Thoughts on Breath of the Wild and the Switch

It’s good.

Ok, some context first. Breath of the Wild is the latest in the Legend of Zelda series that’s been consistently running since 1986. Breath of the Wild was released about a month ago for the Wii U and the Switch. As you might have guessed from my article My First Game, I’m fairly new to Nintendo (and practically a spring chicken in some circles of gaming). This is my first Zelda (I did play about ten minutes of Wind Waker HD on my Wii U but I couldn’t get into it). I have been borrowing my brother’s Switch to play the game when I can. So I thought I’d offer my thoughts as a recent Nintendo convert (as late as the Wii U and 3DS).

So, let’s start with my thoughts on the Switch, Nintendo’s latest console. It’s a good bit of tech. I’m used to the notably chunky controllers of Xbox so upon seeing the Switch I was expecting a rather dainty device. While the JoyCons are small, they do have a notable heft to them that lets me remember that I have the console in hand.

I should note at this point that I’m using the Switch primarily as a handheld because that’s the easiest way to borrow it. I’ve not yet experienced the HD rumble, or the IR sensor, or the touch screen nature of the Switch screen. Essentially, I’ve been playing it as if it were the successor to the 3DS rather than the Wii U. I find that it works best that way. I love this thing as a handheld and wish it could indie and handheld developers to develop for it rather than trying to court console developers to develop second rate ports of their games. That’s where I think the Switch will find future success.

Unfortunately, that’s the same gulf that the PS Vita had to cross and failed. Hopefully, first party releases and a strong Virtual Console will keep the Switch afloat. Honestly, that’s my biggest gripe with the Switch. Zelda is good, but one game does not a system make. That’s the one thing stopping me from getting a Switch honestly. I love the idea of portable Shovel Knight and the like, but I have most of the non-Nintendo stuff on my PC anyway. I really want the Switch to succeed, I’d be interested in getting it in a bundle down the line.

Anyway, now onto my thoughts about Breath of the Wild. The game has been getting a lot of praise across games media. I’m not as enthusiastic as the 10/10 crowd, nor as critical as the 7/10’s . At this point (I still haven’t finished the game), I’d probably rest at about an 8/10, but I’m no official reviewer so don’t take that number out of context.

It has been the first Zelda game to get me interested. It’s got some stuff I really enjoy. The opening hours with the Old Man are engaging, however, they were held back because I struggled with how to combat the coldness of the mountains in the opening area, feeling like I was missing some grand recipe or piece of equipment. The cooking mechanic is a fascinating sidebar to everything and getting new ingredients always interests me. The nature of the Divine Beasts as puzzle dungeons is fascinating but difficult to understand when first encountered. Perhaps my favourite section of the game was everything around Rito Village.

The aspect of regaining memory is interesting as you, the player, must discover the world while Link rediscovers it. Once I’ve finished the game I might write something about the nature of identity through memory in the game. Link’s relationship with the fallen Champions is interesting and I do want to see how the game will develop Link and Zelda’s relationship further (I’ve recovered very few memories). I don’t hate the weapon durability mechanic but I do wish the weapons were a touch more durable.

So, that’s my opinion. Somewhere in the middle, but I am fascinated enough to see this game through to the end. That’s got to be worth something.

 

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