The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Review for Nintendo Switch)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Trailer
After a work of entertainment that transcends the line into “art” has been out for many years, you will often see professional critics and amateur bloggers alike use a phrase like “there’s nothing new that can be said that hasn’t already been said about…” in an effort to further emphasize the greatness. With the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I can already say that expression applies a mere week since its release. Praise has been universal; acclaim has been almost flawless. It has broken a record for the most “perfect review scores” of any video game since Metacritic started their compilations.
Breath of the Wild was a launch title for the Nintendo Switch on March 3rd, and it’s already being labeled by many as potentially the “greatest game of all-time.” While that feels premature to me, I have zero doubts it will be a mainstay in future discussions of such a superlative many years from now. Zelda is already a series with a reputation for high quality; BotW arguably blows classics like A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and The Wind Waker out of the water. At the least it is an unsinkable Titanic that makes rafts out of them. That’s a bold statement, but an opinion this reviewer stands by.
This is a true open world game, and a massive one of that. It dwarfs the map of games before it like Bethesda games Skyrim and Fallout 4. There is nowhere you can’t go and no corner that is empty (even if just a Bokoblin is waiting there to swing a club at you). The low durability of early game shields and weapons makes even the first few enemies you encounter challenging. The enemy AI is some of the best in any open world game. Enemies have their own solo or social routines, and the satisfying combat is basically a puzzle of its own, and so is the massive world. You can cook food, mine for gems, ride horses and bears, destroy enemy encampments, visit everything from volcanoes to villages and canyons to rain forest canopies, OR choose to ignore it all. You can head straight to the final boss after the opening area of the game, but doing so would be suicide (and why would you? There’s 100+ hours of content in the form of exploration, shrine conquering, and side quests).
The atmosphere is impressive, and while the storytelling doesn’t suffer, there’s not much I’m willing to say to avoid spoilers. Just watch the trailer and decide for yourself. It may not be financially feasible for many to buy a brand new console for just one great game at the beginning of a system’s lifespan – but if any game is worth that investment, it’s this. If I have one complaint about this game, it’s that you can’t play it in your sleep.
I rate this game a 9.9/10.