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- The “Legend of Zelda” series now has dozens of games spanning decades, and in my opinion, the most entertaining one is “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
- The game was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, but still remains one of the best Switch games out there in my opinion.
- After dozens of hours of gameplay, I’m still enjoying playing the game as much as I did when I first started.
Ever since the original “Legend of Zelda” was released to the NES way back in 1986, the Zelda franchise has long been a mainstay for Nintendo gamers. It’s 2019 now, but the series shows no sign of slowing down thanks largely to the 2017 release of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”.
After playing the game for ourselves, we wouldn’t want the series to slow down. “Breath of the Wild” may be two years old now, but it’s still easily one of the best Nintendo Switch games available and one of the first – if not the first – game you should buy once you have a Switch console.
Setup and initial impressions
After you slot “Breath of the Wild” into your Nintendo Switch, you’ll create a new game and get some background on what’s been happening to Link, the main character. Turns out that Link’s been asleep for a while – 100 years in fact. You won’t know exactly why right away, but after a small video, you’ll understand the backstory, be able to control Link, and get acquainted with some of the controls themselves. You’ll also get introduced to the Shiekah Slate, which is how you’ll get special moves, look at the map, and so on.
You’ll also start to get familiar with the overall design of the game, which is absolutely beautiful. As is usually the case with Nintendo Switch games, the game isn’t built to be ultra photo-realistic. Instead it’s aimed at simply offering nicely-designed artwork which is colorful and well-animated. We would really argue that this is one of the more beautiful Nintendo Switch games out there despite the fact that the beautiful art can result in some dropped frames at times.
Getting used to controlling the game and the overall design is generally very easy too, and we immediately fell in love with the artwork.
The Zelda franchise has spanned dozens of games over the past few decades, but “Breath of the Wild” is the first Zelda game to get the open-world treatment. In fact, the map itself is absolutely massive, and while you’ll have goals and missions to complete, you ultimately decide where you want to go and when.
This is in stark contrast to previous Zelda games, most of which start with a somewhat narrow world and encourage you to follow a certain path. It’s kind of a revolutionary change for the Zelda series. Other recent games have been great, yes, but they’ve also been a little formulaic. The open-world concept completely changes that and gives players a totally new adventure.
Along with the open-world concept, you’ll collect weapons, food, and more as you play. The food can be eaten right away, but it can also serve as an ingredient to create a more helpful food that can increase your health, improve your tolerance to harsh conditions, and so on.
Because the world is so huge, it can often get distracting. You might be headed towards one goal, but find something else that catches your eye in the distance so it’s up to you whether you want to continue pursuing the goal or go exploring. It can help to take mental (or even physical) notes here.
Generally speaking, controlling “Breath of the Wild” is simple and you’ll get used to the controls as you go. As the game continues, you’ll pick up skills that help you progress through the game. You’ll also accumulate “Spirit Orbs,” which can be exchanged for more hearts, or stamina.
Stamina can play an important role during the game. When you do things like swim, climb walls and mountains, and use your hang glider, your stamina will gradually decrease. Once it’s gone, you’ll fall and could die as a result. With more stamina, you can climb higher mountains and glide further but of course, like with all video games, you’ll be using more hearts to do so.
“Breath of the Wild” isn’t for the impatient. If you really want to, you could probably complete the game in 40 hours or so but if you’d want to explore the world to its fullest and really enjoy the game, you may end up taking far longer.
That’s good news for people like me. I loved playing the game every step of the way and I’m not done exploring yet – not by a long shot. That said, part of what takes so long is having to retry certain battles and missions since you might not complete every mission on the first try, and you might end up dying a few times before you figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do and actually execute it.
What we didn’t like
There’s almost nothing we didn’t like about “Breath of the Wild”. It sounds a little fake but it’s true. After dozens of hours of gameplay, I’m still as much in love with the game as I was three hours in.
That said, it may not be for everyone. For starters, as mentioned, the game is very long and at times, pretty challenging. I personally like that, but if you’re looking for a game that you can race through easily, this isn’t it. Like other Nintendo Switch games, “Breath of the Wild” is also a little expensive but not more so than any other new game on the market.
The bottom line
“Legend of Zelda: “Breath of the Wild” is easily one of the best games for the Nintendo Switch in my opinion and it’s absolutely worth buying. In fact, it’s even worth buying a new Switch for if you’re thinking about it – it’s that good of a game. While long to play and somewhat challenging, “Breath of the Wild” flips the Zelda series on its head and gives it a refreshing new look and feel and updated open-world concept, offering an adventure that longtime fans and new players alike would enjoy.
Pros: Huge world to explore, beautifully designed, interesting story, easy to control and navigate
Cons: Impatient players might not like the long narrative and playtime, expensive for a video game