Breath of the Wild is the 25th anniversary celebration of The Legend of Zelda franchise, and it does what their previous anniversary game, Skyward Sword, tried but ultimately failed to do: dropkick the franchise’s formula down a godforsaken cliff. And be fun.
Breath of the Wild is a true open world; once you’ve completed the tutorial, not a square inch of the massive game map is kept from you. If you have the stamina, Link can glide across any chasm or Spider-Man up any sheer cliff you like, and that alone adds a freedom of movement that the best open world games have yet to touch. Except for, you know, the open world Spider-Man games.
But it doesn’t stop there. Dungeons are limited to the game’s four Divine Beasts, but alongside them you’re treated to 120 unique mini-dungeons in the form of Sheikah shrines, all of which are a blast to take on and showcase a remarkably sophisticated physics engine. Heart containers are mostly obtained by collecting Spirit Orbs from the shrines, but you can trade those in to increase your stamina instead. Hearts no longer pop out of enemies or grass but must be recovered from food. Weapons are now destructible and effectively infinite, and while opinions vary on that particular mechanic, I find it keeps combat from ever getting stale. You can also surf on your shield. And there’s little-to-no hand-holding. And yes, the game has Ubisoft-esque towers that reveal the game map, but Breath of the Wild does it one better: it just reveals the game map. Anything you want marked on your map, it’s your job to do so yourself.
All of these elements come together to make Breath of the Wild one of the freshest, most organic, and most addicting games of the last several years.
Story’s a bit naff, but we’ll get there in due time…
You are Link, and this time, it is 100% unalterably Link. You awake in a mysterious stasis chamber after being sealed away for 100 years. Having no memory and only an unrecognizable voice to guide you, you pick up a Sheikah Slate as your all-purpose tool, walk out of the cave and… everything else is up to you. Do you defeat the horrible Calamity Ganon, who destroyed Hyrule 100 years ago, and take back your home? Explore every nook and cranny of the world to become Claymore Stamina Ninja God? Or do you simply ride a wild horse into a death laser and tumble impotently down an incline to your death? You can do it all.
Due to the sheer size of the game, this is not a completionist run. I do have particular goals though: I will complete all 120 shrines, I will closely follow the voting results of polls I held before this LP began, and I will acquire the memories in as close to chronological order as I can. I will also have a second alternate run on hand for things that I missed and for thread requests, such as taking on Ganon right from the Great Plateau.
I’m playing this on the Wii U. Aside from throwaway extras added to the Switch version (which were also added to the Wii U version with the DLC), they’re identical.
Parts with long, voice-acted cutscenes will have two versions: Edited (commentary removed from the cutscenes) and Uncut (commentary over cutscenes). Most parts will not require an edited version. My co-commentators are Skippy Granola and YamiNoSenshi.
(By Natália Santos)
(By CR Gates)
(By Miz Kriss)
(By Fish Noise)
(By Gorilla Salad)