The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild First Impressions
Greetings! Besides anime and card games, I also have been a life long video gamer. My quest started when I was a bright eyed youth when I received a NES as a gift (Yes I am dating myself with that statement.) One of the first games I received was a little title by the name of The Legend of Zelda (not sure if you have heard of that one). The game even though it was difficult for my 6 yr old self was always one of my favorites and helped to establish for me the notion that Zelda is one of the great gaming franchises. Fast forward to the present day and Zelda is in the spotlight again with the release of Breath of the Wild.
I have been playing the game for around 30 hours at the time of this post and while I am far from finished I thought I would share my thoughts about the game so far. Also this “review” is based off my experiences playing the Wii U version (I know I’m a scrub for getting the Wii U version).
First and Foremost, I want to say that this game looks gorgeous and has a great atmosphere to it. Breath of the Wild has a world which feels complete and lived in. There are multiple means to get to a particular destination and each path is worth traveling for one reason or another. There are plenty of secrets to discover, stories to hear, and characters to meet along the way. The world strikes the perfect balance of being full and being empty at the same time. In addition, I am a fan of the art style they chose for the game which certainly seems to be a mix of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. It certainly has a myth like feel to the art style which really fits the series well. While the amount of detail isn’t as intense as other games, I wasn’t bothered by it.
The Zelda franchise has been known for amazing soundtracks and Breath of the Wild has a very pleasant soundtrack to listen to. This time however, the soundtrack doesn’t flood the world. In fact music only keys in when you reach certain landmarks or engage in specific events. The whole less is more adage applies with the game. The lack of a soundtrack during a good portion of the game really does wonders by adding a sense of isolationism to the game.
Many have touted Breath of the Wild as one of the most difficult Zelda installments, and I would have to agree. You will die quite a bit the early going. You will burn through resources quickly. Tough enemies are spread all over the map and it can be very easy to bump into one of them by accident. However, while this game is difficult it is not impossible and after a little bit of time (especially once you finish on the opening section) you have the tools and knowledge that you need to survive. The world is so vast that there are plenty of sections where it is you against the world. But there are also plenty safe havens where you can regroup. While the game doesn’t hold your hand by telling you how to accomplish a goal, many of the goals and puzzles are pretty intuitive with a little thought. I have rarely found myself frustrated with an area or puzzle and if I can’t go any further, I know that I can always come back and try it again later.
I also have to give props to the shrines and dungeons of the game. The shrines are short ventures which don’t punish you for failing the first time. They contain puzzles, combat trials, or rooms which can teach you some new tricks that you can do with the tools you have.The shrines were a great idea as they can be a fair challenge but they are fun to hunt down and explore. I have explored one dungeon at the time of this post and I liked what they did with it. The dungeon was a bit different that what we typically see with the combat element being minor and the main focus being on puzzles. There was a boss at the end which was executed really well.
I also have to give props to the way the story has been handled so far. You can find out as much or as little about you got there as you want. If you do explore the past, then you are in for a treat. The game contains cut scenes with voice acting and that is really a nice touch. The cut scenes are a nice addition by making the characters feel more alive and by adding an extra level of emotion to what is happening. I liked that they took the story element in a different direction this time around.
The game controls function pretty well and the Link handles better than expected. The game responds well to the commands you issue and I can say that I haven’t had any deaths due to poor response from the game. The game does use a mix of motion and button controls and the need for motion controls is kept to a minimum unless the player wishes to use some functions. The camera function is pretty solid with a few hiccups here and there but those were easy to recover from. Overall, you can smoothly navigate Link through Hyrule without much difficulty.
While there are a lot of positives to be had in this game, there are a couple of small things which I wish they had done a bit better. These center around the inventory system. Inventory management while not terrible can be a bit clunky at times. There are a lot of button presses involved to eat, cook or equip something in the inventory menu. I would have like an interface which allowed me more time to play and explore instead of pressing 3 buttons to unequip or drop an item. It would have been a nice touch to add a drop function to the quick menus to avoid having to go to the inventory menu to drop a weapon that you don’t anymore- it would have made gameplay a little smoother.
While I am a fan of the breakable weapon system, one thing I wish that would have been included was a durability rating on the weapons. This would be useful when comparing weapons to decide which to keep and which to not. Sure some of the weapons are marked with bonuses which does help but especially with the shields and bows, it would be nice to have a reference as to which would last longer on screen.
Overall, Breath of the Wild is an amazing game. It certainly the best one to come along in a while. The game captures what has always been great about the Zelda franchise and adds in exciting new elements which makes this installment more challenging and more satisfying to play. If you haven’t already, pick this game up. It is certainly worth the investment.
Those are my thoughts on Breath of the Wild. What do you think about the game? Please comment below. I hope that will be the start of a string of new content on this page so stay tuned. If you enjoy my content please follow me on twitter (@Railgunfan75) for news and updates. So until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off and heading to tackle the next shrine. See ya soon!