The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

The new The Legend of Zelda is an important milestone in the world of computer games. While many elements have been encountered before, they feel completely different. The open world… Far Cry Primal without unnecessary cruelty, Portal with its unique set of abilities and Tomb Raider With the ability to climb any mountains. With the release of Breath of the Wild, Nintendo sets a new standard for what adventures in an open world should be like.

Windy adventure in the wild

There are no separate and lengthy tutorials in the game. You wake up, receive a briefing, and set off on your own. However, you won’t be immediately released into the unrealistically huge open world. The starting zone, called the Great Plateau, which is familiar from numerous demo videos, serves as a meaningful introduction to the challenges that lie ahead. The first trials in the shrines (analogous to dungeons, mini-levels) not only show how the game works, but also provide you with tools in the form of runes that you will use throughout your journey.

When you leave the starting plateau, you will already have the main tools in your arsenal for progressing through the game. Among them, for example, are bombs and a magnet. The set of runes is so versatile that for the rest of the time, you constantly discover new ways to use them individually and in combination.

The game features puzzles of varying difficulty levels. Most of them are not that difficult. You can manipulate large objects and change the level’s landscape. The most unexpected and dynamic solutions are born thanks to the huge selection of gameplay mechanics. From the variety of options, there is sometimes a feeling that your brain is being turned inside out.

Playful kids and their toys

After choosing a direction and setting off on your journey, you will constantly come across camps, towns, stables (where you can choose horses that you have already ridden), and travelers (friendly and not so friendly) with whom you can interact. But more often, you will come across wide plains and mountain ranges, where various wildlife resides.

An integral part of the gameplay of Breath of the Wild is the ability of the pointy-eared hero to climb almost any surface. One of the important characteristics is stamina, which limits the height you can climb in one go. Steep climbs, during which you constantly look for points of support to catch your breath and regain strength, are a mini-game in themselves.

Stealthy assassins in action

The leap of faith in Zelda can only be made into a body of water. You can’t jump off from here without a glider.

We climb the mountain we like, mark new points of interest, and swiftly glide down on a glider. Along the way, we find chests, collect mushrooms, apples, lizards, bat wings, and make various potions and dishes out of them. For example, a baked apple restores more health than a raw one.

Culinary adventures in the wild

You also have a sword, shield, bow, and arrows. Increasing the number of hearts is a key part of leveling up. In all other aspects, the outcome of the battle depends only on your skill and the time spent on preparation, searching for equipment, and preparing food and potions.

Heart container, a vital find

There is no need to worry about constantly breaking weapons and running out of food that replenishes health. There are plenty of resources scattered around the world. However, there is always a shortage of arrows.

Some enemies use long weapons like spears, which you need to dodge, while others prefer hand-to-hand combat, forcing you to do backflips. After successfully dodging, you can perform an attack that deals increased damage. The timing for a successful dodge can vary from a tiny gap to a wide opening.

In addition, the basic mechanics allow for some fun ideas: you can push a pile of boulders onto an enemy, flatten them by throwing magnetized metal objects, shoot them with arrows, or throw bombs. The solution to the problem is already in your hands, and you can always change tactics.

Eggs waiting to be collected

Hit him in the eggs! Hit him in the eggs!

Ah! I will hit this one with an iron chest, and throw a bomb at that one! Each solved problem, along with the feeling of discovery, brings a great deal of pleasure.

The AI is quite smart: enemy camps have sentries who will raise the alarm if you use stealth mechanics carelessly. However, sometimes it can be foolish or glitchy. For example, an enemy chasing after you will simply disappear.

As you move away from the starting location, the strength of the enemies relentlessly increases, and the “Game Over” screen becomes less rare. You will die often, but entering the world of Hyrule does not pose difficulties even for an inexperienced gamer. Thanks to autosaves, you rarely lose more than a minute of progress. If something doesn’t work somewhere, you can go and try your luck elsewhere.

Epona, the trusty steed

You can ride a horse. But at first it is very uncomfortable: the horse doesn’t listen right away, and if you go too far away from it, it won’t come running because it can’t hear the whistle.

In Breath of the Wild, there is no monstrously difficult challenge that will make you want to quit the game. During the story missions, everything is under your control, giving you time to think.

You can calmly follow the main quest path, as completing these missions provides necessary abilities and teaches combat tricks. On the other hand, you can always venture into unfamiliar locations. Sometimes, I found myself in places that seemed too difficult at first glance, but by wisely using my abilities and items, I eventually managed to overcome them, experiencing an unparalleled feeling of my own genius in the process.

Need for speed in Hyrule

From the first frames, Hyrule may seem empty and lifeless. But take a closer look, and Breath of the Wild will turn out to be packed to the brim with surprises and adventures. You will spend dozens of hours searching for hidden corners that hide new interesting things from your curious nose.

And these interesting things are literally everywhere. You can go anywhere and do whatever you want. From the very beginning, I decided to stick to the main quest, but still constantly veered off course, seeing an interesting location or receiving a curious quest.

At the beginning of the story, a sense of déjà vu makes you approach the new “Zelda” with great suspicion. A prince saves a princess who has been captured by a certain demon? Terrible monsters raid the kingdom? That was thirty years ago, in 1987, in Zeliard. And in a bunch of other games. After a couple of hours of playing, surprisingly, the main story turns out to be remarkably independent, captivating, and mature. The plot starts to unfold even earlier than expected.

The main storyline can be completed in about 20 hours. And for those who take their time, this game holds many unexplored depths. Progressing through the story looks like this: you need to climb higher, survey the surroundings, mark the shrines, and head towards them. Along the way, hoping that you won’t be distracted by some other, more interesting place, item, or enemy, delaying your attempts to stop the Calamity of Ganon for a couple more hours.

What sets Breath of the Wild apart from most other sandbox games is the content of the missions that you stumble upon by chance. These are not the usual “go there, kill them” tasks, but interesting challenges that provide a unique and deep experience. Tasks that are interesting to solve in and of themselves.

Gypsy's colorful presence

The characters that Link encounters are not devoid of a sense of humor: some joke about deleting all the runes… some ask for money.

There are events in plain sight, and there are hidden in space and time of the world of Hyrule, which most players will never see. Different people will have completely different impressions, which will lead to endless discussions about what/who they have encountered and where to find certain equipment.

You will not be given exact instructions on what to do and where to do it to complete quests. Descriptions and instructions are fragmented. The map marks the necessary place, but it is not a pointer to the end of the quest (except for something obvious). You are shown where to go, and the rest you figure out on your own. This means that it doesn’t let you get lost or confused about what needs to be done, but at the same time, you won’t feel like everything has been figured out for you.

Along the way, you will constantly encounter interesting characters. Some of them are extremely optional, to the point that you can completely ignore them. But how can you ignore them when each new encounter is inevitably filled with humor, naivety, and endearment of the inhabitants of Hyrule? It is very difficult to resist the temptation to meet all the residents of Breath of the Wild without exception.

Parrot companion in Zelda

The Switch cannot boast powerful graphics capabilities, but Nintendo managed to make three polygons look beautiful. Modest textures are contrasted here with stunning visual style. The game boasts draw distance from the first scenes. The graphics impact the player from all possible fronts: you see how the grass moves, and the world around you instantly comes to life, you look at the character animations, and the brain pleasantly reacts to this cute cartoonishness.

Majestic waterfall in Hyrule

There is no water in the waterfalls.

The weather is changing (in the local day, by the way, every 24 minutes), and rain directly affects the ability to climb, while lightning can easily strike Link if he has the bad habit of wearing metal armor during a storm.

During scenes with a lot of characters and effects, the game may start to lag. If someone is afraid of getting motion sickness from frame rate drops, they should be reassured that it doesn’t happen. The developers are probably aware of the motion sickness effect in 3D games and have somehow magically eliminated it, which is unknown to me.

Mesmerizing particle effects

The sound design is delightful. The rustling and crackling, accompanied by the background music, are not annoying or tiresome. The melodies here are not unique compositions, but they are intended to enhance immersion in the world of Hyrule. During pivotal moments, an orchestral soundtrack takes over, while elegant atmospheric sounds play in the background during journeys through the wild nature or sacred places.

Limited-time challenges

Special edition: game, soundtrack disc, and a huge “ultimate” sword. Everyone wanted a Sheikah Stone case, like in the Western version, but got a figurine instead.

The new Zelda has been fully translated into Russian. There are no complaints about the translation and voice acting, except that not all dialogues have been voiced. It is worth noting that the English voice acting is noticeably worse than ours. High-quality localization has become a good tradition.

I won’t be original: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games in recent years. It proudly declares that single-player games are here to stay. Despite the not impressive performance of the Switch, the game amazes everyone with its graphics and draw distance. The new “Zelda” is an absolute pleasure that you can spend hours on without getting bored.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Action, Adventure
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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