Sandbox fun comes to one of our favorite mutes
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Switch’s iteration of the old classic series Legend of Zelda for Nintendo. It opens up the world in a sandbox type way, filling Hyrule with little things to do and places to find and explore. It has a lot of familiar feels to older Zelda games but adds just enough interesting things to feel fresh and interesting.
The story is pretty straight forward, if slower to be revealed than you would think. Ganon is back, but this time he won the first fight, all but killing Link before being sealed in Hyrule Castle by Zelda. Link is put in a recovery pod, sleeps for 100 years, then wakes up to resume the fight, sans memory. Hyrule is definitely worse for wear after 100 years of neglect and monsters, so the fields and forests are teeming with moblins and worse.
Combat is where Breath both shines and falters. It feels fluid and responsive and a lack of a huge inventory of items, while different from past renditions, streamlines the process. It falters because every weapon in Hyrule has the durability of a stick, so you will go through weapons with a surprising frequency. Even the Master Sword, when you get it, wears out if not in a dungeon or fighting Ganon, which is extremely frustrating.
The open world is both full and sparse. There are lots of things to find, but long stretches, particularly in the mountains, are extremely desolate. Riding a horse helps speed things along, but they can be finicky about where they step, so horses are not always a viable option. You will find plenty of places to fight, but remember to pick up stray weapons; yours won’t last very long and running out is a terrible thing mid-fight.
The dungeons are an engaging change of pace. Four mythical machines are possessed by fragments of Ganon’s essence and their ‘drivers’ from the past age are needed to help in the final fight. Except not, because you can completely ignore all four
and still win the final fight, they just make it a lot easier. As earlier mentioned, there aren’t new tools to find, so, while you gain a new ability, the dungeons are mostly for show. Of the four abilities, I only found one to be extremely helpful, and that was mostly because climbing got boring and it let me bypass a large chunk of most climbs.
Overall, Breath is a strong addition to the Zelda franchise. It has its pitfalls and shortcomings, but is very engrossing and should be a delight to longtime fans. New players to the franchise can also enjoy the game, since it delves very little into other games’ lore, building mostly on its own merits.
Justin enjoys most games. He is currently learning the ins and outs of competitive modern Magic while enjoying all sorts of other gaming mediums, assuming he can find the spare time.