“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is a masterpiece of a game, a true testament to the capabilities of Nintendo’s creative and technical prowess. Released in 2017, it has since become a flagship title for the Nintendo Switch and one of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time.
Set in the magical world of Hyrule, players take on the role of an amnesiac Link, awakening from a hundred-year slumber, on a quest to save Princess Zelda and prevent the further destruction of Hyrule by Calamity Ganon. The game’s expansive open-world design, attention to detail, and nonlinear story structure have earned it universal praise, cementing its place in gaming history as one of the greatest video games ever created.
With 27 million copies sold and multiple Game of the Year awards, “Breath of the Wild” continues to captivate players, and with the upcoming sequel, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” set for 2023, the legend of Hyrule lives on.
Gameplay in Breath of the Wild is characterized by its open-world and nonlinear nature. Players control Link and are tasked with exploring the vast kingdom of Hyrule, with no defined entrances or exits and minimal instruction provided to the player. The game introduces a consistent physics engine that lets players approach problems in unique ways, and a “chemistry engine” that governs the interaction of objects in the world.
When you start out in BoTW, you will be limited to a smaller section of the world, where you are required to complete the first 4 shrines to unlock the Paraglider. This was an excellent way to get players started, with time to learn about the gameplay before getting too far in the world where they will be challenged constantly by enemies.
As Link, players can run, climb, swim, glide with a paraglider, and procure items from the environment, such as weapons and food. The weapons and shields degrade over time and many items have multiple uses, such as wooden weapons that can be used to start fires. The player can also cook food to create meals and elixirs that enhance Link’s health and stamina, or provide temporary bonuses.
One of Link’s key tools is the Sheikah Slate, a magical stone tablet that can be used to mark waypoints on the map, take pictures of materials, creatures, and enemies, and create remote bombs, among other things. Combat in the game involves lock-on targeting, advanced offensive and defensive moves, and the option to defeat enemies without weapons.
BoTW players can also undergo quests and challenges to earn benefits such as Spirit Orbs, which can be traded for additional health or stamina points. Towns serve as hubs for quests, sidequests, and shopping, while hikers and travelers offer additional sidequests and conversation.
The game also supports Amiibo figures, which can be scanned to summon items or call Link’s horse Epona and Wolf Link.
Here’s what all the long-term fans of the series are wondering about – the beloved and all-powerful Master Sword. You will not be disappointed with BoTW as it is most certainly featured in the game.
The Master Sword, the only unbreakable weapon in the game, can be reclaimed after obtaining at least 13 hearts, but requires a 10-minute recharge after extended use. Scattered across the world are small puzzles that reveal Korok Seeds, which can be traded to expand inventory size. Keep in mind, this is a very difficult item to acquire – but, very well worth the effort!
Unless you’re an incredibly skilled player (and even if you are) – you will constantly be finding yourself on YouTube or Google looking up how to unlock or get passed something in the game. The shrines vary in difficulty, with some being ridiculously challenging for even the most skilled players.
The story in BoTW plays out beautifully, and fans of the series will most certainly enjoy the cut scenes and memory flashbacks shown throughout the game. If you’re new to the series, then don’t worry, because this game is enjoyable on its own and is actually a fantastic introduction to The Legend of Zelda franchise.
“Breath of the Wild” takes place in the kingdom of Hyrule at the end of the Zelda timeline. Back in the day, the ancient Sheikah race had advanced Hyrule with the help of the Divine Beasts and Guardians. But when Calamity Ganon threatened the land, four Champions piloted the Divine Beasts while Princess Zelda and a chosen knight fought and sealed Ganon away.
Fast forward ten millennia, and Hyrule has regressed to a medieval state. Princess Zelda trains hard to awaken her sealing magic while the appointed knight, Link, prepares to wield the Master Sword to protect her. But on Zelda’s seventeenth birthday, Ganon possesses the Divine Beasts and Guardians and lays waste to much of the kingdom, killing King Rhoam and the Champions. Link was gravely wounded while protecting Zelda, who sealed herself and Ganon in Hyrule Castle.
A hundred years later, an amnesiac Link awakens in the now-ravaged Hyrule and sets out on a journey to regain his memories and defeat Ganon before he breaks free and destroys the world. With the help of the people of Hyrule, Link frees the spirits of the Champions and purges the Divine Beasts of the Ganon Blights. He enters Hyrule Castle and defeats Ganon, with Zelda’s help, restoring peace to the land.
If you’ve found all 13 memories, you’ll unlock a post-credits scene where Zelda and Link survey the land and embark on rebuilding Hyrule to its former glory and beyond. Zelda confides in Link that although her powers may have diminished, she’s come to terms with it and is ready for the journey ahead.
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The game “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” had two DLC packs released by Nintendo in 2017 – The Master Trials and The Champions’ Ballad.
The Master Trials added new gameplay modes, features, and items, including a challenge called “Trial of the Sword,” which consists of multiple rooms filled with enemies to defeat.
The pack also introduced “Master Mode” for higher difficulty and added new items like the Korok Mask, which alerts the player when a Korok is nearby.
The Champions’ Ballad DLC, released in December, added a new dungeon, more story content, gear, and challenges, as well as the Master Cycle Zero, a motorcycle-like vehicle. A Complete Edition including both DLC packs was released in Japan on October 8, 2021.