Look at me reviewing a Zelda game! I play Zelda games. Zelda games are cool.
After thinking long and hard about it, this is the description I’ve come up with. If you were to take Red Dead Redemption, Just Cause, Assassin’s Creed, Skyrim, and Ocarina of Time, blend them all together, scrape the fat off the top, Breath of the Wild is what you’re left with. There’s nothing in there that you haven’t seen before, but the way that the best elements of all those games are combined, and the fact that those elements are in a Zelda game, is what’s significant. Some of you might be old enough to remember when the iPod was first released. There wasn’t really anything new about it. We’d had MP3 player for a few years. What was special about the iPod was how it took all the things you already knew and mixed them up in to something awesome. Breath of the Wild is the iPod of computer games.
Breath of the Wild is a sandbox game. Those games are only as good as the things you can do in those sandboxes, and Nintendo have done it ever so well. There’s so much to do and see that I couldn’t possibly mention all of it. In my opinion there are two significant parts of the game that stand out over other sandbox features.
Cooking is essential. Traditionally you just find your health in Zelda games. In BotW you make it. Not only do you make your health points, but you can also cook up elixirs that enhance your performance in various areas. You can even cook food that makes you impervious to heat or cold. You won’t make it through the game without cooking.
The other big feature is weather and temperature. I remember playing Red Dead Redemption and wondering why John Marston could go up into the snowy mountains without a problem. In BotW it is a problem. Go somewhere too cold without the appropriate attire and you’ll freeze to death. The weather can also affect what you can do. Climbing in the rain is pretty much impossible. All this adds together to make it so that if you fancy climbing a huge mountain, you’d better check the weather and make sure you’re prepared for how cold the tops of mountains are. This system provides extra depth and interaction with your world.
The main story of the game is good and there’s just the right amount of it. There doesn’t need to be much, there’s so much to do in the world that too much story would ruin it. You want to spend time playing around. I’d describe it as the computer game equivalent of delaying orgasm. You know that there’s this main story going on, and at any point you choose, you can head straight to the main event. You’re just having so much fun getting there, that you try to put it off as much as you can. However, you will reach the point of no return, eventually the desire to kill Gannon will become too much.
While I’m talking about the main story of the game, I’d like to address the subject of misogyny in video games. It’s true that previous Zelda games revolved around the idea of saving Princess Zelda. While I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as a story concept, it does become a problem when that’s all there is going, and it’s something that Nintendo have received criticism for, and Breath of the Wild has been no exception. Where this criticism runs into problems, is when you realise that not only is the aim of this game to support Zelda rather than save her, but as a character, she’s far more awesome than Link. One hundred years ago Link and Zelda started fighting Gannon. Link was killed, and Zelda continued to fight Gannon alone for the next hundred years. That’s not a princess that needs saving. That’s a princess that kicks ass. The overall message is that neither Link or Zelda are strong enough to defeat Gannon alone, so they need to work together. Zelda is strong enough to control Gannon alone, while you wonder around trying to figure out how to not die when you climb a mountain wearing just your pants. At this point I feel it’s safe to say that anyone accusing this game of misogyny hasn’t played it.
Honestly I’m struggling for anything critical to say about this game. While I hesitate to say that it is perfect, there isn’t anything to spoil your experience apart from the usual intrusion of real life that can ruin any gaming session. so get your hands on a Switch, and get started on an adventure that will probably go on to be known as the best game of 2017.