Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

One Zelda to rule them all. 

Like so many other Nintendo fans out there, the Zelda series has been my favorite gaming franchise for years. At the same time, I’ve found that with recent 3D iterations, Nintendo has been lacking in originality. Most games from Ocarina of Time onward have been relatively similar and refused to deviate too far from the conceits established by previous titles. Breath of the Wild was exactly what I was looking for in a new Zelda game. It still has enough of the characters, enemies and places from the past to keep a level of familiarity but deliver new concepts and enhancements to gameplay to really set it apart.

The combat can seem pretty unforgiving when first starting out in Breath of the Wild. The perishable weapon system is a bit annoying at first however once you realize that weapons and shields can be found almost anywhere, that feeling goes away pretty quickly. There is a lot more skill involved when taking on enemies this time around as well. As opposed to previous 3D Zelda games, there can very easily be situations where it might be better to simply walk (or run for your life) away from. The longer you play, the better (theoretically) you’ll get at combat which in turn makes you feel more powerful. Pair all of this with the abilities from the Sheikah Slate, there really is a lot you can do not only in terms of combat, but also for exploration.

Hyrule itself takes center stage in this adventure. The climbing mechanic, something new for the series, as well as the stamina wheel continue on in making Breath of the Wild feel like a modern, fresh experience. Changes in weather can even be deadly if you’re not careful, making exploration more treacherous than ever. Regardless, the game does a good job at making you want to explore the exotic locales, find hidden secrets and meet tons of interesting NPCs.

One of the best facets of the game is how the whole system of dungeons has been flipped upside down with the introduction of the Divine Beasts and more importantly, the shrines scattered throughout the game world. While the Beast levels have a clearer connection to the story and offer some interesting puzzles of their own, the shrines are where the game shines. The variety basically pulls from the best parts of Zelda dungeons and puts them into bitesized mini challenges. Getting through them requires players to rack their brains and to make use of that Sheikah Slate. Every shrine offers something a little bit different, and with completing some of the more difficult ones, it really gives a great sense of accomplishment.

Breath of the Wild clearly shows that Nintendo is fully capable of making a beautiful modern game that fans and developers will be looking back on for years to come. It does suffer from some technical hiccups here and there (hello occasionally bogged down framerate) but it hardly takes away from the overall level of quality. The game is simply masterful.

Final Score: 10.0


Aaron Brown said...

The constant need to cook or change gear didn't hinder your experience? I think it would be better off with quick recipes and conditional equipping--say you could pre-set a few sets of gear and it automatically equipped depending on when you're fighting, crouched for stealth, climbing, in cold areas, etc. Nice review, though for sure.

Dannybiv said...

I kind of liked cooking. I would usually do a cooking session for a bit to stock up on things. With the gear, I would only change if I absolutely had to. But you bring up some great points. It would have been nice to have quick recipes and some kind of pre-sets for the gear. It still didn't take away from the overall experience for me, though.

Chrys said...

When i started playing zelda i was really intimidated by the cooking and ot at all looking forward to it. I was immensely surprised when i realized about halfway through that i had made it that far with only cooking to satisfy a quest. I did indeed play through this entire game without relying on cooking and thats the simple beauty of this game that anyway works, however you want to play that will be how you beat it.

Highly impressed with BOTW. I still don't cook or understand how it works but im 125 hours in and never had a need for it.