The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch Review
Hyrule was at Peace, and boasted the Marvels of an Advanced Civilization, but alas, not all things were meant to Last. Calamity has struck. A fallen Hero. A trapped Princess. A crumbling Kingdom. Time is running out.
“Wake up Link. You have been recovering in slumber for one hundred years now. The time has come for you to rise. Hyrule needs you. I need you. With losing your memory, you may not remember me, but with time, all will become clear to you. Hurry now and gather your strength to make your way outside, time is running out.” Welcome to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, receiving The Game Award for Most Anticipated Game, exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and Wii U Consoles. Is the game worthy of the Award? Is it worth the Hype? I hope I can break that down for you to decide on your own, based on my experience in the past week, running around as Link.
The Legend Reborn
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the first of it’s kind, featuring a massive Open-World Environment (Sandbox) which is Twelve Times Larger than the Overworld in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (13th Zelda Game). When you begin, you wake up as Link, the Legendary Knight we all know and love, after recovering in The Shrine of Resurrection on The Great Plateau for one hundred years. Before you exit the Shrine, you are “given” a Sheikah Slate while being guided by a Mysterious Female Voice. After exiting, you come across a Strange Old Man nearby who gives you various tasks to do which helps you adjust to the world in ruins, while being confined to The Great Plateau. After activating a hidden platform with your Sheikah Slate, a massive Pillar rises from the ground where you are stood, many other pillars just like it shoot out from the ground all over the Kingdom of Hyrule as well. While stood atop the Pillar, the strange old man meets you and questions you about the mysterious voice you heard in the Shrine of Resurrection. At the same time, he offers to get you off the Plateau in exchange for Treasure found within the four Shrines that also started glowing after the Pillar activated.
You venture into the Shrines and each has a Sheikah Platform that updates your Sheikah Slate with a Rune (ability) which you will need during your travels. The skills you gain include, Remote Bombs, Magnesis, Stasis and Cryonis. The bombs can be thrown or placed and remotely detonated to destroy objects, walls or damage creatures. Magnesis is the ability to grab and manipulate metal objects to either build platforms to reach high areas or lift Treasure Chests out of water. Stasis freezes an object in time and allows it to gain kinetic energy when you hit it with a weapon or simply freeze a moving platform in place. The last Rune, Cryonis, creates scale-able pillars of ice in pools of water, rivers or lakes.
After completing a Shrine Maze you are given a Spirit Orb by the “god” of the Shrine as a reward. Back to the story. The strange old man takes great interest in the Spirit Orbs, and encourages you to collect all four from the four Shrines on the Plateau, in doing so, he will give you a Glider which you can use to glide off of high buildings, mountains and even the Plateau, giving you access to the whole Kingdom of Hyrule. Once you collected all four Spirit Orbs, the strange old man reveals his true identity, and tells you the story of Calamity Ganon, the Dark Beast currently surrounding Hyrule Castle. He explains how one hundred years ago, you and Princess Zelda fought valiantly against Ganon alongside Four Divine Beasts (Mechanical Creatures) which were piloted by four champions from the four surrounding tribes. You also had a mechanical army of Guardians (Spider-like Creatures) at your disposal during the great battle, but Ganon turned all of these mechanical marvels against you and the kingdom by infecting them with his darkness. You fell in battle and Princess Zelda is still busy fighting to contain Ganon’s full power from taking over and laying waste to the Kingdom of Hyrule.
After the dialogue and video, you can choose to either glide down off from the Plateau or explore some more, and even trade your four Spirit Orbs for a Heart Container or Stamina Container from the Goddess of Hyrule which increases your health bar or your stamina wheel respectively.
I would recommend that you leave the Plateau directly North of the Oman Au Shrine (Magnesis Trial) and try to catch a Horse, as your next objective lies very deep within undiscovered territory and running there on foot will take its toll on your time, patience and game retries, due to the amount of Goblin Camps separating you. To catch a horse, just sneak up behind it as quitely as you can, mount it and sooth it. Viola! Now you can ride your way to each objective in style. While riding, you build a bond with your horse by soothing it regularly, which prevents it from either Walking, Trotting, Cantering or Galloping where it wants to go. The stronger the bond, the more control you have at the reins. You can house your horse in a Stable, making it easy to call your horse from any Stable in Hyrule should you loose it. You can house a maximum of five horses, as each horse you catch will have different attributes, Strength, Speed and Stamina. The difficulty in bonding with your horse depends on it’s Temperament, whether it is Gentle or Wild. Be on the lookout for more Shrines and Pillars along the way, as collecting Spirit Orbs should be a secondary priority. Activating more Pillars also reveals territory details on your map, so be sure to climb them before just riding past. Your horse will automatically follow the road, allowing you to enjoy the scenery.
While exploring, it is also very important to collect Cooking Ingredients, which you can either eat raw to restore your health, or you can combine different ingredients and cook them to create dishes that restore a lot more health and even gain a buff based on what you cooked with. As an example, you can cook with chilli’s to make food that helps your cold resistence in colder areas, as the environment does have an effect on you, chipping away at your health slowly. Gathering ingredients is easy, just head into forests, climb trees and raid the goblin camps to steal their supplies after taking them all out. Just do not make the same mistake I did when eating your buff-food, I just assumed that the effects stacked, but they do not, they overwrite one another. This was my downfall in the snow areas, I attempted to increase my cold resistance and also my speed, but it only resulted in my death, which gets marked on your map with a nasty big “X”.
Gearing Up and Weapons
Something different in the game is your use of Weapons. You do not get a weapon that stays with you until you decide to change it up, as each weapon takes durability damage the more you use it, until it eventually breaks. Bows snap. Swords Shatter. In the beginning of the game I often needed to scramble out of battle to find more stuff to fight with, but the selection becomes a lot wider after you leave the Plateau. Your inventory slots on the other hand are very limited, however they can be expanded by earning Korok Seeds from the Children of the Wild throughout the Overworld when completing puzzles.
A little deeper into the game, you also discover the means to “enchanting” your gear, making it stronger and more potent. The correct combination of gear, weapons and food is essential, due to the buffs not stacking. Like if you find yourself in the same situation I did, needing an increase in movement speed to fight off Guardians while in a snow covered area or a blistering hot desert, combine a plate of Hasty Steamed Mushrooms with a Hylian Hood and you can fight like Legolas in Lord of the Rings! (Like a baws!) It is wise to spend your Rupees on an array of clothing items so you can switch between Armor items to best suit your needs.
Rupees can be earned through the large number of Side Quests and by selling your unwanted items or Ore found in Treasure Chests. You can also mine for ore by striking a deposit with a Hammer or a Bomb (in case you were wondering). I have pretty much given you an idea of the tone of the game, but the Main Quests are quite fun, revolving around you needing to restore the Divine Beasts to fighting on your side when you face Calamity Ganon again, to free Princess Zelda. The quests take you to all corners of the kingdom, but something that adds a nice flare to the exploration is Links Amnesia. You receive a Quest that helps you regain your memories, and this quest can only be completed by exploring deep and going off the beaten track. In the quest line, your Sheikah Slate gets upgraded with a Camera feature, and in the Gallery are Twelve Pictures, that were more than likely taken by Princess Zelda when the Sheikah Slate belonged to her. You need to find the locations that these pictures were taken, and then you will unlock a video memory. When watched in chronological order, it plays out what exactly happened during the great Calamity Ganon.
At the time of writing, I have only unlocked six of these memories, and I have been told that by unlocking all Twelve Memories, a Thirteenth Memory will become available, and this will impact the ending of the game. There is an NPC (Non Player Character) that you show the pictures to and he guides you in the general direction, but many of the locations are deep within “enemy” territory and are well guarded by Guardians. So I am playing it safe and only attempting the harder content once I have completed more Shrine Puzzles and bumped up my Heart Containers and Inventory Slots.
I played the game in all three Nintendo Switch Play Modes, with TV Mode being my favorite and Tabletop Mode being the most convenient. TV Mode allowed me to enjoy the rich graphics of the game, as the environmental effects are so well animated, drawing you in, especially in the huge Shrine Maze Puzzles. The puzzles themselves are very well thought out and are quite challenging to even the most logical thinkers. The sound and music is exceptional, light and energetic when you are exploring and interacting and also dramatic when you enter combat or a bad situation. The controls are simple and very easy to get used to, making my experience really enjoyable.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was launched on 3 March 2017, developed by Nintendo Entertainment for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U Consoles. The game can be bought from the Nintendo eStore for R749.00, earning you 80 Gold Points in My Nintendo through this portal. There is also an Expansion Pass available that unlocks more game content and additional items for you to use in game. I found this game to be hugely entertaining, and I am not ashamed to say that I am hooked far beyond being obsessed with it. Getting back to the original question, in my opinion, the Award and Hype are warranted and the price is very affordable for a game of this stellar and legendary quality.