This review is based on the Switch version of the game.
If you were to ask me which game series is one of my all time favourites, this would be it. I absolutely love the Zelda games, their narrative, styles and mechanics have always been spot on, so when I ordered my Switch and had Zelda bundled with it, I was a very happy bunny. The little teases that Nintendo have been showing as well over the last couple of months have just increased my excitement for the game. Right from the off, the game feels like a Zelda game, you get that sense and atmosphere, straight from the first cut scene you know that you’re in a Zelda game.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild is based 100 years in the future, Link wakes up from a slumber with no memories or recollection of what has happened, however travelling the world and meeting people suddenly brings back to him the realisation of what happened and what must be done.
When you load the game up the first thing that you are going to notice is the art work for the game. It’s very reminiscent of Wind Waker and also has a slight anime feel to it as well, but I have to admit that the game looks absolutely stunning, the first shot when you run out the Resurrection chamber onto the top of the hill and look over the valley, you can see the beauty that abounds the game.
The art work within Breath of the Wild is very crisp and you can see this from all the different areas that you visit, from wild forests, to snowy mountains, and vast deserts, each has their own characteristics and bring their own beauty to the game. I also love how far you can see into the distance and just think, I can go anywhere that I can see….Be able to touch every piece of land on the horizon. Amazing detail!
The mechanics of the game are wonderful and it plays so smooth. Link’s movement in my opinion is flawless, the ability to jump and backflip away from enemies, and when this is timed right you can go on a flurry attack as the enemies are left defenseless, and you get to see this all in nice slow motion action. Another part of this is being able to parry enemies attacks, which again when timed right will either defend Link perfectly or rebound the shot back. I have to admit, when it rebounds back and hits the enemy it is satisfying, especially if it kills them as well.
As standard with all Zelda games, I have to talk about the sounds and music. Where the design and art work reminds me of Wind Waker, the music takes me back to my favourite Zelda of all time, which is Ocarina of Time. The music from Ocarina of Time was a melodic beauty and I have to admit that this is the same. Gentle at times when everything is going well, however it picks up when you are in a fight, but depending on the enemy you’re fighting will depend on what the music is like.
You have different enemies to face throughout the world, some of which are easy enough to face, some a little tougher, such as the area bosses. Found in each area, there is an enemy which is an oversized enemy…. and they are hard, all bar one I’ve faced I have ran away from, the other I used runes against to finish them off, and it took me around 5-10 minutes to beat the giant that I had to face.
It’s not a Hyrule without your markets and other stalls dotted about and even 100 years into the future with a torn down Hyrule there are still markets about, lively ones at that with lots of people growing fruit and vegetables (handy for cooking) and something that is new to this game is a clothes shop. Now, I probably got a little more excited about this than I should have, but I had the rupees and decided to buy myself a new outfit. Gotta treat yourself once in a while. Different outfits come with different properties, some will help your armour, some will enhance your stealth so that your footsteps are practically silent. Love this idea, because you can either look at it from a style perspective or you can see what suits you better in terms of properties of the clothes. Thumbs up from me for this one.
All around the world there are shrines which you can take on, they are little challenges which if you pass will give you an Orb. The orbs can then be used at pray sites to gain more stamina or another health heart.
One change in Breath of the Wild is that health doesn’t automatically regenerate, instead you have to either find food around the world or cook your own. Each bit of food has a certain property depending on what you put into the cooking pot, some may have a cold resistance element or it could enhance your stealth or armour. I love this element to it, it’s something brand new and helps to add that little bit extra to the survival element of the game.
Speaking of stamina, the stamina is used to run, climb, swim and push heavy items like boulders. If you’re climbing and run out of stamina, you fall, swimming and run out? Drown. Harsh, but fair for me.
I love the survival elements within the game with the cold and heat affecting Link. When you go up the the snowy mountains, the temperature gauge will drop and when it drops into those danger areas your health will start to go down, so you either have to take a torch with you or make sure you can get to a fire in time before your health drops.
There are plenty of weapons around the world for you to pick up and you’re going to need them as your weapons are breakable. I think that this is a nice touch to the game, and keeps you on your toes to make sure that you always have a weapon available, however I will say that there are plenty of available weapons all around the world for you to pick up.
Ocarina of Time has always been my favourite Zelda, but this is going right up there with them, it has been a while since a game has pulled me in, the narrative, the way the game feels to play, everything for me is simply perfect and it amazing to have a brand new Zelda experience to play through, and especially on a new console to play it on.