When we ask gamers what their favourite game of all time is, we can be pretty confident that they will choose one title from a select few games that most gamers agree are the best in the business. Perhaps it’s Red Dead Redemption or Goldeneye. Maybe it’s Final Fantasy 7 or Ocarina of Time? Well it might be time to revise that pool of “best games ever” because The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is finally with us after years of waiting and it’s quickly become my favourite game of all time, surpassing even Red Dead Redemption. Now, I haven’t played every Legend of Zelda game nor am I a massive fan but it’s a series I’ve enjoyed in the past and I love the passion that fans have for it. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild has been in development for a long time and people have been excited for it since we caught our first glimpse of it years ago at E3.
A lot of open world games these days give you a vast open space that often feels empty and void of fun. Too often we are treated as incompetent and led through a series of dull and boring tutorials. Worse still, many open world games have side missions and collectables scattered throughout, purely as filler content rather than being placed thoughtfully and with any meaning.
This is a trap that Nintendo avoids convincingly. The bar for real and meaningful open world gameplay has been raised by the developers of The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and better yet they don’t simply introduce what they can think you can handle in little pieces. They first give you the plateau to acquaint yourself with the game and introduce the story but beyond that the world is yours and you can feel the developers almost daring you to head out into the unknown. I really can’t overstate just how beautiful this game world is. Quite simply, it is the best and most beautiful game world I have ever played in. It’s not just a work of art but it is a masterpiece.
The story compliments this game world and is told through a series of flashbacks. I’ve found the story interesting and capable of holding my interest even when side tracked by exploration, hunting or faced with one of the many engrossing side quests. I won’t spoil it for you but the combination of good narrative, character design and the beautiful game world draw you in and once you are in its grip you won’t want to put it down.
There are Shrines for you to find and explore and you can do this in any order you wish without interfering with the story. You will need to complete puzzles and get your thinking cap on. Some are easy, some are tricky whilst others will have you scratching your head. In all cases, I’ve found them enjoyable.
To get the map for the area you are in you need to scale the many towers and even that’s not always as straight forward as it first seems. When you start visiting these towers you start to appreciate just how big the game world is and how much content there is within it.
Content is the key word here because I can’t stress just how much there is. There are 100 shrines, Kokri Kids to find, creatures to photograph for the games compendium, villages to discover, god knows how many side quests and enemy camps. The scale is staggering yet it never felt daunting. I never found myself rushing to complete task after task. You find yourself allowing the game world to distract you and you move along enjoying every minute. You are never told that you must do one thing over another and you are always left to figure out what you are meant to do. I’ve seen a number of articles on other sites offering to guide you through the game and reveal it’s secrets. I can’t stress enough how you should avoid these articles as they will completely ruin the experience for you. Learn by playing and enjoy the game at your pace. It will be a long time until this game is surpassed so you may as well make it last.
As well as being beautiful The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is brutal. I don’t think I’ve ever died so much in a Nintendo game. Weapons, bows and shields are all perishable and health is replenished by eating meals. It’s up to you to cook up these meals from ingredients you find in the game world and this in itself is something that’s a diction and enjoyable to do.
Combat can be a good challenge and I’ve found myself bravely withdrawing from a number of battles I know I couldn’t win without using up a large portion of my resources. You find yourself weighing up the potential gains from any encounter, against the potential cost to your resources. It’s not just the critters that can be lethal though. Sometimes the weather can become your enemy with lightening storms proving shockingly lethal. Swimming in the rivers and lakes can be just as deadly if you don’t manage your stamina.
The only real negative point with The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild are some performance issues. When in a forest or other hardware demanding area, frame rates can plummet and noticeably so. This doesn’t happen when playing the game in portable mode but is a minor gripe and is easily forgotten once it passes.
Much fuss was made about a lacklustre release line up for the Nintendo Switch but now I’ve started playing The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild I can totally see their thinking. You simply won’t have time for any other game for a long time once you start playing.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is without doubt the best game I have ever played and justified buying the Switch on day 1. The sheer variety of gameplay on offer as well as the game world and engrossing story mean that Nintendo have made the greatest game ever to release. It simply over shadows everything that has gone before and I say that without hesitation. Yes our tastes will be different but there should be no doubt here at what Nintendo have managed to achieve. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild offers everything you could want from a game and more and if you were on the fence about picking up Nintendo’s new console or the game then let me say now that it’s time to jump down off that fence because this game is simply amazing and deserving of its near perfect metacritic score.