Images by BagoGames
By Nathan Woodham
“Breath of the Wild” describes perfectly the experience of playing the newest game in the Legend of Zelda franchise. Everything from the interactions between characters to the walking animations to the tiny quirks exhibited by every non-player character (NPC) give this game a heartbeat reminiscent of the great epics of gaming history. It has all of the isolation of Shadow of the Colossus, the openness of Skyrim, the environmental storytelling and difficulty of Dark Souls and the adventure of previous games in the Zelda franchise.
Few games have achieved the level of perfection that Breath of the Wild has. It successfully breaks away from the conventions of modern Zelda games while staying true to the feeling of adventure present since the original Zelda‘s conception in 1986. I can say with confidence that Nintendo has outperformed everything they have ever created with this single release.
I could go on, talking about how well-designed every aspect of this game is. I could mention the breathtaking openness of the world, the fluidity of the physics engine, the natural-feeling control scheme or the miles upon miles of adventure awaiting for players.
Instead, the most effective way to convey the feeling of playing this game is to simply share several moments of pure fun that transpired in the course of my play-through of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
- At one point, while walking through the jungle, a mile-long dragon casually flew past, foreshadowing a future monster fight in the vein of Shadow of the Colossus.
- I built a catapult out of a door and some rocks using an ability that controls metal objects called the ‘magnesis rune’ and launched myself off a cliff to my death.
- I successfully found and tamed a horse that descended from the horses that the royal family rode a century before the events of the game.
- I temporarily stopped time on an explosive barrel and hit it with a sword to build up it’s momentum so when it eventually came out of stasis, it flew into an enemy campsite and blew up.
- I climbed to the top of the tallest peak I could see and took a picture of the landscape before paragliding through a ravine.
- I used my shield and an animal called a ‘sand seal’ to surf through desert sands.
- I found a massive ancient labyrinth and navigated through it to find a shrine at the center.
- I saw a shrine in the middle of the ocean and walked to the top of an overhang so I could use my paraglider to glide to it. On the small island next to the shrine was a raft, so I used a giant leaf to blow wind into the sail until I reached a faraway island where an ethereal voice greeted me, informing me that I reached a trial. My items were confiscated and I was left to survive using only my wits and whatever I could scavenge from the island.
The game is filled with moments like this, constantly giving you a reason to adventure on and discover the next breathtaking view or challenging puzzle. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild fits into a narrow category of video games that can be called both artistic and incredibly fun. It is as close to perfect as a video game can be.
Near perfection, however, does not equal perfection. In my 50+ hours with the game, I’ve come across only two huge issues. The first is the framerate. This issue was not entirely surprising to see, considering how massive the game is, but occasionally players will notice significant lag. It mostly happens in towns and around a lot of NPCs, but it happens nonetheless.
The second issue will likely be fixed with an update, but it is causing a lot of players grief. There is a game-breaking glitch during one of the boss fights which prevents you from progressing in the main quest if it is triggered. I won’t spoil the fight, but it has to do with the Yiga clan. This glitch caused my younger brother to restart the game, losing 60+ hours of gameplay in the process. I personally defeated the boss without running into this issue, but players should be aware and make sure to save before every event.
From my brother’s testimony, however, it seems that playing through the game for the second time was not as disappointing as expected. He took a different route right off the bat, allowing him to explore new parts of the game and get back to where he was without retreading too much of the same ground. The parts that he did play through again retained their excitement because of just how fun the game is to play. Few games can brag that a game-breaking, file-corrupting glitch did not entirely sully the player’s experience.
Any problem beyond what I have just mentioned would be nitpicking.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild succeeds on almost every level. It will no doubt go down in history as one of the greatest games of all time. We rummaged through the review dumpster for the perfect award and we are honored to give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the perfect score of a first-place little league baseball trophy mistakenly thrown away by the owner’s mom’s maid.