“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is Nintendo’s latest installment in the storied Legend of Zelda franchise. Despite being the 10th Zelda title on a Nintendo console and the 19th release across all formats, this title ranks as the leader when it comes to the ability to explore an open world however you want. This game brings a refreshing return of surprise to the series, where every interaction brings teaching experiences with it. As one example, I repeatedly being struck by electricity while sojourning the land during a thunderstorm; after assessing my surroundings, it dawned on me that my current weapon and shield were metal and the bolts of lightning were homing in on me. This game excels at teaching by example and I really do not wish to go into more specifics just so that readers can experience as many of the gameplay quirks as possible on their own.
Anyone with memories of irritating helper characters like Navi or Fi will be pleased to know that Link adventures completely by himself. While you are given directions to your next quest objective, they are just vague and open-ended enough that it doesn’t feel like the game is holding your hand. One of the overarching quests entails the defeat of four sacred beasts as a precursor to tackling Ganon, without ever defining a “sacred beast.”
Breath of the Wild features the largest iteration of Hyrule we have ever seen; to facilitate full discovery of this Hyrule, Breath of the Wild gives Link the ability to climb almost anything, provided his stamina gauge holds out. Since the ability to go up also runs the risk of ascending to elevations that would be fatal to fall from, Link also gains a glider to help him make a safe landing and scout out vast areas of terrain more quickly than if he had been exploring just on foot. Another tweak to Link’s abilities is the absence of heart containers; Link only gains hearts and stamina through progression within the game, similar to advancement in most RPGs but without actually showing goal numbers.