My family purchased a Nintendo Switch as a Christmas present. Along with the console we purchased two games – Super Mario: Odyssey and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. I’ve been playing Mario since Christmas and have enjoyed every minute of it, but Zelda sat on the shelf waiting to be opened. Last week I dusted off the case and inserted the game card.
Boy am I glad I did.
I’ve never played Skyrim, though I’ve watched my children at they ventured around that world. Breath Of The Wild reminds me a lot of that game, but with enough twists and differences to keep the game feeling like the Zelda with which I grew up 1. The map is immense, and there is a real sense of life in the landscape as you travel from place to place. It’s pretty cool.
This might be the first Zelda since the original to capture the childhood adventures which served as the inspiration for the game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. Link wakes up in a strange room, with no memory of how he got there or who he is. From there you emerge into what appears to be a world full of ruins and devoid of people. This game does have more hints than the original game, but the world is so huge they do little to hold a players hand as they explore. Even better, Breath Of The Wild regains the non-linear approach to the original game. After the tutorial 2 Players are able to complete the game in any fashion they choose.
I have not been a gamer for many years, as I’d rather be creating something than playing someone else’s creation, but Breath Of The Wild has captured my interest. I mean, I enjoyed messing around with the last three Zelda games, but never to the point of being invested in completing the story. This is different.
First, the ability to just go explore is fantastic. I’ve been off the beaten path for much of my game playing time, just to see what the view might be from the next mountain over. I don’t feel as though I’m being pushed to the next point of the story as much as I feel I’m helping write it. That’s pretty cool.
Second, the mystery of the story itself is compelling. This is a world which has fallen apart, and Link is a blank slate character in it. He has no idea what’s waiting for him, and most of the surviving population has no idea what fate awaits it should Link not succeed, and it adds a nice bit of tension to the game. I want Link to find his place in this new world, and I want this world to have a future. That’s very good design.
Third, the gameplay is fantastic. This is not a hack and slash adventure. Most times, entering into combat is ill-advised. Stealth is a far more effective skill in many parts of the over world. This adds a level of complexity to the game which I find refreshing.
The game is far from perfect. I cannot stand how quickly weapons break and the cooking process is tedious. But those are quibbles compared to wonder of experiencing this world. I recommend!