It’s been a while since we’ve had a group Purely Opinion piece, but what better time to bring it back then following the release of the latest Zelda? This isn’t the first Purely Opinion on Breath of the Wild, and it probably won’t be the last. While waiting for our full-fledged review of this massive game, enjoy these first impression thoughts from some of the staff …
We’ve been waiting a long time for Breath of the Wild. We’ve had high hopes and expectations, and now that we’re finally playing it, it feels like a dream. And as I write about my experience with BotW, I find that mere words aren’t enough to capture the pure rapture of playing this game.
When Link wakes up in this aged version of Hyrule, you immediately sense that you’re stepping into a completely new kind of Zelda experience. BotW’s Hyrule is a massive world begging to be explored, and it all feels so real. From the visual stimuli of the vast terrain to the new way to interact with your environment, this is not just a step up from past titles, it’s literally on a whole other level.
I’ve died from being too cold, I’ve cooked up a meal to eat, I’ve taken sniper shots at enemies from afar, and I’ve climbed (and fallen from) cliffs to witness some of the most spectacular views in my life – real or virtual. A small niggling thought at the back of my mind questions “how could they possibly top this?” But that’s a problem for future me. Right now, I’m immersed in BotW, and it’s a masterpiece.
I never expected Breath of the Wild to be as awesome as it actually is. The freedom, the huge map, the creatures lurking about, the locations and cooking and weapons and clothing and… *takes breath*. There’s just a lot to do, and tons to see. It’s almost overwhelming as a matter of fact, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’ve also really enjoyed the actual story and the voice acting I’ve heard so far. It’s very cinematic. I’ve barely scratched the surface in the main game. All I have done for the 10-12 hours I’ve played is explore and activate towers and shrines so I can warp there later when I’m ready. I’ve tamed a couple horses, started a forest fire, drowned, plummeted off cliffs and been skewered by many, many enemies. It’s a difficult game seeing as I don’t remember dying but maybe once or twice in all the other Zelda games. So difficulty wise some people might get frustrated but that rewarding feeling you get after defeating something that gave you so much trouble is indescribable.
It’s definitely surprising to see any game get a perfect 10 from over half of the sites that reviewed it, but once you start playing it’s very understandable as to why it was scored perfectly. Because it’s freaking perfect.
Where do I even begin with a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? I suppose I’ll focus in on just one of the games key features – “More than 100 Shrines of Trials to discover and explore.” Without spoiling anything specific, I’ll say that these are a great new addition to the series!
“Shrines dot the landscape, waiting to be discovered in any order you want.” The last proper Zelda entry, A Link Between Worlds, let you tackle dungeons, by and large, in any order you wanted to. A throwback to the original NES game in some respects, it was rightly praised for that design, and many hoped it would carry over. Now on home consoles, it’s a style that has been realized even more fully in BOTW.
Have you ever been having fun playing past Zelda games, only to feel like they came grinding to a near halt due to a particular dungeon? (I’m looking at you Water Temple). Such instances won’t be occurring here. Besides the above-mentioned freedom, most these shrines are small. The smaller size allows for the many clever ideas to not wear out their welcome by being buried under a bloated design. And with 100+ available, who doesn’t appreciate such a high quantity? I know I do!
This arrangement makes further sense when you consider how vast and detailed the overworld in BOTW is. Simply put, you’ll be so entertained exploring and discovering that it’s doubtful you’ll desire longer shrines. They are just the right size … and an especially good fit if you’re a Switch owner wanting to play the game away from your TV. But don’t take our words for it; see for yourself. After all, these are just Purely Opinions.
As someone who enjoys open world games, Breath of the Wild is everything that I could ask for. The land of Hyrule is a huge playground ripe for exploration, and getting sidetracked from the main quest in order to check out that elusive shrine, or to see what’s on top of that mountain peak is half the fun. The world itself is beautifully crafted, with tons of gorgeous landscapes to admire, and wildlife to observe.
In fact, the constant presence of nature is one of the most impressive things about the game for me. Everything from the wildlife to the weather plays an important part in your journey, and all the elements come together in such a way that Hyrule itself really feels like a living, breathing thing. When lightning crashes, (and let me tell you, the lightning in this game is terrifying), the ground around you rumbles, and there is a very real sense of vulnerability that overtakes you. Other times, when the weather is nice, foraging for ingredients can be a very relaxing experience. The game conveys very well that the wilds of Hyrule are a place that gives life, while also harboring great danger at the same time.
The shrines, which serve as places for you to grow stronger are the perfect solution for character development in such a large world. Undiscovered shrines will glow orange, making them highly visible, and resisting the urge to explore one as you make your way to the next point in the story is nearly impossible. The game also does a great job mixing up the challenges that you’ll face in these shrines, so discovering what task you’ll have to complete is never dull.
Breath of the Wild may very well be one of the strongest entries in the Zelda series to date, and the sheer amount of content that there is for you to complete is overwhelming, but in such a way that it makes you eager to take it all on. As someone who enjoys exploration, it has captured my imagination and drawn me into its world. Perhaps it will do the same for you, but that is, after all, purely opinion.Want to share your own opinion? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.