The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild has been out in the wilderness now for a good few weeks and it has received much praise from critics and gamers alike. Indeed when I reviewed it for 4-One I was pondering whether it might in fact be the best game I’ve played. Some had some criticism to throw Zelda’s way however and from the offset I want to make clear that I understand that tastes differ as do opinions and that’s fine but in saying that I wanted to address some criticism of Zelda that was posted by one of our dear admins yesterday.
Since The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild was revealed my excitement has grown. Release day came and I found myself expecting to be disappointed but alas I wasn’t. I’ve played a few Zelda titles in the past but never really considered myself a die hard Zelda fan. I was simply somebody who enjoyed the games and the story. I’m not typically drawn to fantasy games instead opting for blowing shit up with an almighty gun or zipping through space in a ship of some sort. Zelda however is one of those games that draws you in and whether the genre is your cup of tea or not it seduces you and before you know it, you’ve lost hours of your life to it. So far I’ve spent somewhere in the region of 50+ hours exploring Hyrule and slowly working my way through the story. It actually feels like I’ve only just scratched the surface of the game and its simply wonderful story and that is a good thing, because I don’t want it to end.
Now Hyrule in the latest Zelda game is big, I mean really big. I just cannot comprehend the mind of a person who claims it to be “empty”. Hyrule is bustling with activity and adventure and everywhere you go there is something to see and do. And I’m not talking about the Ubisoft generic repetitive bullshit either. Hyrule is jam-packed with meaningful and thoughtful content. Simply put it is the best open world that has been created, of that I have no doubt. It’s vast, beautiful and the ambient sound and the music compliment the game world perfectly. Visiting the Temple of Time is for me one of the most memorable experiences. You look at the ruins and you just feel the sadness that the creators wanted to portray. Rarely does a game manage to tap into my emotions let alone the world that the game is set in.
The Combat and Weapon degradation has been a target for a number of people but for me the argument is as brittle as a rusty broadsword. I jest but in all seriousness whilst I can understand peoples’ frustration I find myself thinking about the rest of the game and how this mechanic fits in. On one hand we all find weapons in games that we become attached too but we also probably don’t bother with a vast majority that can be found. I’m finding that I am using weapons I probably wouldn’t have bothered to use and to be honest they are so easy to come across that I don’t see it as anything more than the slightest of inconveniences.
Before heading into battle you have to consider your resources and weigh up risk versus reward. You also have to consider the weather as you don’t want to be caught in a storm with a lightening rod stuck by your side. So yes whilst I get peoples’ complaints with this I personally can see the benefit and don’t particularly mind the system.
*POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT*
Now onto the topic of easy Boss fights. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild Challenges you in so many ways. When I was in the gut of the Divine Beast Vah Ruta I was bouncing around its internals like a sperm looking for an egg, I was in there for a good few days ( play sessions not game time). I haven’t looked at a guide or searched for any help at all and let me tell you, some of these puzzles are tough. Some require careful thought and others are so obvious it’s easy to overthink it and completely miss the point. If I never have to play with another trunk to squirt the elephant juice in the right place I’ll be a happy man.
The game world itself is a brutal place. I never expected to die so much as I have this month. Zelda doesn’t just challenge your physical power but also tests your cunning and puzzle solving. It tests your tactical thinking and in an instance it will punish you. All over, there will be beasts and creatures that can humble you in an instance. I was expecting the Boss fights to be a bitch but no they were actually pretty simple and for that I applaud the developers. The bosses are a part of the story. You hate them for what they are and what they have done to Hyrule. By the time you get to them you have faced serious challenges and no doubt died multiple times so I found this refreshing and it spurred me on. So many times in the past I have found bosses to be unnecessarily hard and have become frustrated with the game but not with Zelda Breath of the Wild. They’re above all this “hit this guy with this big stick”. They challenge you elsewhere and let the Bosses be part of the story. It’s a refreshing approach.
*END OF SPOILERS*
The Legend of Zelda series has been evolving for decades. It will continue to evolve. Breath of the Wild is very much a Zelda game though. It’s big and utterly beautiful. The sounds and music effect you like other games could only dream of. The big open world is perfect and yes whilst there is a bit of a frame rate issue when in forests they are minor issues you barely notice. Show me a game put together with this much thought and perfection, I’m confident you wont be able to.
It’s no fluke that The legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild got the Metacritic score it did and it’s no fluke that the game is loved by those of us sinking hour after hour into it. Yes the series has moved on and some may wonder where certain things have gone but personally I think those people are missing the point. Things change and this Zelda will challenge you in different ways to past games. Is it perfect? No, but it’s more perfect than anything else out there at the moment. We’ve been fed the same generic, repetitive, re-skinned shitfests by other developers for far too long (bar a few exceptions of course). The Legend of Zelda breaks that cycle for now and gifts us with a game that will live on through the ages as a masterpiece of design. You don’t have to love it to appreciate it’s magnificence.