Finally we get a new Zelda! The anticipation since we heard that the new Zelda would be an open world Zelda was through the roof, but at the same time i was cautiously optimistic since i was not really a big fan of Skyward Sword.
Breath of the Wild returns to the “you are here, go do your thing” style of gameplay of the original Zelda for the NES. In other words, you are dropped down in a huge world with limited instructions and no one to hold your hand like Naavi or Fi.
The game is huge in scope and Hyrule is so vast that after around 50 hours of playing i have not nearly covered all the map and i am not even close to be running out of things to do. I’ve been having a fantastic time all play-through and i think that this game is one of the better games i have played in years.
I played the Wii U version so this review/discussion is solely based on my experience with the Wii U version. Also this is maybe not a traditional review but rather a discussion on what i felt could have made the game a perfect 10 (spoilers i am giving the game a 9,5 score). That being said there might be minor spoilers in the article which is mostly aimed at others who have already cleared the game.
So i think it is pretty much established that Breath of the Wild is great, huge in scope and perhaps the best Zelda ever made. I just have a few points to address that would have made the game a 10/10 for me and therefore one of the few best games ever made (top 5 maybe)
-Frame rate issues
-Only four main quest dungeons
-Rito getting the short end of the stick
-Not enough story/lore
-Cave of Trials is DLC
First is the frame rate issue. Not a whole lot to say here but the framerate drops in towns and when you are fighting a lot are just not acceptable. This is just not good enough… It does not ruin the gameplay but it can get annoying and kinda takes you out of the moment. I hope that this is a patchable problem but i doubt it will be fixed 100% any time soon.
Second is the length of the main quest. Tell me if I’m being super unreasonable but in most Zelda games you clear 3 dungeons, something happens (like getting the Master Sword, becoming adult Link) and you get to the second portion of the game.
After the four dungeons is was kinda expecting a bit more, at least one more dungeon concerning the Master Sword, Deku Tree or some of the widely unused regions in the game like the rain-foresty Faron region for example.
I know that there is a shitload of stuff to do but i have little interest in doing more shrines after obtaining the Master Sword. I’ve done like 50, gotten some stamina and a bunch of heart containers so i feel like it’s enough and i really don’t want to do shrines anymore.
Third is the Rito clan portion of the main quest. I looved the fact that the birds were back but i was a bit disappointed that their quest was by far the shortest and easiest one of all. You find the bird guy, he helps you break the shields of the bird dungeon, you enter, you do the dungeon, over.
I loved the Rito village, but i felt it wasn’t big enough. Their area was just one tower basically… The Gerudo got a whole desert, a town, a bazaar, a Yiga clan hideout and then the guardian beast which is a lot more than the Rito got.
The music for the Rito Village (Dragon Roost Island remix) is soo amazing to listen to. I feel like i can stay there forever even though there is not a lot of stuff to do which is a shame.
Fourth is the lack of story/lore. You might think I’m being unreasonable but i wanted to be told more about the game’s setting. I wanted to know more about Hyrule, the characters, the environment and wanted to get to know the characters a bit better. The memories you find through the game were great. I wanted maybe more of that and less shrines. I’m the kind of person that liked Metal Gear Solid 4 and Witcher 3 which is just cutscene after cutscene and talk, talk talk. I guess people got tired of that and just wanted to play the game. For me this was a bit of an over-correction.
Fifth is the Cave of Trials being DLC. I realize that after clearing the game there is a bunch of shit to do, but not much offers great challenge. I feel like a cave of trials was needed right of the bat to keep gamers more engaged and not just have them grind shrines.
Then again maybe i just haven’t found the more challenging bosses yet, i guess I’ll find out…
Still, I’m not against DLC in any way as long as the developers deliver a final product on release date. Not having the Cave of Trials feels like the game is not a complete product.
I’m not sure if a game needs to be perfect in every way to get a 10 out of 10. 9,75 rounds up to 10 in my books and if these 5 issues would have been fixed i would give the game 10 out of 10.
Common complaints that do not bother me are:
–Weapon durability, sure it stops the combat for a moment but it complements the exploration aspect of the game well and makes the special weapons feel a lot more special. Don’t get too attached to the more common weapons, just use them and find more later.
–Music, yeah the game rehashes a lot of old tunes but it also has a bunch of great new ones even though most of them are minimalistic they are still beautiful and a joy to listen to. If you don’t remember any new tracks then maybe it is because they blend in perfectly with the environment. I mentioned the Dragon Roost Island remix, then there is of course the main theme which is amazing. The Hyrule Castle theme is also amazing.
Breath of the Wild makes up for many of the flaws above by being a pure joy to play and for creating a beautiful world that is extremely fun and easy to explore. Climbing and gliding between mountaintops is a freedom and versatility that you don’t get in games like Witcher 3 or Skyrim.
Treasure hunting, climbing and gliding in the 3 islands on the eastern end of the map was one of the most fun i had in the game, and that is just one of probably dozens of places like that. “Enjoying the view” is a new aspect I’ve come to like in these open world games and that is a fantastic thing. Video games are truly the ultimate art form in the contemporary world. Scenery, story, music, art, entertainment…. Breath of the Wild has it all, even though i wish they had put more emphasis in the story and in the lore Zelda world.
The puzzles are clever and challenging, but almost never annoying or unreasonably difficult. The shrines are fun but i think the game emphasizes too much on them. Sometimes i wish i could get pieces of heart for mini games like in the good old days or even a whole heart container for the more bigger side quests like the dragon quests.
Some boss fights i liked more than others but generally i found them really enjoyable. The combat is overall really enjoyable. The variety of weapons is good, bow mechanics are great also but i missed some of the moves that were so fun to use in Twilight Princess like the side jump roll thingy and the helm splitter.
One thing i do not think the game gets enough credit for is loading times. I have been playing Resident Evil 7 on PS4 and some Witcher 3 on my PC and the loading times are atrocious compared to Breath of the Wild.
I would only give a handful of games a 10/10. Games like Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Then come games like Witcher III, Original Zelda, Mega Man 2, Chrono Trigger, Mario 3 and Mario 64 and stuff like that perhaps come close to a 10 (just to put things in perspective) so a 10/10 should not be taken lightly. Breath of the Wild comes up a little bit short of the 10/10 but it is still truly one of the best games i have played in a long long time.
Lasting Appeal 9,5
Is it fun? 9,5
Overall 9,5 a masterpiece!