By Skylar Teddington
Mar. 2017 marked the release of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U game consoles.
It is an action role-playing game that features a large open world, memorable characters, a refreshing art style, unique armor and weapons and fun side quests that you can use to pass the time while you complete the main quest.
While this game isn’t exactly new, nor is it the most recent installment in the series, it still remains one of the most popular releases ever published by Nintendo to this day, the Nintendo Switch version having sold around 29 million copies worldwide.
At the beginning of the game, the player awakens in a mysterious cave as Link, an amnesiac and one of the five former Champions of Hyrule.
A Sheikah Slate is then presented to the player, which is the key to using many of the game’s mechanics.
Once the player leaves the cave, that iconic opening cutscene plays, displaying the sheer size of Hyrule. The tutorial begins, and players are introduced to the basic functions of the game.
Once the tutorial is completed, the adventure is completely customizable.
Players have the freedom to take whichever route they want, with some going straight to Ganon while others take their time to collect all 900 Korok seeds. Playing in the “intended” way is very rewarding as you free the other four champions and their Divine Beasts one by one, learning their stories and gaining powers that’ll assist the player throughout the game.
In addition to that, there are 13 memories that the player can unlock to learn more about Link’s life before he lost his memories. With over 100 shrines, five main dungeons and the wild to explore, it is nearly impossible to run out of things to do in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
So, what makes this game so great and why did it get such high ratings?
Well, it’s a great game. Not only does it do the open world concept extremely well, it’s also fun and has something for everyone. The reimagining of the classic dungeon system we’ve seen in other games in the series provides veteran players with a novel yet familiar experience while those newer to the series can enjoy dungeon crawling with a fresh set of eyes. The Divine Beasts were such a unique way to represent the elemental dungeons from games past— Vah Naboris holds a special place in my heart since it feels the most like a “classic” dungeon with its difficult puzzles and gorgeous theme.
The soundtrack for this game deserves praise as well since it really allows the player to feel as though they are immersed in the world. There is no grand theme waiting for the player when they enter Hyrule for the very first time. Instead they’re greeted by ruins and empty-sounding piano notes that speak of a time long gone. All of the tracks from the game are used situationally, from riding your horse to fighting the final boss.
Cel shading was also an excellent artistic choice for the game’s style since it gives the game a distinctive look that’s somewhat similar to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Despite being a few years old, the graphics still hold up.
Every game has its issues. For me, the weather system is too much of a nuisance to justify its functionality. Rainy days make exploration nearly impossible, which defeats the purpose of an exploration-based game. Aside from that, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, and that Metascore of 97 is well-deserved.
Rating: 9.8 / 10