Fans of the Legend of Zelda (LoZ) series have been waiting six years for the newest console title in the series and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BoW)” has made that wait worthwhile.
BoW takes gamers into the ruins of the kingdom of Hyrule. Calamity Ganon, the newest incarnation of Link’s immortal foe, destroyed the kingdom 100 years ago in an event that almost ended Link’s life. Now resurrected and without his memories, Link awakens in Hyrule and is tasked with stopping Ganon once more. How Link does so is completely up to the gamer.
Players can break away from the norms of a Zelda title and play the game any way they want. One can finish the introductory tutorial and go straight for the final boss or they could free up the Divine Beasts (ancient machines designed to take down Calamity Ganon), clear shrines to enhance Link’s life force and stamina, find the Master Sword, recover all of Link’s lost memories, find ability-enhancing clothes that complement their playstyle and fully prepare themselves for the climatic final boss fight. The approach and order is entirely interchangeable.
If one decides to prepare themselves, they better be ready to tackle the terrain. Wide open fields, raging rivers, and skyscraping plateaus come together to create a well-crafted open world, one that has climbed the ranks as one of the biggest ever created.
Littered across this landscape are dozens of wildlife and plants for Link to hunt or gather. In order to survive in the diverse climates, gamers must collect supplies and cook them up in order to acquire their beneficial effects and to restore some life energy.
Link no longer has a set inventory of items. While adventuring, he must scavenge for lost weapons left on the battlefield, in chests, or take them from his defeated enemies. His arsenal has expanded as much as the world has, allowing him to wield swords, bows, spears, scimitars, boomerangs and more coming in dozens of varieties, designs, effects and durability.
The game offers a fresh take on the franchise. It may have sacrificed many key aspects of the franchise like dungeons, a set green tunic and a linear storyline, but nothing that was taken away ended up breaking the game.
The complete freedom to take on the game however one chooses allows for everyone to face the challenges in a way that is enjoyable for them. They’re still faced with witty puzzles while also having enemies able to kill Link in one hit.
Not to mention, the world is designed beautifully and, when played on the Nintendo Switch, plays flawlessly with little to no lag apart from a few frame drops. Discovering new areas is always rewarding, and it is easy to get sidetracked from Point A to B with many side quests and hidden areas bound to be along the way.
IGN has hit the nail on the head with their review of BoW: “10… Masterpiece.”