First Impressions on Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda is a very interesting series. I could write a series of essays on its game design alone (and if you would like something like that, check out Boss Keys by Mark Brown.), but I feel that the design philosophy has strayed a little from what it started as. I recently beat the original Legend of Zelda in anticipation for the newest one. However, I used a walkthrough, which I will be avoiding with Breath of the Wild. The game did have this sense of wonder, even in the small world which I navigated. The grandeur of this small world is something I can’t feel in other Zelda games. Even A Link to the Past, which I still profess as my favorite, didn’t have it. A Link to the Past guided you to places, created a huge marker on your map. Breath of the Wild does that too. However, it only marks where your next major story quest is. With such a large world, Breath of the Wild manages to keep that feeling alive as it guides you. Arin Hanson’s video on Zelda and how it changed between the first installment and Ocarina of Time, while crass, made some very good points. The Legend of Zelda didn’t guide you anywhere. A Link to the Past gave you a real map and points of interest to go to. Breath of the Wild, however, lets you roam wherever you please. At one point, I saw a tower off in the distance. I marked its location on my map and headed that way. When I got there, I got killed. The enemies were too powerful for me to defeat and too fast for me to run. After my stubbornness wore out, I marked it on my map with a skull stamp. This is my way of saying: This is dangerous. The game never told me I couldn’t go there. It never blocked that area off and didn’t tell me to come back later. Just like in The Legend of Zelda, you could go almost anywhere. There was a spot in The Legend of Zelda where a difficult enemy, a Lynel if I remember correctly, blocked a cave. Inside this cave was a better sword, but you had to defeat or run past this enemy first. I died multiple times on this one screen, but I kept trying and was rewarded for it. Breath of the Wild rewards exploration more than any other game I’ve played.

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