The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been dubbed by many as the greatest game of all time.. Not just of this decade but of ALL time. That’s a bold statement and it’s a statement I just don’t agree with. Now, I’m fully expecting this article to upset some folks but we’re each entitled to our own opinions and here’s mine as to why I just don’t think it deserves the praise it has had. This article shall also contain spoilers which I shall label clearly.
When I started gaming, my first console was a Super Nintendo and that was the start of a glorious relationship between Nintendo and I. I’ve always said Nintendo produce the absolute best first party titles and I’ve stuck by that since the days of the SNES. When Breath of the Wild was shown, it blew my socks off as it looked absolutely breathtaking (no pun intended) and as the gameplay footage slowly trickled out, I was more and more in awe at what Nintendo had created. Then came the reviews, an overall Metacritic of 97, some of the highest praise ever bestowed upon a game which sent my excitement into nuclear levels.
When I got Breath of the Wild and my Nintendo Switch, I was beyond excited to finally be able to explore this world Nintendo had created. The game in its early hours is savage in difficulty as it doesn’t hold your hand at all. This is a good thing as it forces you to explore everywhere and let’s get this right off the bat. This game world is HUGE and this is where I started to find my first annoyances.
The world is big, really big and as I was exploring I just couldn’t help but think “for a world so vast, so big, it feels so empty, so barren.” Maybe that was the point Nintendo were going for but even basic activities from previous Zelda games like fishing is gone. Sure, you can cook food, discover recipes, do shrines which are mostly the same with a few varying differences and there are 4 “dungeons” which really shouldn’t be called that as they’re nothing like dungeons found in previous Zelda games. You can find and tame horses which is fun for the first two or three times then it becomes a trivial activity, oh and Epona, the legendary horse? Epona is locked behind an Amiibo.. Nice move Nintendo.
Then there is the weapon breaking system. This is where things really started to piss me off. I’ve played and finished most of the Dark Souls games, I’ve gotten the platinum trophy out of Bloodborne so I’m fully versed in maintaining weapons but the weapon breakages in Breath of the Wild is an absolute joke. Sure, it’s supposed to add depth and strategy to the game and again, that’s a good thing but some of the best weapons break after 10-15 hits! A weapon you most likely would have worked your ass off for, gone before you know it.. There isn’t even a weapon repair vendor anywhere in the world to soften the blow so you break your favourite weapon, tough shit, it’s gone and good luck finding another. It’s a system that’s unnecessarily frustrating.
Still reading? You’ve been warned… Right, onto Calamity Ganon. I’m a huge fan of Ganondorf, I absolutely adore him and when I discovered Calamity Ganon was in the game, I hoped Ganondorf was going to make an appearance but no, he didn’t. The end boss fight, Calamity Ganon was a huge disappointment, not that Ganondorf didn’t make an appearance, after the brutal ride through Breath of the Wild, I was expecting Calamity Ganon to absolutely destroy me but no, he didn’t. He was a massive pushover and his second form, Dark Beast Ganon, was so easy, it was insulting. Top that off with Zelda constantly edging Link to save the day during the Dark Beast Ganon fight was beyond annoying and was a truly deflating experience.
Breath of the Wild isn’t a traditional Zelda game, it’s totally different from previous Zelda titles and because of that, I feel like it’s lost a lot of its identity. Gone are the dungeons which were such a joy to explore and the sense of accomplishment was second to none. Gone are many of the weapons from previous Zelda games, gone is much of the legendary jingles and music, so many changes and I’ve struggled to come to terms with it all. So, best game of all time? In my opinion, not a chance. It’s not even close to the best Zelda of all time as that honour goes to A Link to the Past. How about best open world game of all time? Nope, that honour goes to The Witcher 3.
Maybe I’m stuck in the past, maybe I’m being overly critical and I’m not saying Breath of the Wild is a bad game, oh no. It’s story has so many meaningful moments and the side quests can be fun and the graphics are absolutely superb. Many times I found myself just standing there and being in total awe at the world Nintendo created but unfortunately this doesn’t change how I feel about Breath of the Wild overall. It’s a good game, but certainly not the best of all time.