Review of the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - sandbox reinvented

Author: Przemysław Zamęcki
Date: 2017-03-14 12:00:00
The review was based on the Switch version.

Who would expect Nintendo to make a real revolution in one of its flagship series? The previous editions of The Legend of Zelda cycle were most often satisfied with a uniform pattern. Here is the evil Ganondorf imprisoning Princess Zelda in the castle of Hyrule, and the hero who at first has no idea how great events will happen to him in the future, sets out to save the kingdom, finds the mythical Master Sword, and then in the final battle he gets rid of hostile forces, saving kingdom before eternal darkness.

In the meantime, Link acquires new gadgets that allow him to traverse extensive dungeons full of thought-out puzzles and mean residents. During the journey, our hero visits the village of Kakariko, where hens must go to the farm - this patent was even borrowed by the creators of the Rise of the Tomb Raider - and performs various tasks for the Gerudo people, the Zora nation, volcanic Goron or bird-like Rito.

To a greater or lesser extent, these are permanent elements associated with the series for years, for which Shigeru Miyamoto is responsible from the very beginning - in my opinion one of the best, if not the best video game designer . The guy obsessed with imprisoned princesses - Zelda is a serious and sad version of Peach, and Linek's basic attribute, i.e. the green cap, is almost as recognizable as Mario's mustache. In Breath of the Wild, our hero runs without a snot on his head, but when I wrote in the first paragraph about a coup in the series, I meant something completely different.

Nintendo did a great thing. Keeping all the elements associated with this cycle, it has prepared a game that is thoroughly fresh, modern and based on very solid sandbox foundations, which in such a total version can not be found among the competition. In short, Link's new adventures don't treat players like idiots, while offering an unforgettable adventure .

A breath of freedom in an open world

The link wakes up in some cave where he has spent the past hundred years. The hero Hyrule lost the last clash with the forces of darkness. Apparently, because our protagonist does not remember any of these events. Just like the player is not aware why in all the huge - I emphasize: huge and extremely diverse - ominous land looms ominous machines , once designed to protect the world from Ganon, and now fully dependent on his will and warping. The link is weak, its first weapon will probably be the branch next to the cave, which after a few hits will fall apart and you will have to look around for some more durable defense tool.

The greatest asset of Breath of the Wild is the freedom of conduct. In addition to the first few tasks performed in a limited area - until we get a hang glider giving Link the opportunity to glide - we can go where we want and do what we want - no matter what decision we make (some even managed to finish the game in an hour, heading straight for the final clash), and yes we will have a great time . This is one of the few titles that are able to surprise us at every turn, revealing something that has not been signaled before or expected.

Comparisons of the new Zelda to Minecraft began to appear on the internet, a bit exaggerated in terms of freedom of conduct, but certainly true when you look at dozens of small, refined mechanisms, the discovery of which gives enormous satisfaction. Believe me, after seventy hours spent with Link thanks to videos circulating on the net I still learn things I could not even imagine (e.g. that enemies can be killed ... by chickens!).

Sandbox again

In Breath of the Wild Link he gained the ability to climb like some Ezio, but the Japanese went a step further, because the hero even climbs on vertical rocky surfaces. The determinant of its capabilities is the stamina bar, which we develop at the expense of traditional hearts that increase vitality. This new system creates great choice for exploring and exploring the map . In this case, Nintendo goes back to the classic world of gaming with an open world and offers the option of tower climbing. But don't let the infantility of this solution fool you!

The link laboriously overcomes all these obstacles not to reveal a ton of finds and a plethora of interesting places, automatically applied to the handy map. He does this so that the map shows the topography of the terrain along with geographical names, which are operated by numerous characters encountered in the game. Only ourselves (through the telescope) can we mark several characteristic points to which we want to go. Anyway, if you don't feel like it, you can skip these towers and play in a different way . At most, he will miss some interesting logic puzzles and fights with opponents.

Hang gliding, on rocks, on a mount or on legs. We can enter every hole, and Nintendo has already made sure that we are not bored anywhere. The world of the new Zelda is huge. Gargantuan even. It happens that we walk around it for a good dozen minutes without encountering a living soul. And you know what? It's a great feeling.

Manufacturer link

Breath of the Wild works like a survival game, fortunately having absolutely nothing to do with dozens of craps available on digital distribution platforms. With clumsy creations contaminated with early access, underdeveloped, looking like a single die, without imagination and grace. Zelda is beautiful in artistic terms, requiring creativity and thoughtful action , but not in acquiring raw materials. There are enough of these everywhere.

The issue of survival in battle is instead a skillful mixing of resources, by trial and error - or a thorough reading of descriptions. A horse with a row to those who knew from the very beginning how to start cooking! This must be discovered. Such things sometimes suggest characters in a short dialogue, very rarely brings us to the game. Most often you have to do everything yourself. And it's damn satisfying!

The link predicts the weather

At all times we are accompanied by a fantastic weather system, not only showing the current state, but also allowing to predict what awaits us in the near future . During a downpour, it is better not to climb on the rocks or walls, because the character will slide off the wet surface. It is, however, the perfect time for a quiet approach from behind to opponents and killing them with one blow. It is worth to choose the right weapon, because it may happen that a weak gladiolus is not enough for a powerful lizalfos. In addition, each melee weapon is destroyed after a while, as are shields and bows.

The storm brings more surprises. For example, a thunderbolt can ignite grass. Or lightning to hit the hero himself , as long as he makes us unnecessarily tempt fate and walks among the lightning sky lighting. Discovering such things makes the jaw drop. I probably saw the lightning impact on the surroundings for the first time somewhere around forty. Ten hours later my Link got an electric shock to my head, which had to end up loading the last record. Geez, I was so happy! However, I did not risk more during the storm and I preferred to wait out the storm somewhere under the roof.

Hyrule elements

We won't go through the desert (or near the volcano) without cooling down the body. Here the craft system bows again. We collect plants, fruits, parts of warped machines and monsters. Everything will be useful. Each element of the outfit can be improved. You just have to find the fairy. Yes, the sexy "babol" no longer makes us catch fireflies in bottles. Now, for an appropriate fee, it will change into a first-class dressmaker, which with the help of a few parts from dead monsters will improve the defense parameters of the outfit.

We won't find Epona in the standard version of the game. Beloved mare Linka is available only after buying the right amiibo, but don't despair because there are plenty of horses in Breath of the Wild . They run in herds, and we can try to silently approach and ride one, which requires skilful calming of the mount during - given that he does not want to listen to our orders at first and does not always turn where we would like. Gaining full trust must take time.

In addition, the horse can be registered for a fee in one of the many stables, so we will have it for a whistle. But hola, hola ... Zelda is not some Witcher there . The horse will come on cue, but only if it can hear us. If we leave somewhere further, we are on our own feet. And this is wonderful because it requires discipline and increases the sense of reality of a completely unreal world.