Nintendo is breathing new life into The Legend of Zelda franchise this year, with the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild alongside the brand new Nintendo Switch console last week.
Even if you’ve never played a Zelda game before (or any roleplaying video game, for that matter), it’s impossible not to get instantly addicted to this breathtaking, open-ended world. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch greets gamers with vast, open fields of greenery, vividly vicious slobbering monsters, and a magical quest of heroism unlike any other.
The highly anticipated game does not disappoint, and in fact smashes expectations of both seasoned and novice gamers alike. Breath of the Wild allows players to discover a refreshed world, and all of the monsters in it. From an overarching, slightly arduous quest to destroy an evil entity, to simple side gigs completing tasks for villagers and friendly creatures, to unexpected boss battles in the middle of the forest, the game has so much to offer. Whether you enjoy scavenging, taking down the bad guys, solving puzzles, exploring unknown places, or completing missions, this game literally has it all—and there is so much to discover.
Breath of the Wild leaves players with a lot to figure out, offering limited guidance and instruction as players roam through the lands of Hyrule, from desert dwellings, to volcanic villages, to forgotten forests. But with a bit of patience, a dash of resourcefulness, and a hint of curiosity, players will find their way through this expansive world quickly enough (if you consider roughly 70 hours of gameplay quick, that is).
It’s up to Link to defeat the evil Ganon, but how and when that happens is totally in the hands of the player. The latest Zelda adventure does not feature a linear path. Players are free to discover the world and complete quests at their own pace, though the storyline does encourage you to head in certain directions before others. Stumble across a monster you just CANNOT get past? NBD. Just turn around, head a different way, and start a new quest. The open-world format is perfect for gamers who get stuck easily, and especially perfect for younger players with short attention spans or bad tempers. The game features so many challenges, puzzles, monsters, and more, leaving you with a seemingly endless array of exciting and unique obstacles to overcome.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, suddenly someone teaches you how to go shield surfing, or you unexpectedly conquer a temple challenge before you even enter inside, or you find an incredible ancient weapon that might FINALLY help you take out the Guardians (minor spoiler, forgive me).
Finding and climbing towers in Breath of the Wild is incredibly important. Once you locate and reach the top of a Tower, the region you are in will be completely mapped out so you know where you are going and in what direction to head next. Until then, you’re roaming around totally blind. Some Towers will be harder to conquer than others, thanks to lurking enemies or climate changes that will prove incredibly challenging. The Towers add a great component to the game that feels like hide-and-go-seek, with an imperative and satisfying reward at the end. Plus, Towers serve as quick-travel points, so you can come back to different areas just by selecting them on the map, rather than traveling for long periods of time.
Shrines are much like Towers in that you when you find one, you want to get there as quickly as you can, and once conquered, they also serve as quick-travel points. Each Shrine features a unique puzzle challenge that will test players’ logic, fighting ability, and stamina. Once each Shrine is conquered, you will receive a Spirit Orb, a coveted object that will become extremely useful in upgrading your abilities. Shrines feel a bit like dungeons of Zelda games past, often leaving players puzzled and perplexed—but if you look closely enough, there’s usually a hint or two leading you toward the solution.
One of the easiest ways to boost your stamina, speed, stealth ability, or health is by cooking up some tasty dishes using ingredients you gather or purchase. Monster parts, creepy crawly critters, freshly killed protein, and wild mushrooms and herbs are just a few of the options you can add to your dishes. Some of them will even grant special abilities, such as protection against electricity or fire, while others will keep you warm in cold climates. Players can add up to five ingredients in each dish, and again, it’s really all about trial and error. Sometimes, you may end up cooking something that looks like a pixelated pile of mush, but it’ll still give you a health boost or two if you eat it. Trying out new recipes and stock piling meals is one of the best parts about the game, allowing players to take a quick break from all the heroic action and do some easy chores.
Bokoblins, Moblins, Lizalfos, oh my! Monsters are a plenty in Breath of the Wild, and they are all nauseatingly enthralling. From enemy outposts with multiple mutants to destroy, to oversized enemies with 1,000 HP, there are plenty of beasts to take down. Players likely won’t travel for more than two to three minutes without encountering something that’s cruisin’ for a bruisin’. The surplus of savages make the game continuously exciting, no matter how many “Game Over” screens you may meet along your way.
For those who love to explore, villages provide the perfect opportunity to purchase new armor, food, and arrows, as well as gain some knowledge from the ever-wise villagers that double as helpful hints to progress through the game. There are lots of side quests in each village, such as tracking down gifts, collecting chickens, or finding some precious gems. While you can breeze right through these towns in a quiet village, you can also spend hours exploring them and talking to everyone in sight. Link: Hyrule’s most heroic Good Samaritan.
There are four Divine Beasts in the game that each prove to be a combination of challenging logic puzzles and big, rough boss battles. Modeled after animals such as an elephant or a camel, each beast will greet Link with physical and mental puzzles. There are even a few obstacles to overcome before getting inside, where the actual challenge begins. Each one is absolutely exhilarating and proves to be more challenging than the next, forcing players to think outside the box and use every resource available to them. Your ultimate goal in Breath of the Wild is to destroy Ganon, and you can’t hope to do so without first conquering the Divine Beasts, but players are in complete control of how and when they take on those four intense challenges.
Unlike more serious RPGs, such as the brand new Horizon Zero Dawn for PS4, which launched alongside Breath of the Wild, Nintendo’s latest title is full of family-friendly content. The monsters simply explode into a purple cloud when they are defeated, no blood in site (though they do leave behind some campy, vibrant “guts”). The villagers and travelers you encounter are mostly quirky and comical. You are playing as a pint-sized Hyrulian who is simply there to save the day. While the game does feature cartoonish “violence,” it is far more imaginative and fantastic than realistic.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an incredible amount of content, allowing players to explore new lands, overcome countless enemies, and solve hundreds of puzzles, in whatever fashion and order they choose. The open-world format results in a choose-your-own-adventure experience, allowing gamers to sprint, swim, climb, and ride their way through the heroic quest to take out the evil Ganon. Within the first few hours of gameplay, players of all ages are sure to be hooked on the latest projection of Hyrule.