It’s been a while since I talked about any video games on the blog, but oh man, I have to talk about this one. It’s easily become one of my all time favorites, and there’s just so much about it to adore. It’s also one of the first games I’ve completely 100%ed, which is so satisfying.
It’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!
From the start, I’ve been absolutely blown away by the sheer amount of content in this game, even without factoring in the DLC. The story line is structured in a way that you can go anywhere and do anything in any order, and there are literal hundreds of fun secrets scattered around the beautiful open world map. Feel like doing every Divine Beast and all shrines before facing down Calamity Ganon? Go ahead! Want to try and beat Calamity Ganon without a shirt and armed with a big stick? It’s unadvised, but go ahead! Feel like tracking down every single compendium entry and Korok seed before attempting any bosses? Tough, but possible. The game is so truly open world, and I love it.
Of course, that open world feature can be daunting. There’s A TON to explore, and without concrete direction to explore in, it’s easy to get a little lost. Thankfully, I really liked the quest system, which places pins on your map for the selected quest, so you have at least some idea of where you’re going, and a detour along the way won’t get you completely off track.
Or maybe you want to go off grid. You do you.
One of my other favorite features was all the game’s puzzles. There is so rarely a puzzle that has only a single solution; in fact, I don’t know if there are any with a single solution. If you’re clever and have the abilities/items/uncanny gaming skills, almost every single thing can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Some of the videos I’ve watched before illustrate this perfectly. It’s possible to kill enemies by throwing metal boxes instead of engaging directly. If you can find two mine carts and stack them, you can use the Magnesis rune to lift the lower mine cart while standing in the upper one, then fly around. It’s even possible to sail all the way to the top of Hyrule Castle using some bombs, the Stasis rune, and apparently some bananas, though you need ace timing and possibly a bit of an “I’m going to do it anyway even though it’s a bad idea” in you. There’s plenty more examples, too, not just these, most of them equally delightful and outrageous.
The ambiguity of the timeline is another thing I like. The LoZ timeline is already a mess; it’s hard to track which games belong where in the timeline, especially since there’s a split in the timeline after Ocarina of Time: one line for the hero’s failure, one line for the hero’s success by protecting the Sacred Realm, and one line for the hero’s success by sealing Ganon away. BotW’s location on this timeline is after the split, according to most people, but it could be justified in any one of the three paths for different reasons. Some people dislike this, but I love it. It’s the Legend of Zelda, and that ambiguity fits nicely with the ability of legends to change and adapt even as they endure. It’s a nice touch (and if you’re a fanfic writing kind of person, it opens ALL KINDS OF DOORS).
I think the only thing I don’t love is the sheer number of Korok seeds to find. There are 900 of the little things scattered throughout Hyrule, and there was no way I could ever find all of them without looking up a guide. It’s a huge challenge to find them all, and it took me HOURS of gameplay to do it. But they count toward the percentage complete that appears on your map after the first time you beat Calamity Ganon, and man, I do love that sweet little 100%, even if it took forever to get it.
And beyond the main game, the DLC is incredible! The Trial of the Sword is a real challenge (I am NOT looking forward to how long it’s going to take me to best when I try it on Master Mode, which has stronger enemies sooner, as well as enemy health regeneration), but it was so satisfying to beat, and the Champion’s Ballad DLC gives fantastic awards while adding a few extra story elements that bring the four champions to life more than ever. Typically, I don’t buy DLC because I can’t afford it, but this was well worth it for sure.
It’s also nice that there won’t be any more DLC. The two packs (which amount to $20 USD altogether) are the only DLC Nintendo will release for BotW, and it’s a great cap to an already massive game. The apparent endlessness can be so daunting, but ultimately, it doesn’t go on forever, and with some intense hours logged, it can be totally finished.
Hopefully, now that I know exactly what I’m doing and I’ve aced the regular mode, I’ll be able to conquer Master Mode in my spare time. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to, and I expect I might find some corners of Hyrule I hadn’t explored before!
Have you played BotW? Did you enjoy it? What are your favorite LoZ games?