The Legend of Zelda is a tale as old as gaming itself with Link aiming to save princess Zelda from the grasp of Ganon. While some things have changed, the story itself is eternal. You awaken as Link after a hundred years of slumber to a desolate world with no memories what had happened before and that's where the quest begins.
It's very open in the sense that there's no structure here with a couple main goals and a massive world to explore. For those wanting a traditional linear narrative, that doesn't exist in Breath of the Wild and it comes down to dungeon crawling with minor bits of story that link them together. I personally found this frustrating at times since you never know what you're doing, but it allows a sense of wonder in just figuring out what to do.
You could be working towards conquering the beasts of the land for assistance against your immortal foe, or just cook some food in a shack somewhere. The world really does feel limitless, providing a scope of which I don't think any other game comes close to emulating. If there's a mountain or some sort of island far away, you can travel there through a number of means.
This is where the theme of choice comes in as it does anywhere in the game. There's no correct way to tackle any challenge, fight any enemy or do anything in the game. It's all about finding the best techniques that work for you and there's something special about that. That aside, it still would have been to have better structure or some modern RPG elements as it does feel slightly dated.
I say that in the sense that there's no real progression with improvements being based around just finding better items. This does have some benefits to it as collecting the legendary weapons was magical. You will need to be careful however as any sort of weapon does break rather easily and this in itself can create some hilarious moments of figuring out what to do without them. The core of the experience is aimed towards beating four large dungeon bosses and the routes to doing so aren't difficult.
Once inside however, it becomes a maze of completing puzzles to finally battle very cheap bosses. These creatures usually insta-kill no matter what tool set you have and it comes down to luck with hitting every move versus skill. It's very unforgiving in that regard which created frustration, but on the other hand some might like this style of combat. It was honestly very hit or miss as some bosses I killed in under five minutes whereas others took hours basically. Aside from doing these core objectives the world is also littered with side activities or quests to take part in.
Many of the core mechanics are introduced fairly early in the game and then you mostly repeat them throughout the experience. These include basic aspects such as collecting food for health, grabbing items or improving your abilities. Across the world are piles of shrines that give you a specific challenge and then reward an orb through completing. These orbs allow you to add one bar to health or stamina after you collect four of them. The challenges vary from super easy; to clever, some ridiculous and even boring tedious tasks.
These rooms also all look the same in design so it can become repetitive after you've visited them like thirty times. Dungeons also follow this sort of feeling with the rooms being less difficult and more of the same after the completion of a few. The stories that surrounded these dungeons were interesting however and I wish more time was spent providing a story there. Another key point to capture are towers which can be found in each region and by taking control of them you'll unlock the map of the area they're settled in.
When it comes to visuals Breath of the Wild has a strange spectrum of beautiful scenes to downright ugly areas. It's a massive world so I can see why that would come in and it's an odd mix. Some moments I was swept away by the beauty of the planes while galloping by with my horse Sorrow whereas other times I couldn't get over how rough it looked.
The WiiU version which I played also had frame drops in multiple locations and some very bad edges during certain events. The controls were decent and well adapted for the many tasks you had to do with dodging, flying or generally interacting with the world. Breath of the Wild also has a perfect set of traversal methods for getting around as you can climb, glide or ride on horseback.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is definitely a bold advancement for the series taking a darker tone while giving players a world of pure choice. You get absolute freedom in how you'd like to tackle any sort of quest or problem that comes in your way and while this does create a minimal narrative, it will still provide an epic adventure. The world looked alright with moments of pure glory when you'd travel, but also some less than great looking areas as well.
The scale of the map is incredible filled with hours of travel and a lengthy experience no matter what your goal is within it. You could walk right up to the doorstep of the final boss or spend hours collecting things that have been hidden throughout the lands. In Breath of the Wild you're never forced to do anything and there's an element of magic there since many will love it.
I did however find some areas rather difficult with a combat system that seemed to fluctuate at times. This was mostly due to bosses having some cheap elements to them and some rather boring segments involved with the repetition of tasks. It's still an amazing experience in probably the largest virtual world ever created and you'll most likely enjoy guiding Link on his quest to save Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review on WiiU