A couple of days back, it finally happened. The entirety of The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild was leaked online, with hundreds playing it early thanks to ROMs and shared review copies.
And embargoes be damned, this leak just blew the floodgates off. We had the whole soundtrack posted online. Every item icon and costume was data mined from the game within a matter of hours. Either way, anyone looking for information was quickly buried under too many sources at once. The sheer quantity of people playing it early and sharing their thoughts just made it impossible to find out any one thing in particular.
So to clear things up, we’ve decided to write a summary of a lot. A long, detailed article going into every bit of information we know about Breath of the Wild from the leaks, videos and message boards dedicated to it across the internet.
Hence here it is. The definitive overview of everything important you’ll see in The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.
Just be warned about spoilers okay? Because this articlecovers a crap ton of things Nintendo likely didn’t intend for anyone to know til long after the game was released…
Enemies and Bosses
Especially where enemies and bosses are concerned. Why? Because thanks to the game leak, we now know what every single one of them looks like! Here’s an album filled with pictures showing Breath of the Wild’s myriad of monsters:
As well as a text based list of them found online.
As you can tell… it’s pretty heavy on reusing the same basic enemy model and making it more powerful. You’ve got tons of Bokoblin species, tons of Guardian types, tons of Lizalfos and Chuchu. Heck, you’ve even got about four different versions of the Lynel from the 2D Zelda titles!
However, that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, we’re really happy that some of the more ‘interesting’ enemies seem to have made a comeback here. I mean yeah, Darknuts and Stalfos and their relatives are all well and good. But come on, this is the first time we’ve seen either Lynels or Hinox making an appearance in a 3D Zelda game! That kind of makes up for it if you ask me.
What may be less interesting however are the bosses. Why? Because from what we’ve seen so far, every main dungeon boss is a Ganon variant. Well technically it’s not a variant. It’s ‘Ganon’s Malice in ghost form’, with abilities dependant on the dungeon it’s fought in. So you’ve got a wind version of Ganon, a water version of Ganon, a fire version of Ganon and an electric version of Ganon along with the forms fought in the final battle.
It’s an interesting idea for a Zelda game, but perhaps not as ‘creative’ as the unique bosses found in previous titles. Ah well, at least the field bosses have a fair bit of variety here, with dragons, Stone Talus golems, a sandworm called Molduga and the previously mentioned Hinox providing tough encounters outside of the main dungeons.
Still, let’s get to the locations now. Aka one of the biggest improvements the game has brought to the series.
Because it has more towns and unique areas than before. I mean yeah, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker had some great locations. And I did feel the areas you visited were alive and filled with things to do.
But they also felt a tad… small. Perhaps because they were too centralised for a large kingdom. I mean, how many countries do you know where the entire population lives in one or two towns? Outside of the extremely small ones like the Vatican City and Monaco?
Very few I’d imagine. Fortunately though, Breath of the Wild fixes this brilliantly. I mean, here’s a list of towns and cities you can find in Breath of the Wild:
- Castle Town
- Gerudo Town
- Goron City
- Hateno Village
- Kakariko Village
- Lurelin Village
- Rito Village
- Tarrey Town
- Zora’s Domain
As well as a huge list of locations courtesy of a nice guy on GameFAQs….
It’s pretty impressive really. Very much like Zelda 2, where the population actually lived in different villages spread out across a large kingdom. And that’s not the only thing it nails here too.
Oh no, apparently it also gives the NPCs actual schedules! You know, a bit like in Majora’s Mask. And they even change with the weather! Like say, NPCs deciding not to leave their house when it’s raining or what not.
That’s pretty damn impressive really. Much better than a single city with a bunch of identical NPCs saying ‘welcome to Corneria!’
Additionally, don’t be fooled into thinking humans are the only species here either. Nope, just like most other great Zelda games of yore, there’s a large variety of races/humanoid species that you meet throughout your adventure. This includes not only the traditional humans or Hylians, but also the Gorons, Zora, Gerudo, Rito and Koroks as well. All of these then have their own town or main settlement and play a major part in the storyline with the divine beasts and Calamity Ganon.
Then once you add in all the shrines to visit, the four main dungeons (and large final one in Hyrule Castle), the mini games to play across the world (which are listed below) and the god knows how many varieties of wildlife (also listed later)… you get an open world game which clearly avoids the problems of past titles. One where the large explorable world actually has interesting things to do in it.
Mini Games in Breath of the Wild
- Birdman Contest
- Horseback Archery
- Horse Racing
- Parasail Archery
- Shield Surfing
- Smash Golf
- Time Limit Hunting
Animals in Breath of the Wild
- Bear (2 types)
- Boar (2 types)
- Fox (2 types)
- Heron (2 types)
- Insect (many types)
- Pigeon (2 types)
- Ptarmigan (2 types)
- Rupee Rabbit
- Sunzarashi (2 types)
- Wild Duck
- Wild Goat
- Wolf (3 types)
But what about the gear you might wonder? Do the items Link collects have enough variety to stay interesting? What do the leaks say there?
Link’s Items and Gear
Well, the answer is pretty obvious really. There’s an absolutely crap ton of gear and items you can use in Breath of the Wild. Indeed, in addition to the many swords, shields and clothing styles we showed earlier, there’s also an array of rods, boomerangs and whole outfits from previous games. Like say, the Hero of Winds’ one in The Wind Waker. Or the Hero of Twilight’s one from Twilight Princess.
Here’s a (very spoilerific) picture showing all of the stuff you can collect in the game:
Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff here. If Link wasn’t already enough of a walking armoury by the end of the previous games… well he certainly will be here. He can also look like any other Link from the series if he wants to, or even Sheik from Ocarina of Time.
So if you were worried that Breath of the Wild wouldn’t give you enough gear or customisation options, then don’t be. Because dear god this game probably has more variety than most RPGs do now…
Story, Characters and Events
Enough about the scale of the game though. After all, I’m sure we all figured out this game would be massive with hundreds of things to do and even more items to collect. That was basically the whole game’s selling point to begin with.
What about the story events? How does this game fit into the timeline or mythos of the Zelda series?
Well, here’s one hint to how. Namely, a pretty spoiler heavy cutscene the King of Hyrule shows you early in the game:
As well as Link’s own sad demise:
Or for a summary, here’s how the events all unfolded before the game:
- The Sheikah made an army of mechanical soldiers (the Guardians) and four large mechs (the Divine Beasts) that could be used to defeat and seal Ganon.
- This ended up as part of a prophecy, handed down through generations.
- Said machines were then found years later, by the kingdom’s workers excavating the land in search of them.
- Four Champions from different species were chosen to pilot the Divine Beasts, and got close to sealing Ganon for good.
- But Ganon took control of the mechanical army, and turned them against Hyrule. All the Champions died, Hyrule Castle Town was burned to the ground and many others perished as well.
- Link was killed fighting to protect Zelda from Ganon
- And then take to the Shrine of Resurrection to be healed and brought back to life
- While Zelda fought to keep Ganon in check
- Finally, one hundred years later you get revived, and the game begins
It’s a pretty textbook case of advanced robots/AI being turned against their masters by an evil force, and laying waste to the world as a result.
So how do you fix all this? Well, you apparently defeat Ganon’s ‘remains’ in each of the Divine Beasts to uncorrupt them, then have the descendants of the Champions control them to weaken the evil being so Link can defeat him. That’s what the pillars are for, why there are four dungeons, etc.
Still, enough of that for a bit. Let’s meet some of these characters, shall we?
Breath of the Wild’s Main Cast
Such as the four likely champion characters in the game. Aka Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urboas. Here are some pictures showing what they look like:
These guys apparently pilot the Divine Beasts after Ganon’s malice/remains are cleared out from them, and act kind of like the sages in past Zelda titles.
And talking of Divine Beasts, we didn’t really say much about them, did we? Basically, these are mechs based on animals, with the individual beasts being:
The Elephant, found in Zora’s Domain
Vah Naboris the camel, found in Gerudo Desert:
An unnamed Bird monster piloted by the Rito
And whatever the hell this thing is, which ends up being piloted by Daruk after its purifying at Death Mountain:
These in term apparently act as the dungeons in the game, being where the Ganon forms are battled in the story as well as the only locations where full Heart Containers can be found without trading Spirit Orbs. Like this one here:
Either way, they eventually help you take down Calamity Ganon. No idea about how they do that (since no one has really gotten to the final boss battle or ending yet), but their scenes do show them weakening the demon king with magical laser beam of some form or another. So yeah, presumably that’s how they attack. Or how they turned on the people of Hyrule 100 years ago.
As for the timeline… there are mixed messages here. Some elements suggest the Downfall timeline, like references to Rauru Town. Some suggest the child one, like the Arbiter’s Grounds being included. And some others suggest the adult timeline, like the presence of Koroks, Rito, Linebeck Island and other such things.
So we don’t really know yet. It’s possible the game exists to merge the timelines together in some way, but that’s something we’ll have to wait to find out more about.
Still, even though the timeline is still too vague to be knowable, we all knew this game’s music would be amazing right from the off. However, some people had their own worries here none the less. Like say, that the music would only be background ambience of some kind. Like the piano being played as you explore the fields.
Fortunately, that’s not the case. Because while it does remove the traditional Zelda theme for the overworld, many other areas have clear, easily heard background songs that fit said places perfectly.
Like say, Zora’s Domain and Goron City. Both of these basically remix the versions from Ocarina of Time and redo it in the style of Breath of the Wild:
Or the incredible songs that play when fighting mini bosses across the overworld?
Or for that matter, the final battle songs? Yeah, those are online too, and if you’re willing to be spoilt a bit more than useful, they’re as fantastic sounding as you can imagine.
Either way, you can find the lot on various channels on YouTube. Like Vector Harbour’s one here, or our own one linked in the sidebar.
Leaving the topic of music behind for a bit though, you may wonder quite how the mounts system works in this game. Well, that’s our next topic, and it’s surprisingly complicated compared to the simple horse riding in past games.
Mounts and Rides
Because for one thing, actually taming the animal to get it to obey you is a huge part of the experience now. So it’s not just ‘win a horse, ride it like you’ve owned the animal for 50 years’. It’s now a bit more complex, and perhaps a tad more realistic in the process.
However, the changes don’t stop there either. Oh no, you can now also ride OTHER animals in the game too! Want to be a real badass and terrify the hell out of your enemies? Well, then get a bear and ride into battle on it! That’s actually possible in Breath of the Wild:
As is riding an elk, a skeletal horse and even a bloody Lynel. Because hey, apparently centaur riding is a thing in Breath of the Wild now. Whoever saw that one coming?
Well, certainly not the NPCs that’s for sure. Cause they will absolutely refuse to put anything other than a plain old horse in a stable. Which is pretty logical I guess. Might be a tad hard to try and safely feed and maintain a bear in that sort of environment.
Either way, enough with the mounts and ride species for a second. Instead, let’s wrap up this overview with a look at some of the other, more random mechanics this game seems to have…
Like the new Spirit Orbs system. Basically, every time you beat a Shrine, you get a Spirit Orb. These can then be collected, with every four you get letting you exchange them for either an extra Heart Container or an increase to your stamina bar. This (when calculated with the 120 Shrines found in the game) means that you could theoretically get a maximum of 37 hearts. Assuming you used every orb for them and defeated all the main bosses.
However, the orbs aren’t the only thing you get by doing well here. Instead, beating the main bosses also gives you an extra ability that makes your quest easier too. For example, if you beat the boss in Zora’s Domain, you get access to Mipha’s Grace. This restores your health upon dying and awards temporary bonus hearts as well, acting like a free Fairy in a bottle.
And hey, talking of fairies, they’re here too. Apparently different areas (like Kakariko Village) have Fairy Fountains nearby. Give a certain high amount of rupees there, and they’ll then activate, at which point you can use the Great Fairy’s magic to upgrade weapons and armour.
Finally, there seems to be a picture album option of sorts. This contains details on every enemy, boss, animal and item in the game, presumably with a nice picture to go with it. Pretty useful for collectors. Or people who really liked the Tattle Log in Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door.
So that sums up Breath of the Wild. It’s not quite every little aspect of the game (since it’s big enough that no one will likely finish it all before release day), but it’s enough to give an interesting picture of the events none the less.
But hey, what do you think about it? Did you learn anything interesting from our detailed overview of the title? Or are there more questions you have about the game and its content?
Post your thoughts here or on social media today!