The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
How rare is it for a video game to come along and flirt with a perfect rating barely an hour into playing it for the first time? Right at the start, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had me enamored and mesmerized. With stylistic visuals and a seemingly limitless world to explore, there’s never a dull moment.
In a generation where realistic graphics reign supreme in video games, BotW sports a very stylized look. This very unique look makes for so many breathtaking experiences. Whether you’re scaling mountains or riding around on a horse, everything looks beautiful. A great as days look, nights look even more magnificent as the moon and the stars light up the sky.
This world is not only beautiful but also unforgiving. You truly have to fend for yourself and use survival tactics to stay alive. Enemies no longer drop hearts to heal you when destroyed, rather different types of items like meats, body parts, etc., which will then need to be combined and cooked to create meals and elixirs. These items will heal you and help you against any environmental conditions that may come your way. Weapons and shields break in BotW. This forces you take a very strategic approach when fighting enemies.
Breaking weapons and a pretty smart AI system make fighting a challenge. Though you can literally walk up to any enemy in the game and challenge them, that doesn’t make that a smart idea at all. You’ll have to prepare if you want to take on certain battles. Completing shrines to increase your heart meter and stamina wheel and finding Korok seeds to increase your weapon inventory are vital to progressing in BotW. Make sure you don’t forget about your Runes, as those will assist you in taking down some enemies.
One huge part of BotW is the change of weather and the effects that come with each change. Thunderstorms are fierce. Forcing you to not only be mindful of your environment, but also the weapons you’re holding. If you’re standing on or swimming in water, lightning will kill you. If you’re holding onto a weapon made of metal, or with metal pieces on it, lightning will kill you as well. If you find yourself high in the snowy mountains or in the desert at night, you will have to either be wearing warm clothes, standing by a fire or holding onto a lit torch to stay warm. Warm meals and cold resistant elixirs will also help you survive in the freezing conditions.
Outside of the first story mission which is pretty much mandatory to progress, there is so much to do in BotW without doing a single story or side mission. For a better part of my time playing, I did nothing but explore the map, locating towers and shrines. This alone was ridiculously fun. There was always a sense of accomplishment when I managed to climb towers that I probably shouldn’t have climbed. As frustrating as some shrines could be, they always seemed to provide something different. Some were relatively simple and straightforward, as others forced you to use your brain and imagination.
I can admittedly say that I have not yet beat BotW, nor do I plan on doing so right away. That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to give it rating. I’m enjoying every second of it. Whether I’ve managed to reach mountaintops or destroy a huge troll, BotW always seems to have something new “around each corner”. Hunting, cooking, exploring and side quests are enough to keep me hooked, and that’s rare for a video games.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a game that truly makes player feel free, and stands amongst the best sandbox video games out there. Implementing ideas from video games from Assassins Creed to Skyrim to Red Dead Redemption, but NEVER losing the fact this game is a Legend of Zelda game through and through. Whether you’re a player that likes to explore the crap out of any open world game you play, or storm through the story, this game has something for all gamers. An added perk for Switch owners is the ability to take BotW WHEREVER you go and play it whenever… Though I’ve heard it’s equally as amazing on the Wii U.