Recently played: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Heralded as one of the best games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece. It outsold all previous Zelda games and was a break away from the traditional style of the series. Previous Zelda games have all focussed heavily on puzzles and linear gameplay whereas Breath of the Wild is completely open-world with a lot more attention on the fighting. Now weapons are degradable and can be dropped from enemies or found in chests, which are hidden across the land. Also, unlike previous Zelda games treasure normally takes the form of usable items like elemental arrows and weapons rather than rupees, the games currency, which is now much rarer.

Other additions to Breath of the Wild that were unseen in previous games in the series is horseback riding and extreme weather conditions in deserts, mountains and tundra, all can be experienced in deadly lightning storms, where having metal armour equipped makes you a target for the one shooting lightning bolts shooting form the skies. In the more extreme areas of the map it’s important to bring the right gear to cool Link down or keep him warm, otherwise the consequence is likely to be death. Alternatively, cooking up an elixir or tasty meal with ingredients foraged or picked up from monsters can be used to stave off the effects of these weather conditions. Also, rain is a new frustrating challenge when trying to climb up mountains or castle walls as surfaces become unclimbable; for every inch you gain you lose another two by slipping back down.  

Upon starting the game, you awake after 100 years as Link to find a plush green world warped by Calamity Ganon’s control – the games’ antagonist. Ganon, a huge red flying serpent, wraps its body around a castle in the distance. This is the mission. Princess Zelda has sacrificed her freedom to lock herself and Ganon away in the castle with her magic. To free her and fulfil your destiny as Link, you must first regather your strength by venturing out to the corners of the map completing shrines. To complete a shrine Link must either defeat a formidable opponent or complete some puzzle using the four powers of his Sheikah Slate; freeze water, move metal objects, stop objects in time and throw bombs. If you manage this then you will be rewarded with a spirit orb, four of which can be traded in for either an increase in your health or your stamina, essentially levelling up.

Four divine beasts also block your path on the way to free Princess Zelda. These divine beasts are massive conscious machines that must be tamed to bring down Ganon. Each Divine Beasts must first be gained access to by enlisting the help of the local villages and tribes, who were once great kingdoms before Ganon took over. Once inside you must complete a series of increasingly difficult challenges and puzzles until you enter the last boss room.

As a series known for its unique and exciting boss battles Breath of the Wild more than lives up to its reputation. After surmounting this feat four times you should head straight to take down Ganon as the Divine Beasts are now fighting to save Princess Zelda too, and weaken Ganon, giving you a vital helping hand. After battling your way up the steps to the castle through waves of guardians, spider like machines that shoot devastatingly powerful laser beams out of their eyes, you will face down Ganon: your most powerful enemy yet. However, I shall leave you to experience that pleasure for yourself. Breath of the Wild took my breath away with the only slight niggling annoyance of slightly clunky controls, although with a little time these are quickly forgotten as you immerse yourself within, in my opinion, one of the best open worlds available on the current generation of console.

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Jack Berryman

June 2021
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