The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild [Review]


Good Stuff

Fresh new concept. I think Majora's Mask is a true 10/10 title, it is my favorite Zelda game. Yet, Breath of the Wild is just different, and different in a good way. Breath of the Wild eliminates the repetitive elements of previous Zelda games and instead incorporates fresh new concepts from modern games. It is appreciated, invigorating and it's about damn time.

Music, sound design. Unquestionably, one of the strongest features of the game. Featuring the piano as the main instrument and the music dynamically changing over the flow of the game makes this one of best Zelda soundtracks out there.

Storytelling. The story might be simple and straightforward, and besides from the expected tropes, the memories scattered around Hyrule are a delightful touch. I felt that the voice acting was mostly good, but it was definitely a positive experience to me. You meet the champions by doing the main story and remembering their interactions with Link. I didn't care about them in the beginning, but the short exchange with them made me closer to them by the way the story was told. Very pleasant.

There is no weapon too cool or too unique to lose and not be able to get it again by simply playing the game.

Weapon breaking/degradation. I thought I wasn't gonna touch the subject of weapon degradation from the game, since it has been one of the most talked subjects in the community. Some people love the mechanic, others hate it. Since enemies can become stronger per area or based on the gear you are wearing, having a 4 DMG Axe won't do much against a Lynel. There is no weapon too cool or too unique to lose and not be able to get it again by simply playing the game. Consider this: it's way more fun to try different weapons with different enemies and learn how what works best depending on your strategy. 

Strategy. This is one of the substantial changes, reflected by a mix of game design and mechanics. Everyone will approach the game differently, because there is no unique way to play the game. One of the points that will make this game timeless.

Slow motion. Who doesn't like slow motion, seriously?

Mini bosses. Did you get bored trying to collect fifteen Energetic Rhyno Bettles? Or 55 Rushrooms for only a single diamond? No problem. Now there are mini bosses all across the map for when you want a change of pace. And get some good materials to upgrade your items or sell, too.

Gear & Great Fairies. Upgrading gear is just another positive addition to enhance the sense of progression. The mechanic of Buffs provided by upgraded gear is a welcome new feature.

The Legend of Kass. "I happen to know a song about the ancient hero. It was passed down by my teacher. Do you care to hear it?" -Kass. What Kass didn't tell you is that he is the true legend of this game.

No Magic Bar.  Having a magic bar was annoying, and now every other Zelda game with it will feel obsolete. Bomb flowers were cool, but infinite cube bombs are cooler.

There will be always a reward for anyone who decides to do more than just following the main story. 

Stamina Bar. Nintendo has been taking notes from all the innovations they have been applying in their previous games. Improving the concept of the stamina bar from Skyward Sword not only adds depth in how the game works mechanically, it is also something you can choose to ignore completely, by not upgrading it, and have an extra level of challenge.

Handholding, long tutorials and constant bugging (Navi, Tatl, Midna, etc). Gone, gone and gone.

Exploration. Every single place you go, every stone you turn, every corner of the map has a secret, and a real reason to explore. There will always be a reward for anyone who decides to do more than just following the main story.

Compendium. Need to find a certain item or enemy faster? The compendium is a fantastic way to feel you are truly exploring and keeping track of things all by yourself. 

Cooking. Preparing for battle and being always ready to engage in difficult fights is like the Witcher, but rated E, instead.

Shrines. Granulating puzzles and challenges all around the map change how the game paces. With a mixture of classic puzzles, quest shrines and battles, there is sure to be a shrine for everyone out there. These new shrines are a smart way to make the Breath of the Wild replay value easier to grow.

Divine Beasts. The Divine Beasts are designed with visceral sense of scale that recreates the feeling of being inside of a massive machine, not an easy thing to do. Solving the puzzles inside of it, moving pieces of this machinery felt new and engaging.

Horse collection. Yes and thank you.

No Rupee wallet, no bomb bag, no quiver upgrade. They were annoying, obsolete and extremely inconvenient.



Personal preferences may fall under this category.

Weapon, shields and bows upgrades. I don't think it is completely necessary since not having slot upgrades can enhance the difficulty of the game. I presume it is designed for that person who wants it all.

Lack of caves. Maybe some more caves here and there, please? Contemplating the nature of caves, new ones can be added in future updates without having to expand the map geography.

Lightning. I am torn about this one. I love it and hate it. The first time I was struck by lightning I was confused and excited. I thought that I had to strategize on how I traverse the map or how much I could keep myself outside during a thunderstorm. It became apparent, by the interface, what was happening, and figuring that out took little to no time. After that, it just became an inconvenience. The possibilities in battle are there and make for some fun scenarios to implement, but I don't think there are enough.

Rain. If you have seen the rain memes it is because rain in Breath of the Wild is a damn joke. It always happens when you least expect it. Providing gear that lets you perform (climb) equally well in rain would have been useful.

The last fight against Ganon was pretty epic in size, but didn’t demand much skill.

The final fight. The last fight against Ganon was pretty epic in size, but didn't demand much skill. I also thought I was gonna keep that bow. I would have been nice to keep another memento aside from the star on the save file to remember that I beat the story. Bummer.

Items VS Runes. The perfect straight shot of the Hero's Bow, the mobility the Hook Shot can provide, the possibilities of the Power Gloves, even the quest for all the milk bottles have been staples of Zelda games. It makes sense to not have the Hook Shot because of the addition of hiking and climbing. But a lot of these were definitely missed. Also, a Mirror Shield would have been amazing looking.

Master Sword, Hylian Shield and champion items. I already mention why I like the mechanic of weapon breaking and degradation. Nevertheless, I haven't bring myself to use the champion weapons I have gotten from finishing the Divine Beasts dungeons. I know I can rebuild them, but they feel too precious to use, plus, there are a lot of other weapons in the game that are stronger than those. I use my Master Sword here and there, but don't use it that much, since I have stronger weapons. I do love the decision of making it stronger near Guardians, in the castle and during the last battle. Mechanically, I would have added the beam to be shot automatically (instead of charging) and be stronger at full health. On the contrary, I have only used the Hylian Shield in the last battle against Ganon since its durability is perfect to deflect the beams... but I really wanna use it more.

Dungeon boss design. Cool looking and all followed a theme, certainly... but not the most unique in terms of design or in comparison to other bosses in previous games.

Repeating Dungeons. I believe it would be nice to have for upcoming updates, or a boss rush mode, I guess? This can help the community for the sole purpose of speedrunning.


Bad Stuff

Amiibo exclusive items. It is no pay to win, obviously. Epona or Fierce Deity's Set being an amiibo exclusive is mediocre, even by Nintendo standards. I don't know if they have a plan to add it in the future by getting it from Kilton (the same way you get the Dark Link set), but... meh.

Button mapping. It took me a while to get myself used to the button scheme. It is not bad, but it couldn't be remapped. It's 2017.

No quick weapon change. One weapon breaks, no auto switching. You throw one weapon, no auto switching. Possibly the latter doesn't make sense because of boomerangs but at least a shortcut to switch in between two types of weapon could have been handy.

It is seriously tedious having to farm star fragments more than 10 times to upgrade the coolest gear to max level.

Farming, including star fragments. One of the strongest features of the game is being able to upgrade your gear. However, the more high level gear you want, the more scarce and rare the upgrade materials become. I don't mind items being hard to get, but it is a little bit of a stretch to first figure out how to get an item and then repeating a long and dull process fifteen times. It is seriously tedious having to farm star fragments more than 10 times to upgrade the coolest gear to max level. Having star fragments being used only on head or chest pieces and giving other materials the opportunity to be used would have been something more balanced and more fun to do. 

Frame rate dropping. It drops even in areas that are not that busy. You see this happening more when the Switch is docked. This problem is also related to the Nintendo Switch's hardware, but it can be definitely optimized. They released an update addressing this already, still not perfect, but at least they are working on issues of this kind.

No Recipes Log. Some sort of book or log where the recipes that you learn are registered. Maybe add a command there where you can hold the items automatically (if you have them) to be ready to cook could have been pretty handy. Nintendo still has time to implement this.

Sidequests amount. Gotta be honest, I have approximately 70% of all sidequest and have finished them all, and I am still looking for that missing percentage. But considering the scale of the game, I was expecting at least double the amount.

Targeting big enemies camera zoom/interaction. It is very sloppy and it can definitely improved. I found myself using targeting less and less the more adept I became at playing the game.

Rewards for getting Korok Seeds, completing the Compendium. Getting the Tunic of the Wild was pretty rewarding, and I think that doing all the shrines provides a bigger reward, which is all heart pieces and full stamina bar. But getting all Korok Seeds, completing the Compendium and even killing Ganon don't provide a big enough compensation to be worth doing. Considering how much I like this game, getting full completion on these things doesn't seem worth it. The rewards are disappointing and don't provide natural progression to get/feel more powerful, which it is part of the game goals. There are people out there that need to get full completion on games, but I am not one of those. But hey! At least there is something to do while waiting for the DLC to drop.


Final Words

This game is the new Super Mario 64 of this generation. Go buy it right now.