The Good and the Not So Good of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo

Platform played on: Nintendo Wii U

If you’ve been keeping up with my tweets about Breath of the Wild, you can probably guess what I think about it. The game is a masterpiece. While it does have its flaws, they’re outweighed by the positives.

The Good

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a lot going for it. We’ll start off with what makes this game great. 

 Simple Story, Good Execution

I like the story in Breath of the Wild. It’s simple, yet well thought out. You meet interesting characters with differing personalities who seem to know you more than you yourself! Not only is it an adventure where you must save Hyrule, it’s also a personal journey as Link rediscovers his memories. That’s all I’d like to talk about on the story aspect. I might spoil something on accident. :]

In a lot of games, there are pointers or information in your quest log to know where something is. In this game however, you progress through the story by exploring. The more of the map you reveal, the easier it will be to find the locations of each memory. And I love that! This makes it feel like it’s not a waste of time, and honestly, nothing really feels like a waste of time in this game.

Talking about exploration..Breath of the Wild offers a vast region for you to get lost in. Checking out the landscape is enjoyable in itself, even if you don’t get a quest done or you don’t get any powerful rewards. What you might get however are some ingredients, maybe the ones you’ve been looking for to cook that sweet attack increasing stat food. Perhaps you’ll encounter a few NPCs, a village to get some quests, trade or even just to rest at. Almost everything you do has some way of rewarding you. The freedom given is astounding.

The scenery is also fascinating. There are beautiful sunsets, stunning views from mountains and mellow meadows to enjoy. I found myself wandering around to get some great views. The attention to detail in this department is breathtaking. Especially as you view the world of a mount.

I say ‘mount’ instead of ‘horse’ because you can ride other animals too! Horses are the easiest, whereas for deer, you’ll need to ever so silent to jump on them. This is where you’re elixir making skills come in handy! Mounts are great because they offer a way of fast travel to places where you haven’t discovered yet, or if you just want to take a ride with your pal Joe (I didn’t call my horse Joe).

‘Horse around’ as much as you’d like!

Combat is Engaging and Challenging

Combat and timing. Easy to pick up, but can be difficult to master as you face up against the meanest of foes. It can be brutal when you don’t get your timings right, but it’s all about practice and patience. Button bashing won’t get you anywhere.

The game requires a bit of thought before venturing out in the world, because depending on where you’re going to, you’ll need some sort of preparation. This is especially true for longer journeys in harsh environments. And I love this. It makes you think before going out and makes you care and feel connected to Link. Not only that, but it’s great to have danger not just from your enemies, but from the environment as well.

the legend of zelda breath of the wild combat gif
A snippet of the combat

Harder creatures can be trial and error, which is a good thing, as it allows you to explore ways to beat difficult enemies on your own. This isn’t a bad thing, as it encourages you to think on your feet and try out different strategies.

Some puzzles also require some thought, and if you don’t have the right equipment, you’ll have to go and get what you need to complete them. As you unlock more shrines, you’ll find that there are puzzles that are incredibly obscure. This can either ‘force’ you to look up some tips after bashing your head against a particular puzzle. But that’s why I like them. You have to try things and see if they work. The game does a good job at making you use everything in your arsenal.

Cooking is almost a game in itself!

Cooking is a favourite of mine in Breath of the Wild because it’s so simple, but has quite a bit of depth. There aren’t really any instructions aside from recipes, so you get to experiment with a wide range of ingredients. Spending ~30 minutes on cooking in one session can be common occurrence.

Cooking food is quite important at all stages of the game and there isn’t a set type that is best for everything, which is great as it remains relevant throughout the game. Movement speed slowed? Try brewing an elixir to make an Enduring Mushroom Skewer. Or if you need some more cold resistance, whip up some Spicy Meat and Seafood Fry.

Aside from the frame rate, which we’ll cover next, the game has been very smooth so far. From my experience, I haven’t encountered any bugs worth noting, which is really impressive. But do let me know if you’ve encountered any bugs in the comments!

the legend of Zelda breath of the wild cooking
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Cooking

 

The Not So Good

Every game isn’t without it’s issues and as good as this game is, it has it’s fair share. For one thing, there are some frame rate issues. Well, there used to be quite of a bit of them, until a patch ironed it out. Before this patch, the game struggled with grassy areas, zoomed in sections and effect heavy moments (like explosions and such). But from what I’ve been experiencing, these issues occur much less often. Sure, they’re still there and are a little annoying, but it’s great to see a big improvement.

Weapon Durability Could Use Improvement

Let’s talk about weapon durability. The problem with durability is that you can end up with a system where items can either break too quickly or take so long that it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure there are games that have got the balance just right, but if the balance is off, then it can be a little frustrating. Especially when items break too fast. And that’s case with Breath of the Wild. As soon as you acquire stronger weapons, you know you’ll have to say goodbye to them sooner or later. You can lengthen the lifetime of them by stealth attacking when possible and saving your best weapons for when you need them, but there’s room for improvement.

There are moments where motion controls are necessary to complete for example, a puzzle. It feels like more of a gimmick they had to add into the game more than anything else. There is a shrine that requires motion control and it was a nightmare, to say the least. It’s good for the camera and firing arrows, but that’s because it’s optional, unlike that shrine puzzle. Best to leaves things out if they don’t fit.

A Once a Generation Game

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a ‘once in a generation’ game. While there are a few issues, they can largely be ignored as they’re overshadowed by how fulfilling the game is as a whole. From the incredible open world freedom to the charming cooking system, the game offers an unforgettable immersive experience, as you travel throughout Hyrule. If you fancy just gathering wood or cooking some elixirs, you can do just that. The game can easily be played at your pace. For those into their RPGs, open world games and of course, if you’re a Zelda fan, then this is an absolute must buy!

Do you agree or disagree with me? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Pros
  • Breathtaking world, scenery and NPCs make for a incredibly immersive game, one of the best in fact
  • Requires thought before venturing out into the world
  • Harder creatures can be trial and error, which is a good thing, as it allows you to explore ways to beat difficult enemies on your own. This also applies to knowing how to handle harsh environments
  • True open world with ultimate freedom
  • Cooking is a game in itself AND is enjoyable
  • Story is pretty generic, but told well
  • Combat is great fun and a challenge
Cons
  • Can be unforgiving, especially for new players to the genre
  • Motion controls suck
  • Weapons break too quickly
  • Frame rate issues, but less of an issue since patch 1.1.1
  • Not a big fan of the voice overs

 

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