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[Game] Legend Of Zelda - Breath Of The Wild

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Ha! A funny thing just happened to me in the game:


At the top of a cliff's edge, I picked up a rock which revealed a hidden Korok underneath.

After the Korok cut-scene, I nonchalantly tossed the rock off the cliff and unwittingly hit a sleeping Hinox I didn't know was below. (For those who don't know, a Hinox is a big monster; it's almost like a mini-boss in the game.) I was so surprised by that turn of events that I didn't think to didn't capture that part on video. But I jumped down to fight him and captured the end result of that battle.

Shortly after that, I was ambushed by an evil ninja (Yiga Clansmen) during a thunder storm. In this game, if you've got metal weapons equipped during a thunderstorm, you're very likely to be struck by lightning. The Yiga had a metal weapon equipped. I foresaw what was coming, and tried to keep my distance:

But as you can see, he teleported too close to me just as the lightning struck.

[Game] Legend Of Zelda - Breath Of The Wild

But he was killed by it, so it was a win. (See his weapon flying through the air near the top left of the image?)

I finished the game at the beginning of June. I was kind of underwhelmed.

Even though I spent a lot of time with it, and thoroughly enjoyed some aspects of it, I'm left feeling a bit disappointed in it as a Zelda game.

What I liked:

Exploring the world:

It was fun visiting new places and finding and activating (most of) the shrines and towers. The vast majority of my time was spent just looking around either on the map or through the scope, saying to myself, "I wonder what's over there!" and making a beeline over mountains, rivers, and all kinds of terrain to find out what it was. It was fun, interesting, and huge.

The Photo Compendium:

I really enjoyed filling out the photo compendium. I tend to be a collector/completionist, so it was enjoyable for me to snap photos of every new thing to fill up the logbook. This had the added effect of making it easier to find said things in the future due to the Sheikah Sensor, which came in handy from time to time.

What I didn't like:

The Combat:

Maybe I just sucked at it, but it didn't seem like there was a ton of variety in effective strategies. Or rather, I didn't feel the need for a variety of strategies because usually it was easy enough to just attack and block. It started out somewhat difficult against all but the easiest of enemies when you had only 3 hearts and crappy equipment and I died a lot because I was too stubborn to use the various health-restoring items. But there was no real consequence for dying other than having to go back to an autosave from a few minutes before, and you could abuse the system by manually saving in the middle of combat so that if you died and had to reload your save, the monsters you already defeated would still be dead, but your hearts would be restored (to three hearts). Eventually the game became incredibly easy for all but the most difficult enemies (the hardest Lynel variants), which could still kill you in 2-3 hits when you were wearing the strongest armor in the game. And once you learned their pattern they weren't very difficult; they were just time consuming and annoying if you messed up and got hit a few times during the long battle with them.

Combat has always been such a core element of the Zelda games, it's needed to stay fun to keep from getting boring. I didn't really feel that BotW kept the combat fun and interesting. But maybe that's also because this game allows you to spend so much more time with it. If I had played the other Zelda games for as many hours as I played this one, I might have gotten bored of the combat in them as well.

The Shrines:

Zelda games have always been about solving little puzzles to unlock the next room, collect some heart containers or better tools, and progress to the next area. This game has 120 shrines hidden throughout the world (and each one has at least one treasure chest inside). I found most of them to be so simple and boring that within about 30 seconds I knew exactly what I had to do to complete them, and it didn't take much longer than that to follow through with my plans and complete them. Others took longer, either because the puzzles required waiting for moving pieces to get into the correct position, or because they involved combat that took a few minutes, or because the controls were super frustrating and not very conducive to actually solving the puzzle at hand. Yet others took longer only because they were so simple I thought there *must* be more to it and I spent a few minutes looking around in vain for something clever.

Of all the shrines, I can only think of one that truly stumped me. And it wasn't even about reaching the end of the shrine. It was figuring out how to get to the treasure chest. It turns out that the only reason I had been able to reach the end of the shrine on that one was because I was able to "cleverly" do something unintended, which I thought was the only solution to me because I had originally dismissed the "right" way to do it as being too obvious and simplistic. I found the shrines to be a chore. On the one hand, because they were so simple, I was bored and hated doing any of them that lasted for more than a couple of minutes. On the other hand, because they were so simple, they usually didn't last more than a couple of minutes.

To make matters worse, because of the open-world nature of the game, there was no guarantee what order you would encounter any of the dungeons, so they all had to assume you had never seen something like the puzzle inside of it. They could not gradually ramp up the difficulty by building upon the knowledge and experience gained from previous shrines.

The "Dungeons" (Divine Beasts):

Zelda games have always had big dungeons as a major focus of the game. These involved several rooms full of puzzles and combat, and a useful new tool to use on your adventure that gave you more power and allowed you to access previously unreachable locations. The Divine Beasts in BotW are about the closest thing this game has to the traditional dungeons of past Zelda games. Unfortunately, they were little more than glorified shrines. There was a "battle" sequence that lasted a minute or two before you could enter the dungeon, then a puzzle solving segment once inside, followed by a boss fight. The battle sequence was very simple and easy and, as I said, lasted only a couple of minutes. Then the puzzles inside were pretty easy to grasp and it usually only took a few seconds upon entering a new section of the dungeon to look around and know what had to be done. Actually doing it may have taken several more minutes, but wasn't ever very challenging. And then the boss battles were simple, short, and easy.

The Tools:

Zelda games traditionally grant you better and more powerful tools as you progress through the game. This gives you a sense of progression and of becoming stronger and unlocking new areas over time. But due to the open-world nature of this game, you're given basically everything in the first hour or two during what is essentially the tutorial and then you're set free to go and do whatever you want. And indeed, if you're skilled enough, you can go straight to the final boss and beat the game. Not that there's anything wrong with the tools that you're given. They can lead to interesting and fun scenarios.  But again, the open-world nature of the game means that once you've completed the tutorial there's virtually nothing new to look forward to as far as abilities and tools go, with the exception of the abilities granted after completing each divine beast.

In Summary:

In a lot of ways it feels like it was an original game made by a third-party that Nintendo took over and shoehorned Zelda lore into, like what they did with Dinosaur Planet aka Star Fox Adventuresw. All of the things that make a Zelda game a Zelda games were, in my opinion, executed in a sub par fashion in this game, and all of the things that are either non-existent or not a major focus of Zelda games were what I really enjoyed. In other words: It's not that great for a Zelda game, in comparison to the others. But for a game all on its own merits, there's plenty of fun and enjoyment to be had.

That said, the completionist in me felt compelled to find and complete all 120 shrines, and that was such an unpleasant grind that I basically haven't touched it since, and now I don't have any inclination to play the game anymore. But I sure captured a lot of photos and videos of my time spent in Breath of the Wild.

As you may or may not know, Nintendo has never been one for amazing graphics. Usually they go for a cartoon style.
--- End quote ---

I fundamentally disagree with this notion, while you did touch on it later in this paragraf. I'd say that visually coherent and well done stylistic presentation trumps purely technical graphics any day. And while the new Zelda seems to have a bit of both with regards to volumetric lighting and reflections. It, like World of Warcraft and Super Mario Galaxy makes really good use of their stylistic choices, and I think it is wrong to not call what they do "Amazing graphics". A game like Antichamber is not very visually advanced up front, but it makes for a compelling aesthetic experience nonetheless. Specifically because it combines both the feel of the mechanics and gameplay elements really well.

I just came across and watched this nearly 2 hour review of Breath of the Wild by Joseph Anderson. I think it does a great job of explaining the strengths of BotW that I loved, and also of detailing the many weaknesses that caused me to feel dissatisfied with it as a Zelda game. Though I don't agree with--or at least don't feel as strongly as he did about--every one of his complaints, I think he hit every major point that I would have made if I were to go into more detail than I did in this thread about my thoughts and feelings on the game and its mechanics.

Breath of the Wild - Not Enough Zelda

I think I'm going to check out more of his content soon. :Thmbsup:


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