A reader offers a retrospective on the most recent Zelda and explains why despite its flaws he still enjoyed every moment.
Reading GCs cry for more features I thought I would serve this up on Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. It took me another couple of months just to write this feature. Writing a feature is really hard so kudos to anyone that does it on a regular basis. Not that my opinions count for much but here are my thoughts on Breath Of The Wild. First of all, I would like to say Link needs to wear the blue tunic from now on, he looks so much better in blue. Its sacrilegious to say this but I hope he never wears the green tunic and the stupid pointy hat again.
The climbing is the thing that I will take away most from this game, so much so that when I started Super Mario Odyssey I jumped towards a wall and Mario just slid back down, wrong game I thought to myself. The frustration of when it rained was understandable, as it was slowing down your progress. You as a player had freedom of movement that you were never given in other games.
I know there were complaints from people regarding the weapon breakage but I didnt have a problem with it. I would experiment with all the weapons that I had and would try different combinations. I think a better solution would have been to allow the breakage to occur but the weapons could be re-forged in a town. The elemental weapons like the fire, ice, and electric weapons can also be forged but they simply turn into normal weapons, losing the elemental aspect. This could be down to a blacksmith in the town not having the skills to add elemental effects to the weapons.
One of the problems I had was the combat, not that it was simplistic but this was rewarding the wrong type of play styles. The parry in my opinion was an aggressive attack that was hard to complete but you were only rewarded with a couple of hits. Whereas the dodge manoeuvre, which is very defensive, allowed for the flurry attacks and you could get in more hits than the parry. This to me seemed counter-intuitive, I hope it is addressed in the new game. They could possibly add dual-wielding but I am not so sure if this would add anything.
My biggest gripe with the game was the divine beasts. It was very exhilarating to reach a divine beast, except maybe the one on Death Mountain; the others were great fun, particularly the water one. Once you reached the beasts, the dungeons were quite mundane. They certainly lacked the elaborate design and scale that you would associate with a Zelda dungeon.
This surprised me the most, as Skyward Sword, the last home console game, had some great dungeons – particularly the ones with the timeshift stones. The boss battles themselves at the end of a divine beast felt like a chore. I think I would have preferred a Shadow Of The Colossus style boss battle hanging for dear life, hacking away at the divine beast.
This leads nicely on to the shrines, which are bite-sized dungeons. On most occasions they didnt outstay their welcome. The ones where I did have a problem with were the major and minor tests of strength. How many times can you fight the little guardians? I think they should have added in boss and mini-boss battles from previous games. These would have to be restricted to swords and bow and arrow encounters.
The quarter of a heart from the shrines made the game easier as well, once I had between 10 to 15 hearts I found the encounters were a lot easier. Though the fights with Lynels were still almost impossible for me. Speaking of Lynels, they were more difficult than the main bosses. And why didnt the developers include different sub-bosses? Having to fight the same Hynox, Thalus, and Moldugas got tiresome. The Zelda bosses were always imaginative and tricky, there was also the sense of awe when you encountered bosses. You did get the same feeling with Hynox, Thalus, and Moldugas but after a few times you just want to avoid them and go about your merry way.
The rewards for completing a divine beast really made the game a lot easier than it should have been, although I know these could be turned off if you wanted to. When I first played the game every encounter with an enemy was a tense affair. I was nervous about whether I should engage enemies or not but with Miphas Grace there wasnt the same trepidation that I originally had. I knew there was a failback option. The only power that I thought was done well is RevalisGgale, as it assisted your progression but the other powers assisted your weaknesses by giving you a degree of redemption.
The DLC was pointless in my opinion, they added nothing to the gameplay nor to the story. As for the bike, I didnt understand why they included it. Also, the bike was horrible to control compared to the horses. In the DLC there was one particular dungeon which required motion controls, where you had to line up some switches and it was a frustrating as it sounds. To me the whole DLC was not thought out properly. I would have been happy with just the main game.
Despite all of the above negativity I really enjoyed every moment of the game and its a real highlight of how far modern gaming has come. The graphics will stand up to the test of time, the vistas in every location within the game were close to stunning. I would stop on some occasions and simply admire the view. From the blinding white snow tops of the Gerudo Highlands, to the spiral shoreline in Akala, to the lush green meadow of Hyrule Field. There was something for everyone to look at and admire. The music would fade in during battles (the Molduga music was my favourite) and in quiet moments you would hear a few notes and remember there was no background music.
I named all of the horses after me and my brothers, I thought it was a novel touch – though I would never let them know I did this. You could ride the horses and just let them take you wherever they wanted and you wouldnt be disappointed where you ended up. The best exploration was on foot as you needed to be sure there wasnt a Korok seed hiding under a rock on top of steep mountain. These are all minor things that just made the experience feel enjoyable.
If there was one location that I could retire to in any video game it would be Lurelin Beach. The sun-kissed beach made me want to stay on the shoreline and leave Zelda trapped in with Ganon. I dont play games much these days due to having a young son and a baby girl. This was a game that I would take with me to work to play at lunch times. For a few brief months I was quite literally immersed in Hyrule and its one of the best places to have been in.
By reader Alek Kazam
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