RELEASED: March 3rd 2017
DIRECTED BY: Hidemaro Fujibayashi
WRITTEN BY: Akihito Toda
MUSIC BY: Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata & Hajime Wakai

I actually finished Breath of the Wild during lockdown, but now that Skyward Sword HD is out on the Nintendo Switch, I figured it’s finally time to get my review out (four years late, I know) as I work through the newest (re-)release in the Zelda franchise.

Breath of the Wild was my first foray into the Zelda universe, and despite it being the latest story in the series’ chronology, it manages to be the perfect entry point to the classic Nintendo series.

The game follows Link after he awakens to find the land of Hyrule was decimated 100 years ago in an attack by the monstrous Calamity Ganon. Called to action by Princess Zelda, who is currently attempting to keep the malevolent force holed up in Hyrule Castle, Link must reclaim his memories of what happened prior to Hyrule’s fall and save the Princess.

The Zelda series presents itself here as a unique blend of fantasy and science fiction, with a fascinating aesthetic that meshes unique technologies with a lush, natural open world.

The map of Hyrule, yours to explore in whatever way you choose, is vast and diverse, with so many different possibilities hidden within.

From the moment you set foot out onto the Great Plateau, you’re thrust into a rich, exciting adventure, where even the mere act of exploration is every bit as fascinating as the battle between the forces of good and evil.

There’s so much to do, to find, to learn, in this open world, and time can easily slip away from you as you try to comb every inch of this vast landscape.

The rich history of Hyrule is threaded throughout the game, giving you a craving to know more about every inch of the Zelda world. Every point you see is reachable, and the adventure is unique in that you can tackle it any way you choose. If you want to venture into the Gerudo desert first, you can. Or you can climb the volcanic Death Mountain. Or even explore the aquatic Zora Domain. Or, if the mood strikes you, you can head straight to the castle and face the main boss almost straight away.

But why would you want to do that, when there’s so much of this gorgeous, cell-shaded world to explore? From the people, to the monsters, to the wilderness itself, everything looks absolutely beautiful, and serves as a nice change of pace from your Pokémon or Super Mario worlds. There’s nothing quite like discovering a new facet to the game that you didn’t realise was there – the excitement of discovering a new culture, the amazement of seeing a fascinating new take on some fantastical creature.

Furthermore, each amazing discovery is accompanied by a beautiful understated soundtrack, that works in tandem with everything else to cement this game as a thing of greatness.

While, at times, the voice acting can seem a little off, and frankly the final battle against Ganon is far too easy (opting for a cinematic battle over a challenging one), this game is one I can see myself going back to explore again and again.

There’s always new things to find, new recipes to try, new horses to train or characters to interact with. So much exploration. It’s marvellous, and very understandable why this game has reached such critical acclaim.

It’s certainly not a difficult game once you get the swing of things and at times, you may find it repetitive (in regards to it’s enemy selection) or even aimless, but what it lacks in challenge, it makes up for in wonder. And in many ways, that’s more than enough.

All-in-all, I give Breath of the Wild…

Thanks for reading! What was your first Zelda adventure? Let me know in the comments below!

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