Video game review: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open world game in every sense of the term.

It’s the best Zelda game ever produced and is one of the best games of all time.

I’ve been a Zelda fan since I was a kid. Every game has a sense of wonder and adventure. The franchise is unique in that it uses the same characters, settings, items, and other pieces across its game catalog. With this concept, Nintendo still somehow finds a way to distinguish the games from one another and BOTW is no different. I was skeptical when it was announced years ago as a Wii U title and then eventually delayed to be released onto the Switch as well.

Before playing BOTW, Wind Waker was my favorite Zelda title. I’m usually not one to play into the hype surrounding products, but I couldn’t ignore the dozens of publications giving BOTW perfect scores.

I didn’t think Nintendo could top masterpieces like Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time, but I was completely blown away. BOTW follows that same Zelda formula, but with a few additions and variations. There’re monsters, rupees, discovery, and you’re going to have your dungeons, but they’re presented in a new and refreshing way.

The game begins with the its main protagonist, Link, waking up from a century-long nap and you eventually find out why. From there, the game throws you into an interesting tutorial that gives players a feel of its open world capabilities and its concept of shrines. Shrines are puzzles similar to ones we’ve seen in previous Zelda entries and upon completing them, the player is awarded a Shrine Orb that can be exchanged for new hearts or increases in stamina. These shrines are spread out over the many regions of Hyrule. I’ve put over 20 hours into this game and I’m still finding shrines.

The shrines only add to BOTW’s freedom and optional quests. After the tutorial, the player is capable of going to the game’s final boss from the get-go and defeating them. It may not be the smartest decision with a small number of hearts and weak weapons, but the option to do so is a testament to the flexibility and open world of BOTW.

One of my favorite features of BOTW is its inventory system. During your travels, you’ll find that you can collect pretty much anything (herbs, fruit, weapons, monster parts, etc). BOTW takes a page from RPGs and allows you to do a number of actions with items such as combining them into a food dish that increase your hearts or stats, exchanging them for goods, or selling them for rupees. Long gone are the days of breaking open pots and finding rupees and you’ll get most of your rupees from selling the items you collect. Although Hyrule is obviously a fantasy world, this gives it more of a real world feel.

Another thing I like is its cast of characters. Every character you talk to, both major and lesser, has so much personality to them. BOTW includes cutscenes with voice acting in them, a first in the franchise, and this brings so much life to the game.

BOTW has layers upon layers of content. Writing a review is somewhat difficult as I haven’t completed the main storyline and have been doing a lot of exploring. On top of that, it’s nearly impossible to comment on the game’s features because there’re just so many. There’s also a season pass available to buy that provides even more content for players during the game’s lifetime.

Every time I play, I find myself discovering new areas, characters, and quests. My usual sessions consist of me running around on foot or on horseback exploring the region. It’s the perfect game to showcase Nintendo’s new Switch console as you can take it and play it on-the-go. It’s a perfect addition to the franchise for veterans and a great starting point for Zelda newbies.

Gabe Hewitt

Gabe is a junior mass media student at MSU. He's usually up for anything. You can find him on Twitter (@gabehewitt) or you can email him at gabriel.hewitt@mnsu.edu.

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