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(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]
There are 16 Replies

And the awesome thing is that you don't have loading screens at all in the overworld. You do have loading screens when you enter or leave shrines, but everything else is seamless. Spend a half-hour traveling in a direction, come across a town, enter all the buildings and buy and sell stuff and leave and continue on your way, all without a single loading screen. I think it's worth praising Windwaker for doing the same thing albeit to a lesser extent (and on the Gamecube!) - people can say what they want about the sailing, but that seamlessness was awesome.

I would also like to compare it to Shadow of the Colossus. That game has a decent-sized open world for you to just explore at your leisure, with no loading screens. Breath of the Wild is like that. As my horse and I gallop through a huge grassy field with no music, just the sounds of the environment (with the exception of a few peaceful piano notes from time to time), I couldn't help but think of Shadow of the Colossus and its calm, almost zen-like atmosphere. The other game I'd compare it to is Just Cause, in particular because both games have huge environments, and I find myself working my way up to the highest points possible and then jumping off and floating/gliding over long distances through the sky, enjoying the view as I go.

Speaking of which, visually, this is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played. Yesterday or the day before when I was driving home from work, I saw some fluffy clouds over a pink sunset-y sky, and I was like "damn, that makes me want to play Breath of the Wild." It seems like almost everywhere I go in the game, there's a photogenic scene right in front of me. Sunrises, sunsets, storms, big grassy hills that would make a Windows wallpaper jealous... I'm really glad they give you an in-game camera.

Oh, I mentioned storms, right? Ok, well let segue into the part where I talk about things I don't like. Now don't get me wrong, I love that the game has storms. I love rain storms in real life, and I love when games have rain storms - it does wonders for the immersion for me. The rain in Persona 4 actually made me want to replay Vice City, as weird as that sounds. The problem I have with the storms in Breath of the Wild is that it severely hinders your climbing abilities. Here's a game that's all about freedom, but if you're trying to get to a certain spot that requires a lot of climbing and it starts to rain, tough shit, go do something else until it clears up. It's one of the most irritating things in the game. I've also had it stop me dead in my tracks when I needed to do some torch-lighting for a MAIN quest objective. TWICE.

I like the shrines and how they feel like bite-sized puzzle dungeons, but I do miss the full-size dungeons. I also miss getting new items/abilities throughout the game. I mean, you do get new abilities in Breath of the Wild, but they're quality-of-life abilities that don't provide new core functionality. You get all of your core abilities at the beginning of the game and that's it. That being said, I want to make one thing clear: this may be my new favorite Zelda game and I would not have them change this aspect of it because it's good to shake up the formula. I just hope that they don't use Breath of the Wild as their new template for all future Zelda games for the rest of forever, because I would really miss some of the staples that they left out.

Also I'm not the biggest fan of weapon durability systems. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as it bothers Jim Sterling, but I'd definitely prefer if they had done something different, or at least make the weapons last longer and also not inundate me with so many that I'm throwing them out left and right.

Also fuck the memory quest. Some of them are reasonable enough, but there are a handful that are as obtuse as my ex's legs. I wasted so many hours looking for my last two with no success.

It's past midnight and I need to get to bed, so here are just some random thoughts that I'm not sure how to fit in any of the preceding paragraphs: taming wild horses is awesome. Everyone wants to fuck Link and that's funny. The Rito champion is a fucking tool and I don't like him. The Koroks are adorable - they are easily excited and make cute little noises and I'm glad they're in the game. I really like how the Master Sword requires you to have a certain number of hearts because that's yet ANOTHER throwback to Zelda 1. References to older games are always appreciated - sometimes it's as simple as the names of regions or landmarks, but then it's also nice when you find lore that literally talks about the events of past games. I really like how, in the pause screen, Link will shiver when cold, pant when out of stamina, etc. The trial that deprives you of your equipment is frustrating because I died toward the end and had to redo the entire fucking thing but aside from that it was really fun.

Not a perfect game, but there's no such thing as a perfect game. Even with my gripes, this is the closest I've ever come to bumping Super Mario RPG down to my 2nd favorite game, and that still may happen anyway. It's a good game, mate.

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

Lol damn, and here I was just about to post about me beating my first Guardian (and a Stone Talus right after that!) Broke nearly all my weapons doing it. I'm only at 4 hearts and haven't even gone to Kakariko yet. I'm very susceptible to getting distracted from a distraction much like yourself ;D That's probably why I haven't even gone to KV yet.

[Incoming disorganized thoughts of my own]

I agree with a lot of your points, even the sailing in Wind Waker, which this game kind of reminds me of a lot with it's bigass world. Seamlessness is nice in this series.

Glad to hear that about the MS to be honest, it should be like that in my opinion. I'm guessing you found it? Was it hard to find? I've read it's not even something that gets brought-up in any main quest.

I, too, was going to mention how Peter Parker might as well be the protagonist in this game. Going back to my Guardian fight, I was on my way to KV when my shrine detector went off, suggesting that whatever shrine was located on or near the top of what I initially thought to be a small mountain, so I just... decided to climb it.

I surveyed it for a minute to see where I'd be able to take a break and regain stamina as I've only upgraded my stamina, along with my health, one time. I get up about halfway to find a small field that I thought was empty, but soon after I spotted a Guardian and just thought "fuck it, I'm killing it."

Once it died, I traveled a little further in the direction of the shrine for about a minute when all of a sudden giant text appears on-screen and I was unwillingly thrust into a fight with a Stone Talus Junior that I was absolutely not ready for because I just broke nearly all of my swords and all of my bows fighting the Guardian (and I wasn't willing to part with my Golden Claymore nor Guardian Spear). Long story short, I took this fucker out after 15 minutes by getting some leverage on him and switching back and forth between the two remote bombs. (ds)

I'm now continuing to climb this mountain as the shrine is now within sight but dang, I'm not even that close to the top yet and it's already 32 degrees... I'm wondering if this Warm Doublet can take how cold it might be up there. (ds)

Speaking of DS, people are going to start saying "that's so BOTW" when they encounter hard shit in other games. I think BOTW and DS are on equal footing in terms of difficulty. Maybe in different ways, but not too different.


I agree with you on weapon durability; they're just too fragile, but I guess (ds) Can we get the smithees from Snowhead to drop some gold dust on these play toys or what?? XD

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

Ok so I just got to my first memory quest in a shrine I guess...? I have no idea where to even begin.

edit: Lol nevermind.

Edited March 17th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

What's up with not starting with some kind of weapon? What am I supposed to do when all I can do is run away?

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Red Leaf

You're supposed to git gud (or find a tree branch - you know, actually explore).

Not trying to be a jerk BTW. You just need to have some patience with this one.

Edited March 17th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

I had one and it disappeared. No idea what happened to it.

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Red Leaf

A sword or something would be nice.

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Red Leaf

so beat someone up and take theirs

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Pirate_Ninja

Nintendo outright told us before the game came out that you can go straight for Ganon if you want to.

This is always kind of a weird concept to me. I get the idea of total freedom, but it is really good design to let players essentially skip the entire game? I know, I know, that will only really happen for experienced players. I just think it's strange to promote your game by saying it's so great, you can literally skip 99% of it.

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Jet Presto

(That said, I must admit this is the first Zelda game I've actively been interested in.)

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Jet Presto

Well Jet, the idea is total [or near] freedom to do just about anything... after the prologue, anyway.

so beat someone up and take theirs

This, mayne.

Posted March 17th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

Yeah, I started out with tree branches at the beginning. Your tree branch disappeared because it broke. This is the weapon durability system I was talking about. You can find better weapons as you go, like spears and swords that enemies drop, but you can also just find things laying around that you can pick up. And they aren't always traditional weapons either - you can fight with farming tools, mops, tree-cutting axes, etc.

@Jet Presto:

but it is really good design to let players essentially skip the entire game?

Well here's what I think. You can theoretically head over to Ganon as soon as you leave the introductory area, but you'll have a bad time. I've been playing for what feels like close to a hundred hours, and the enemies in that area kill me in one or two hits. What chance does someone have with the starting number of hearts, the starting amount of stamina, no good weapons, no good armor, no good shields, no Master Sword? Virtually zero, because you won't put a dent in the boss's health meter before all your weapons break and you have nothing except weak bombs which I'm not even sure work against the final boss, and if they do work, you'd be spamming them and dodging lethal attack after lethal attack for like an hour or more. This is the kind of thing that will be relegated just to speedrunners and the ultra hardcore players to figure out, probably 0.01% of the player base if I were to guess.

Now my case is a bit different. I didn't skip 99% of the game, more like somewhere around 33%, but your point is still valid. And here's what I think about that: I got "an" ending. I didn't get "the" ending. I already knew that I'd get a better ending if I went back and finished the main story objectives, but the ending I got even reminded me of this too. Many games in the past have had some kind of ending even though a good chunk of the game is unfinished. Examples include Symphony of the Night, Chrono Trigger, Persona 4, heck I'd even count Donkey Kong Country 2 and the tasks you have to complete to get the "true" final K. Rool battle and ending.

I really like that Nintendo included multiple ways to play the game, and multiple endings depending on how you played it. I fully intend to finish the story quests, but now I'm even more excited at the prospect of doing so, because I'll get to compare the endings. If someone rushes to "beat" the game and decides they're not going to pursue the rest of the story, it would be just like the players who killed Richter in Symphony of the Night and never played the second half of the game. In other words, their loss.

Edited March 18th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

Lol, that shrine wasn't a memory quest. Whoops. I guess I still have yet to do one.

Posted March 18th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

You get the memory quest (or whatever the game calls it, I can't remember off the top of my head) after you get the photo album and I believe after you talk to Impa again after that.

Posted March 18th, 2017 by Johan-Sensei

Found the Master Sword, but can't get it yet :(

I figured it'd be there, but only after looking over the map and thinking about it for awhile lol.

Posted March 20th, 2017 by Chain Chomp

Got the Master Sword last night. Thought I was going to die X_x

I beat one Divine Beast the other day, so I'm making slow but steady progress. I've been exploring a ton and almost have the map completed.

I've been practicing the swordplay a bit cause I thought I wasn't too hot at it when I started, but now I'm at the point where I can have perfect fights with Lynels and kill Guardians with their own lasers.(cooldude)

Posted March 23rd, 2017 by Chain Chomp
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