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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review


If you have changed the page it means that you are interested in what I have to write after finishing Link's last epic in one hundred and forty heroic hours (or you are probably only interested in the comment with the vote below).

We have been waiting anxiously for it for four years, since it was still exclusive to Wii U, to then finally be able to get our hands on it during the various showcases and finally accompany the launch of Nintendo Switch. During the twenty-eight days spent in this new Hyrule, we have accumulated seeds, completed all the shrines, destroyed weapons, exterminated far too many boblins and fell in love with that mammoth map that makes up the game world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.




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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

And this is mainly the reason for the "delay" of this review. A desire to take it slow (often too much), to fully enjoy every moment of the adventure conceived by Aonuma and associates. It is also for this reason that the article you are about to read will not focus too much on the game controls, which if you are a fan of the saga you are or have already stripped, but is more interested in telling you about an exciting and able to amaze for different aspects that have been too underestimated over the years.

Version tested: Nintendo Switch (Version 1.1.0)

Rediscover the Legend
The most human Zelda ever

Link awakens after 100 years, bewildered and without any memory, in a world plagued by Calamity Ganon and its army of monsters. To guide him only a female voice and a mysterious tablet, able to reactivate the Sheikah Shrines containing increasingly difficult evidence. After becoming aware of his fate, starting to remember what led to the defeat of the hero and his friends, Link must save Zelda and Hyrule from the threat of Ganon. If the plot of Breath of the Wild is similar to the other chapters of the saga, with this episode the Aonuma team raises the bar, inserting for the first time not only a dubbing (completely in Spanish) but also a flashback structure that works damn good. To find out what happened 100 years earlier, in fact, it will be necessary to visit the pivotal places of Zelda's past, where Link will be able to remember the events and where the player will be able to fall in love with the most human princess ever appeared in the history of the saga. A Zelda unable to awaken its powers, hated by its people, and envious of that champion to whom the Sword that exorcizes Evil has given its power, which we will learn to know only through the flashbacks and the stories of the surrounding characters, each of the which characterized and brought to life on the screen, composing a varied and rich cast capable of giving comic and dramatic moments, not forgetting those full of action or those most imbued with feeling. A story if possible even more mature than usual, which thanks to the aforementioned dubbing, further strengthens the general emotional load.




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Narrating emotions in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A way of telling different from the usual and effective, which allows the player to create his own adventure (as happened in the first The Legend of Zelda and roughly also in the recent A Link Between Worlds), not only deciding where to go and when to do it, but also changing much of the dialogue with the NPCs depending on the path taken. NPCs who, as per tradition for three-dimensional chapters, live their lives with a precise routine, set times, which will see them perform different actions (many of which are the protagonists of the numerous secondary missions). Breath of the Wild is also this: leaving the road of the main plot and getting lost in the life of the Hylia, the Zora, the Gorons, the beautiful Gerudo and the feathered Rito, between legends, proofs of love or simple walks in the moonlight ( hoping it doesn't turn red). Inhabitants who react to what we wear, how we approach them, travelers who tell us not to throw ourselves off a bridge, excited children who run towards us while playing with friends, a Hyrule that, although threatened by a deadly calamity, is more alive than ever and is always present in every square centimeter of the map.

 

If instead of the people of Hyrule you shouldn't give a damn, much less memories, Breath of the Wild also allows you to run straight to the final battle, risking not only dying, but also losing the great experience packaged by Nintendo. Link's latest adventure adapts to the type of player who faces it, whether this is a completist (challenging him with 900 seeds - but we'll come back later) or one who is only interested in history, passing through the countless in-between that they want just a good game. What is most striking about this type of narrative is how each piece falls into place, molding itself on the individual player experience, in a unique way for each approach. The more you explore, the more the mosaic is completed and although the beginning and end coincide, the central part is at the discretion of the player, and how he wants to visit Hyrule.




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Breath of the Wild: the mischief is in the eye of the player

The ax left me

If the Hylian life of every day does not excite you and you are more types of action, you cannot avoid talking about the new combat mechanics and above all the inventory of Breath of the Wild. We won't be here to expose you every single key because the new chapter of Zelda offers the same mapping of every episode, adding the possibility for the hero to jump and climb on practically any type of surface (rain permitting). These new Link abilities replace some of the key items in the series like the grappling hook, and they do it brilliantly. Although the new selection menu for weapons, arrows and shields is fast and practical, the absence of the inventory in real time seen on Wii U and 3DS leaves a little confused, a plausible feeling especially in the first hours of the game, until you will not get used to the new system.

Breath of the Wild tried to streamline Link's inventory.

And he certainly succeeded, leaving some doubts only on the amount of materials collected during our enterprises which, increasing more and more, will be increasingly difficult to consult (without ever becoming difficult). Symbol par excellence of this streamlining, besides the powers of the Sheikah tablet (which we will talk about later) is certainly the resistance of the weapons which, even in this case, will confuse the classic players of the series, who will find themselves having to dose the shots - especially in the first hours - so as not to be left without any defense. The durability of a bow, the strength of a shield, and the consequent destruction of swords, axes, spears and the like, gives way to another of the most successful aspects of Breath of the Wild: theunpredictability.




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Randomness and emerging gameplay in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It is likely that in the first few hours you will feel confused, especially after having sweated seven shirts in a bloody fight with a Guardian in a shrine, having obtained a powerful weapon that some enemy later, will break in Link's hands. Or a bow capable of firing multiple arrows at the same time, which will shatter after a few uses, leaving us apparently disarmed, could make you angry. But it's all functional to the gameplay of Breath of the Wild, surviving the wild situation leaving behind the hard-collected weapons, in the hope of being able to get stronger ones to use to more easily defeat the enemies, whose materials we will need very often to be able to upgrade the different costumes (not just green, red and blue tunics this round) and become the Hyrule champions everyone is talking about.

My friend's enemy
Few categories of enemies but well diversified from each other

Turning to Link's real opponents, Ganon's army is made up of a dozen different species of monsters, but each well diversified and with a different rate of intelligence, capable of reacting to your actions or the surrounding environment. It will have happened, or will almost certainly happen, in the course of your adventure to come across monsters stronger than Link and, despite being armed with potions, food, Mipha's prayer or whatever, a bad situation could lead you to die. In the same way, you could get distracted for a moment and kill yourself with a bomb blast, from freezing, asphyxiation, from lightning attracted to your equipment or from a bad fall, in Breath of the Wild you can die in a multitude of situations. But, as the Dark Souls brand has taught us over the years, it will be enough to treasure your mistakes, trying not to repeat them as you go through the game. And so the Lynel, one of the nastiest monsters in Link's latest adventure (and far more fearsome than the boss battles in history) will no longer cause us problems, rather having fun experimenting with the new weapons collected or increasingly different strategies. Among which the complete mastery of parrying, dodging and relative counterattack certainly stands out, which will slow down time for a few moments allowing

Evolution of the fighting style

Link to deliver stronger blows and defeat the most dangerous opponents. Yet another detachment from the previous action gameplay of the series, a necessary evolution and a depth that goes beyond the much more practical lead hands. To get out unscathed, the right equipment will not be enough, but you will also have to plan your moves, or you risk sending the entire battle to the ground and come out with broken bones and decimated inventory.

Since we have mentioned the food with which to be cured given the absence of hearts in the tall grass, let's spend a few words on the mechanics of the kitchen: Link can improvise himself as a cook, cooking delicious dishes in the appropriate places using a maximum of five ingredients. The kitchen system of Breath of the Wild it is deeper than it may seem to appear and not only compensates for the absence of ampoules (which will be generated in case you create potions) but guarantees the hero physical reinforcement, greater speed, resistance to temperatures and extra hearts, all using wisely fauna and flora of Hyrule. The addition of the kitchen (along with the inns and itinerant shops), makes the game landscape even wider, giving it even more depth. Although it is possible to look at the ingredients of a recipe created, unfortunately there is no portable recipe book, much less the possibility of repeating a freshly cooked dish, a small smear that would have accelerated some timing but which overall does not ruin the experience.

How do you reinvent the dungeon?

The other great revolution for the series is the absence of real dungeons: of course there are the Colossi (whose mechanics are really guessed and funny) and the Castle of Hyrule, but the classic structure to which the players of the saga they were used to it has been completely revised, and to a certain extent improved. In fact, scattered throughout the regions of Hyrule there are 120 Shrines, containing as many tests of varying difficulty: from challenges to guardians to real environmental puzzles, which can be solved with the powers of the Sheikah tablet. Basically the heirs of the dungeon rooms, each shrine is distinguished by a theme and / or a goal to be achieved, and very often they have more than one solution to be solved. Among these tests, we find the first pseudo-negative note of this The Legend of Zelda, especially concerning the puzzles based on the motion control. Here it will be necessary to tilt the Joy-coms in questionable ways, in order to solve the puzzles based on the gyroscope, fortunately only a small part (less than ten) require the use of motion sensors.
The Shrines are a breath of fresh air in a now proven formula, which does not necessarily have to be a substitute: in fact, the actual dungeons present in Breath of the Wild as already mentioned they are interesting and really fun to solve (or even just to explore), transforming the shrines into a sort of accompaniment that replaces the collection of heart fragments.


Although Heart Carriers are still present, Breath of the Wild allows you to choose how many to have by swapping Emblems of the Triumph (shrine prizes) in groups of four for a new piece of energy or a slice of vigor (which will be used instead for running, special moves, climbing, swimming and flying). Also in this case complete freedom to the player on how many shrines to complete and with how many hearts to face the Calamity, aware however of the fact that a certain object will require a specific number of Heart Carriers. A small limit, however, well explained by the context, and that maybe we will return to analyze in the future.


To learn more:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Here are all the Amiibo unlockables

Beyond the shrines there are two other great sets of collectibles: the photographic compendium (which is a bit of a verse at the museum of The Wind Waker miniatures), and the seeds Korogu, useful for expanding the bags of your weapons inventory. If it were not for the unimaginable number of 900 seeds, obtainable by finding every Korogu scattered around the game map, with small environmental puzzles ranging from moving and a simple stone to bursting a balloon, up to reproducing a shape with cubes or offer an apple to the shrine. As fun as it is to look for little creatures in every corner, the number of seeds proposed is simply excessive, and you will hardly dedicate yourself (under normal conditions) to the collection of every single element before reaching the end credits.

The silence of the landscape

Breath of the Wild manages to combine new and classic also as regards the sound sector thanks to melancholic songs that pervade the kingdom destroyed by calamity, and during the rides in the lands of Hyrule they reduce the volume until leaving links to the sound of the hooves of the horse or his boots on the stone. This stratagem of complete silence increases the identification in the exploration, giving moments of extreme peace, which could be interrupted at any moment if we meet a guardian, or we approach a Stallage recalling the theme of the Lon Lon Ranch. The whole soundtrack of Breath of the Wild, although not the best of the saga, convinces on every occasion, with songs that have already entered the hearts of fans. Link's latest adventure also makes a skilful reuse of historical passages, managing to undermine the nostalgia of the fans of the series.

If on the artistic side, on the environments and on the animations and models of the peoples of Hyrule it would be stupid to look for defects, unfortunately the same cannot be said of the technical sector. Speaking of framerate Breath of the Wild stumbles several times, especially if played on television and in particular in the Lost Wood and on Mount Death. Fortunately, in portable mode everything is more stable, although even with the drops the total experience is not undermined. A flaw that if it had been absent would have made the title practically perfect.

The real successor

And the time has come to ask the age-old question: Is Breath of the Wild the best Zelda ever? No, it is not, for a simple reason: it is different from any other chapter released until last March 3rd and for this reason it is not strictly comparable to its predecessors. Although it offers classic situations combined with others completely new to the saga, Breath of the Wild stands as the progenitor of the next journey of Zelda, as did Ocarina of Time in 1996 and before that in 1991,  A Link to the Past. This time it will not be so much the innovation brought in the open world mechanics, but the how mechanical more or less present in any exponent of the genre, which in the Nintendo title each manage to carve out an individual space. For twenty years we have been naming Ocarina of Time as the forerunner of modern action adventures, the hope (and almost certainty) is that in twenty years, we will talk about Breath of the Wild in the same way about the Open World. The way is open.

1 2 Verdict 9.5 / 10 140 heroic hours, and want more. Comment The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not the perfect video game, but it is certainly among the best and most complete productions from a playful point of view in recent years. The Aonuma team raises the bar for action adventure (with some roleplaying mechanics) and sets a new cornerstone of the genre, as did Ocarina of Time in 1998. Frame drops aside, Breath of the Wild amuses, excites and transports the player into a vast Hyrule, full of events and places to explore, with enemies scattered everywhere and characters destined to write the history of the saga. A great starting point for new players, and a fantastic new beginning for old fans, who in addition to smiling stupidly at every quote scattered in Hyrule, will be won over by the magic of Zelda for the umpteenth time. Pros and cons Charismatic characters
Gargantuan and full of content
New and well balanced classic x Some slight frame rate issues
x 900 Korogu seeds are perhaps too many

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