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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

Zelda Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the largest and most ambitious Nintendo game in the history of the company. She took top places among the best games of all time, causing additional excitement around the new Switch console. A lot of players and journalists grew up on Zelda and are used to literally praying for each new episode of the series. What about the rest? Will the new Zelda be able to touch just as much those for whom the series did not become a cult?

To go to Khayrul and get the maximum experience from the trip, you do not have to be a fan of Zelda. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild makes no distinction between new and old players – they will all end up in an equally new, unfamiliar and inhospitable world in which you want to be lost for dozens of hours, explore all its secrets and survive all the adventures that it can offer.

It’s fun to admit that there’s no definite answer to the question of whether Breath of the Wild deserves all these enthusiastic exclamations. The fact is that it is very difficult to compare it with other games – for thirty years the series itself has become a genre in which no one else could imagine an equivalent alternative. In the new release, the game has changed a lot, taking into account many popular trends – but this is still Zelda, and its wave must first be caught.

This is not “the second The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim” and not “The Nintendo The Witcher” – there is no role-playing system, no twisted plot and a charismatic hero. Even despite the rather depressing state of affairs in Khayrul, Zelda has no cunning, cruelty, or sex – all attention is focused solely on creating a feeling of a sincere, slightly naive adventure in an open world that hovered on the verge of an apocalypse.

If you can’t imagine a good game without external attributes of modern games like chases and shootings from Grand Theft Auto 5, stunningly realistic views from Horizon: Zero Dawn and dozens of colorful characters from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, then Breath of the Wild is hardly seems for you as a “game of the decade” – this is a completely different open world. It works by other rules and promotes other values. If you prepare for this in advance, then there will be much more chances to penetrate.

I will say more, with a direct comparison of Zelda, the games listed above will lose in many respects. As, however, and they are to her. These are different planes, it’s better to launch Nintendo games without looking at the projects of other studios, otherwise it’s easy to get confused in comparisons. But it’s still worth launching them – Breath of the Wild for sure. Now I will explain why.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda`s gameplay

The plot of Breath of the Wild is very simple: the main character Link wakes up after a century of sleep and finds out that a hundred years ago, evil suddenly attacked the kingdom of Khayrul and won. Most of the population then died, Princess Zelda disappeared, and Link was seriously injured in the battle – but his friends managed to put him into a magical dream so that one day he would return and save everyone.

So we have no particular choice – we will have to go around the whole world, enlist the support of the remaining residents of Khayrul and prepare the last attack on the main villain. But they don’t give us any clear-cut order of actions – in the first 4-6 hours, the game still tries to guide you, marking a specific point on the map, but then finally lets it go freely.

Breath of the Wild elevates the “go wherever you want” principle to the absolute – no matter where you go, you will still come across some kind of adventure. You don’t even have to take plot tasks – sooner or later they will find you themselves.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda Game World

Unlike all previous games in the series, all regions in the game are accessible from the very beginning and do not require special equipment. You just need to be able to get to them and survive.

From time to time, you will meet important characters who will give assignments and explain to Link what is generally happening in the world 100 years after his “death”. But in these dialogs, only a small part of which are voiced, one of the main archaisms of the game appears – an acute lack of drama and emotions. In old games, one could still come to terms with this, but in 2017, on the new generation of consoles, you are waiting for improvements not only in gameplay and graphics, but also in the work of screenwriters.

Everything looks, by the way, very good – despite the relatively small power of Switch and Wii U, stylization and work with light smooth out the low quality of textures and the average detail of locations, forcing to press the button regularly to take screenshots. 

The world in Breath of the Wild is huge and very lively – most of the time it is controlled by ordinary, not game logic.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Game Mechanics and Gameplay

If something is made of wood, it can be set on fire or chopped for firewood, if you see something alive, then it can be caught and cooked. This gives extraordinary scope for experimentation and tactics.

This, by the way, in Khairul attracts in the first place – all the time you come across new ways of interacting with the world, which only fuels the desire to explore it. Here, even on seemingly passing nonsense, you can easily stick. For example, once in my inventory indecent food was accumulated in my inventory, and I decided to cook a couple of dishes.

There are no strict recipes in Zelda, you can take any 5 ingredients, throw in a skillet and watch what happens. I started with simple combinations and gradually began to complicate my culinary masterpieces, moving from random sorting to real chef tactics. He sat for almost an hour.

And, you know, that was really exciting.

I did not go through quests, did not fight enemies, did not delve into the plot. I just sat by the fire, grilled kebabs and omelets, listened to birdsong and admired the sunset. And it was interesting to me. In many open-world games, such a craft quickly becomes a reflex action that you do just because you need to, and here it is a meditative and exciting lesson that for dozens of hours does not have time to get bored. This best describes Breath of the Wild and its world. He knows how to tighten by itself, without artificial “restraints” like quests and searches for collectible junk, a ton of fine subtleties and its internal (and indeed external) beauty.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

But do not think that Khayrul will welcome you with open arms – this world is insidious, it has its own rules and it is better to learn them soon. First of all, you need to learn to take into account the weather and climate around. It was here that I first hated rain in games.

It would seem that in him this – pours itself and pours, in the same “The Witcher 3” Velen became even more dull, but this did not stop killing monsters. But in “Zelda” everything is different: visibility drops to a couple of tens of meters, you can’t climb on wet rocks, and it’s impossible to even make a fire to “squander” a little time.

And if a full-fledged thunderstorm breaks out, then it’s really bad – you have to hide all the metal equipment in a backpack, remaining almost defenseless before the enemies – but it’s better than pulling a lightning bolt and dying on the spot. It seemed that in games can surprise in 2017? But lightning, which is not a flat special effect on the horizon, but really beating to the top of the head and setting fire to trees.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Khayrul lives on its own, without your participation. Local goblins do not just patrol their patches of land – they make bonfires and hunt animals, flee from a thunderstorm and go round wild horses. At night, they go to bed, putting their clubs in a pile – if you wish, you can quietly get into the camp and steal or just burn the entire arsenal, so that in the morning you can return with your sword and watch them miserably rush about in search of at least some kind of weapon. The game does not just generate stories, but encourages you to create them.

There are elements of survival in Breath of the Wild, but it is neither Rust nor ARK: Survival Evolved. Despite the fact that you have to regularly check the weather forecast and think about where to get warm clothes for snowy mountain peaks or ingredients for soft drinks needed for desert crossings, the fight against nature does not become an end in itself, but only additionally enlivens the environment making travel harder and more diverse.

Any trekking journey in the world of Breath of the Wild becomes an adventure, and it’s the best possible open world game. You do not just move from one point to another, waiting for monsters to attack you on the road or to be distracted by a random traveler who is in trouble – at any time you can fall into a hole and sit there until the morning, because it has begun to rain and the walls have become too slippery. It strengthens your connection with the game world, it makes it alive. Everything in Zelda works on such an effect, not a single mechanic is screwed for a simple tick.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

But do not think that all the charm of the game is entirely concentrated in such abstract things. It is also interesting to play Breath of the Wild. Take, for example, amusing-looking enemies – in fact, they are mortally dangerous, and each attack on a large camp of monsters requires careful reconnaissance and planning. Throwing your head at an enemy would be a very bad idea.

Combat System

The combat system is based, in fact, on three buttons (strike, jump and shield), but in fact it is much deeper than it seems.

The link cannot simply “call out” enemies with light attacks on the forehead – it is important to learn how to dodge and parry the shield correctly as early as possible in order to conduct a series of attacks, otherwise in a battle with several opponents you will be quickly crushed by a number.

The use of runes introduces an additional variety – Link can throw bombs, control metal, freeze water and immerse objects (and then opponents) in stasis – but mastering the quick application of these techniques is quite difficult.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

But even hopeless situations sometimes lead to unexpected discoveries. At the very beginning of the game, I set fire to the grass near the bokoblin camp in the hope that the fire would reach the exploding barrels, but at the most inopportune moment a thunderstorm started – the fire went out, they noticed me, and now I am running away from the whole flock of monsters that at that time was not able to overcome.

Soon, I noticed that a rusty sword on my back began to spark with electricity in the air. Without thinking twice, I threw him into the pursuers. I missed, of course, but the weather finished the job for me – lightning struck a weapon lying on the ground, and only a handful of loot remained from the chase.

A variety of difficulties and non-standard ways to overcome them reinforce the unstoppable craving for exploring the world of The Legend of Zelda. Here you really want to climb every mountain and help every NPC. And you do not need any awards and rewards; there is a natural desire to see more. This world hides many adventures, to pass by which seems a real crime.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

It’s nice to see Nintendo take her head out of the sand and take a look at what’s popular on other platforms. Breath of the Wild has gathered all the main modern trends, from an open world with survival and towers to stealth and a demanding battle system skill that sometimes brings to mind the Souls series.

There is no feeling that the developers gathered “with the world on a thread” to create a Frankenstein monster from everything that is popular. Classic and new elements work together beautifully, creating a living world in which there is nothing superfluous, in which each element is carefully thought out – as soon as I thought that the underground Sanctuaries with puzzles are too simple, they threw a test over the next hill that I was busy with almost an hour.

Of the unusual missions, I most remember the trip to the base of the Iga bandits – without warning the game turned into a very intense stealth, but the humor with which it was filed turned out to be much more unexpected. As it turned out, giant ninjas have only one weakness – bananas, and after a raid on the pantry it was much easier to pass the task. So with the statement in the game, too, complete order.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

The main problem of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains its availability. Not every player has a Nintendo console in the house, and for many, it’s Zelda that can become the main impetus for buying a Nintendo Switch. But now a console with the necessary minimum of accessories and a game will cost you more than 30 thousand rubles, and this is a lot for a very controversial device.

However, there is a cheaper way. Breath of the Wild also came out on Wii U, which can now be found for much more sane money. At the same time, Bayonetta 2 can try.

Technically, the versions for different consoles differ minimally – when connected to a TV, the Switch produces a picture with a resolution of 900p, while on Wii U it will have to be limited to 720p and a slightly lower quality of textures. But outside the direct comparison of frames, you can hardly see the difference, especially in dynamics – despite the fact that the game sometimes gives out magnificent landscapes, the graphics in it obviously fade into the background.

By the way, in the “home mode” on the Switch, sometimes the frame rate sags noticeably – this is especially often seen in dense forests and during battles with a large number of enemies.

However, I will not say that Switch is devoid of its advantages. I myself went through the game on the new console (although I also tested the Wii U-version), and I must admit that I played a lot on the road. Despite its enormous scale, Breath of the Wild is perfectly divided into small segments that make it quite comfortable to play the game in public transport.

Several promising games (Fire Emblem, Xenoblade 2, Splatoon 2) will be released for Switch during the year, but now the purchase of the console objectively justifies only Zelda.

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Verdict

As a result, Nintendo was still able to take a big step forward and release a game that is pleasant to evaluate without looking at “this is Nintendo.” Making a game following the general course of the industry, but preserving its own face is a big deal, you know.

Breath of the Wild captivates and bewitches, she always has something in reserve that will not allow “to get to this point and that’s it.” It remains fresh for dozens, or even hundreds of hours.

But if you evaluate the new “Zelda” outside the context of the platform, you can not turn a blind eye to the shortcomings. This is a very mediocre graphics, and problems with optimization (although the matter is more likely in the console), and overly speculative, reduced to almost a caricature plot. But the amazingly smooth, “lively” gameplay and the world, living even without the intervention of a player, does not allow you to be too strict towards it. And long-time Thai fans will be able to safely close their eyes to any shortcomings – it is a holiday on their street.

Here, however, the precedent itself is much more important – Nintendo has shown that it sees what is happening in the industry and can work with modern trends. Breath of the Wild is just the first step. It is incredibly interesting what will happen next.

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