Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Posted 29 Mar 2017 at 21:01 by Sam C Gittins
On the horizon of Hyrule
After years of waiting, a new dawn for The Legend of Zelda franchise has broken in a way which has come as something of a surprise and delight to many. When hearing talk from Eiji Aonuma about "Breaking the conventions" that the series had become famed for, it got many fans wondering about just how far this ethos would extend; could it perhaps be yet another bold claim quite like those which had come before in relation to previous titles? Thankfully after spending a fair amount of time within the game world, I feel more than comfortable in saying that the once strong conventions of the series haven't just been broken but instead shattered into many miniscule pieces, much like the surrounding seal around each Sheikah spirit found at the end of each of the titles many shrines.
This is a Hyrule unlike any incarnation before it which nothing can prepare you for until the first moment of exploration is upon you, like many others I had watched hours of footage taken mainly from The Great Plateau area which was rather insightful in itself, though I had trouble believing the quote that this initial area makes up just two percent of the entire game. At this time of writing I have invested many hours and have only really gone on a whistle-stop tour of the map, pushing forward merely to get this review out in a reasonably timely manner - considering this is from my own retail copy - and let's just say that I agree with that quote in its entirety.
Even if more time had been afforded, I still can't see how it could have been possible to see everything this wondrous game has to offer, following two weeks of utter immersion within the game world I have come to the realisation that if this title isn't reviewed now then it simply won't happen, or at least not for a very long time indeed so please appreciate that as a long-term fan of the series I'm taking a break from my own initial playthrough so that I can review this in my own time. Zelda games won't come along very often, normally I would be playing this almost at the expense of everything else but for the good of this site and our wonderful community I'm willing to make this sacrifice; so... you're welcome!
Now let's get this massive title reviewed so that I can get back to enjoying it, the withdrawal symptoms are setting in already...
Open your eyes
"I went hiking and found a lake. It was quite a surprise for me to stumble upon it. When I traveled around the country without a map, trying to find my way, stumbling on amazing things as I went, I realised how it felt to go on an adventure like this"
Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo
The above quote used in relation to the original The Legend of Zelda on the NES still has a lot of relevance today, especially when you consider that BotW is the first title in the series since to offer true open-ended exploration, only this time it's not held back so much by technical limitations. It's interesting to note however that the prototype for this latest Zelda game was created as a top-down style upgraded version of the famous NES title with all of the new physics in place to test how they'd interact within the game world, it looked so good that Nintendo could even release it as a spin-off title at some point but it will likely just remain a developers oddity; it's impressive to see in any case and shows the lengths the company must have gone to in order to ensure everying was just right before proceeding with normal development.
Creating any open world is surely no mean feat but to recreate Hyrule as an Open Air environment is nothing short of a monumental achievement, it really does open your eyes to the possibilities from the very first moment you set foot in this vast, reimagined world. There is much to discover even in the opening area The Great Plateau which is essentially the tutorial section as it gives you a Sheikah Tower to climb in addition to four shrines to tackle which grant you the basic runes which operate on your Sheikah Slate which will act as your essential set of tools for the duration of the adventure; during your time here you'll most likely encounter the Old Man who will offer you his Paraglider so that you can safely advance off the edge of the Plateau as without it you'll simply fall to your untimely demise.
Nothing comes for free here though as you soon learn, you'll need to tackle all four shrines in order to obtain this invaluable item, which in turn teaches you the basics of climbing, clothing, combat, cooking, and checking your surroundings. By the time you get to the point of being able to quite literally leap off the edge straight into the vast world of Hyrule you will have at least become familiar with the Bomb, Cryonis, Magnesis and Stasis runes which allow you to blow things apart, freeze water into ice platforms, move metal objects plus even alter the flow of time for certain objects respectively; these are your tools intended to aid you in your quest but it's entirely up to you how they are used, which is truly liberating for a series which previously relied heavily on telling the player when and where to use everything in your inventory.
King of the Mountain
Out of all the new features which have been added, the best has to be your ability to climb almost any surface, indded one of the first things I did after the first trial was to rush up to the Temple of Time and climb to the very top, I was surprised to find that the game almost fully expects you to do this as there are one or two interesting things up there, I was mildly amused to find that after descending back to ground level I found that there is actually a ladder to the side which meant I could have climbed it without using up any stamina; but I found the more freeform ascension quite satisfying.
It's this element which makes this the most compelling version of Hyrule to traverse, you are limited only by your stamina, the games physics and the weather conditions but as a general rule; if you can see it then you can get to it, if you can reach it then you can climb it, then if you have enough stamina or if the terrain conditions are right then you'll be able to reach the top and in turn this can lead to even greater discoveries. For instance I decided to climb one of the mountains in the Sheikah-dwelling Kakariko Village, not only did I find treasure chest embedded at the top but on a higher mountain still I found a very nice sword which I likely wouldn't have found if I hadn't decide to just see how high I could climb.
This takes me back to the days of playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when after the credits had rolled, every heart piece had been obtained along with all the upgrades plus all of those pesky Skulltullas which I uncovered, I was left thinking... what now? Well there was the quest to find the "Triforce" of course which didn't go to well for obvious reasons but the other thing I would try to do is climb inbetween the boundaries of the game environment, often managing to get quite far - only to eventually fall off into the abyss - but never really gaining anything aside from the thrill of trying something new; now that I have the ability to go almost anywhere in a Zelda title it feels as if this age-old curiosity is finally being rewarded, but even more than that it makes the whole open-world feel more meaningful than in any other expansive game world which has come out before this series even attempted it.
I believe that the impact that is afforded by utilising such a freeing method of movement is not only one of Zelda's greatest achievements but one which will have a far-reaching effect on the gaming industry for a long time to come.
Making the Switch
Not only is this the launch of a major flagship title but it also marks a new era in gaming, making the Switch at launch this was always going to be the first game that I'd dive into, afterall who wouldn't want to be playing the latest Zelda title at launch? It worked well for the Wii afterall with the original release of Twilight Princess which I enjoyed at the time with the consoles motion controls, yet looking back I now prefer the original intended GameCube version or even the HD remake on the Wii U for a more authentic experience.
Yet here it's hard to deny that Breath of the Wild's belonging on the Switch as its most natural platform, you have a piece of software which is a technical achievement as it's amazing that it fits on such a small card, actually runs better - albeit not perfectly though it isn't a deal-breaker - and is fully functional as a big screen offering in addition to being truly portable; what's not to like about being able to take what would have been a home console exclusive Zelda title on the go with you?
For most of my time I opted to play on the TV with the comfort of a Pro Controller which just feels entirely natural, playing with the Joy-Cons detached or in portable mode is fine too but I still have concerns about using that separated D-Pad for anything which might require using it for movement, thankfully it's just used for menu selections and inventory shortcuts here so I didn't have a problem. Also having that Share button is fantastic as I must have used it a few hundred times so far, it's a great standard OS feature which has made obtaining images for this review a lot easier as you can store everything to a Micro SD card; it's a must if you intend to make many memories within this wonderful, bold new version of Hyrule.
Don't U, forget about me
Of course it would be amiss not to mention the platform for which this game was originally developed for, the Wii U has seemingly had its swan-song with quite possibly the best title ever to grace it bar nothing else. It's just a shame that in bringing it to the console, forced parity seems to have been brought in which means that even though the Gamepad is present, it never gets used at all for on-the-fly inventory management which is truly baffling seeing as both HD Zelda remakes on the system leveraged the strengths of the system while still offering multiple control options but not here? It's as if even Nintendo themselves have given up on the unfortunately ill-fated consoles main selling point which is both sad and sobering at the same time.
Don't despair if you've yet to purchase a Switch for whatever reason though, the Wii U version still runs pretty well all things considered, though you will need to endure longer loading times plus a reasonably long wait if you intend posting screen captures to miiverse as the game does seem to struggle under these circumstances.
All the other functionality is still there, you still get the same fantastic Zelda title, it's the cheaper option if you don't want to make the Switch yet and you'll probably have the most sought after version - if opting for a physical release - from a collectable perspective and at this time of writing it's the only version that you can choose to copy your save file between consoles on at the moment; so while it is now the technically inferior option by default it's always nice to have options.
N-E one for Zelda?
"I wanted them to talk with other Zelda players and exchange information, ask each other questions, find out where to go next. That's what happened - this communication was not a competition but it was a real life collaboration that helped make the game more popular"
Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo
Another quote which originally related to Zelda on the NES yet it couldn't be more fitting here, but in a way which has far greater reach as it's not just about finding where to go next, instead it's more about what people did next, their experiences and how no two players adventure seems to be the same. With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the adventures our very own site staff and forum members have been partaking in, as it's through this shared experience that the diverse emergent nature of events featured in Breath of the Wild are exposed for all to enjoy.
"I had my first sad moment tonight.
I was on the hunt for a decent horse (both in looks and traits), found a lovely black horse, with a white mane and hooves. It ran away even though I was being stealthy, pursued for a while, finally got to mount it after a chase lasting several minutes. It threw me right off and ran away, again I chased after it on foot. I've got a good, strong horse here I thought. After about fifteen minutes of chasing and being thrown off (about 5 times) I took a stamina elixir and tried one final time... Yes! Success as he finally let me on!
One problem though, we were on the side of a steep hill and we couldn't get up... eventually we slid at an achingly slow pace to our inevitable date with the lake below. Where he swam around a bit and then I drowned...
And I'll never even get to name him or even find out if he was actually any good stats wise... "
- Phube - N-Europe forum member
"This is one of the greatest games of all time. I'm so glad I'm exploring it slowly and casually. This is the way it was meant to be played. Take your time, wander around, not aimlessly but not so directed. Gradually build up strength, but not in an obvious "item gate" kind of way.... Learning recipes, stumbling upon villages, running from enemies that can one-shot you. Absolutely incredible.
It has niggles. It has parts that are overly frustrating and the rain! Oh god, the rain. But it doesn't take away from it, really, just adds to the challenge. "
- Shorty - N-Europe staff
"I came across a Stone Tallus east of the Plateau, ran away from it as I wasn't equipped to take it down a second time. Ran up a hill, easily 100 metres away, it still threw a massive rock my way!
Ran away further. "
- Ronnie - N-Europe forum member
"This game is phenomenal. Like, genuinely one of the best games I have ever played levels of good. Not overly far in the game in the grand scheme of things but I have put several hours in.
It's just open world done right. Like they've scaled to a massive world yet in Wind Waker fashion, there is something unique in every quadrant to seek out, which is something most other open world games don't do. Usually it's a case of copy-paste some feature or landmark across a large map and inundate the player with loads of icons to visit. Not here, no sir. Even getting into many shrines is quite different fairly often, never mind what goes on in the shrines.
I can't get over what an amazing reinvention of Zelda this is. Like what kind of bizarre events must have happened in a board room, what substance-fuelled epiphany occurred, to lead to this end result...we'll probably never know. I would love them apply a similar approach with some of Nintendo's other series too.
All I can say is that Aonuma is king. Majora's Mask and then this is nothing short of sorcery. Easily game of the generation right here. "
- Sheikah - N-Europe forum member
"Couldn't have said it better. Glad you're enjoying it as much as I am.
I think this game is a great example of when to allow a game to be delayed. This is the PERFECT Zelda - everything I've always wished it to be.
Multiple things to do, multiple towns, expanded lore and history, a race that has mostly only been represented by one or two people, items put to good use on a regular basis... I could go on.
Skyward Sword I didn't feel like completing, Twilight Princess I completed in like 3 days and never went back to - But this game... I'm probably over forty hours in and I haven't done much yet feel fulfilled to the point of actually holding back putting on the Switch today because I know it's going to sap time.
Nintendo's practices are mostly questionable with regards to their hardware but when they make stuff like this I cant help but forgive their trespasses. "
- King_V - N-Europe forum member
"I'm glad that you are loving it! I have been wondering what your thoughts are.
I couldn't put it better what you said myself.
It literally feels like I am on a genuine adventure. I can't really put into words how I feel about this game.
I love how this game leaves the player to figure things out. It's great, I went on a raft and got my korok leaf out. Made my way to this random island and then it was a gateway to a shrine. I climbed a random mountain, furthest away from civilisation and found a korok.
I'm enjoying the story and lore. It's clear and straightforward.
All of the shrines I have encountered are clever - puzzles or defeating the mini boss.
- Blade - N-Europe forum member
In the Nick of time
Fellow staff writer and reviewer Nick Lone has also been working hard at piecing together his thoughts while playing, getting them to me in a timely manner so that I can now include them as another alternative view on the game as a whole, in addition to covering several key points; as it happens instead of being a second opinion, we are mostly in agreement on what a generally fantastic reinvention it is.
So without further ado, thank you to Nicktendo for providing some additional excellent insight which makes up this dedicated section of this mammoth-sized review.
"When people ask me what my favourite game is of all time, I usually give the standard “Ocarina of Time” response, despite it not even being my favourite Zelda game in reality. Ocarina managed to capture a unique feeling, it was a truly revolutionary experience and the sheer joy and wonder of my first playthrough of the 3D classic, as an impressionable 12 year old boy, has never been topped. Breath of the Wild feels like a similar kind of revolution in the Zelda series, just as seismic as the shift from 2D to 3D was back in 1998. The old formula of following a linear path and using newly acquired items to progress has been done away in favour of something more akin to the original 1986 NES game. Breath of the Wild is a truly open world experience where going up, down, left or right from the relatively miniscule opening area, opens up each individual gamer to their own unique and exhilarating gameplay experience.
Loaded with a set of ingenious tools right from the get go, the player is invited to traverse, explore and manipulate Hyrule according to nothing but their own rulebook. The opening segment demonstrates the physical laws of the game, leaving the player to figure out for themselves how they can be broken (and they can!), before giving a simple checklist of what needs to be done. The player may tackle this checklist at their own leisure, or simply ignore it. Indeed, the final boss is available the moment you step off the Great Plateau, but only a fool would go there unprepared. Instead, progression here is not measured strictly in heart containers, dungeons completed or the number of items in your possession, but in confidence. Breath of the Wild is an absolute masterclass in building player confidence, without once being overbearing.
Dotted around the world are numerous dangerously tough enemies, the instinct in the early stages of the game is simply to run or you can potentially die in one hit. Gradually, as the player learns the mechanics of the game, acquires stronger armour and weapons, and learns how to cook various buffs, a confidence within them rises to tackle these threats head on. The pure elation and emotion in taking down these enemies for the first time is unrivalled. The expanded combat system and breakable weapons force the player to experiment and improve to the point where deaths experienced tens of hours into the game will be purely the fault of the player, either through ill preparation or mistiming in combat.
Furthermore, the sense of sheer scale in Breath of the Wild is astounding; Nintendo has delivered something truly special, a feat of world building. Hyrule entices and begs the player to explore every nook and cranny, to step off the beaten track once in a while. The sense of reward for this exploration undoubtedly diminishes with time, but as each tower comes under your control and each area is investigated for the first time, the equal measure of intrigue and trepidation, is unparalleled. Hyrule genuinely strikes a fine balance between feeling almost overwhelming but still manageable, as if every corner was given the same love, care and attention to detail from the designers. The bite-size shrines are a strong departure from Zelda conventions, yet still provide a welcome challenge and brief respite from the huge scale of overworld exploration.
Drawing on inspiration from each past Zelda game, Breath of the Wild on occasion feels like a “best of” and the little nods to the series’ roots are wonderfully worked into the game without feeling out of place (the Link’s Awakening inspired area is awesome and a real highlight of Link’s latest quest). This theme continues in Breath of the Wild’s music, which while minimalist, is wonderfully atmospheric. The game enjoys some of the best tunes found in the series, remixing some entrenched classics alongside some fresher tunes, tied together in beautiful piano-driven arrangements.
Don’t get me wrong, Breath of the Wild is by no means perfect, there are a number of flaws with this game, many of which Sam touched upon in his full review and I’m inclined to agree with most of them, but they never felt game-breaking or annoying in my experience. The lack of traditional style dungeons, weak story and terrible voice acting (Zelda in particular) were sticking points for me personally, but they all feel like minor blips in the grand scheme of things. What Nintendo now has is a magnificent base from which to develop future Zelda games. Just as Ocarina of time set the standard for 3D gaming almost 20 years ago, Breath of the Wild feels like a new blueprint, which has the equal potential to change the direction of the industry for the next 20 years. The series will surely go from strength to strength from this point on, but for now, I can safely say that Breath of the Wild is my favourite Zelda game and the best game I have ever had the pleasure of playing."
- Nick Lone - N-Europe staff member
Cooking up a storm
Not only will you need to have your hunting skills in order but you'll also need to show your culinary capabilities if you want to ever aspire to more than just recovering a heart or less at any one time by just eating raw ingredients, fortunately cooking is a simple and even joyful process which you can partake in wherever you see a cooking pan or an open fire you've made yourself.
Simply hold up to five ingredients in your inventory, throw them into the pan or heat source, then prepare for magic as a magnificent new dish laced with hugely beneficial effects is created - or not - in a flash! You'll likely need to experiment if you're set on creating a dish which will grant you resistance against the cold but at least all the ingredients you acquire are clearly labelled so that you can guess as to what its effects might be.
Because you're always likely to be suffering at the hands of the dynamic weather system plus the different areas of Hyrule which are just simply too hot or cold to traverse without protection, cooking will play a vital role in your survival. You can even try combining cooking with adverse weather conditions if you like, I tried cooking while in a storm and lightning certainly seems to do the job, but you'll want to unequip any metal weapons unless you want to run the risk of being struck; or just chuck a sword in the direction of any enemy which might be bothering you, if you're lucky then they might just get caught by the lightning as they decide to pick up the weapon at just the wrong moment.
It's dangerous to go alone, take this! And this, oh this too!
While many may have decried the very existence of amiibo at various points, it's hard to deny the popularity of these NFC enabled figures based on the likeness of many Nintendo characters or that they have been well supported across the board within multiple games. Their implementation within the latest Zelda title however goes even further still than any title before it, interestingly the option to utilise the figures is entirely optional too as you need to turn on the functionality from the main menu once before loading your game ideally; so those who don't want it at all won't have to worry about it, personally I didn't even bother investigating it until a few days after first playing but now I'm very glad that I did as certain aspects of the game have been enhanced since in a not entirely superfluous and actually meaningful way.
In fact it speaks volumes that even as I write this I'm constantly aware of the time as you can scan each of your amiibo figures once per day which will yield bonuses within the game world, there are currently five Breath of the Wild figures which can bestow rare items within chests upon tapping them on the NFC reader on your controller of choice while the amiibo rune is active. They will appear as if dropping from the sky, hopefully onto the flat ground below for you to then claim, there are other consumables which will fall alongside the chests which are useful for crafting and cooking with; the Zelda Thirtieth Anniversary figures can also net you some decent rewards such as rare gems or outfits from past games one piece at a time, but the fun doesn't even end there as if you have the Super Smash Bros. Zelda amiibo then not only can you potentially get more rare gear but the first time using the adult Link figure will give you Epona, just in case you didn't feel like taming your own horse, plus why wouldn't you want the legendary steed?
Some provisional points you might wish to take on-board though, if you decide to summon Epona then you may wish to do that near a stable as you only get one chance per save file so you'll want to register the rare steed right away just in case, with the Wolf Link amiibo you can summon Wolf Link to join you in Hyrule but his number of hearts depends on how many you've collected in Twilight Princess HD and how many of them are full at certain points in the Cave of Shadows trial. Finding a good place to open your chests plus pick up items is always worth doing bearing in mind that you are dropping them straight into an open world, so I would advise somewhere which is on a village border but away from NPC's and out of the wind or not near a hill as certain items can roll away; should this happen with you giving chase to the item with you moving away from your hoard, it is possible to lose any items you have yet to pick up... oh and there's a maximum amount of items which can be on screen at any one time so it's worth grabbing them after two or three scans.
Overall I would say that the amiibo support for this title is very much worthwhile depending on how many you might have collected over the years, it's possible to regularly net yourself a nice horde of items to aid you on your adventure, some might say that this goes against the nature of the game but then again it breaks so many past conventions that I don't really have a huge issue with it personally; even if it is technically bordering on next-level digitial/physical capitalism in a way. Speaking from the perspective of someone who owns in excess of eighty amiibo, I'm perhaps more than a little biased but I do enjoy owning the figures which have bestowed a host of additional digital perks to me thus far but even I'll stop collecting when I run out of space - or disposable income - most likely but just on the subject of Zelda themed amiibo, they are a welcome addition and something we might yet see more of in the future.
Ballad of the Gods
Zelda has always been famed for its stunning soundtracks, this certainly isn't an exception in terms of quality though it is a spectacular departure from what you might have become accustomed to from playing previous entries. Being that this title has more of an Open Air concept, the Piano was chosen as the lead instrument being that it's more fitting with the style, due to this you get lots of smaller pieces spread out in certain parts of the world with a few you'll be hearing a lot of albeit with varying arrangements; there's a theme for when you're riding on horseback for instance which is distinctly different when travelling at day or night which perfectly captures the essence of galloping while including a piece hidden away which you will surely come to recognise over time.
Other traditional Japanese instruments have been incorporated as well which add just the right amount of tension when in the heat of evading a Guardian or fighting off a gang of Moblins, then there's the pounding beat of the Talus encounters which has you ever aware of the threat of rocks being hurled at you as the drums play on; or what about the Hinox encounter which has a more tribal quality to it mixed with powerful blasts on brass instruments which in turn go well with the fear stemming from a giant one-eyed ogre lumbering towards you with murderous intent using whatever it can rip out of the ground as a weapon.
Then you have the villages belonging to the various tribes which each have their own wondrous themes, still retaining core elements from the similar places which may have appeared in previous games such as Kakariko Village which now takes inspiration from Japan's Jomon period in addition to working in the great Sheikah mythos which eminates through lots of the game world; the theme itself is hauntingly beautiful no matter what time of the day you visit, it has a distinctly Eastern theme which wouldn't be out of place in a Studio Ghibli film but it still has a unique charm all of its own.
All of the new arrangements are simply breathtaking, the composers Manaka Kataoka & Yasuaki Iwata should feel proud of this aural accomplishment, also boasting excellent sound design in the smaller details as well such as getting loaded up with different equipment and hearing each piece rattle around as you carry it all on your back, or even the difference in footsteps depending on which surface you're walking across.
Living inside a masterpiece
The entire art team led by Satoru Takizawa have created something really special here, although it's perhaps bad practice to say this but the game really does feel like you're living inside a living, breathing painting even more than I could have thought possible as the only other title in the series which had that same quality at its time of release would have been The Wind Waker which to its credit is still special, yet there is something here which speaks to you as a gamer in so many subtle ways.
It manages to make Hyrule more of a believable world, one which is hard not to revisit on a regular basis purely to take in all of its visual splendour, during the time taken in this review period alone I must have taken over six hundred screen captures and I honestly felt bad about showing only twelve which is normally a lot more than would be showcased in a piece such as this, most of them ended up being of scenery but there is so much to take in which you simply must appreciate for yourself.
Everything from the blades of grass blowing in the wind, the morbidly fascinating idle animations of the enemies right through to the stirring weather effects or even your character movement whether it be running on foot, thundering across the plains on horseback or of course clambering up a mountainside; it all oozes charm which pulls you in even further.
In short, it looks like the Zelda game I've always wanted but just didn't know it and know that I do, it's hard to know anything different from what will likely become the new visual benchmark for the series.
A Link to the Past, Present and Future
Just as the Nintendo Switch carries with it the metaphorical DNA of previous consoles before it, Breath of the Wild takes all of the best elements from the Zelda series while simultaneously shrugging off the shackles of rigidity which have been holding it back from greatness, settling for stable stagnation in recent years. This isn't to say that I don't still regard the past few Zelda titles as being nothing short of spectacular in their own way, yet even I can't honestly say that I've been playing through all of the various Zelda remakes which have come out within the last half a decade or so to one hundred percent completion or even the end in some cases, with the notable exception of one title; Ocarina of Time 3D... which is telling in itself.
At this moment in time I can honestly say that I'm revelling in every glorious moment which is there to be experienced in the latest, possibly greatest and most imaginative incarnation of Hyrule I've had the pleasure of exploring since the elation of running across an open field in 3D in that immortal N64 classic or rescuing Princess Zelda from the castle prison on that fateful dark & rainy night within one of the best 16-bit worlds ever created to date.
Great lengths were clearly went to in order to accommodate those fan-favourite elements such as horse-riding, mini-games, most of the combat moves plus the fact that NPC's work off in-game time much like in Majora's Mask; these things plus many more are excellent examples of the developers drawing from deep history of the series and even going as far as to include things like the rafts which are a nod to the original Zelda title. Then you have the expanded exploration, subtle building up of the Sheikah story, the horror of the blood moon phase, Hestu & the Korok seeds which expands into a sidequest which is even more challenging than hunting down all the Skulltullas in the N64 titles.
All of the aforementioned points makes me wonder where the future of the series will go, the prospects are certainly exciting indeed, though before even thinking about the future it's important to honour the past and present which is why I think a special metion should go to the NPC named Botrick, a wandering traveller who wears glasses, references a place called Satori Peak and has a striking resemblance to the late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata who sadly passed away during the games long development. If this is the company's way of honouring the great man then it is surely a fitting one which we should be thankful for, I've tried not to include too many spoilers about the game but I think this is one special instance which deserves to be pointed out.
Dawn of the Final Day
Looking back as I write this on the day of the review going up, it's striking to think that in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild we have a game in the series which has just about everything which has made the series so iconic over the past three decades and then some. It features a truly open-world with over a hundred shrines you can opt to seek out to gain upgrades, a handful of truly original dungeons which work their way into the story and the option of running straight off the edge of the plateau right to the final boss encounter thus skipping almost the entire game even though it's not advised. No really, I did personally attempt it, although I did make it halfway through the castle... before being butchered by the first mini-boss.
It has just the right balance of returning elements coupled with bold new design choices such as weapons which are finite, a choice between expanding your number of hearts or stamina bar, cooking recipes from materials you've foraged to improve your survival chances and some impressive in-game mechanics which just work as you'd expect them to, encouraging experimentation instead of insisting you follow a linear path to an unsurprising outcome.
There's a wonderful world out there to be explored in this new-age Hyrule filled with ancient technology which is far beyond anything we've witnessed thus far in the series, so much to uncover that it's overwhelming in one sense but all constructed in such as way which makes you want to get out there and forge your own digital destiny.
And that's exactly what I'm going to do, right now, so if you'll excuse me readers... I've got a princess to save.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Though it may be the final game for the Wii U, this monumental title ushers in a new dawn of gaming on the Switch which will surely be remembered as one of the greatest launch titles in history. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a bold departure from the traditional formula of the series, which instead manages to create something genuinely mesmerising which is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Masterful open-world design
Reinvention done right
Minor technical blemishes
Voicework is a mixed blessing
It has to end at some point