Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Not just a game but a true Legend of Gaming.
The Legend of Zelda series is probably the greatest video game series of all time. Ever since its humble beginning 31 years ago, Nintendo has not being afraid to provide something new on each installment of the series. Anything from new items to battle bosses and explore, to a complete overhaul of the engine and art style in order to provide a new and unique experience each game released while preserving the core conventions of the series. But with Breath of the Wild, Nintendo has taken this concept one step further and re-imagined the series, not only in looks, but also in essence. Bring the experience back to its origins.
Breath of the Wild is an adventure which takes you back to the roots of the series by inviting the player to explore a vast open world. The game is an adventure of epic proportions and this is evident from the moment the game loads. The traditional Zelda opening sequence with the logo and the save files screen are changed in favor of a cinematic film reminiscent of a Hollywood summer blockbuster film. The menus are clean, well organized and easy to navigate, as well as aesthetically pleasing; while the Heads Up Display is minimalist in design which gives the player a clean screen throughout the game that does not obstruct the view of the player nor becomes a distraction during heated battles. This is extremely pleasing specially when playing the game in portable mode.
Once the game starts with the opening cinematic, the player is introduced to the initial area which serves as a tutorial for the adventure that follows. This initial area also serves as preview of what the player can expect from the game overall. This area alone is so vast and filled with so things to do, that the player can take two to three hours to explore it in its entirety before moving on with the main story. Once the player is ready to explore the vast kingdom of Hyrule, there is not a place where the player can't go. This is where Breath of the Wild sets itself apart from other open world adventures. The player not only can travel as far as the eye can see, but the player can travel anywhere the player wants. There is no valley that can't be walked, no cave that can't be explored, no water that can't be swam, and no mountain or canyon that can't be climbed. The player literally can explore every square foot of the kingdom of Hyrule, and to the delight of speed runners, just like in the original Legend of Zelda game 31 years ago, the player can go straight to Ganon and take a shot at the big guy. It does not mean the play can defeat Ganon right away, but they can try.
This new open world of Hyrule is populated like never before. Unlike its predecessors, there is always something to see, something to admire, something to hunt, something to forage, and someone to meet, and of course, someone to fight. I rarely go more than 100 yards in the game without having fought a monster, or hunted an animal for food, met a resident of Hyrule and the neighboring villages, and even encountered the occasional traveler trying to make fortune and glory in their own adventure. Here is where we discovered something even more fascinating. You'll never have the same result to what you do, even if you do the same thing again in a different game file. E, Ciara (Purple) and I met and saved two explores when we first left the initial area. I got food from them for helping battle a pair of Bokoblins, Ciara got an elixir, and E did not received a thing. This random generation of outcomes is not dictated by the player's experience level nor dialog choice. Therefore increases dramatically the replay value of the game. You are never bound to experience the same rewards for your actions.
Graphically, Breath of the Wild is a gorgeous game that needs very little to review. Its beauty speaks for itself. Sure the game is not 1080p (it runs at 900 resolution), and it has a few drops on frame rate on both the Wii U version as well as the Switch version; but nothing really bad that detracts from the overall visual enjoyment of the game. As a matter of fact, E, Ciara, and I have been so immersed in the game, that I have noticed only once a drop on the frame rate. The story, the gameplay, and the beauty of the game seem to wash away any technical flaws the game might have. Even on portable mode, running at 720p, the game is as beautiful (if not more beautiful) than its big screen counterpart due to the fact that (during portable mode) the game runs at the native screen resolution of the console; while at dock mode, the game upscales the graphics from 900 to 1080p.
Whether you are a Zelda fan or not, one has to admit that Nintendo has done it again. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a game that will keep you busy in the land of Hyrule for many days and even weeks to come. Whether you are interested in beating Ganon as fast as possible in record time, or you are willing to explore every valley, every canyon, every cave, and every mountain and leave no stone unturned in search of 100% completion; Breath of the Wild a truly a masterpiece of magnificent proportions. Breath of the Wild is legendary chapter in an already legendary series.