The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wilds (BOTW) ruined me. I cannot be satisfied with any other game that isn’t remotely similar to the caliber of this game. Jo and me are wrecked.
BOTW took us on an adventure into a world of exploration and lighthearted fun. There were cascading waterfalls to swim upwards, rocky mountain ranges to climb, monsters to fight, and so much more. I find myself thinking about the serene green grass lands of Hyrule or the heavenly blue water world of Zora’s domain. While writing this review my nostalgia for this game is still very real. This reddit thread knows the pain and summarizes it in one sentence:
I regret defeating the final boss, Ganon. Yes, there is downloadable content with more shrines and quests, but once the main quest was over it felt kind of empty.
Main Story Line
Players learn about Link and his main mission with Zelda through bits and pieces of memories, cut scenes, and interaction with NPCs. Ultimately, I, as Link, must fight an evil dark spirit named Ganon, and several other bosses in the game. Link is a traveler that encounters several villages, characters (NPCs have such funny lines), and climates. Meanwhile, Zelda is battling Ganon at Hyrule Castle, doing her best to hold him down, while Link levels up to regain his powers after a hundred year slumber (I sympathize for Zelda. Here I am, battling monster bokoblins for fun, checking under rocks to collect Korok seeds that vaguely resemble golden turds, running around shirtless just to see what the NPC reactions are, while she’s trying to hold off the manifestation of evil and destruction that threatens to end the world. But more on that later).
Game Play Process
In the very beginning, the game gives a lot of direction like a tutorial should; however, as some gamers have noted the game does not give you exact directions on where to go to find something or where to go, which can be a bit frustrating for some.
I start in Hyrule where I’m told how to fight, block, and where to go. This part is very brief and then the journey begins where the direction seems as vague as the unmarked map I’m given.
The possibilities are endless: do I start side quests or venture into unknown lands? I can do both! But is it efficient? It’s exciting but somewhat overwhelming.
For example, you are given a side quest to travel to the snowy mountains, but once you get there your breath turns into a cloud and your
shirtless Link starts to shiver (quite realistic). Where do you get cold resistant gear? The game gives you no hints whatsoever. You might pick up some chili peppers from a random shrub you come across on a run through the grasslands. After reading a description of your new addition to your inventory, you find out you can cook them for cold resistant effects. Voila, problem solved! You might also get sidetracked and pick up another side quest and come back to this side quest later. Or you could talk to a NPC and fulfill his wishes for a meal composed of various ingredients and he will reward you with the gear.
The beginning is a bit tedious to me as I have to travel on foot to many shrines and towers to establish travel way points. The game gets more fun as I’m able to get from point A to point B faster without climbing up mountainsides at snails pace or running through monster-ridden lands, frequently weighing the decision to fight mobs of monsters or to just sneak past them; perhaps, a great way to teach a lesson in crafting strategy and decision making.
There is just so much to do! There are over 70 side quests earning you rupees (game currency), weapons, horses, help build an entire town… the world is your oyster.
At one point, I thought we would never complete the game, but I wasn’t being fair. Then as time went on, the game became more intuitive. I’m not speed running through the game. It’s an open world.
Can we talk about the immersive feel of BOTW?
Sometimes I would just hang out in certain villages because the whimsical music and calm country lifestyle was so soothing.
The game gives a bit of free reign. There are multiple ways to battle monsters. The game places boxes, explosive barrels, and metal objects nearby, giving the option for you to use your special abilities to utilize the environment around you (or you can just go in there headfirst and hope that you don’t die). Dodging and parrying come in handy against foes. Combos are pretty simple — jump and attack vs. charging up vs. attacking. Maybe there are combinations I don’t know about, but those are the ones that I found (one of my favorite abilities is granted by Lady Urbosa after defeating the infuriating/disappearing Divine Beast Vah Naboris. It gives new meaning to the charge attack and stuns bosses or takes down large mobs effectively).
Nuggets of interesting details are in the game that one would not discover at first glance. The recipes on the walls of the stables. The fact that horses can die (we found out the hard way). Attacking a rooster also known as as Cuccos can incite a swarm of roosters. And many more that I can’t possibly list in one blog post.
There are sad stories that NPC’s share with you and funny ones. Some NPC’s are strange and creepy. As an ending note, I must mention Hetsu. OH, Hetsu! This game actually had someone writing lines in reaction to Link being unequipped without any clothes.
We are united in our exposure.
But seriously when you think about how someone wrote the lines for this sequence, you can’t not laugh.
The Verdict: GLORIOUS
Warning: when you defeat the final boss, the game sends you back to your last save — in other words, it’s as if you never defeated Ganon at all. But you get a little *star* next to the save file as recognition.
I wish there had been more content post-Ganon boss fight, but that would defeat the purpose of the game. The monsters, guardians, and beasts are possessed by the evil spirit so it doesn’t really make sense story-wise to have a game without monsters. But I mean, it’s not like all games always have clean story lines, right? Can’t we just enjoy traversing the mountains, paragliding across death-defying cliffs, and messing around without bokoblins and that hair-raising guardian threatening to laser us to death? Maybe I’m just making an excuse to have more BOTW content. All in all I hope there’s more to come and more worlds to explore in the future.
By the way, BOTW withdrawals are real. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Here are some of my screenshots: