When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched alongside the Nintendo Swap in 2017, I used to be apprehensive to say the least. I loved what I performed at E3 2016, and adored the artwork type, however the myriad methods by which the sport took my favourite sequence and turned it on its head had me nervous I might be left with a shadow of what made me fall in love with it within the first place. As soon as I lastly obtained the completed sport in my arms, it clicked nearly instantly for me, and all my fears fell by the wayside.
Quick-forward 65 hours of playtime, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did what I as soon as thought inconceivable: It dethroned Ocarina of Time as my favourite sport. Nevertheless, because of the puzzling lack of a number of save information, I by no means replayed Breath of the Wild. Positive, I might create a second account on my Swap, however I needed to maintain my Swap profile correct with my most-played titles. With the sequel to Breath of the Wild looming, I made a decision it was now or by no means, so I created a brand new save file, erasing my first playthrough that cemented it as my favourite sport, and launched into a journey to problem the robust opinions I fashioned greater than 4 years in the past.
A brand new journey to acquainted locales
As excited as I used to be to begin a brand new file for Breath of the Wild, I’ll admit I used to be nervous. Was my response to it the primary time round some form of knee-jerk hyperbole? Would the sport not reside as much as the impossibly excessive bar I’ve set for it within the years since its launch? Have I simply constructed it up as “my favourite sport of all time” for therefore lengthy that my reminiscence of it effectively exceeds the precise product that exists? Whereas I am not by way of with my journey, I am past happy to report that I am simply as in love with Breath of the Wild in 2021 as I used to be in 2017.
Earlier than beginning this time, I mirrored on what I appreciated most concerning the sport. I’ve usually pointed in direction of the sense of marvel Hyperlink’s newest journey instilled in me as one of many key causes I think about it my favourite; I figured that with the continued evolution of open worlds, nothing would ever give me the sensation Ocarina of Time was in a position to ship within the nascent years of 3D gaming. With Breath of the Wild, each nook presents a shock, and each explorative expedition rewards you with the surprising.
There are particular items of leisure I need to expertise once more for the primary time – Breaking Dangerous, The Who’s Quadrophenia, Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode to call a couple of – however none of them prime my need to have the ability to play Breath of the Wild once more for the primary time. Whereas I’ve usually wished for some form of Second Quest-style mode the place the sport performs out largely the identical, however Hyrule is totally rearranged for a renewed sense of discovery, it seems that giving your self 4 years between playthroughs allows you to trick your self into that very scenario. I clearly bear in mind particular components of Hyrule from my first play, just like the nightmare of stumbling upon a Guardian for the primary time or the problem a couple of of the towers current, however I’ve discovered myself as a rule looking at a tall cliffside and questioning what’s on the prime. Therein lies the magic that has sustained my love for Breath of the Wild for 4 years, and I am ecstatic it nonetheless registers on a second playthrough.
Magnificence at each flip
Whereas all it takes is a glimpse at a screenshot to immediately bear in mind how relentlessly beautiful Hyrule is in Breath of the Wild, I am appreciating it much more this time. For instance, final night time, I sat in the course of a subject and watched as a storm rolled in from the space. Every part about it was excellent, from the best way the sunshine was obstructed by the storm clouds to the pillars of falling rain inside my view. That is only one instance of the sheer fantastic thing about this world. Hyrule is stuffed with superbly unforgettable moments, whether or not you are speaking concerning the moments of quiet exploration complemented by piano prospers or the jaw-dropping encounters with one of many dragons.
After all, it is far more than the exploration and the fantastic thing about the world that creates a singular and particular expertise. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is really higher than the sum of its components, and isolating any particular person part is inadequate when portray an image of the sport’s greatness. Each piece works collectively in live performance; with out the Shrines to reward gamers, the exploration might very effectively fall flat. If there have been no random encounters, what incentive would gamers have to finish the Shrines and discover to steadily degree Hyperlink and his stock? And if the Shrines weren’t enjoyable, rewarding, and efficient at providing you with brief, brain-stretching puzzles to interrupt up the runs of fight and wandering, none of this is able to matter within the first place.
Breath of the Wild works as a result of every bit is important – sure, even the breakable weapons. I sometimes do not like weapon sturdiness in video games, significantly ones that offer you weapons as rewards for exploration and finishing milestone moments within the story. Breath of the Wild does each of these issues, nevertheless it works because it pushes you to proceed scouring and scrounging so you’ll be able to exchange the belongings you’ve misplaced. Each battle should be approached with tact in each the way you have interaction and what you utilize; you’d hate to waste valuable sturdiness on a high-powered sword if you do not have to. That puzzle of easy methods to have interaction in fight, what to make use of, and easy methods to discover replacements is important to the Breath of the Wild expertise.
With Breath of the Wild, the journey is definitely extra vital than the vacation spot, however the entire expertise builds to the ultimate confrontation with Ganon. Each side of the sport is coaching, leveling, and making ready you in your final problem, and the climactic battle is well worth the wait. I am taking this playthrough gradual, having fun with each little second alongside the best way, so I have not had the tense expertise of storming Hyrule Fort en path to dealing with essentially the most grotesque model of Ganon we have ever seen, however I do know he is looming. You see him haunting Hyrule Fort each time you ascend a tower and get the lay of the land, an ever-present reminder of what you are combating for and the facility you are up in opposition to. However as my former colleague Kyle Hilliard wrote in his assessment, “Once I lastly determined I used to be able to face Ganon, it felt just like the fruits of a lifetime of preparation that ended with a massively satisfying finale.” I am avoiding that finale for now, however make no mistake, I am definitely making ready for it each time I activate my Swap.
Now that I am effectively on my technique to restoring the Divine Beasts and slaying Ganon, I am waiting for the introduced sequel to Breath of the Wild. I’ve historical past of not enjoying direct sequels to my favourite video games of all time; I’ve by no means performed Majora’s Masks or Remaining Fantasy X-2 for greater than a pair hours every, primarily due to how completely different they each are from their predecessors. As nervous as I’m concerning the potential of the sequel abandoning key components that brought on me to fall in love with Breath of the Wild within the first place, I am making an attempt to maintain an open thoughts as Nintendo begins saying simply what this sequel truly is; in any case, it wasn’t way back I used to be involved by how completely different Breath of the Wild is from the video games that preceded it. I can not wait to see what director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and the remainder of the staff behind the Breath of the Wild sequel can do to shock me this time round.