My long overdue review of Breath of The Wild is finally here. Is this game truly a perfect 10/10? Read on to find out what I think of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild.
Breath of The Wild hides it’s age well. What do I mean by that? This game has fantastic lighting that hides a lot of the visual shortcomings. Whenever I climb a mountain, and that’s often, I can easily make out the muddy, low res textures. It’s not a major issue, but this game can’t compete with any other open world game that’s released in recent memory.
All isn’t bad with the graphics. This game can be absolutely gorgeous a times. The opening scene at the very beginning of the game took my breath away. It’s one of the best moments I’ve ever had in gaming and it really set the tone for the rest of the game. The different biomes look good, with the exception of Death Mountain. Navigating my way through the icy mountains, and the watery Zora domain was brilliant. Going to the edge of a high mountain and watching the sunset is something I haven’t done since I played The Witcher 3 and Skyrim. There aren’t many games that’ll make me stop what I’m doing and just take everything in around me. I’ve had some special moments in this game.
The only reason why this isn’t in the bad section is because of the animation quality. The animations in this game are smooth and it’s easy to navigate Link. The gameplay is like a casual Dark Souls. Link stands in one spot and wildly swings his sword back and forth like an untrained conscript instead of like a true master swordsman like he’s supposed to be. Rolling is gone and the only way to dodge enemies is by sidestepping left, right, or backward. If you time your dodge you’ll enter slow-mo mode and have a chance to fuck up your foe with a bunch of swings. This is a good way to break your weapon if you’re not careful though.
Climbing is a huge part of this game now. At first, it was a real chore because I had a tiny stamina bar, no climbing gear, and it took me forever to reach the top of the smallest mountains. After 60 hours it was easy because I had different tonics to drink, nice climbing gear that increased my climbing speed, and a huge stamina wheel.
Link also has access to something called a Sheikah Slate, or Switch if you feel like being funny, that allows him to use bombs, freeze water to make ice pillars, slow time on certain objects, and magnetize certain objects. All of these can be combined in just about any way you can imagine. Do you want to send a boulder sailing across the sky? Go for it. Do you want to use a homemade lighting rod and throw at your enemies? You can do that too, but I’ll get into more details on that later.
This game offers us many different ways of playing, but I mainly used the traditional way and that’s hacking shit to pieces because it’s what worked the best for me.
Breath of The Wild is a huge game, but it’s a barren one. I understand that it’s supposed to be because of the story, but I wasn’t completely invested in this world like I was in other open world games. There are plenty of shrines, kurok seeds, and memories to find, but only one of those three options are fun for me to do. After my first run with the shrines I couldn’t bring myself to do them again. Especially those horrible motion control ones.
The weather plays a huge part in the world. It’s more than just changing the color of the sky and hearing booming thunder. This game actually changes when the weather does. If I’m climbing a mountain when it’s raining I’ll slip and fall right down. It’s not a mechanic that I like, but it was really cool the first few times it happened to me. My favorite weather mechanic is the lightning. I had no idea I could get struck by lightning in this game. I was walking around in a thunderstorm in a full set of steel armor. Imagine my surprise when it started sparking and I died from a huge thunderbolt. When that I happened I started to experiment with my metal weapons against bigger opponents.
The issue, for me, is a lot of things. The villages that I visited were nice looking, but unmemorable, outside of climbing Far Cry towers to unlock the world there were very little points of interest. I’ve spent almost 100 hours in this game and some regions have next to nothing in them besides shrines and korok seeds. I enjoyed finding hidden areas, but I quickly grew tired of it because there are no good rewards for doing it. In Skyrim, and The Witcher 3 my exploration is often rewarded with great loot that I can keep for the rest of my playthrough. It’s not that way in this game because everything breaks. When I found a new weapon at the end of a shrine I was disappointed. I would rather have rupees or a new piece of armor.
This is another category that I almost had as a negative. The soundtrack is nice when it decides to play. The classic tunes from previous Zelda games are here and they’re nice, but most of the new songs that were introduced are forgettable. I can’t recall a single track from this game outside of the ones that I’ve heard from previous games. The voice acting is average and it’s shame because Nintendo should have gone all out on their first Zelda game with voice acting. There is good quality in the sound effects. Smacking an enemy with a big piece of wood or getting zapped by lightning sounds great, but it’s not enough for me to put it in my great section.
I know I just finished bitching about how I didn’t like doing every shrine twice but hear me out. Each shrine has a small puzzle to complete before you can move on and collect your reward. I would prefer the longer, more interesting puzzles of yesteryear, but what we have here isn’t bad. Some of the puzzles are really unique while others are really easy. The motion control ones, which is why this isn’t in the great section, ruined the game for me. I never bothered to complete every motion control puzzle in the game. I don’t want to turn my Switch, or Wii U pad, around to navigate a stupid ball into a socket.
I never had a need to capture horses because I had Epona. I did track down Zelda’s horse, and Ganon’s gigantic horse, but I stuck with Link’s horse for my entire playthrough. Riding on Epona is fun, but I don’t like the stamina mechanic in the game. I would prefer your standard stamina bar over the stupid hoof symbols. I can’t hide them and they just annoy me. The horses control okay, but it’s far from the best that I’ve played in other games.
The story is as forgettable as they come. Link wakes up from a 100-year coma and he has to rush out and save Zelda by defeating Ganon again. The story is mostly told through Link’s memories, but they’re not very interesting memories. The main plot is actually really average and I never cared about Link, Zelda, or any of their companions that died in battle. Hopefully, the upcoming expansion will add more to the story and make me care about Hyrule.
Nintendo is forcing their stupid motion controls on us again. This game would be just fine without them, but I won’t ever complete every shrine because of the motion controls. Why do this to me Nintendo? I want to love your game and you’re preventing me from doing that :).
I said in a podcast that I didn’t mind the weapon durability, but after putting some time in this game on my Switch I’ve changed my mind on it. I don’t want to have to worry about my weapons breaking in battle anymore. It’s tedious and doesn’t really add anything to the game. Hyrule must have the worst blacksmith because there’s no way a knight’s claymore should break after killing a few enemies. This mechanic has been a hot topic for a while now. Some people love it and some people hate it. I don’t love or hate it. It’s just there and I would prefer the option to turn it off or at least let us repair our gear by taking it to a blacksmith like I can in other open world games.
Stealth plays a role in this game and it’s terrible. I can do without it in future Zelda games.
The only side quest I can remember off the top of my head is the one that involves finding Zelda’s horse and that quest is decent at best. The side quests in this game are a joke and the rewards are too. I eventually stopped talking to NPCs altogether because I didn’t care what they had to say or what stupid little quest they had for me to do.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is a great game, but it’s far from perfect. I love the freedom and open world. I love that I can choose a direction and take my time with the story, but I wish this world had more to offer me and I think a direct sequel to this game has a ton of potential to be the game that everyone else claims it is. Breath of The Wild is really good, but it’s no masterpiece.