I’m just going to jump straight into it. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is bloody hard. It’s honestly one of the hardest games I’ve ever played. Now usually, I wouldn’t be into games which you can die over and over again, but I was actually quite fond of it in Breath of the Wild.

It might just because I was so enthralled in this improved version of Hyrule, but I could literally die five times in a two-minute period and I’d still be raring to go again. I never felt like dying was cheap or it wasn’t worth giving it another go because the world of Hyrule is worth exploring and the combat is so satisfying. It was always fun trying to figure out another way to move forward through a challenge. Whether it was a particularly tough dungeon, or just a trying to reach a ridiculously high peak.

Zelda1I do suspect some people might have an issue with the challenging nature of Breath of the Wild, or be taken aback by it as I most certainly was. But once left the opening area and reached the core game, there were so many things I had to take into consideration which hasn’t feature any Zelda game before. And these features make it all worthwhile.

You’ve really got to plan each journey into a mission quite well. You could literally be travelling for 30-40 minutes just to get to the next mission. This can involve coming across any number of enemies, all who require unique strategies to defeat. You’ve also got to work out whether you’re able to make it up certain cliffs using the stamina that you’re dealt with. If you don’t, you’ll almost certainly die, but it amazed me just how many times I thought I was about to fall to my death, before discovering a ledge that I could quickly creep up on and regain my stamina.

Zelda2It’s these kinds of things that made me feel a closer bond to Link than ever before. We were in this crazy world together and I had to protect him in so many different ways, every single moment felt engaging. If I wasn’t worried about falling down a cliff, I would be worried about him drowning when crossing a lake, or freezing to death in the weather elements.

Speaking of those weather elements, they’re a massive issue early in the game. You may as well not even bother going into snowy areas as you’re almost certain not to make it out with your health depleting rapidly. Sure, you can cook a number of items into a weather resistant meal and you’ll get some protective gear along the way, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you go anywhere almost immediately. So it’s up to you to work out what you’re able to handle and what you should save for later.

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I’ve seen a lot of comments online about how from the early footage, about how the enemies look quite easy to defeat, and for the most part they are. But by combining these enemies with the various elements of Hyrule such as weather, stamina and your weapons deteriorating and breaking on you during fights which make them a threat. I’m honestly surprised that there is no difficulty level adjustment and it’ll be interesting to see what the ‘Hard Mode’ brings to the game in the coming DLC packs. My guess is that maybe you’ll lose every single weapon that you have every time you die. (Dark Souls anyone?)

Equally, the puzzles seem to have been taken up a notch in this game. There’s apparently 100+ shrines, which are essentially mini-dungeons and quite frankly the best addition to the Zelda franchise since its beginning. They often require you solving a puzzle or overcome a physical challenge to gain access and then consist of two or three smaller puzzles.

The world of Hyrule is full of side missions and odd jobs for you to complete which makes it hard making any meaningful progress with the main story. Before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of side quests racked up and you’ll quickly forget exactly what you were doing.

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I mentioned earlier that I’ve been more engaged with Hyrule and Link in this game than any other Zelda game, and it’s true for Zelda and the rest of the characters too. A lot of the characters now have voice acting in cut scenes and just seem to have much more genuine likeable personalities than characters in the Zelda franchise previously.

It’s still a little weird Link can’t/doesn’t talk, but I understand Nintendo’s decision to give Zelda a voice. She is the one you’re trying to save, so it’s incredibly important to care about her and genuinely want to save her, and I did.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks absolutely fantastic. Now it’s hard to compare directly but coming from Horizon: Zero Dawn, obviously it’s not as technically impressive, but it is equally beautiful. The different locations are all simply stunning, ranging from the dense forests all the way to the shrines, which have darker colour schemes.

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It’s worth noting whilst the game runs and looks great on the Nintendo Switch tablet (which I’m led to believe outputs at 720p), I did notice some performance issues when playing on the TV. Specifically, when I’m in dense, open areas, the game would definitely drop some frames and get a little choppy when looking around and engaging in battle. I hope Nintendo can stabilise this a little more with an update as it’s definitely not a good look and quite frankly a little bit concerning considering it’s a launch title.

When speaking about the presentation, it’s hard not to mention the audio. The audio cues which you’ve known and loved for years and years have been given a fresh, new sound. They’re all familiar, but they all fit this brand new version of Hyrule that much better.

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It’s really hard to talk about the success of the Nintendo Switch without mentioning Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It feels like this console was literally created to go hand-in-hand with this game and vice versa. There’s no better feeling than knowing you can boot up your Nintendo Switch for fifteen minutes to complete a side mission, and then continue where you left off every time without fail on your TV to take on bigger story missions. I don’t know I’ll ever be able to go back to playing an open-world game without the ability to take it anywhere, ever again.

Amiibo support has been hit-and-miss in games on both the Wii U and 3DS, but in Breath of the Wild, the integration of Amiibo is better than ever before. Each Amiibo which features a character from the Zelda series will unlock advanced weapons including swords, bows and shields. Each of these weapons has an increased chance of improving durability or increasing the chance to make a critical hit. There’s a tonne of other great surprises too from Amiibo which we won’t quite spoil for you yet.

CONCLUSION

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will go down as one of the best launch titles of all time. Yes, technically it’s a Wii U game that was ported over to the Nintendo Switch, but Nintendo made the right decision in holding this game back. It perfectly compliments the Nintendo Switch and highlights why it has the potential to be such a great and versatile console. Many have doubted Nintendo’s ability to bring this series into the modern age of gaming, but they’ve done that and taken it one step further in creating one of the best open-world action-adventure games ever made.

The Nintendo Switch version of this game was played for the purpose of this review. You can read our review policy HERE.

THE VERDICT
You Can Literally Go Anywhere
It's Difficult, But Satisfying
The World Is Beautiful
Performance Issues In TV Mode
10

  • LamontRaymond

    nice! (but how can I be the first comment?)