The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
 
 

Hyrule Castle is in ruins, and evil has already won.

If the premise for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn’t entice you – telling a tale that’s bleaker than any before it – then the open-world game surrounding it certainly should. Taking cues from others in the genre, while also carving out its own unique niche, Nintendo have managed to create a beautiful open-world that begs to be explored. More than that though, they’ve captured the sense of wonder and danger that the first game in 1986 instilled in a generation.

 
Ad FeedbackAdvertisement

Within the first hour of Breath of the Wild, you’re given the toolset you’ll be using throughout the entire game. There are no lengthy tutorials or preamble for you to button through; it respects your time and intelligence. Every puzzle can be solved using bombs and magnets, alongside stasis and water freezing powers. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the way that a traditional Zelda title doles out its progression, but more importantly it opens the entire world up from the get-go.

That world is expansive. I explored everything from hilltop plains, to snowy mountains, and massive deserts – and even by the time I hit the credits, there was still uncharted territory on the map. Each area presents its own challenges, with survival not simply being relegated to combat encounters. To make it through blizzards or heatwaves, you’ll have to outfit Link with appropriate gear, or craft some food and potions beforehand that will grant protection from the elements. Each foray into a new area is a learning experience, and if you get complacent for a second, you’ll die. In fact, Breath of the Wild may be the hardest Legend of Zelda game to date, but every hill you crest and mountain you climb feels earned.

The difficulty also extends to combat – you won’t be wailing away through swarms of Bokoblins. Enemies will deplete your entire row of hearts in a couple of swipes, meaning you must take down camps a little more methodically. Stealth is an option here, as is using the environment to your advantage; chopping down trees and rolling them down a hill, or starting forest fires are all valid approaches.

When you do get into scuffles, Link can parry strikes with his shield and dodge. Timing either of these perfectly activates a slow-mo window for you to freely swing at your enemy without fear of reprisal. It’s hard to get into Breath of the Wild’s very different rhythm of combat, but overcoming its obstacles through experimentation only adds to the sense of accomplishment that the game’s survival aspect already invokes.

Weapon durability is a consistent, uncompromising part of the combat however. For the first 10 hours, it’ll be a hassle – you’ll have perfectly good swords break, meaning you’ll have to pick up enemy clubs and spears off the ground. Some weapons you gain through exploration or as quest rewards are a little sturdier, but you’ll want to save them for the tougher named enemies that roam the world, or scripted boss battles.

But you’ll also be doing more than exploring and fighting. Side quests will present themselves as you interact with weird and cheeky townsfolk, each of whom add a layer of humour and humanity to your journey.

Side quests range from cooking up a spicy meal for a curry-connoisseur, to finding the hidden stash of a bandit warlord. In a rather bold move, a lot of them don’t have map markers tracking them, instead offering prose in place of explicit directions. Side quests are realised through towers that dot the land. Climbing to the top and activating one shows the geography of the region, but finding points of interest is entirely on you. Breath of the Wild’s open-world isn’t a laborious checklist of activities – it’s a prompt for you to strike out and make your own experiences.

Your curiosity will routinely be awarded with Shrines. These are bite-sized puzzle dungeons, and a perfect distillation of the game’s many features. Completing them grants you Spirit Orbs, which can then be cashed in to increases your health or stamina. Their length also fits in nicely with the Switch’s portable aspirations.

Interspersed throughout the main campaign are your large scale, classic Zelda dungeons, with their own unique spin. Each one tasks you with boarding a giant mechanised creature in spectacular fashion. Once inside, you’ll be putting all your knowledge to the test. They’re rewarding, and their scale and structure provide nice beats to the slower-paced wanderings that makes up the bulk of the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has forever changed the franchise – a feat accomplished by looking to the past. Nintendo have captured the sense of wonder, danger, and awe that they created in 1986, and embedded it in a vast, enthralling world.


Keith received a physical copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild from Nintendo Australia for review.


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
"A breath of fresh air."
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
9.5
Excellent
 
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 3+ Hours


 

Relevant Articles

 

Comments Comments (23)

 
Posted by NZBuc
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 7:43 AM
2
Will check out my brothers copy of this tonight!
 
 
 
Posted by czk51
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 7:45 AM
4
Sounds amazing, was going to hold off on a switch but think I'll pick one up today with this.

I've read various reports of performance, particularly stuttering when the game is docked. Wonder if it can be fixed in an update / patch?
 
 
 
Posted by ptys
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 7:54 AM
4
Was kinda hoping this would get bad reviews so I had an excuse not to buy it, lol... good problems to have. Think I'll play Horizon first as it looks like this will take 50+ hours.
 
 
 
Posted by Blackfox
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 8:19 AM
4
this shall be a great send off for the wiiu, iv been playing ocarina to prepare for this, glad its getting good reviews.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 8:47 AM
-7
98 score on meta critic, the best game ever or fishy review scores?
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 9:06 AM
4
3 March 2017, 08:47 AM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
98 score on meta critic, the best game ever or fishy review scores?
3rd highest rated game of all time already on Metacritic apparently, and it's not even out in the United States yet. Personally, I'd love to play it, but I'm not dropping that amount of money on a Switch just for one game.
 
 
 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 9:08 AM
3
On a side note, thats a pretty short and sweet review for such a big release
 
 
 
Posted by FreddlePopGameS
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 9:31 AM
2
I'm planning to play this all day tomorrow. Today for me is all about BombermanR.

Great review. I'm glad so many are finding enjoyment in the game and hope many will get chance to play it.
 
 
 
Posted by Mockstar
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 11:05 AM
7
I can't put my finger on why, but Zelda games have never held any interest for me
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 11:51 AM
2
3 March 2017, 11:05 AM Reply to Mockstar
I can't put my finger on why, but Zelda games have never held any interest for me
They largely appeal to me but I've just never bought a Nintendo system or have time to play on one ^_^
 
 
 
pcj
Posted by pcj
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 2:24 PM
2
Other reviewers commented the 1.1.0 patch largely fixed the framerate issues, curious if that is your experience as well?
 
 
 
Posted by ChimeraNZ
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 3:28 PM
1
Sounds great - just not sure if it justifies getting a Switch however. More games like this and I would consider it!
 
 
 
Posted by jmduknz
On Friday 3 Mar 2017 4:35 PM
3
Boom. looking forward to putting in some quality time on this one.
 
 
 
Posted by polarbear
On Saturday 4 Mar 2017 7:44 AM
4
I'm so close to buying a switch...
 
 
 
Posted by Goonertron
On Tuesday 7 Mar 2017 12:20 AM
2
Is anyone selling this in NZ for Wii U, closest I can find is Mighty Ape but expected delivery is March 20.
 
 
 
Posted by Zolen
On Tuesday 7 Mar 2017 3:26 PM
1
4 March 2017, 07:44 AM Reply to polarbear
I'm so close to buying a switch...
Ha I was thinking the same thing !
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Wednesday 8 Mar 2017 10:02 AM
1
Ok never-mind. By some stroke of RNG story, I think I may have won a Nintendo Switch without even manually entering into a comp.
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Wednesday 8 Mar 2017 11:39 AM
1
8 March 2017, 10:02 AM Reply to Bank
Ok never-mind. By some stroke of RNG story, I think I may have won a Nintendo Switch without even manually entering into a comp.
Ok holysh1te https://twitter.com/BankeA1337/status/839238064761274368
I 'll be seeing you soon, Breath of the Wild.
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Wednesday 8 Mar 2017 12:15 PM
1
3 March 2017, 11:51 AM Reply to Bank
They largely appeal to me but I've just never bought a Nintendo system or have time to play on one ^_^
Yeah same here, the only Nintendo franchise Id be interested in is Zelda, but this alone has never warranted a console purchase...
I find them children/family friendly so Ill be definitely thinking about my first nintendo console purchase if my 2 girls ever want to get into gaming when they are older . Nintendo for them/us, PC/PS for me :D
 
 
 
Posted by Goonertron
On Friday 10 Mar 2017 7:59 AM
1
First Zelda game I have played. Really loving it.
 
 
 
Posted by Ron
On Saturday 11 Mar 2017 7:39 PM
2
She's a bit tough, so I spent the day getting more hearts & stamina to be able to progress through the story.
 
 
 
Posted by FreddlePopGameS
On Sunday 12 Mar 2017 11:52 AM
1
11 March 2017, 07:39 PM Reply to Ron
She's a bit tough, so I spent the day getting more hearts & stamina to be able to progress through the story.
Yup same here. I've died so much but in saying that I'm loving that this Zelda game challenges the player more so than previous entries..
 
 
 
Posted by reavers
On Friday 17 Mar 2017 3:12 AM
1
Wish I could get a Switch now just to play this game!