Saturday, March 11, 2017

My Review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Hey everyone! This is your pixel pal Dave here with an update in gaming! I have recently completed the main storyline of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Wii U in less than a week of launch (I started on 03/03/2017 at approximately 12:33 PM). I have to say, overall, it wasn't a bad game. My only complaint is that the difficulty of certain fights needed a bit more balancing. Other than that, it's a fairly decent experience. Dungeons seem a tad smaller compared to say, the Wind Waker, but the puzzles typically found in them are now in shrines and there are more of them scattered about the realm of Hyrule. For every four spirit orbs obtained from these shrines, Link can trade them for a heart container or a stamina container.

*******Spoiler Warning!!!*******

This is where I will discuss ALL aspects of the game. If you're still playing it and don't enjoy spoilers, please discontinue reading.

As the story goes, Link is awoken by a mysterious voice (later discovered to be Zelda herself) urging him to awake and be a beacon of hope for the kingdom of Hyrule. After an encounter with an elderly man (not surprisingly, the King of Hyrule himself.) he points you in the direction of the first four shrines, which (after completing the challenges accompanied by them) permit your tablet Sheikah Slate to perform certain functions necessary for Link to begin his journey. King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule reveals that he is actually a spirit long since past from this world, but could not pass on the the next realm until he had fulfilled his role. He proceed to give Link his paraglider (a nod to Skyward Sword, the previous game) and from then on, he is to travel to Kakariko Village to meet with Impa, a member of Zelda's former guard. Impa then tells him of the history of Ganon (10,000 years old) and how Link came to be placed in the Shrine of Resurrection. He is then told to free the Divine Beasts under Ganon's influence in order to rescue Zelda in Hyrule Castle. After that, he is sent to Hateo's Tech Lab to regain some of the "basic functions" of the Sheikah Slate. ("I'm going to save Hyrule, but first, let me take a selfie") Joking aside, the photo album hidden in the Sheikah Slate is Zelda's personal scrapbook of sorts and they're locations that Link can traverse the wilderness for in order to regain his lost memories (an unfortunate side-effect of using the Shrine of Resurrection). After that limited direction, players are free to roam about and do as they see fit in order to better prepare themselves for the final encounter with Calamity Ganon.

Defeated on 03/10/2017 at 6:53 PM

The last boss fight wasn't particularly difficult (I had thought it would be excruciating, especially after the torture I went through with Thunderblight Ganon) but, it was a tad underwhelming. I had hoped for a serious challenge and was met with minor inconvenience. If you manage to obtain the favor of all four of the Divine Beasts, their operators manage to blast Calamity Ganon from the start of the fight, down to half of his total hit point value. This alone would be an amazing boon, but in addition to that, if the player has yet to use any of the champion's abilities, he or she is able to do substantial damage to the final boss even without the Master Sword, so long as they continue to move away from oncoming laser blasts. The afterbattle was even easier as you are mounting your steed shooting light arrows at Ganon's monstrous beast form (with his attacks not specifically aimed at you but rather the landscape). Weapon durability was an interesting design choice and at times caused me a little bit of frustration, only in that my inventory was either constantly full, or barren when I needed it to be the opposite in either instance. Some weapons have become my favorite and so coveted that I didn't want to use them as often as needed...of course there were some that could be repaired for a fee and the acquisition of certain materials, but once say, the Ceremonial Trident was damaged, I'd move onto another weapon altogether. (It's costly to repair it).

Some of the places in Breath of the Wild are subtle nods to past adventures like the Springs of Power and Wisdom from Skyward Sword. This really intrigues me as a longstanding veteran of the series as I am now somewhat actively looking for more of these "Easter eggs". I'm not accustomed to many free-roaming games and ironically, growing up playing video games (and board games too I suppose) I've gained a subconscious "goal-oriented" mentality. So I tend to focus heavily on plot points and achievements. I tend to lack the capacity for the enjoyment of subtleness or the nuances that come with a vast, open world of discovery. I guess I just get rather bored without progress or some form of productivity...(ironic again as my parents both view gaming as childish and not a productive use of one's time...which I vehemently disagree on a number of levels, one of which being puzzle solving, but I digress...). Nonetheless, my opinion of such games should not influence another's expectations of this title. I'm just the kind of guy that can't figure out what to do in Fallout 4 after the major storyline is finished as it bears little weight on the finale...

Replayability/Replay Value: Questionable/Varies
Overall Score: 8.75/10.0 - Worth a Purchase
Grade Score: A-

Worth noting (perhaps...they don't really bother me all too much) were a few frame-rate drops (namely when I was working with explosives or running around Kakariko Village). That may frustrate players who are accustomed to a "standard" of 60 frames per second. In addition, some other reviewers have complained of inopportune instances of the "Blood Moon Rising" cutscenes interfering with puzzles in the outer world (not the shrines) and boss fights. In some instances, refreshing the boss fights to the very beginning...but I haven't experienced any such issues. Probably because I was doing a substantial amount of climbing during those times...I also avoided areas that I knew were going to be quite hostile. The motion controls for the Myahm Agana Shrine, weren't a challenge to me at all with my level of coordination, so I fail to see what all of the fuss is about (although the Nintendo Switch has been known at launch to have some synchronization issues, especially with the left Joy-con) with regards to that. At any point players could press the B button during the motion control portion, lay the controller on a flat surface, then re-attempt to maneuver the ball to the goal...the number of complaints to me seems a bit bizarre to be perfectly honest. The trick is to fling the ball upward on the last stretch so it can make the gap...

I think my biggest disappointment was that Ganon in this iteration had NO human form. No dialogue, no monologue about power or corruption. That, to me, was a huge letdown. A story's protagonist is only as impactful as the villain's ambitions...I enjoyed when Ganondorf had a grand speech in Wind Waker about his homeland and how envious he was of the land of made him relatable, and I actually took pity upon him. It's reminiscent of Batman's rogue, Mr. Freeze in a way, a villain you can't help but feel empathy for. In this game, he is a "faceless" entity of destruction. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be understood. It just EXISTS. I'm still puzzled as to how he claimed the "guardians" that the Sheikah from 10,000 years ago crafted. That to me, was alarming. A neutral force that aided the Hero of Time more than a millennia ago...yet suddenly, it's under Ganon's control? That particular detail seemed really suspicious to me and I've wanted more information ever since.

I've decided to purchase the DLC Season Pass for the additional $19.99 (+Tax) but my concern is that it renders 100% completion moot now because if Nintendo updates the game with the new mode, presumably, all progress would be reset to begin the game anew on the harder difficulty (which is mind-boggling, especially when there are 900 Korok Seeds...).

I hope you've all enjoyed my review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I hope to continue to keep you all posted on upcoming games!