My Thoughts on… The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (Part 1)

For the last few days, I’ve been playing the Nintendo Switch version of Zelda Breath of the Wild for a review. It’s been an amazing experience, but given the sheer size and scale of the world, I don’t think I’m quite at the point where I can give a full critique of the game and it’s awesomeness.

Because of this, I’m gonna do something a bit different instead. Namely, give my thoughts on Breath of the Wild in a steadily updating series of articles, until I can eventually get far enough to review the entire game and as much as its content as possible.

So let’s get to it, shall we? Here is part 1 of my thoughts on The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild!

Starting with the whole Great Plateau thing. Have to be honest, I kind of wondered why you were limited to this area before actually playing the game. Seems weird for such an open ended title.

But then it struck me: The Great Plateau is basically a disguised tutorial. All the shrines have simple puzzles to teach you how the basics of runes work. The enemies are super weak and easy to avoid (to make it so a new player won’t be overwhelmed). And there’s just the right amount of basic resources to make it survivable but not too punishing.

Either way, with the exception of the Warm Doublet quest, I didn’t have much to note here. And hey, given that the Plateau was shown/available in every single demo/at every event, I’m not sure that’s what others are interested in hearing more about either.

So let’s move on, now to the first interesting aspect of the game.

Namely, the whole ‘upgrade’ system. Basically, you know how in past Zelda games, you got Heart Pieces to increase your health bar?

That doesn’t exist in this one. Instead, every shrine gives you a spirit orb, and you can trade four of them for either a Heart Container or a Stamina Increase.

And that’s where the risk/reward thing comes in. Put simply, you have the choice between playing the game two ways:

  1. Very safely, by putting everything into health at the expense of stamina. This lets you survive more hits (which is useful if you suck at dodging), but also makes exploration a whole lot more annoying than it already can be.
  2. In a risky way, by increasing stamina (hence letting you climb/glide to places more easily), at the expense of basically being a one hit wonder for much of the game. This is convenient for travellers, but also means one Moblin, Guardian, Hinox, Stone Talus or other strong enemy will probably be your last.

I decided to go for another Heart Container.

And you know what? I think that’s probably the wise decision for most part. Why? Well we’ll get to that later. A certain part of the game requires 13 hearts to complete, so you ideally need to hit that amount as soon as possible.

Either way, after a nice health upgrade, it was time to see that story about ‘what happened 100 years ago’. Surprise, the ancient robotic forces turned against their masters. Oh come on, you didn’t predict that? Look at a Guardian and compare its colour scheme to Calamity Ganon. Or just look at any other story with sentient robots designed to solve problems/fight wars for humans.

Still, it works for this game.

So with that part over, it was time to leave the Plateau. Now, if you’ve not played up to this part in Breath of the Wild, you might want to consider this a spoiler.

But if you have… well it became pretty clear that Kakariko Village and Zora’s Domain was the ‘intended’ main story path for this game. The king outright sad it’d be the safest option, and I got pointed along a road that pretty much led exactly to that area.

However, I didn’t follow it. I mean, where’s the fun in that? This is an open world game where you can go anywhere, only a boring person follows the story path to a tee.

Instead, I took a few detours. One to a shrine just off the path, and a few to reach the next Sheikah Tower to activate the map.

From then on… it was basically a whole lot of wandering round doing sod all. A few Bokoblin camps to clear out here, a shrine that I didn’t figure out there, and one interesting area I completely missed in the vicinity. Cause hey, that’s the thing with Breath of the Wild. You’re always getting careless and missing secrets.

Still, I didn’t stay sidetracked for too long. Oh no, I eventually decided I would rather attempt the lead up to some of the Divine Beast quests after all.

So I… kind of did something strange. I went for all four of them at once.

Well, why not? After all, you want to open up warps to Zora’s Domain, Goron City and Rito Village after all. And hey, the armour they sell in town becomes very useful for climbing mountains or entering volcanoes. Either way, that left me just before the Divine Beast in a few cases, and at the start of said quest in others.

And that’s been the last time I touched the main story. Why?

Because I thought exploring the world was more fun. Sure, you do a bit of that in the main ‘storyline’. No one’s denying that aspect.

But look at a map of the game for a minute. You explore maybe 10% of the world if you merely go after the Divine Beast plotlines. Hell, a lot of regions and provinces here are completely optional!

So I just didn’t bother with the story up to this point.

Either way, here’s my current progress in the title:

  • 10 Hearts + 1 Stamina Upgrade
  • All major Divine Beast quest lines started (need to go back to them)
  • 36 or so Shrines completed
  • About 15-20 Korok Seeds (yeah, I need to find more of these)

Plus a very large of number of deaths through to randomness. Mostly not due to enemies (though I have had Link killed by a fair few species in this game), but various other things. Extreme heat, extreme cold, falls from heights, drowning, being crushed, being electrocuted… etc.

Either way, I’ll be continuing with this game for a while now. More thoughts on the title once I continue playing the game tonight.