In March 2017 Nintendo released the Switch with a line-up of 10 games, and among those, a game stood out so much that at the end of the month the number of copies sold exceeded the number of switches. And today we're going to talk about it.
I am Eduardo Soares and today I will review the Game of the Year from 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild.
Let's start with the story. In Breath of the wild the story begins with Link waking up in a chamber without remembering your past and not even your name. Little is revealed in this early game and this is something that helps to give a greater immersion to those who are playing, because parts of the story are being revealed to the player (and the link) during the developments of the main Quests and even chatting with some NPCs can get some detail from Hyrule's past.
I will not enter much in the details of the story not to give any spoiler, but I can say that the story is well tied without leaving blank spots.
However, it is possible that not everyone sees the whole story, as breath of the wild is an open world game and not all main quests are mandatory, and after a short introduction, the player can choose to go straight up to fight Ganon, without making any other quest.
2. Map and Towers
As a good open world game should be, Zelda owns a very large map, with a good diversity of peoples and kingdoms throughout Hyrule, however, although link can explore every corner of Hyrule from the beginning This can be a not-so-easy task, since to have more information on the map as the name of villages or kingdoms it is necessary to reach the top of some towers that will unlocking information about areas of the map. Some towers are more defying than others and getting on top of the most difficulty ones is always rewarding.
3. Shrines and Spirit Orbs
But not only of towers lives Hyrule, in BOTW, instead of the famous dungeons and temples of previous games, we have shrines, which function as mini challenges in the game. Those shrines can contain puzzles, battles, or even both. Some are more challenging than others and in the whole game there is a total of 120 shrines across the map. In addition, some shrines have chests with items, and some of those items can only be found on certain shrines. By winning a shrine Link receives a spirit orb, that can be used within the game to increase the health and stamina of the Link.
4. Health And stamina system
The stamina system in BOTW is a crucial part of gameplay, as it determines the limit that Link can perform some actions such as running, swimming or even climbing. Exhausting Link’s stamina has different consequences depending on the occasion. If Link is running, it will get tired and walk slowly until stamina is restored, if you are climbing any mountain, Link lose the grip and falls and, in the water, let the stamina runs out is fatal. As I mentioned before, Link can increase his stamina level by using the spirit orbs, every 4 spirit orbs collected can be exchanged for a stamina vessel. Besides the stamina, Link’s overall life can be increased the same way, but instead of choose stamina vessel, Link should choose the Heart container.
5. Weapon system
Now let's talk a little bit about the weapon system adopted by the game. BOTW has a wide range of weapons that can be found and used during Link’s journey, however, this time the game has a new durability mechanic that causes them to break after some time of use. The durability varies from weapon to weapon, but they all end up broken. Every single weapon can break, sword, bows, shields. The only exception is the master sword, that instead of break, runs out of energy, so you must wait to use it again. Another important thing is that some weapons are more effective on certain types of enemies, so it’s good to pay attention to those details as it can help you to defeat some enemies faster.
6. Cooking system
Another new system added to the game is the cook system, that was well design, and has a great variety of recipes that can be done using it. Link can find all kind of ingredients like fruits, meats and vegetables, some of those can be eaten raw and can restore a small amount of Link’s health. However, it’s always better to cook the food first, as its recovery level get higher when cooked.
Some foods, if cooked together can create recipes that will restore even more of Link’s life, in some cases, it can even give you an extra heart.
It is possible to try several combinations, and when selecting a dish already done you can check the ingredients used in the preparation on a kind of recipe book inside the game.
Besides food, Link can also cook elixirs, usually by using some monster parts with other ingredients. Elixirs can give you help you with different attributes, like giving you more stealth, making you temporally move faster, or even recover some stamina without need to rest (useful when you are climbing a high mountain and is almost running out on stamina).
7. Weather and Time
And speaking of mountains, it won’t always going to be so simple to climb one, that's because the dynamic weather system in breath of the Wild has influences on the conditions of the scenery, when it is raining, for example, climbing areas become slippery, and Link doesn’t have proper grip to go up.
Another interesting factor happens when we have storms with lightning, if Link is equipped with metal shields of weapons it can attract a lightning and Link can be hit directly by the lightning, making it loose some hearts and drop the weapons he is welding at the time. But not only Link is affected by the weather, enemies can also be affected by their surroundings, if there is a enemy on a lake for example, and Link shoot an arrow on the water, the enemy will be electrocuted, even if not directly hit. Besides weather, time also has its effects in the game, but differently from the former, time
doesn’t affect Link directly but affects the environment as a whole and even enemies. For example, some areas in the map can only be seen at night, as well as some types of enemies that aren’t ever see in the light of the day.
8. Battles and enemies
And speaking of enemies, it is possible to find them around all Hyrule. Enemies can either be found walking or riding isolated or in a group in some open areas, outposts or even in campfires. The game has also an enemy evolution system that makes an enemy level up if you kill its species too much, for example, if you kill too much bokoblins they will appear stronger and smarter than before the next time you find them. Also, it’s important to note that the game takes in consideration the area you attacked that enemy. So, if you kill lots of bokoblins on a specific outpost, they will level up on that specific outpost, not in the whole game.
In addition to the common enemies there are several bosses all over the map, the fight with them is not mandatory, but usually gives pretty good rewards, however, those battles are more difficult, mostly at the beginning, when health and stamina are still very low.
One point that can be negative for some players is that due to the map being quite large, some areas are fairly empty with few or no enemies, in addition, during more intense battles with large numbers of enemies and effects like explosions for example, it is possible to notice some frame drops, especially in portable mode, nothing that jeopardizes the experience, but it can be annoying sometimes.
9. Game content and replayability
Zelda Breath of the Wild possesses a vast content, in addition to the main story, the game has several side quests, kingdoms, towns and secret places beyond the 120 shrines available. It's quite a lot of content, and even after having played more than 300 hours and have completed the main story, I still find places hadn’t visited yet, which led me to discover even more side quests. Definitively BOTW has plenty of content to ensure many hours of fun and a replay factor that goes beyond the main story.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is a true masterpiece, and none of it's flaws can overshadow the greatness of this game. Nintendo dared to change and placed a high bet by reinventing an already consolidated franchise and they did it with perfection, launching a game capable of pleasing old fans of the franchise and conquer new fans with this modern open world outfit. A game that is worthwhile for any switch owner.