Platform Played: Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development
Release Date: March 3, 2017
I am a big fan of the Zelda series and when I was finally able to pick up a Nintendo Switch (December) Breath of the Wild was one of the first games on my list.
This game has received a lot of hype and negative reviews have not been taken to kindly however I always review games on how I view them and not the way others want me to otherwise what is the point. Another thing is that my reviews are always out later than game releases due to the fact I am not predominantly a game reviewer and therefore do not receive games earlier than release and I only review games that I have finished. That being said lets continue:
One thing I noticed about Breath of the Wild (BotW) when first starting the game cart and many other times since, the Nintendo Switch’s cooling fans will kick in for about a minute. I looked into this issue and it turns out that this is a common fault and you shouldn’t be concerned that your switch is overheating. You should feel cold air coming out the vents and it shouldn’t last longer than a minute.
The game from the very start looks absolutely stunning, I really appreciate the art style they have gone for, it really does makes everything look beautiful and I am sure it’s pushing the Switch to it’s very limit. There isn’t much sounds as you progress through the game and this is okay. Most of the sounds will be background noise and this I appreciated as it matched the tone of the game.
Lets get straight into the controversial decision to include weapon breakages. This has been may peoples issue with BotW, you find lots of weapons as you progress through the world however you can only use it a certain amount of time before it breaks. Luckily you can collect korok seeds found throughout the world which can be traded for extra weapon slot spaces (also applies to shields and bows). The problem though isn’t that the weapons break, you will collect more than you will know what to do with, the issue is how quickly they can break. Seriously I could fight one enemy and go through 3 different weapons. Another problem people will have is that once they find a favorite weapon they may put it aside and not use it. I found myself doing this quite a lot and there really wasn’t a need.
Weapons, shields and bow’s all break (apart from one) they can’t be mended or brought back, once they are gone they are gone.
Staying on the subject of weapons, each weapon can act in different ways, one thing that really amazed me with the level of detail in this game. In a freezing cold area and want to heat up? use a ice sword to cool your body down. In a thunder storm? do not equip anything metal or you will get struck! See an huge snowball? stand next to it with a heat sword and it will melt. See a fire or in a very hot area? don’t walk through it with a wooden shield or bow as they will catch on fire… very clever stuff. Side note, you can use your shield to shield surf! a great way to get down a hill although be warned this will effect its life.
Something that some people miss, you can purchase a house if you hold enough rupees. Another great way to store items.
The story itself isn’t that great in my opinion but that doesn’t really matter. As soon as you get out of the first area you are free to travel the world as you see fit. There is more than enough things around the world to keep you entertained including multiple side quests (mostly fun) Shrines which hold within trials that could be a battle or puzzles to solve. Link’s memories to find and of course the main game quests.
Going back to puzzles as clearing these shrines will grant you an orb which can be traded in for extra life hearts or stamina. You will need life hearts as they will make progressing some of games enemies easier and stamina for running, fighting and climbing. The higher the stamina bar the higher you can climb……apart from when it’s raining, which is also another of the games faults! Yes it looks pretty when it does rain and yes it’s great that it makes link slip when he does climb but when you can’t progress until the rain stops it can become very frustrating. This also applies to lighting touches.
The shire puzzles are for the most part, fantastic! they can sometimes be a puzzle to find the shrine in the first place. There are tons and tones of these shrines which also once found can be used as fast travel points. Some of the puzzles use motion controls which aren’t the easiest to use. However I did get a kick out of realizing you could use metal weapons as a way to connect electric points! genius!
One other little niggle I had with the game and that was cooking. You will need to learn how to cook in this game by mixing foods to make meals to replenish your health or bugs and monsters to create elixirs! this itself isn’t a problem, the problem is that no where is there anyway to store these recipes! your choices are to either remember or keep a pen and pad handy.
Combat is extremely fun, I never got board of the combat in the game however I did miss having dungeons and boss fights. You will come across what I would call mini boss battles (or harder enemies) and there are some sort of boss battles in the main quests however these aren’t the same as previous games.
I did like that fact that one of the games cyclops enemies holds weapons around his neck and there is a stealthy way to get them without entering into a battle…..I’ll leave this to you to find out.
Don’t be concerned that you are running out of enemies to fight in this huge world as they will spawn at every red moon, a little to often for my liking but this is personal preference.
All in all, this is one of the best Zelda games I have ever played. The world is stunning to traverse, the soundtrack is subtle and beautiful and combat is rewarding. While the game is by no means perfect it is pretty close. 80 Hours of game play and I will return to mop up missed shrines and side quests. This for me would have clinched my game of the year for 2017 had I a) played it last year and b) hadn’t played Persona 5.