Game Reviews

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild Review: An astonishing game held back by just a few design choices


When I first started Breath of the Wild I was taken aback by the natural beauty of the world. The moment you first stand on a cliff and see the massive scale of the land before you is breathtaking (no pun intended).

The game itself starts out slow, but never feels boring. And that’s something that Breath of the Wild somehow does astonishingly well; it never gets to the point where it’s boring. Sure, it sometimes feels slow, but there is a mystical feeling to the world that just can’t be shaken.

Right at the start of the game Breath of the Wild introduces what could be a largely annoying problem, Far Cry towers. Just like in 99 percent of Ubisoft games Breath of the Wild sets you loose in the world just to force you to “see the world” aka “put the map on your shiekah slate” aka put it on your iPad.

It feels like a cheap cop out at times, and it makes the map fill in mechanic feel somewhat lazy and contrived.

To Nintendo’s credit though, they have done the tower climbing mechanic the best of any of the other game to memory. At times it’s a joke to climb a simple tower, but other times its risky and challenging to make it to the top.

The graphics of Breath of the Wild are stunningly beautiful. The lighting of the world lights each hill and valley with amazing tone and vibrancy. The grass blows in the wind ever so

slightly along with being pushed aside by Link’s footsteps. The rain adds to the survival feel of the game, and the lightning and thunder push the player to feeling isolated in nature. The low textures actually add to the art style making you appreciate each detail a little bit more too.

Everything in the game from a graphics perspective align so well together, and the simple sound design adds to the simple graphical design as well. They almost highlight each other perfectly, though I wish there would’ve been more music to remember as most of the game the music is toned down and simple while the boss fights don’t have anything rememberable.

I’ve purposely left most of the game mechanics toward the end of this review simply because its an issue that gets brought up often but is pushed aside by so many people who just wish to praise the game for perfection.

Breath of the Wild’s fighting mechanics are good. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them. Sure, there have been better mechanics for similar fighting styles, but Breath of the Wild handles combat just fine. However, the cancerous weapon durability system hinders any fluidity within the combat system. Want to go into slow-mo mode and beat down a Lynel? Sorry, your weapon broke mid attack sequence.

This system is painful to deal with, and all it does is annoy you. Sure, it forces you to adapt, but when a mechanic annoys you to the point that this one does you don’t care how good the rest of the game is. You want to stop playing at points just because of this system alone.

Then we get to the rain mechanics of the game. When you climb in the rain you fall, constantly. And when one of your games main traversal mechanics is climbing, and you can’t climb hardly at all because of rain, you become furious. Sometimes it feels like everywhere in this game is a place you need to climb to, and rain forcing you to either fall off of a cliff face, or forcing you to walk all the way around the map to get somewhere is rage inducing.

Back to the good though. The voice acting in the game is great.

It may seem a little weird at first to hear the almost British accents from characters people have known for so long, but its done so well that after a little getting used to it just feels right.

The DLC in Breath of the Wild is an interesting mixed bag. You are forced to buy the full season pass for $20 and while it is cheap, it’s still a forced purchase of a DLC if you don’t want both. And some people may not want both in this case. The first of the two DLC’s isn’t bad, but it isn’t that good. It includes Master mode, which is the hardest difficulty in the game, but this should have been included in the game from the start.

On top of that, Master Mode is a painful mode to play. It isn’t fun or rewarding. All it does is make the weapon durability system even more painful, and it raises the health of all your enemies. It’s an infuriating “challenge” that doesn’t introduce any new challenges to the game other than doubling down on shitty mechanics.

It also includes the ability to see where you’ve walked around recently on the map, which also should’ve been included in the game. The final thing of relevance the first DLC includes is a new dungeon to get the master sword. While it’s a cool feature to have, it doesn’t justify this DLC alone.

The second DLC is definitely worth the money. It’s almost worth the entire $20. This DLC adds new quests, a new dungeon, and new shines.

Breath of the Wild ends up being an art piece of a game with some design choices that are questionable at best. While I loved almost every moment of the game, the small annoyances happened just a little too often to praise the game as much as some people have.