The land of Hyrule has been utterly ravaged, our protagonist Link wakes after a 100 year slumber and sets out on his biggest (in every way!) adventure yet! Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released on March 3rd 2017 for Nintendo’s new flagship console the Switch and Wii U, developed and published by Nintendo.
The story follows Link after he awakens in the Shrine of Resurrection, having lost his memory he steps out into what is arguably the most beautiful rendition of Hyrule to date, and begins his quest to piece together the events that happened 100 years earlier.
For the first time ever Hyrule is completely open to you, there are no loading screens to transition between the different regions, it’s literally right there for you from the word go, heck, you could even head straight to Hyrule Castle and take on Calamity Ganon if you so choose. DISCLAIMER: you will most likely die straight way unless you are some kind of gaming god! I really don’t want to go into the intricacies of the story as I feel you really should experience this for yourself, however I’ll cover the basics for you.
A vile entity known as Calamity Ganon razed Hyrule to the ground 100 years ago and after a fierce confrontation Link is mortally wounded and taken to the Shrine of Resurrection, leaving Princess Zelda behind to face Ganon alone. She manages to seal him inside Hyrule Castle but her power is waning after 100 years and now you must set out on a perilous quest to regain control of 4 mechanical titans known as The Divine Beasts.
These automatons are vital to securing victory over Calamity Ganon and returning peace to Hyrule once more. While journeying through Hyrule you will recover your memories and learn more about your relationship with Zelda as well as learning about the Battle with Calamity Ganon that has lasted for over 10,000 years!
The first time I picked up the Switch controller and took control of Link again, I felt a rush of nostalgia; it was like the first time I picked up Ocarina of Time way back in 1998. The controls are perfect; I was initially worried that I’d struggle with the Joycon controller. It looks quite small and being a person with large hands I thought I’d end up mashing several buttons at once and end up running, jumping or falling to many deaths. This was not the case.
The UI of the game is also very neatly presented, the health bar is nicely set in the top corner as well as a mini map in the bottom, so as not to clutter the screen with a million different icons. As far as gameplay this game has introduced many “firsts” for the series, including weapon degradation – after a certain amount of uses weapons will break, forcing you to think on your feet and use other methods to dispatch your foes.
Physics also play a huge part in this game, you have no idea how satisfying it is to roll a giant boulder onto unsuspecting Moblins at the foot of a hill and watch them get literally bowled over!
There are so many unique things to try in this game, no two players will have the same experience in my opinion.
Another first in this game, and a main cause of controversy for some, are the DLCs. There are two DLC expansions for BotW, the first is already out (The Master Trials) and the second, The Champion’s Ballad, is slated for a Holiday 2017 release. Honestly I don’t mind the DLC, I purchased the Expansion Pass (£17.99) and have enjoyed the first DLC so far. It has added The Trial of the Sword which is very tough – I still haven’t passed it. It also added a Master Mode which is basically a Hard Mode. I have started a gameplay on this and needless to say the difficulty level is ramped up ten fold, I have died many times already!
If I were to list any downsides to this game, I’d have to say from a gameplay perspective I don’t like getting rag-dolled when I get knocked down, especially if it happens to you on a cliff face. It seems to take forever for Link to get back to his feet, which can be irritating when faced with multiple enemies. I don’t know if I’m totally sold on the item breaking mechanic. I get what Nintendo was going for with this but sometimes it’s more of an inconvenience than a challenge.
But as far as cons go that is all I can honestly say from my point of view at least.
One last thing I have to mention is the beautiful, and I mean BEAUTIFUL, Breath of the Wild soundtrack! The musical score that accompanies this game is epic, it’s emotional and just perfect. Eagle eared listeners will hear songs from Zelda games past, with the likes of a gorgeous piano version of the Song of Time (OoT), Dragon Roost Island (Wind Waker) as well as many more. Using a live orchestra that comprises some beautiful traditional Japanese instruments, Nintendo has crafted a truly awe inspiring audio accompaniment to your Adventure.
- Amazing story
- Beautiful soundtrack
- Gorgeous graphics
- Smooth gameplay
- A truly open world
- Friendly UI
- Weapon degradation can be annoying
Final Score: 5/5
What Nintendo have crafted is nothing short of GoTY material, every ounce of the Switches’ power has been amazingly squeezed out to make Breath of the Wild a truly must play experience of any Zelda fan, old and new!