The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for the sake of this review.
Since 1987, the Legend of Zelda has been a franchise that has endured the test of time. It introduced many things that would be mainstay for the series and would serve as inspiration for other games to follow. Now on it’s 30th anniversary, Nintendo decides to pull out all the stops to deliver a game unlike any other… that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Funny since it is not only the last game released for the Nintendo Wii U but also one of the first on the Nintendo Switch. Despite this, the game is everything that Zelda has to offer and then some.
The game’s story takes place 100 years after a calamity destroyed the kingdom of Hyrule. Link wakes from a long slumber, guided by a voice telling him that he must go out and save it once more. However he suffers from amnesia. Despite this, Link heads out into Hyrule, hoping to save it from a threat named Calamity Ganon but also learn the truth about what happened. It’s a story that has me intrigued and at the same time fills me with a lot of questions. Sometimes stories in Zelda take a back seat in favor of gameplay but not in this case. Here, Breath of the Wild provides a story that pays tribute to the franchise while offering something very intriguing. I loved it and by the time I finished the game, it left me with a satisfying feeling and a sense of hope.
Breath of the Wild is a departure from many other Zelda games. Although it does kind of borrow elements from games like Elder Scrolls, you can’t deny that Nintendo actually took a chance to change something that has worked and make it better. For starters, the world of Hyrule actually feels like an open world, not to mention a lot bigger. Though you are quite limited at it in the beginning, once you get the Paraglider then the real fun begins. You aren’t limited to just following objectives. It’s up to you to decide what to do from here. This is the freedom this game gives you and I like it. Not that it’s a bad thing. The game introduces a nifty item, the Sheikah Slate. It is a tablet that allows Link to do a variety of functions like forming bombs, ice platforms or even trap things. It can also get upgrades that add more to the device. Pretty nifty. It also replaces items that we’ve used many times in the Zelda series.
As you progress, you have the option to collect gear such as weapons, shields, bows, outfits, etc. You need them to survive the harsh environment. Unlike previous Zelda games, you don’t use hearts to restore health. You use food. They can be collected, eaten up or cooked to create dishes that provide various effects. Speaking of effects, they can range from resistance to various elements to providing temporary health. The possibilities are endless and they even work on elixirs too. With all this, the game offers a lot to do and how you do it depends on you, again the freedom. You can move about either on foot, horseback, swim if you’re in water or you can glide. If there’s a wall or mountain, you can climb. Know that doing any of it drains your stamina. If it runs out while doing any of it, you have to wait until it’s filled up.
Every Zelda game always has dungeons that put your skills to the test. Breath of the Wild has plenty of them in the form of shrines. Shrines are mini-dungeons and there are 120 of them. Some require simple puzzle solving. Others involve a test of combat. Tackling them is simple but finding them is the challenging part. Completing them nets you Shrine Orbs, which you can exchange for more health or stamina. As for the actual dungeons, they take the form of the four Divine Beasts. They require a bit of puzzle solving, culminating with a boss battle at the end. The bosses are a challenge and depending on your equipment can determine the outcome.
Breath of the Wild has additional new features. Link can now jump with a button press. It can be useful for exploration or in battle with the Flurry Rush. If you time your evasion well enough, you go into a matrix-style slowdown and then follow it up with a series of strikes that can damage your enemies. It’s nifty and for anyone that masters this can be unstoppable. Another thing they included and one I feel isn’t the most useful of additions is durability. No weapon lasts forever and they’ll break. When that happens, expect to switch to a new one fast. You can always throw the damaged weapon to an enemy for double damage so there’s a workaround. It’s not limited to weapons like swords, axes or bows. Your shield can also break if it absorbs too much damage. Gear can get upgraded too with the help of the Great Fairies. You need to trade items in order to do so.
Breath of the Wild’s length depends on the player and how he goes about it. Since it does depend on the player, there is an insane amount of replay value. On average, the game can be beaten in roughly 16 hours but to complete everything, it goes beyond into the hundreds. Even now players always find ways to go around and that’s really cool. If you wonder about Amiibo support, there’s plenty. Scanning Amiibos like the Legend of Zelda line can net you stuff and they depend. If you’re lucky, you’ll get rare garb that you can use to dress up.
Presentation-wise, the game is fantastic and colorful. It is a marvel whether playing it on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch. It is marvelous. The music is amazing. I recommend giving a listen to some tracks so you can see how great they are. Character models are pretty good, with Link being my favorite since he can express himself in many ways. Also, a first for the Zelda series, the game has full voice acting. I was surprised they included this. Link is still mute but as for some of the other characters, they are pretty good. It’s a nice addition and one we waited for quite some time. The game is also on the Wii U but it has some problems on the frame rate department. They are minor at best but if you’re on the Switch, it’s consistent and flawless. Overall, both Wii U and Switch are similar if anything.
In conclusion, Breath of the Wild is a game that offers many firsts to the series. It does borrow stuff from other games but it brings it’s own flavor into the mix. Fitting that this serves as a farewell to the Wii U and a welcome to Nintendo’s new Switch console. Despite some shortcomings, you can’t deny that this game is truly one to behold. Great combat, amazing presentation, addicting gameplay and high replay value all add up to a game that just screams perfect, despite some faults. Nintendo nailed it and it’s going to be a game people will be talking about for a very long time.
I give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a perfect 10 out of 10. It is worth your money whether on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch.