The very first feeling I got from Breath of the Wild was this in a nutshell. Wow! Starting off with "Hey Link, glad you're alive, now GO!" pretty much made it the greatest intro that I could of asked for from someone who absolutely hates tutorials. Sure they give you little hints here and there, a few popups indicating which buttons do what, how to attack and block, but this game gives you nothing to work off of, and it's amazing.
100 years prior to the start of the game, Ganon was victorious over Link and his band of heroes, kidnapped Zelda and basically sent the land of Hyrule into utter chaos while he builds his strength in order to destroy it in the future. Zelda as an insurance policy sends Link off into a regenerative chamber where he is to rest and recover to hopefully one day come back to save her and all of Hyrule. Link eventually wakes up with amnesia and must then venture out and discover his past memories of who he used to be, as well as all the memories of those he fought bravely with in the past, ultimately leading up to a future encounter with the "Calamity Ganon".
Right out the gate, you start a directionless adventure where you get to chose your own path. The quest for weapons however starts now. Every weapon has a durability, wooden are more fragile while metal can usually last a few enemies until you start to get more and more special weapons. If you are expecting a swing away and never break your weapon type of game… this may surprise you a little bit as that won't happen. Aside from the weapons, the sets of armors are very cool and you can eventually upgrade the armors together as a full set and they will give you bigger bonuses.
Stamina makes its way back into Breath of the Wild as a core to Link's exploration. This places limitations on sprinting, swimming, or even climbing up the mountains making for more creative ways to go around the obstacles rather than running in a straight line or around invisible walls.
Speaking of creativity, where as the other Zelda's had you rely on potions and fairies to stay alive, Breath of The Wild has you cook. You can gather fruits, veggies, plants, frogs, insects, and so on. There is a ridiculous amount of combinations you can create ranging from healing 1 heart to 8+ and some will have special effects added, so being creative with your cooking can really pay off. There is also the fact that you can add monster parts into the mix and rather than having a healing item, it instead creates what are known as Elixirs, offering stats such as more stamina, or temporary boost of health, making you think twice before selling any of these materials, as they could be used for other purposes instead.
Anyways back to the game. This world is HUGE and by far the biggest, most vast world that The Legend of Zelda series has even seen. This doesn't mean that there is a ton of empty space and everywhere you go will simply take a long time. There is TONS to do in this world. There are 100 shrines which are mini puzzles that reward you with Spirit orbs, and after 4 shrines you can either upgrade your health or stamina. Outisde of these shrines there are plenty of monsters with bonus chests for clearing out their camps and hidden chests that require you to use your "runes" (extra powers you unlock as you go). Then to add another layer there are Kokiri kids who when found give you Korok seeds which allow you to unlock more weapon, bow, or shield slots.
There is simply so much content to this game and not once does it feel like it forces you to go more left than right, no hints (Editor's Note: Other than the Zora who can't simply "let" you find the way to their Prince. They are pushy...), and no directions. This game is entirely put into the hands of its player. Everything I have completed so far "outside of the main quest" has been simply because I felt like doing so. Breath of the Wild is reminiscent of an older generation of games with no help; everything had to be figured out on your own. Being prepared has much to do with the difficulty of encounters as if you wander too far without proper gear replacements, or a good supply of food, even a small encounter could turn difficult. Whether it's hidden armors, difficult shrines or simply how to take on a boss of the area, everything gives off a sense of reward and accomplishment.
While exploring, everything can make your life difficult from small ramps to cliffs over to thunder storms. The environment can be as treacherous as a group full of enemies. The first time a thunderstorm hit I was holding onto a metal sword and shield, and I noticed link giving off a crazy amount of static all of a sudden. After switching to a wooden shield that I had, and sadly no weapon, I noticed the static was gone. But for purely scientific reasons I re-equipped my metal gear, simply to get completely exploded… I am fairly certain it would 1-shot you at any amount of hearts. Good to know. The rain was another interactive part of the game as it could prevent you from climbing the simplest mountain by making you slide right back down when you attempt it.
A quest log filled with all sorts of quests ranging from "Kill Ganon" to please take a picture of this monster over to please collect me some frogs helps keep track of what you are currently up to. The wide range of things to do has had me running around for almost meaningless rewards. If asked why I did all that, I would reply with "Why wouldn't I?" as I loved every second of it.
The graphics from this game are fantastic. I love the shadings used, and the types of animation. I find it strange that they only applied voices to very specific characters at specific times but it flows very well. My only issue with my current play through of the game is a few FPS stutters, but only when I am playing it on the dock. In handheld version it seems to be working fine and has yet to "FPS lag".
As a whole I believe that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a solid game. It was not only innovative in its way to keep us busy and give us all the choices we could possibly want, but it lets us be creative with how we want to explore, solve puzzles or even create our own strange recipes. Breath of the Wild has given us a great expectations for the future of The Legend of Zelda series and was an absolutely fantastic launch tittle for the Switch as well as an amazing closer to the WiiU (Editor's Note: Damn right it is! <- That review is tomorrow). I couldn't of asked for better.
I was debating reducing a bit of the game's score only leaving out a small fraction for the graphic difficulties that the game can give you at times. But even with that, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild surpassed all of my wildest expectations and gets an easy 100% from me.
Article by Marc L.