Legend of Zelda BOTW After Thoughts
Every story has a beginning, middle and ending. The same goes for video games. Just like a good novel, video games follow the suit. Legend of Zelda has always been known for it’s in depth stories and fascinating wonder that comes along with these types of games. In truth, I haven’t been into Zelda the past few games. Pretty much after Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, lost touch with the series. Part of the reasons are that I never owned a Wii, Wii U or any of the new new new new 3D 2D SI XL DS…whatever they called those handhelds. From the reviews I watched — I didn’t miss much. Being out of the Nintendo game for so long, I was eager to get back into the Nintendo world with buying up a Nintendo Switch with this game called Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on launch day in Canada. You can read my Nintendo Switch journey on my other article on my blog. Being a Nintendo fan and a Legend of Zelda fan, I kind of new what I was getting into with the new Breath of the Wild game. Like most people I watched the preview content, the reviews and read articles about the system and new games. Day 1 after getting the game I started my journey.
Right out of the gate I was treated with amazing graphics and a story about Link not knowing who he was or what he needed to do — I didn’t know either. From the start, I knew this was going to be pretty amazing. After exiting the cave, I picked up a tree branch and started wacking trees which would knock apples down. I thought to myself “Wow this is cool” and then… crack ‘Your weapon broke!’ Immediately I was confused about why such a thing would happen. None of the Zeldas I played previously had anything like this…well maybe except for the Goron sword in Ocarina of Time. Once I spoke to the old guy, the game started. He showed me that there are 3 shrines to solve in order to get a fantastic item.
After completing the shrines, the old guy turned into actually being the King of Hyrule who was actually a spirit. The King gives Link the para-glider which is when the REAL journey starts.
Panning the camera from left to right and up and down, you’re able to see almost the entire map. Mountains and trees, lakes and streams — everything the eye can see you and touch. It’s just amazing and completely overwhelming. From the start of the game you know that this is going to be quite the journey. The line from the movie The Hobbit where Billbo yells as he’s running to the dwarfs and Gandolf, “I’m going on an adventure!!!” The same can be said with Link. Well, given that he could actually talk.
Gone are the days from the YIIIPPPPs, HHHIIIYYYAAA and other weird sounds that show that Link is mute. He now makes less sounds in general but also make new sounds. In the cut scenes, the main characters now have voices and make full dialogue. The voice acting is actually very well performed unfortunately it’s a bit strange to have so many different accents. Spoiler alert — Zelda is British yet her dad (The King) doesn’t have an accent.
The controls of the game are what you’d expect with a Zelda title. Controls are tight and the buttons seem to all be in the proper spots. I don’t know about other people though, I’ve been having issues with the top bumper buttons on the Nintendo switch. Specifically it’s been the L and R buttons, they just seem to be just too small on the Joy Cons. It would be different if I had a Pro Controller to fit into my big man sized hands. My other issue is the mandatory motion controls which are hit or miss with me. I like the ability to fine tune my aim works well but when I forget about the motion controls, it just causes issues for me. When talking controls and the Nintendo Switch, we also need to talk about the different ways of using the Switch being it docked or using it as a handheld. For playing Zelda, I prefer having it in handheld mode so I can have something on the TV in the background while playing. I also where glasses to see distance so playing in handheld allows me not to wear my glasses to play which is fantastic. I should also mention that there is now a dedicated jump button in Zelda which from memory has never been around but based on some research, I have found out that Skyward Sword allowed this. Before you had to run off the end in order to jump anywhere. This is a welcomed addition.
I would say one of the major issue of this game is the pacing. Not that it’s just awful at pacing and lacks story, it totally doesn’t. The issues come into play about the 30 hour mark when you have gotten fairly into playing after getting a good amount of Shrines under your belt, you learn how to play the game, learning to make recipes for food and knowing that weapons can break at any time. You get everything so fast that you expect more but it never actually comes. From that 30 hour mark and onward, if you’re like me where you explored and got the rest of your map before even getting past the 3 heart mark. The remaining hours seem to lack all influence for you to keep going and striving to finish the game.
To not help the game, it seems like Nintendo wanted the journey and the story to be ahead of the game play department. To say that this game was easy would be right on track. Throughout the entire game, I may have had a couple troubles like “Where is this?” and “ How do I get here?” Besides that, the enemies and boss fights were way to easy. I would say easier than previous Zelda game bosses where you have to think about how to beat them. All these bosses in the 4 dungeons and the final boss all had the ‘Hack and Slash’ mentality. You could beat these guys easily but straight up using the time stop power and then hitting the boss with the sword. This is unfortunate, I remember when bosses actually made me think and it was a great feeling finally beating a boss. Now I can’t tell if I’m just a seasoned video gamer at 29 now or if the game was actually that easy. The new DLC for BOTW adds Hard Mode which might be interesting but I doubt this is a game that I could play over and over again. The game is just too massive and non-linear to do this.
Overall — Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a great journey. I can’t say it was a full complete game in my eyes because it lacked that progression that normal Zelda games usually have. The fact that the game was a bit too easy (For myself anyways), this game suffers from challenge and pacing issues after the 30 hour mark. If you’re able to finish the game before the 30 hour mark then you probably wouldn’t be able to hit that giant halt. I loved the open worldness and no loading screens with exception inside the Shrines. The colours on the game and when docked the 1080p upscale makes the game beautiful.
Now the golden question — Would I recommend the game? That’s a toughy, I would say that if you are a Zelda fan and you need that next gen fix (Zelda games don’t come too often) and you’re able to find a Switch or you already own a WiiU already, find a used copy of the game and save yourself a few bucks. The perk of the Switch cartridges is that you no longer need to worry about the scratches on a used game disc. This game, if it wasn’t for when I bought the Switch there were barely any games at launch — I probably would’ve waited for a used copy to show up at my local used game store. It’s a great game and existing fans will love it. It’s another Zelda game after all. If you are new to the series and want to get into Zelda, I think you might be left behind because the story definitely needs you to know a little about the background of the games. I would recommend going back and playing Ocarina of Time (At Least) before you dive into this game. The rest of Zelda games don’t really matter at this point. They’re all great games, go and play them for sure but I truly think you need Ocarina of Time in your head before playing BOTW.