First of all, I'm going to address very quickly that Breath of the Wild is an incredible game that is ridiculously well designed and absolutely deserve any Game of the Year Award that it receives. That being said, here are some popular detractors that don't bother me:
- The world being 'empty' doesn't bother me because it emphasizes the importance of what structures do exist in the overworld
- Breakable weapons don't bother me because there are a plethora of weapons to find and use, you should never run out
- The rain mechanic doesn't bother me because it encourages looking at the forecast and planning ahead
- I thought the shrines were a nice way to pad the overworld and compensate for the few 'dungeons' the game did have. I think they were well thought out and had engaging, somewhat challenging puzzles
- Korok seeds were an excellent addition and are well scattered throughout the land. The reward of literal shit is really a slap to the cock, but in the process, you also unlock a bunch of weapon, shield, and bow slots so that's your reward too, dummy
- The fact that Breath of the Wild gives you the ability to literally climb anywhere makes it an objectively better open-world game than other open-world offerings. This is something that I will stand by. Climbing in an open-world means exploring literally everywhere and there are no dead zones locked out by a big cliff or conveniently placed mountain or hill.
But, of course, Breath of the Wild has plenty of flaws too. One of the biggest problems with Breath of the Wild is that the developers were so eager to depart from the series in a big way, that they ditched some things that made Zelda games really awesome in the first place. Namely, dungeons and bosses. This is a common talking point among people looking to critique Breath of the Wild, and for good reason. Breath of the Wild's four divine beasts that serve as the game's dungeons are all easy, house no enemies, and offer no variety of scenery or challenge. In the same vein, the bosses of Breath of the Wild are horrible abominations that are just variants of Calamity Ganon.
And this is where Breath of the Wild really worked itself into a corner. By completely replacing items with runes, and by making all of the runes available at the very beginning of the game, all bosses must be defeatable by any means. This means no specialized boss battles or specialized dungeons, which in turn means no Legend of Zelda.
I completely understand the desire to introduce runes and have every puzzle solvable at the very beginning, so the player can begin his or her adventure wherever they desire; however, dungeons need items to make them unique and give them substance and challenge. Breath of the Wild's dungeons suffer heavily from all being the same, which in turn hurts the game as a whole.
Another thing that really hurt the game in my eyes was connecting hearts and stamina to completing shrines. This alone doesn't hurt the game, but by making these collectibles exclusive to shrines, you are guaranteeing shite rewards throughout the rest of the game. Every single side quest rewards you with either rupees, food, or weapons. All temporary, none very helpful.
So how does Nintendo fix these problems? Easy. Soo, so easy.
- Keep the massive open world
- Keep the large number of shrines
- Keep a small set of runes
- This time, introduce 4-6 actual Zelda dungeons, complete with their own item to help solve the dungeon and kill the boss
- Still tie hearts and stamina to shrines, but not exclusively. Save some heart pieces and stamina bits for quests and mini-games
Wham, Breath of the Wild enhanced. Which leaves one large talking point left: the story.
Breath of the Wild's story isn't horrible. It's not even bad. I really thought it was interesting just because of the brutality. Zelda plots in the past have gotten pretty dark before, but this is fucking intense. Calamity Ganon turns Sheikah technology against Hyrule and just destroys everything. Straight up decimates Castle Town, wrecks Hyrule Castle and unleashes a swarm of Guardians into Hyrule to kill everyone else. However, Zelda has been containing him for 100 years, which is enough time for Link to heal up, slap the Ganon out of the Divine Beasts and return to Hyrule Castle to kick Calamity Ganon's ass. I really liked seeing all of the different races together in the same game: Rito, Zora, Goron, and Gerudo, but the story is pretty rushed along in those four locales. Nonetheless, I thought that Nintendo still managed to make some characters fairly interesting. The whole memory recovery thing is pretty stupid to me and doesn't really add anything to the game other than some exposition.
On the subject of Ganon: what the hell is he? For the entire game leading up to the final battle, Ganon is seen as a cloud of purple smoke flying around the castle. Then, the final battle incarnates Ganon into a big, bearded, bug thing. Then, after that, Ganon reincarnates himself into his rage form: a pig. I believe Ganon loses some of his oomph because he is never seen as an actual character, he is just an evil thing.
Overall, Breath of the Wild is a great game, and yes it deserves a lot of praise, and yes it did do some really exciting new things. As a game, I do believe that it could and probably will win a lot of awards at the end of the year. But as a game in the Legend of Zelda series, it's not even top 5. 9/10.
Until next time, kcduckling out.