In The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, after a 100-year slumber Link wakes with no memories and no clue what has happened to Hyrule.
He will have to gather the pieces of his past as well as his strength to not only save the Princess but the entire world.
With a sweet, familiar voice to guide him and the threat of world’s destruction, he sets out to conquer the cleverly designed shrine puzzles and release Hyrule from the dark clutches of Calamity Gannon.
Players will have to manage Health and Stamina as they traverse a rather large open world that is said to be twelve times larger than the overworld in Twilight Princess. Link can climb just about anything and everything, if you can see it, chances are that you can visit it. Players need to watch Link’s Stamina, though, as climbing drains it fairly quickly and falling halfway down a cliff hurts! Luckily, this time Link comes equipped with a paraglider after players finish the Plateau tutorial area. There is just something special about leaping off a huge cliff and gliding down just taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Link can also cook up the ingredients he finds scattered around the landscape to make delicious foods and elixirs that can restore Hearts, grant buffs and even temporarily grant more Heart Containers. All you need is a fire with a cookpot on top to craft those tasty treats.
Combat in Breath of the Wild is great, there’s an emphasis on strategy and planning out the best move for the situation.
Often, running headlong into battle is not the wisest move and will, more often than not, leave you with Game Over. Being sneaky and taking out enemy sentries or using the Sheikah Slate Rune to create bombs to decimate enemy encampments are the way to go. There are multiple creative ways to engage all types of enemies. It is easy to stumble upon an extremely dangerous enemy that is hard to escape and that can one-shot kill you with no trouble. Don’t get too attached to your weapons either! They break, a lot. Luckily though most enemies drop their weapons, shields and arrows. Progress feels constant and you never feel overpowered or like you’re left to struggle. Every time a weapon breaks you can be sure that there is a newer and stronger weapon just about within reach, it always feels like solid progression. Very early on, Link gains access to an ancient piece of tech known as a Sheikah Slate that allows the use of a map and the ability to create waypoints. After discovering certain Runes, Link will gain the ability of special powers, such as creating bombs or stopping time for a certain object for a short period.
Related: Final Fantasy XV
Players can either work their way through the main campaign or tackle the multitude of side quests and activities at their leisure. With the world feeling so alive with activity, players are sure to get side-tracked often. There are also wild horses grazing out in the plains for you to sneak up on and tame. Once tame, a horse can be brought back to a Stable Master and registered for you to stable or pick up at any time. Horses work on a bonding system where, if it is acting up or not following your directions, press L to soothe your trusty steed and they will learn over time what it is you expect from them. You can also feed your horse to gain a bit more respect and build up your bond. Do not forget to name your new buddy when you register him to give him that much more personality!
The graphics are rather nice with the Anime-style they were going for, very clean textures and bright crisp colours. Character designs look well done and fit in with what you’d expect from current generation consoles. The animations are fluid and it is great to see each NPC going about their daily business, it really makes the open world feel lived in. The only hiccup is that in TV mode on the Nintendo Switch the framerate would dip while there was a lot going on within the screen. It doesn’t happen all of the time and only happens in TV mode. In saying that we reviewed the game on the new Nintendo Switch and graphically it is going to be a bit different to the WiiU version.
The sound found within the game is pretty spot on, the soundtrack is catchy and in-game sounds are clean and easy to distinguish. The use of voiced cutscenes adds wonderfully to the immersion. While Link is mostly a silent protagonist, the usage of branching dialogue options gives the player a sense of ownership over Link and actually helps build the bond between the player and Link himself. Whether playing in TV mode or as a handheld, players are really in for a treat.
There is a lack of direct tutorials and players will have to figure a lot out on their own, however, they are there if you’re willing to look. Within a shrine puzzle for example that teaches you how to dodge. Easily passable and easy to miss, though keeping an eye out, players should have no trouble.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is out now on Nintendo WiiU and the new Nintendo Switch. If you are a long time Legend of Zelda fan or this is your first journey together with Link, you won’t be disappointed in the One Hundred plus hours you are more than likely going to spend together.
All images captured by Author
Weapon breaking little too often