February 21, 2017
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Get ready for the best Legend of Zelda game to date: Breath of the Wild

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won’t be out in Nintendo Wii U and Switch until March 3 and with only a few weeks away, we can’t wait to explore this game for real. Are you excited?

The game sports excellent graphics and is an improvement on Skyward Sword. The great thing about playing the new Legend of Zelda is playing it on the Nintendo Switch. It’s seamless gaming that satisfies your gaming needs without the hassle of cutting your game short when you need to move. Need to get away from the console and do an errand? Just switch to handheld mode and you’ll be playing outside in no time. What’s more, the transition from either mode is smooth and barely noticeable.

It’s a compelling game and it just takes our breath away seeing how gorgeous it and how much of it there is to explore in the game. It’s like a Studio Ghibli movie in its expression of nature, like Princess Mononoke or Laputa. There’s no one path to take in playing this game because, at its core, it’s game of exploration.

An Open World

One of the first things you’ll notice in the Breath of the Wild is hearing actual dialogue in the game. In previous Zelda games, all you’ll hear is vague gibberish accompanied by text. Hearing dialogue for the first time in a Legend of Zelda game is a welcome change and makes us closer and more attached to the characters and interactions in the game. And so far, the voice acting has been great.

Usually, games give you a tutorial at the beginning and they can take a while in Zelda games. Luckily, they improved on this in Breath of the Wild. The introduction to its RPG mechanics is a breeze and before you know it, you’re in the breath-taking world of Hyrule.

Breath of the Wild is really trying to accomplish something new here in a lot of ways. It’s in a new console (the Nintendo Switch), there are a lot of improvements on previous Zelda games, and story-wise, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic Hyrule so everything runs differently. It’s a world where the world isn’t trying to sell you gear and quests so easily.

As Link, you must gather resources like food and gear through hunting, gathering, and chopping down trees. You must also adapt to weather and cook and eat food to survive. You can start with something as rudimentary as a stick and a bunch of apples and if you do well enough after a few fights here and there, you’d have an axe and mushrooms next. Luckily, you’re given the ability to jump and climb at the beginning of the game for your survival (and the better to survey the gorgeous terrain with).

What’s fun about resource gathering is the level of improvisation and customization in an open world adventure. You can build, make food recipes, create explosive traps, and use your shield to surf down a mountain side. There’s a refreshing amount of freedom in Breath of the Wild that isn’t present in previous Zelda games, with a vast amount of options in battle and world-wandering.

A tougher Hyrule

One gripe we have is the lengthy loading times. While this is understandable because of the expansive world the game contains along with the level of detail, the waiting time can be a little jarring. This isn’t the full game though so we’re hoping that when it finally comes out, they’ve minimized the loading time.

Surely, though, the Wii U version would take longer than the Switch version as the latter is running on more powerful hardware. According to Nintendo, Breath of the Wild runs at 900p while docked on the Switch while running at 720p on the Wii U. The Switch version has “higher-quality environmental sounds”, faster loading times, and less visual pop-in (objects suddenly appearing as you get closer to them).

The open-world, survival nature of Breath of the Wild makes the game a difficult one. Without the right amount of preparation, fights take a higher toll on Link and it looks like the game has no problem giving you a beatdown. Though it’s not as punishing as Dark Souls, Breath of the Wild won’t go easy on you.

Producer Eiji Aonuma said at E3 that the game can be beaten without completing the story. So if you can figure out how to get to the final boss of the game, you can just skip the dungeons and items and defeat the final boss if you so choose.

Physics in Hyrule

One of the cool features in the new Zelda game is dynamic weather. Physics and temperature matter in Breath of the Wild so climb up a mountain high enough and stay in the snow long enough will freeze Link and count as damage, draining his hearts until he dies. You’ll need to stay warm to avoid this, by staying near a fire, eating spicy food (putting the cooking feature to good use!), or finding warmer clothing. The opposite applies in hotter environments and situations.

With these features in mind, Breath of the Wild convinces us that the game is inching closer to a more realistic environment. It encourages players to think of more creative ways to solve the vast amount of puzzles present in the game.

It’s no surprise that in the game, weapons don’t last long. They eventually break so you’ll have to constantly swap old weapons for new ones (or better ones). Link can also throw weapons for critical hits and do perfect dodges in order to unlock the Flurry Rush mode, slowing down enemies and allowing the player to attack them rapidly.

There’s a lot you can do defeat enemies by interacting with the environment and improvising. As Link, you can crouch to sneak around enemies and kill them stealthily (like Splinter Cell) and do things like rolling boulders on enemy camps, setting off explosive barrels, and lighting grass on fire then letting the wind spread the flames towards enemy camps.

A new adventure begins

Inside_LoZ_BotW

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild promises days to even weeks of fun, exploration, and exciting challenges with its expansive and gorgeous open world, realistic world interactions, compelling story, new game features, and high replay value.

In addition to the game itself, Breath of the Wild will have paid DLC, making it the first main-line Legend of Zelda game to do so. You can get extra goodies for $19.99 (around AED 73) during the launch or when you buy the Expansion Pass. The game is set to be released along with Nintendo Switch this coming March 3.

Are you ready to explore a new Hyrule?