The Legend of Zelda franchise first made its splash in the late ’80s on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the first title to bring an open-world adventure to the home. As gaming moved to a new dimension, the Zelda series moved away from this convention. That was until 2017’s Breath of the Wild rolled around. You know the legacy, so here are my opinions. I’m not going in blind, but I remember very little of my March 2017 playthrough. This should be interesting.
You wake up in a mysterious chamber 100 years after some event that left you near death. You’re Link, a legendary hero, right? All you’ve got now is a Sheikah Slate, a tablet left behind an ancient civilization that mastered the technology that saved your life, some clothes, and an old man giving you chores. After you conquer the first four shrines of the Great Plateau, you must venture out into Hyrule to retake the four Divine Beasts, and slay the monstrous Calamity Ganon for good. At least, until the sequel launches.
Breath of the Wild has a very simplistic story, but it makes up tenfold with enough lore to fill a series. You’re given hours of side-quests to take on. There are countless numbers of NPCs to interact with, and here the story of. They all feel individually organic and flow well into the world. You’ll need to interact with a good few to get the full experience. The game also gives you the option of skipping it all and going straight to Ganon, but I wouldn’t recommend that for anyone other than someone on their second, or third, playthrough. Breath of the Wild tells it’s tale in a very unique way for the series. Important cutscenes now feature voice-acting. A first for the franchise.
Breath of the Wild does away with the series staple dungeons almost entirely. Instead, Link explores the entirety of Hyrule at his leisure. Large dungeons have been replaced by dozens of small shrines to beat across Hyrule’s vast landscapes. Completing a shrine’s trial will reward you with a spirit orb. Four spirit orbs allow you to obtain either a heart container or stamina vessel. Trust me, it’s not too hard to figure what you can upgrade with those. Fans of large dungeons will enjoy the four Divine Beasts and Hyrule Castle. Which get their own maps with quite the number of secrets to find, and a boss fight at the end of each.
That’s not the only convention Breath of the Wild shatters. There’s a huge focus on cooking this go around. Hundreds of different recipes with dozens of effects that can help you on your journey. From simply upgrading your attack power to resistance of bursting into flames on Death Mountain. Breath of the Wild features a weapon durability system forcing the player to constantly switch weapons, and discover new favorites. There are a few main weapon types. Each being swung at a different speed with many pros and cons.
Breath of the Wild also features an absolutely series changing, game-killing, addition to the franchise. Something that hardcore Zelda fans looked at, and immediately fell to the ground in shock and horror. Link can now jump on command by pressing the X button. If you didn’t know about this addition until this moment, I truly am sorry.
Breath of the Wild plays completely different from either of the two well-known “Zelda styles.” I couldn’t say I prefer Breath of the Wild to the 2D Zelda formula, but I know it has the potential to be much greater. This is not to imply that the game loses a lot of what makes it Zelda. I promise that all of the puzzle-solving, lore, and creative designs are here in full force. If not greater force than some of the other recent 3D Zelda titles.
I’m very mixed on Breath of the Wild’s art-style. The design of the main champions, Sheikah technology, and Hyrule itself are all brilliant. With the exception of the Goron race, other NPC designs all seem bland and forgettable to me. I seem to be in the minority here. Armor, and weapon, designs are all on point. Breath of the Wild prefers to go for an ambient tone over powerful music. A change I’m definitely not a fan of, but I can’t complain because every bit of the soundtrack is wonderful.
There are very few who have yet to play Breath of the Wild, but if you’re in that bunch I highly recommend it to you. I don’t recommend any of my hundreds of hours spent with this game over the last three years. It’s tough to come back to at times, but always keeps this sort of charm to it. I had a lot of fun revisiting this, probably, last time before the sequel launches.
The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most represented in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Countless items providing a ton of unique situations, a boss, two dedicated areas in the World of Light story mode, dozens of spirits spanning the series history, and six playable characters. Unfortunately, it was probably the hardest to figure out how I was going to handle these reviews. I could do simply two games to represent every major character well. However, I figured I’d prefer to handle each character by covering the game their design in Smash is lifted from.
Link was a part of the original 12 on the Nintendo 64. His design definitely hasn’t changed much in the past two decades. Link has picked up quite a few moves from recent games, but his most recent overhaul is definitely his most significant. Link was given the remote bomb, a Sheikah Slate rune, that he can activate by pressing down-b a second time. His hookshot grab is also removed because the item is not featured in Breath of the Wild. It creates a very different character than Young, or Toon, Link. Having to think on when I’ll detonate a bomb, or get close to perform a throw, is something I appreciate a lot more. Despite his simplicity, I think the Link given to us in Smash is a great representation of the Hero of the Wild.