It’s only just turned March and we have what will, surely, be the best game of 2017. The reviews have flooded in from around the world and it’s a resounding perfect score for Breath of the Wild, with many media outlets claiming this is the best game of all time. After a solid week of play, we can confirm this thing is one exceptional piece of work – Nintendo at its very best, proving it has a unique genius which few other companies can match.
The Zelda series is legendary enough already, but this instalment shakes up the formula and adds in a colossal open world. This genre is nothing new these days, but Nintendo has taken the best bits from open world games, removed the stunted hand-holding elements, and inserted a sense of awe-inspiring wonder. We’re gushing like sycophants, but rightly so! Breath of the Wild is one of the best games of all time.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
There’s been a general sense of euphoria about Breath of the Wild. Every new Zelda release is a momentous occasion in gaming, but previews for this one have shown it to be something bold, new, extra special, and super awesome.
Setting it as the killer launch title for the Switch appears to have been Nintendo’s masterstroke here, as sales have been excellent. 300,000 shifted in Japan alone – a mighty achievement, considering many gamers are happily ensconced on their PS4 or Xbox One. If one game will do that, though, it’s this – we’ve seen playing of jealous, bitter sorts in online comments sections attempting to dismiss it. NOOBS!
The emphasis in Breath of the Wild is on exploration – right from the off, you’re dumped in the enormous world of Hyrule as a highly vulnerable individual. You have to be careful as the world is out to get you but you can, if you wish, sprint half naked right to the end boss immediately. Not to be advised.
Instead, you can go about your mission in any order you like. You’re truly encouraged to try wild things. After about 20 hours of play, whilst standing on the edge of a cliff with a shrine off in the distance, far out at sea, I figured there was no way to paraglide over there without dying. I made a suicidal decision to try it anyway and, although hair-raising and a near disaster, I just made it to the tiny island.
I HAVE THE POWER!
As with the aforementioned paraglider, you pick up most of Link’s power-ups early on, with the emphasis then on getting out there into the colossal world and doing your thing. It’s magical, simply put, and a revelation for the open world genre (if not the industry as a whole).
As a game, consequently, it plays out as part RPG, part open-world, and survival game. As Link, the player has to be careful nd approac situations (such as camps filled with bad guys) cautiously. As mentioned in many other reviews, the result is you will get killed a lot. It’s a tough world out there, but it’s rewarded with exploration, imagination on the player’s part, and by hoarding awesome swag.
This is where the immense detail kicks in. Nintendo went way above and beyond what any developer would be expected here – the stunning wealth of items is beyond belief. Everything is overwhelming, but once after around 24 hours of play we have (after pottering around) not really achieved much in the game, but improved our understanding of it.
The Zelda series has always been the Shakespeare of the video game world. Breath of the Wild has ramped this up big time. It’s not without flaws, however, as the Switch version suffers minor framerate issues, but asides from this it is a monumentally sprawling achievement which has left us in awe.
Without even entering the main missions of the game we’ve spent hours on side-missions. Mr. Wapojif became completely infatuated with buying a house in beautiful Hateno Village and smashed 5,000 rupees on it and doing the place up. Moments are this are commonplace – there are fantastical things at every two dozen or so steps Link takes. Glorious? Yes.
Channelling Studio Ghibli
Zelda soundtracks are always something special, but this time around Nintendo has channelled a bit of Studio Ghibli for its latest masterpiece. The whole game has a Princess Mononoke vibe, with the minimalistic, tinkling piano notes set to the sound of gusts of wind and rustling grass is a slice of genius right there.
The tinkling piano notes remind us of Spirited Away most of all, Hayao Miyazaki’s remarkable 2001 story of a young girl lost amongst the spirits. It’s very much how Link feels in this sprawling adventure, so it’s wonderful to see Nintendo riffing on another Japanese creative giant. It’d be amazing to see a Studio Ghibli film inspired by Nintendo!
Hey! Listen to our Conclusive Conclusion!
It’s not too difficult to determine a selection of games we’d consider the best of all time: Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, Mario Bros. 3, Half-Life 2, Ori and the Blind Forest, Ocarina of Time… and certainly Breath of the Wild. It’s muscled its way in there and launched itself right into the gaming, if not public, conscience.
It’s effing massive, glorious, wondrous, charming, and beautiful to behold. You can stand on top of a mountain range, the wind blasting the deep grass around you, sun setting in the distance, and as you do some gorgeous, subtle piano music tinkles away. Whilst you do this, you can look at any point on the map and know you can go there, climb up it, go inside, or defeat it. As a lesson in gaming freedom, it’s unrivalled.
So excuse us – we’re gushing. But this an unmatchable sense of atmosphere which is only replicable by heading outside into the street where that thing called reality is. But why would you want to do that? There are people out there who are dumb, stupid, and smelly. Choose Breath of the Wild instead. It’s phenomenal.