we got a shocking surprise that not only the game would come out on both consoles, but it would be the launch title for the Switch, which I felt was a good decision considering that the amount of Switch games released day one was lacking in every which way possible, and whilst it was enough for many folks to buy the Switch which has now outsold the Wii U on a massive scale, it wasn’t enough for me to get a Switch yet…Super Mario Odyssey would be that game.
What many people saw before the release of the game is a proper open-world Zelda title where you can practically go wherever you want and do what you want, heck, you could even fight the final boss earlier if you have the massive nuts for it. And that’s all I knew because I wanted to go in blind. Add to the fact that this game was and still is expensive to get, but I managed to find a copy for under £30 and I went all in with that.
So, after eight days of playtime…meaning I put HOURS into this game, like, daily, it wasn’t healthy but I wanted to get this over with. So, it’s time to review the latest game in the Zelda series…until the next one sometime in the future.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, developed and published by Nintendo, it was released in 2017 worldwide for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch. And yes, this would be the final first-party Wii U game Nintendo released…and they never looked back.
A voice wakes up the amnesiac Link in his speedos, asking him to save the world because who else is going to do that. He then grabs some clothes and an ancient tablet, the Shiekah Slate, and off he goes outside. An old man helps him out, pretty much showing you how the game works, your tutorial of sorts and even gives you a paraglider to fly glide around the place, a massive game changer I really love by the way. You then find out that Calamity Ganon wrecked the place 100 years ago, turning the world into a post-apocalyptic danger trap that still looks lovely to live in but the guardians will blast your arse in Hyrule Field so we got to be careful. It’s up to Link to find a way to defeat Ganon and rescue Zelda.
That’s all I can say in terms of plot, I won’t spoil much, but…even when you know about the plot, it’s still oddly paper thin, in fact there’s less of a plot here than in other games, which was quite disappointing, I know it’s was the 30th anniversary of the series at the time, but it still needed something more, but it’s Nintendo, you take one good thing for another.
Now after the old man is done with you, the main quest begins…or not, because you don’t really have to do the main quest just yet. This game is an open-world adventure game similar to the likes of the Elder Scrolls games…or Fallout, give or take. The world is open to you…when you know of the dangers ahead, this is one of those cases where you’re going to die a lot earlier in the game but that stops once you know what to do.
For this review, I’ll explain my experience with the game, starting with the Shiekah Slate. This is home to your map, photos and Runes. In terms of the map, it’s all blank but once you climb up all the towers in the world, you can open it all up…provided you have the determination to find them as weak as you are. Runes are taking items that were usually weapons or normal items in previous titles and making them permanent abilities. You’ll have Remote Bombs to throw, Magnesis to move metal objects around, Stasis to freeze certain things in place for a short period of time and upon hitting said frozen object, will give it enough energy to launch depending on how hard you hit it.
Later on, you’ll get upgrades for said Runes, and a Camera to take pictures and taking photos of specific things will be sent to the Hyrule Compendium and you can use the Slate to find more of said thing, it’s heavily useful, especially for upgrading stuff. I love the Runes, pretty essential stuff and they don’t cost anything apart from the short time it takes to use them again, which thankfully isn’t long.
Combat is rather similar to other 3D Zelda titles but a little refined, reminds me of Ocarina of Time in that regard. There are many weapons left right and centre to find, swords, axes, bows, different arrows, shields, there’s a lot of gear to collect, and there’s a reason for that. You see, apart from one weapon, the swords, bows and shields don’t last long, so when you use it for long enough, they will shatter, which is the oddity for a Zelda title and its something that I don’t particularly like, but it’s something you’ll have to get used to and at least you’ll find the rare weapon that will be more durable. Hey, want to surf downhill with your shield? Well you can, and it’s fun as hell, especially when on the snow and sand.
The stamina from Skyward Sword returns with a vengeance and I hate it…well until I managed to upgrade it, which I’ll explain in a bit. Stamina is used for running, gliding and climbing. Yep, you can climb up places, Link can pretty much stick to many walls like Spider-Man, it’s quite funny when you think about.
In terms of armour, there’s a good number of those. In fact, the first armour I found was…a Nintendo Switch T-Shirt. I brought the Season Pass on the fact that I was buying Arcade Archive games and just had enough for the content and I was reviewing this so why not, I didn’t do all of them but I did most of it, but that shirt was an added bonus.
In terms of other armour, they’re split into the helmet, upper body and lower body and having a set of a particular armour may grant a bonus and you can upgrade them thanks to the Great Fairies which I’ll explain later.
But here’s the thing, the world has places in which the temperature can change to hot or cold and you need specific armour to protect yourself, otherwise you’ll suffer under extreme heat or the freezing cold and seeing Link running around in the snow is funny but you’ll be losing health in no time. Want to swim better? There’s armour for that, want to survive in the desert, crossdress and be the best trap you can be…not like that’s a bad thing, Link can sure rock it.
In terms of hearts…well they’re gone, you have to hunt for your food, sometimes cooking them and combining ingredients will add special temporary abilities to the dish to help on your journey.
Want more boxes for your inventory to hold on to more gear? Well you can find Korok Seeds and collecting a certain amount will increase it. There’s 300 to collect and…well fuck that, I’ll collect how much I can.
So…you’re probably asking where the dungeons are? Well…let me explain. All around the land, you’ll find shrines, these shrines have mini-puzzles or you have to solve a puzzle to unlock a shrine. Once you’re done, you’re awarded a Shrine Orb, and collecting 4 will grant you either a Heart Container or a Stamina Vessel to increase your stamina.
In terms of what are technically dungeons (but not really), there are four divine beasts that have been taken over by Ganon, and the long lost Champions’ descendants will help you get into the beasts and off you go solving more puzzles…albeit, rotate or turn its body around to turn on terminals and then you’re off fighting different versions of Ganon, they can be very uneventful and samey to me. But once you defeat them all, the beasts will help you immensely in the final battle.
So this is a vastly different Zelda game, and I can see why it was heavily praised, in terms of gameplay, it’s a breath of fresh air for the Zelda series, an evolution for the series and…hmm. This all depends on whether I like the game or not, which I can answer with…yes and no. It’s one of those games where I didn’t really hate the game, more of the fact that I eventually got tired of the experience.
I played Skyrim a while ago and found it boring because…is anyone getting bored with the open-world genre? I feel that the weaker I was early in the game, the more I didn’t care for a lot of the game. I understand that it’s a homage to the very first Zelda game in terms of being open-world and the game just letting you do what you want to do in a way, but I feel it’s an example of trying to get used to something new from a familiar franchise.
BUT, once I got stronger, the game actually got better. You see, I decided to find as many shrines as I can, collect tons of orbs, upgrade my health and fully upgrade my stamina until I was able to near enough climb up high walls with ease, collect as much armour as I can, and even the DLC ones, find strong gear and use the weaker ones first, do side quests that reward me plentifully, get the Master Sword early (as long as you have 13 hearts), and THEN do the Champions quests, then finally defeat Ganon with ease. I came to enjoy the game because I set my own goal and stuck to it, when I was defeating Bokoblins with the Phantom Armour either by stealth or full force, I felt like Goblin Slayer, that anime that people got offended by it’s mature themes, first off, this is tame compared to many anime you don’t know about and secondly, go and watch a hentai, you’ll have a heart attack.
To play this game means that you must have a plan, it’ll be a long one, but it’ll be worth it in the end. But despite that, I cannot in good faith deem this a Zelda title, and before you call me a hardcore fan who can’t get with the times, I’m mostly a casual player of the series, but that’s just my opinion, I think the series needed an evolution and I feel this made sense.
But in terms of plot, with all the hype, that was the one aspect I was disappointed with. Link is still the silent bloke but I feel he sticks out like a sore thumb in this game because there’s a lot of taking from everyone but him and there’s voice acting, I can’t review that because I switched to the Japanese dub because I’ve gotten used to that, it’s a Japanese game so it makes sense to me. And you can’t change his name, he’s just Link, so there should be more to him now, but that’s not the case, they could have done more with him in terms of personality if he was going to be the standalone character.
The characters are decent, the random folk are random. The champions are characters I wanted more out of in terms of character development but that’s not the case, and I really like them, what with Mipha the Zoru, the nice girl, the Nozomi of the game. Daruk the Goron is the tough guy, the absolute unit. Revali the Rito is Falco with class and Urbosa the Gerudo…well I don’t remember much about her in terms of personality but I love her character design, as well as the rest of the Gerudos. If you like women with muscles and abs, you might take a fancy to them.
Speaking of women out of your league, the Great Fairies went from the flashy thots of Ocarina of time to flashy aunties, and they pretty much act like aunties too, and I mean the creepy aunties, they’re like the creep uncles but they can get away with it for some reason. Zelda is not bad of a character, she’s the most fleshed out character in terms of the plot despite still being a damsel-in-distress because old habits never die with Nintendo, just look at their online service.
Also, it’s the first popular mainsteam game where they got away with having a literal loli, I mean…it’s funny, nothing more.
The world is big, diverse and with the right equipment, can be a joy to go through, but I wished it was more alive, I hoped for tons of villages, but that’s not the case. The weather can change at random, it can be sunny, rainy, cloudy and thunder and if you have metal gear on, you’re getting electricuted, that attention to detail is admirable but bloody annoying when you got stuff to do and when it’s raining, climbing on stuff ends up being slippery, taking a lot off your stamina as a result. The art style goes for anime without the outlines, digital art, and in bright areas, some characters look weird, I still like The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword’s art style, but each to their own. The music…well, most of it is ambience, though I do love the Shrine Battle music…and I think that’s all I remember, it’s a pretty average soundtrack.
Overall, Breath of the Wild is…OK, it’s my second favourite Zelda title, Majora’s Mask STILL wins. It’s that one game where if you can play at your own pace and at your own time. My expectations were and still are a bit muddled because playing all the main Zelda titles and then going to…this; it’s quite the major shift, but I recommend just playing it, and discover how the world works, only then will you get a better experience with the game. I can recommend this to most players, even if you haven’t played any other Zelda game.
You can get it on the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo Switch.
Welp, that’s it for Zelda month in its entirety, I know there’s many titles I’ve missed out because of the lack of anyone to play with or I don’t have a CD-I, you have no idea how much I want to play those games, bad games or not, but I can finally move on…but to what exactly? I’m not sure but I got a year to plan ahead.