I just finished playing Breath of the Wild
And I took my time doing it. I find it hard to find pleasure in exploration games, since I get bored quite quickly without “something that needs to be done”. However, I think I managed to enjoy this one a lot.
While the developers did promise an open world, we didn’t really get one. It was fairly big, like really big. But not really open. I don’t know how that would work anyway — how would quest mechanics work in a really open world?
I think the exploration mechanics were driven really well through some interesting aspects of the game: it is enjoyable to watch around. The landscapes are pretty, every place that you see up in the distance is a place you can go to and that will eventually bring you memories. Then, every particular feature of a landscape (a mountain, a tower, a lake, etc.) becomes a question: what if I went there? And for most of the game, you can actually do that.
Even when using horses you can just let them guide you through a particular pathway and watch around. It is, and I really mean it, enjoyable.
My favorite part of the game were definitely the shrines. But that’s me: I’m a puzzle junkie. I think only 3 or 4 of them had really me asking how to solve them, and for the most part, they were really dull or simple.
Some others, like the fighting ones, really had me step up my game before I could beat them.
Without spoilers, the story did surprise me quite a bit. I liked the idea of all of the conflict not being about me. I actually had nothing to do with it, and was just a bystander that was going to help. An interesting perspective of a game where you play the hero.
I don’t think this game quite fits any of the storylines of the Zelda universe, but it doesn’t seem to be something that Nintendo really cares about. They make up a story, if it fits somewhere then yay, sequel, if it does not then woops, parallel universe. It’d be nice to have a story to follow but I don’t blame them. There are so many times you can threaten reality without it becoming so hard to one up to that…
I had a lot of fun playing it. And it it wasn’t so big, I might have waited for the expansion packs (which I just learned are going to exist) so that I can play a larger experience. I would definitely play it again, if it wasn’t for how long it takes to do everything.
It’s still a game that you can beat in a couple of hours (if you’re up to the challenge) but I think the beauty of this game is to run around and experiment.