(Mostly) non-spoilery, somewhat disorganized thoughts on Breath of the Wild
Posted: Posted March 17th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei
BIIIIIIIIIIIIIG WALL OF TEXT INCOMING. You don't have to read it but it's here for anyone who's curious and bored or is looking for a way to get bored idk.
So I "beat" the game last night. I used quotation marks because I didn't actually finish the main quest stuff and I assume I didn't get the "true" ending or whatever. I think it's ok to talk about this in a "non-spoiler" thread because Nintendo outright told us before the game came out that you can go straight for Ganon if you want to.
First, I want to say I am really pleased. The freedom to skip main quest stuff and head for the finish line is just really awesome. Between that and being able to go (nearly) anywhere and complete main objectives in any order, the level of freedom in this game blows the original Zelda out of the water, and that's something I never thought would happen. I always wanted Nintendo to make another Zelda that gave us a similar level of freedom as the original, but they did one better and I'm proud of them for it.
One of the biggest contributing factors to the freedom is that you can climb almost every surface. See that vertical sheer cliff? Or that really tall building? Yeah, you can climb that. It doesn't always make sense (maybe I missed the scene where Link got bit by a radioactive spider), but who cares, you can go anywhere! This one aspect of the game by itself separates Breath of the Wild from all other Zelda games by a wide margin.
Another thing I wanted in a Zelda game for a long time was harder difficulty. Twilight Princess is (was?) my favorite Zelda game, but it was too damn easy. Again, let's look at Zelda 1 - even for today, it's moderately hard. It's no Ninja Gaiden or Battletoads, but it's significantly more difficult than Mario. You could have a run-in with a group of enemies, like maybe you get locked in a room with darknuts, and you go "oh shit!" Breath of the Wild is hard and it's given me those "oh shit!" moments. You have run-ins with groups of enemies that can overwhelm you, or you could run into just one enemy who utterly massacres you all by himself. Bosses and mini-bosses are also great and will force you to focus, lest you get killed in one or two hits.
I've seen comparisons to Dark Souls. I've only played Demon's Souls, but if I assume that counts, then I feel I can say that I agree with the comparisons, particularly when it comes to the combat. There are some differences in how things work, but the general idea of attacking when you have an opening and timing your dodges carefully so you don't get half of your health taken away is there. I'd say the parrying is pretty much the same. Also I wonder if some of the Dark Souls comparisons come from the boss designs, because some of them are really fucking sick.
On that topic, I want to say that Nintendo has done a lot of really sick stuff in this game. The bosses, Ganon's evil aura that surrounds Hyrule Castle, Ganon himself, and (minor spoiler) the blood moons which made me just about shit myself at first..... compared to previous Zelda games, this all feels so hardcore.
Cooking is ok. I don't really care that much about it one way or the other. Instead of finding an "Item B" which buffs my defense, I find "Items X, Y and Z" which I can cook into something that buffs my defense, but only if I'm at a cooking pot. I think it's just a lot of busy work that doesn't add much to the experience, but it doesn't bother me and I know a lot of people really dig it.
I don't know if I've ever played a game so absorbing as this. I could be on my way to a main objective but then I spot something off in the distance. I get distracted, and then I get distracted away from that distraction, and then five hours later I realize I still haven't reached that main objective. Or the other day, I was exploring a new region and trying to finish a couple shrines I had seen from a distance, but then I accidentally stumbled upon an entire village and one of the main main story quests. Or another time I wanted to climb a tower but it was in a lake and I didn't have the stamina to swim it, so I thought I'd climb a mountain and glide to the tower, except when I reached the peak, I saw a taller mountain next to me and I'm like "ok that bitch is getting climbed", so I climb it. And then I spot another mountain after that....
[scroll]I achieve things. I'm an achiever![/scroll]
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