It isn’t my favorite The Legend of Zelda game of all time, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is nothing short of a masterpiece. All of the accolades, awards, and praise the title has received since its release have been much deserved. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the type of open-world experience that you will lose yourself in as the hours pass by. Just when you think you’re starting to get a handle on all the game has to offer, you realize that you haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Breath of the Wild is a large game. It’s a long game. And if you are a fan of the series, Breath of the Wild will no doubt likely be one of your favorites.
I had put about a good 15-20 hours into the Wii U version of the game and with the upscaling abilities of the CEMU (Wii U) emulator, played the game in 4K. Everything looked crisp, there were mods and cheats you could use, and the game played very smoothly. Even though I lost a lot of graphical fidelity by moving to the Nintendo Switch version, I’m having a much more delightful time with Breath of the Wild on that platform. My current playtime on the Switch is just over 30 hours. I will admit that some of the areas in the Switch port look a bit rougher compared to the emulator counterpart. Yet that may have to do with the CEMU emulator having higher resolution options. Nevertheless, the Switch version is more than a solid port.
Because I used cheats in the CEMU version, I decided the Switch version was a chance for me to test myself by playing Breath of the Wild as it was meant to be played. As a result, I came to appreciate the game in a way that I hadn’t before. While it can be annoying to have weapons that are constantly deteriorating and breaking, it brings a different type of strategy to the game. For one, you’ll find yourself more likely to become familiar with a variety of weapons in battle. Secondly, you become more appreciative of some of the game’s secondary activities such as cooking. There have been times during my Switch playthrough that I’ve had 10 to 15 minutes sessions cooking up meals and elixirs to help me on my journey. And as you begin the game in a more weakened state, these types of boosters are necessary. Next, the game invites you to explore its world as you will find many useful items along the way, especially items such as opal, amber, topaz, etc. Those items can be traded in for rupees in stores so you can purchase equipment, weapons, and other useable items you may not find during your regular exploration.
The story may seem basic at the beginning of the game. But once you start playing, you’ll find it has depth to it. Breath of the Wild’s main plot is that 100 years ago, there was a great calamity that led to the defeat of several champions as well as the death of the king of Hyrule. This left Princess Zelda to battle against the antagonist Ganon by herself and left Link in a predicament where he slept for 100 years and lost his memories. Now Calamity Ganon is back to finish the job of destroying the world. Link is not only tasked to rediscover who he is, but also to reunite with many of the people he had met and fought with a century prior. When you start visiting locations such as Kakariko Village and the Kingdom of Zora, you will notice that many townspeople remember Link more clearly than he remembers himself. It’s a creative way of finding out more about Link and the relationships he cultivated with others before his long slumber. His bond with Zora Princess Mipha is especially touching. One flaw in the story building is that the voice acting is limited. You’ll find yourself on many occasions listening to grunts and moans in place of what should have been voice work.
What I like most about Breath of the Wild is that very little in the game seems wasteful. This is impressive because this game packs in an overwhelming amount of content with plenty to do and see. You can tame and ride certain beasts to help you traverse the world quicker. There is an abundance of side quests. Shrines present different challenges that will test both your mind and your might. Even taking pictures serves a purpose in the game. You’ll experience several weather conditions that coincide with a day/night cycle that gives you plenty of different aesthetics to experience. Even if you were to buy the game for full price today, it is one of the few games that I would say is worth every dollar and cent of it because of what you’re receiving in return.
With all of this in mind, I’ve had a rewarding experience progressing through the game on the Switch. Breath of the Wild provides some great mental exercises that make you think about what you’re doing. If you dive headlong into battle just swinging away at a group of enemies, you can quickly end up at a “Game Over” screen. This is a game where you want to use everything in your arsenal, including your wit. If you see explosive barrels in the same area where enemies are present, shooting the barrels with your arrows allows you to make quick work of your opposition. Especially within some of the shrines, you’ll find puzzles that you have to work out with your provided abilities to solve. Some of them can be a bit challenging, such as the ball and maze within the Myahm Agana Shrine that requires you to guide the ball through the maze to its holding place. I was relieved when I finally succeeded after more than 15 tries.
As you progress, you have core abilities you unlock along the way such as bombs, the ability to move certain items with magnetic power, creating ice blocks out of pools of water, and even stopping time. It is a guarantee that you will use every one of these abilities throughout the game. Your glider will allow you to access areas you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Completing shrines awards you spirit orbs that can be used to add more heart containers or increase your overall stamina. Finishing main missions rewards you with useful items and upgrades. It’s a blast progressing through the game because of its reward system.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was my most played game in January. I had to keep tabs on the clock as I played because it was so easy for three or four hours to pass by like it was 30 minutes. Breath of the Wild is one of Nintendo’s best games ever made. I believe the open-world format makes it more accessible to gamers who may never have played any of the other games in the series but wanted to know what The Legend of Zelda was all about. It’s a great entry point to the series and an all-time recommended game.
HAVE YOU PLAYED THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?