Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switches Things Up

I’ve been playing more than writing. This game has taken over my life. Send Help. Remember those days of not being able to go down one path because you do not have bombs yet? Remember not reaching a place without the hookshot? Pepperidge Farms remembers. The biggest difference between Breath of the Wild and Zelda games of the past is the open world. Get past the starting area – which also is just as open as the rest of the game – and you’re no longer limited on where or when you want to go somewhere. Want to make a run for Ganon with 3 hearts and a tree branch? Go for it! I can guarantee you won’t make it far but you are not stopped in any way from making that attempt.

Mild Spoilers for the opening section of the game.

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Link wakes up in a temple basically naked and unarmed and a voice calls out and calls him a hero. Picking up the Sheika Slate – this world’s smartphone, referenced as ancient though – to unlock the door and get out into the world. Very early on you learn literally everything is climbable. While you are hinted, sometimes urged, to go a certain direction, you can just as easily turn around and do something else. However, this early on, following the story for now teaches you about the Towers, tall structures used to reveal that part of the map, and shrines, the many one room puzzles this game has to offer. And I guarantee that all the puzzles – all the ones I’ve done so far – are quite enjoyable to solve. Except for that one piece of shit ball maze thing. That puzzle can go burn in a fire.

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No lie. I’m playing as I’m writing and it is so hard to just stop playing and keep writing.

Combat in this game definitely gives off a Legend of Zelda feel but does have some new quirks to it. Weapons now have a certain durability. This makes the early game a large pain considering most weapons would break either during or just after every encounter. You do become accustomed to this though, you just have to learn to not get too attached to most items. I still haven’t learned that lesson. I carry around cool looking swords and never use them because I hate to see them go. I do wish I can remap buttons though. Too many hours of Monster Hunter caused me to be hitting the “Put-Away” button to dodge (I did just now learn that I can swap the put away and jump button though, time to relearn how to play!). Throwing weapons becomes super useful when your weapon gets low on durability considering it gives a guaranteed critical hit when thrown.

Scenery in this game is breathtaking. After getting a horse when you’re following a road on your horse, the horse automatically paths along the road so you can safely look around and admire the view around you. There are times I feel there is nothing specific to do in an area, but the scenery makes up for the lack of encounter or puzzle. Running through the scenery hunting for shrines makes it feel a lot more adventurous with the multiple paths to get to them. Sometimes you even find shrines by complete accident because you were too engulfed in exploring the wild. And to add on to the stunning visuals, the soundtrack is just as amazing as expected. The music lives up to the soundtracks of the previous Zelda titles and even all the sound effects within the game make the world far more immersive.

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I was one of the lucky few to snag a Switch preorder and that is my console of choice for playing this game and I absolutely love it. The addiction continues with portable mode for the switch and I might even say that the game looks better in 720p on the portable over the docked version. The short length of the shrines is also handy for pick up and play. I know others who play it on Wii U and they are just as much addicted. Whichever console you have, pick it up. The few departures from traditional Zelda, in my opinion, make this game unique and significant. It definitely lives up to the hype.

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