“Link… you are the light -our light- that must shine upon Hyrule once again.”
It doesn’t happen often, but there are games that are so breathtaking and the art is so beautiful, that we could leave the character standing there and just watch the world continue around them. Watch wind flow through long grass, or the light from the sun shimmer across oceans and lakes. There are games that we can just sit and watch in awe. Breath of the Wild is one of those games. Just when everyone believed Nintendo was on its last legs following console releases of the Nintendo Wii, and the WiiU. They released the new Nintendo Switch, a console that combines the best of a hand-held device with big-screen gameplay. On this brand new device, Legend of Zelda fans old and new can come together for the game we wanted when we got Skyward Sword.
For the first time fans are seeing a true sandbox in a Legend of Zelda game. Beautiful scenery and boundless opportunity for exploration, all gift-wrapped in a world we love. The player is cast into the mind of Link who, once again is required to save the world from a dark force of power; Calamity Ganon. After 100 years of sleep, Link has woken without his memory, and to progress the main story is to run into people who knew the character previously. “One Hundred years ago you would not have struggled to lift the sword. You have grown weak.“
Someone playing the game can choose how they want to beat Calamity Ganon. Will you save all the Ancient Guardians and their animatronic Divine Beasts who in turn will help you fight, will you dive in head first, gliding in on a newly minted item, the paraglider. Hyrule has become what we always wanted it to be, completely open world, if you dare to venture across to the Gerudo Valley with inadequate weapons and armour.
Of all the great throw backs and nostalgia we’re seeing in this game, there are multiple changes that have been made. Link is without his trusty horse, Epona. Lon Lon ranch has become a chain of stables in which you can board any five horses you bond with out in the field. A theme of music holding power in these games has been mostly ignored, as well as a trusty fairy with Link just being a simple soldier. Although a lot of us didn’t miss a fairy yelling ‘Listen!’ in our ears every second. The Shiekah have been given a much larger role in this game as well, to the point where I believed the game was going to throw us right into a Shadow Temple immediately.
There are games with controls and gameplay that run so smoothly it is almost as if they respond to our thoughts. Breath of the Wild, however, is not one of those. In a game such as this the controls should be instinctive, and I found that even close to finishing the game, I was still stumbling over the controls, often confusing the bow-and-arrow with the trigger to activate the Shiekah runes.
Despite the little changes, and the kinks here and there, Breath of the Wild was a pleasure to play. The beautiful scenery simply incites an urge to explore everything there is to offer, and often I wanted to just sit and watch without touching the controls. This Legend of Zelda game earned its hype, and we have finally received a game worthy of the name, and Nintendo once again has proven that they are not finished with yet.
“I must ask you Link. Do you really remember me?“