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Why Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a Failure to the Zelda Franchise

by Justin Berube - March 3, 2020, 8:01 am EST
Total comments: 31

The truth hurts, but someone has to come out and say it.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most critically acclaimed games of this generation. However, the title exudes flaws and leaves so much to be desired from a game in the Zelda series. If you’ve been a fan of the site for some time, you probably know my feelings on Breath of the Wild, but for its third anniversary I thought it was time to finally sit down and explain my full list of problems.

Before I dig in I do want to share some of the good things I found in Breath of the Wild. For starters, the Great Plateau is an excellent starting area that does a good job at teaching players how the game will ultimately work. Amiibo functionality is also great, giving players access to a ton of exclusive items. Additionally, the Wolf Link Amiibo is awesome, even if it sadly doesn’t scale well much farther than the early areas of the game.

The general combat is also well done, and the Shrine system is a great way to compliment dungeons in the Zelda world. The DLC is also very good with those Shrines being some of the best in the game. Gliding through the world is also fun, and the way you can get creative with the limited Sheikah Slate toolset is fantastic. Guardians are great villains that can really strike fear into players, so that was pulled off exceptionally well. That said, these few great elements don’t make up for the shortcomings of the rest of the game.

To start off, the story in Breath of the Wild is not very good at all. Not only is its current placement on the timeline left intentionally vague, but many things aren’t explained. Like what is a Calamity Ganon and how does it tie back to the regular Ganondorf? Maybe these shortcomings will be explained in the future, but for now everything seems like some sort of Zelda fanfiction because it’s so far removed from direct connections to the other games which is downright unheard of for a console 3D Zelda title. The self-contained story is also not very interesting because it’s extremely basic and the in game flashbacks don’t add any real exciting revelations.

The characters also leave much to be desired. There aren’t that many of them, and the ones you do encounter aren’t very likeable. Everyone may have a favorite of the four Champions, but once they start talking, the terrible voice acting really ruins them. The other characters are quite bland and seem to lack the typical Zelda charm with few exceptions.

The sidequests and minigames almost always lack any meaningful reward, making them virtually pointless. Zelda games over the years have conditioned players to do well in minigames and to complete quests in order to obtain great items, but in Breath of the Wild that’s rarely the case. Most of the time you’re just handed a bit more pocket change which, in this large game, isn’t nearly as big a deal as you may think since there are many ways to earn moolah.

Mounts seem to be given a lot of attention in Breath of the Wild, at first glance. However there are several animals you can’t ride even though it seems like one should be able to. Also, since so much emphasis in the game is put on climbing over mountains and other terrain, mounts ultimately become almost worthless and can’t go with you most of the time. It feels very strange.

Breath of the Wild is one of those games with an inverse difficulty curve. You start off with nothing and are very vulnerable. However, the way I played it, I eventually wound up becoming a god before too long in the sense that I couldn’t die. I’d have so much food saved up that I’d have to be stupid or just make a gravely critical error in order to perish. Games like this aren’t necessarily bad, but once you hit this point every encounter feels like a waste of time since you know you’re not going to lose.

The music in Breath of the Wild is bad. Well maybe it’s not considering there’s a five-disc soundtrack set, but you rarely hear much of the music while actually playing. That’s because for 95% of someone’s actual time with the title you will be treated to the same ambient track. The track is memorable, but probably just because you have to listen to it for hundreds of hours if you aim for full completion of the game.

Earlier I may have said the combat is good in general, but unfortunately it’s bogged down by the breakable weapon system. There are so many flaws for the breakable weapons, but it ultimately compounds the fact that Breath of the Wild forces players to use a poor item management system far too often. You can take out a camp of foes but then, if playing optimally, you have to compare leftover weapons to what you’ve already got, but also need to keep in mind you may have used some so they are weak but you can’t really tell until they are about to break, so good luck. It’s a damn mess and people playing Breath of the Wild will find they are goofing off in the menus for far too long instead of playing the actual game. Not to mention, the developers didn’t even put enough armor slots into the game for a player to collect each armor type. It’s only short by a handful of slots, but this is really a bad design decision.

One other gripe with the combat is that for almost the entirety of the adventure, one of the best strategies is to first use the Sheikah Slate to freeze an enemy with the Stasis ability. Then you just wail on it until it’s dead or almost dead.

Additionally, how awful does it feel when you finally obtain a Champion’s epic weapon only to find out it will break just like all the others? It’s really stupid and, like the Master Sword, these weapons should have been given some sort of recharge rate, even if it meant completing some sidequest in order to do so. But as we know by now, sidequests in Breath of the Wild can’t give anything that helpful unless they open up a Shrine.

Breath of the Wild is also big on letting the player climb over almost everything. Sadly, this is frequently ruined by the rain. I get that maybe they were going for some realistic thing here, but rain ruins a major element of the game by making climbing much harder. Often times I’d just hang off the side of a cliff, physically walk away from the system, and wait for the rain to pass to not lose progress on my climb. It’s really annoying. Add to that the fact that there are no items that counteract the rain and it’s maddening. Oh yeah, there is a set of gear to help climbing though, which does help on any climb, but you will then have to open your menu and select each piece of gear for it one by one because there is also no way to create easily selectable armor sets. It’s impossible to avoid menu hell in this Zelda title.

In a game like Breath of the Wild a huge emphasis is placed on the exploration aspect of the entire world. However, in reality you see just about everything far sooner than you may think. I remember the first time I encountered a mighty Hinox and thought about how cool it will be when I can come back and beat this guy. Surely this enemy is one of a kind and guarding a bridge for a reason. WRONG! The same three, four if you count the big desert foe, major enemies are copy pasted throughout the entire continent. In fact the enemy variety is completely lacking in Breath of the Wild.

The copy-and-pasted elements don’t end there though. From ever-so-slightly altered puzzles, to standard enemies, enemy camps, friendly camps, and much more are seemingly the same everywhere. There are a few exceptions, but 90% of the game is the same and this completely damages the sense of discovery the developers attempted to incorporate because of it. Compare this to any of the Xenoblade games where there are unique monsters, enemies, stories, places, and all sorts of stuff scattered throughout the world and you can see how bland Hyrule appears to be. Yeah, the enemies get harder over time in Breath of the Wild, and some versions of them fit the environment, but it just winds up being boring especially since the environment in general is just so empty that most of the time you’re walking in a giant void of familiar elements you wind up seeing hundreds if not thousands of times.

You may remember earlier I praised the Shrine system, and I don’t take that back. But all Shrines have the same aesthetic, which is kind of lame. The Shrines are where most of the traditional Zelda puzzles appear in Breath of the Wild. Sadly, of the 120 base game Shrines, 20 are Tests of Strength requiring players to do a dumb fight that repeats across several Shirnes, and 29 are Blessing Shrines. Blessing Shrines don’t have any puzzles in them, and some may argue that just unlocking them was the puzzle. I’d argue that going into an empty Shrine is a letdown. That means this seemingly large and epic game, that I’ve already established if full of copy pasted elements, only has 71 mini puzzles that are in actuality the core of the Zelda franchise.

When actually completing the puzzles within Shrines, and sometimes elsewhere, there are also clearly designed puzzles that developers had to put effort into making. These puzzles often have a standard solution that you can figure out, but may be challenging to do. Breath of the Wild will then often gives the player ways to cheat it using their abilities. At times this feels good because you, as a player, can outsmart the game. But there are other times where I actually feel bad for the people put in charge of having to make these detailed puzzles because there are clear and obvious ways to forgo what they did rendering their work meaningless. Frankly, bypassing the intelligent design by outsmarting the game is sometimes cool and empowering, but it should have had more checks and balances because it often gets out of control. Actually completing the puzzles as intended at times may feel more rewarding than cheating using the in game systems.

Oh yes, I’m sure some of you are now going to remind me about the four Dungeons, or Divine Beasts. Sadly, these Dungeons also keep the same feel and aesthetic throughout and are actually some of the worst designed dungeons in Zelda history. So there is another core Zelda staple butchered. Why was such little care taken on such a major part of the game? I have no idea.

Now I think it’s time to talk about one of the worst elements of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game includes the worst sidequest in Zelda, and quite possibly gaming, history. That is the quest for the Korok Seeds. Not only does this quest send players on a wild goose chase all over a gigantic map, but it forces players to complete a handful of puzzles that are only ever so slightly altered. Again, it feels lazy and copy pasted. While this quest is rewarding for nearly the first half of the 900 available seeds, the second half of the quest gets you absolutely nothing. Get them all and one of the biggest jerks in Zelda, Hestu, rewards Link with a steaming pile of golden poop, which is probably some analogy to the game you just spent playing.

Some people will tell me to stop collecting the Korok seeds after getting half while playing, but I pin bad quests like this on the developer since they had to consciously make the choice to design it so poorly. They decided to make locating all the Korok Seeds insanely difficult with no in-game items to help except a weak DLC mask that barely helps. They chose to make it so it stops being rewarding, and for the final reward to be useless. And they had to choose to make completion of the quest mandatory in order to fully complete the game. So if you make an element of your game unfun, it’s on you.

The endgame in Breath of the Wild is also boring requiring players to farm pieces of the three Dragons in order to upgrade their gear. Unfortunately this requires a lot of waiting for those guys to fly past, which isn’t fun at all.

Breath of the Wild may have a handful of fun moments like Eventide Island, and the mazes to name a few. However the game ultimately falls short on so many levels. I played at least 400 hours of the title and searched nearly every nook and cranny of the world trying to fully understand what the game is. Unfortunately what I found is a disaster of a Zelda game that really feels like a rushed project that some college student pulled an all nighter on and handed in at the last minute. It’s like the team spent all of their time working on how the physics and elements would interact as well as building this giant world that they forgot to populate it with good dungeons, fun characters, an interesting story, real Zelda puzzles and elements, diverse enemies, rewarding quests, enough fun places, and more.

What I’m trying to say is Breath of the Wild lacks polish because it was clearly sent to the market before it was done to meet the launch of the Nintendo Switch. When compared to the previous 3D Zelda title, Skyward Sword, it’s like the polar opposite. Skyward Sword has a great story, amazing characters, the best dungeons in 3D Zelda, and makes the best use of the motion controls found on Wii to create a truly innovative, unique, and polished Zelda gameplay experience that actually blows Breath of the Wild out of the water in every way.

Now I know many of you are going to still tell me how wonderful Breath of the Wild is, but I actually think most people who played the game have blinders on. The fact is they focus on the short time they played doing the main quest, and maybe a few side things, and don’t look at the game in terms of the big picture. To me, this is just ignorance and more people need to “Open your eyes” and “Wake up” to the truth that Breath of the Wild is in need of some Tic Tacs.



TuxDCMarch 03, 2020

This isn't needed. I really hope NWR doesn't start going for click bait articles designed to upset the audience to drive traffic. It is a short-term bump but ultimately will drive away longtime readers / patrons.

Quote from: TuxDC

This isn't needed. I really hope NWR doesn't start going for click bait articles designed to upset the audience to drive traffic. It is a short-term bump but ultimately will drive away longtime readers / patrons.

As much as I severely disagree with Justin's take on Breath of the Wild, I'm sure he's not alone, and he's taken a lot of effort in writing this many words about expanding on his feelings.  My dunking on the article on twitter doesn't discount that. 

The title of his editorial might be a little grabby, but I understand his reasoning, as much as i'd love to draft a rebuttal lol.

Quote from: TuxDC

This isn't needed. I really hope NWR doesn't start going for click bait articles designed to upset the audience to drive traffic. It is a short-term bump but ultimately will drive away longtime readers / patrons.

Justin's article is a lot of things, but it definitely isn't clickbait. Anyone who knows him is fully aware this is how he feels about the game, and while I think he's crazy to feel that way it's very clear that he's saying what he feels is true. I think it's silly to say something is clickbait just because it isn't the commonly-held opinion.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterMarch 03, 2020

Justin is entitled to his wrong opinions and to be able to express them as he sees fit. He has been very vocal about how much he doesn't like BOTW for years now and it's good to have him finally give his reasons for that in one place.

TurdFurgyMarch 03, 2020

I think all of his points are super valid, but somehow these negatives don't bring down the game for me. Like, they don't detract, but at the same time if they were addressed and fixed the game would be a 15/10 instead of a 10/10. Can't wait for this sequel!

ryhomagnificoMarch 03, 2020

I really don't think this is clickbait, because I'm sure I've seen you elude to this opinion on Twitter for some time, but I think you used some pretty strong wording at the end.

I like the game - can I agree you have some valid points? Absolutely. But to call out anyone who likes the game as ignorant is a little intense for an editorial.

ejamerMarch 03, 2020

As much as I love Breath of the Wild, some of these points are fair.

My biggest complaint against the article is holding up Skyward Sword - another Zelda game that has great moments mixed in with missteps - as the "polar opposite", suggesting that game is significantly better. How much other people enjoy either game (or don't, as the case might be) depends on what they are hoping to find in the experience.

For me, Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game we've played in years, and my hope is that they use a sequel to expand on the elements that were lacking. Better, more cohesive dungeons in particular would be my request because Breath of the Wild had small, discrete challenges from temples and Divine Beasts that (frankly) looked cooler from a distance than they ended being when you entered the dungeon. Approaching and exploring the castle in the end almost made up for those short-comings... but I'd love to see several larger, rich environments like that included in a sequel.

That said, games are so big now it feels greedy to expect everything to be perfect. Accepting the good and trying to understand why certain design choices were made is usually good enough for me.

AdrockMarch 03, 2020

The title is definitely clickbait. There are ways to phrase this piece without coming off as sensationalistic especially on a Nintendo-focused website where 99% of the audience is comprised of people who liked the game.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I certainly disagree with most things stated in this piece, but I don’t find it necessary or useful to offer point by point counter-arguments.

However, I will say I absolutely f-ing detest:

(1) dismissive, hyperbolic statements that grossly downplay the amount of time, work, and patience that goes into making any game but particularly one of this scale such as:


Unfortunately what I found is a disaster of a Zelda game that really feels like a rushed project that some college student pulled an all nighter on and handed in at the last minute.

It’s one thing to have an opinion about something, and another thing entirely to be an a-hole about it.

And (2) ignorant blanket statements such as:


I actually think most people who played the game have blinders on.

Based on what? I can’t even fathom how someone can formulate that opinion. Get that condescending bullshit right the hell out of here. The author is acting as if people who like the game don’t merely do so on its own merits, that there has to be some objective reason why they don’t see the game the same way he does which, quite frankly, is some of the most ignorant shit I’ve read.

aealbeeMarch 03, 2020

Quote from: ejamer

My biggest complaint against the article is holding up Skyward Sword - another Zelda game that has great moments mixed in with missteps - as the "polar opposite", suggesting that game is significantly better. How much other people enjoy either game (or don't, as the case might be) depends on what they are hoping to find in the experience.

Exactly.  Skyward Sword is literally my least favorite Zelda game, because I hated the motion controls.  But I would never refer to the author of this article as ignorant or as having blinders on because he loves it.

Quote from: ryhomagnifico

I like the game - can I agree you have some valid points? Absolutely. But to call out anyone who likes the game as ignorant is a little intense for an editorial.

Again, exactly.  I admit that I was mostly laughing while reading the whole thing, because I personally disagree with most of it (however I do agree about menuing).  But after reading the final paragraph, my final thoughts were that this author is unprofessional and perhaps a little immature.

I spent over 300 hours across two playthroughs, and I loved every moment of this game, despite clunky menus.  I'm not ignorant, and I don't have blinders on.  I just legitimately love this game.

NintendoDadMarch 03, 2020

I’ve come to like Justin based on podcasts I’ve heard him participate in. I’ve also heard him talk about BotW. I’ll never understand why he would force himself to find all 900 Koroks, especially considering he wasn’t enjoying it to begin with. I like the game, but if I spent 400 hours forcing myself to find items I didn’t care about, I’d probably like the game less too.

Mop it upMarch 03, 2020

You're probably going to get a lot of hate mail over this (as will I), but I mostly agree with your points. However, like other comments here have pointed out, I do think there's some cynicism and unprofessionalism towards the people who like this game, which I can't support. While I understand that the game's fans are often condescending towards people who give it any sort of criticism, the way to combat that isn't to do the same thing right back.

I probably shouldn't say any more as I don't feel safe here.

RevolsinMarch 03, 2020

Genuinely terrible article here. Having some odd opinions would be fair game, but there's clearly active malice here. Players who actually enjoy this game are bashed over and over or looked down up as having 'blinders' or something, and stuff like "feels like a rushed project by a college student" is just embarrassingly hyperbolic for a game with clear tons of development effort poured into it. talk about spitting in the face of the devs that put their hearts into this stuff.

And then you have the opinions themselves... many of which are unfounded, altogether wrong or simply have misinformation filled into them.

Like I love how you spent multiple paragraphs going "the game forces you on a wild goose chase with the koroks" when...the game never does that, and in fact you're actively discouraged from ever trying to find them because there's literally no point to doing so. the koroks are so large in number because they wanted players to find many of them regardless of which direction they went. not to actually try collecting them. And you will never ever need that level of inventory space or even half of it.

It's almost like the fact that there's no real way to intentionally find them easily was itself something they did on purpose so you wouldn't do so.

I dunno how you can write a whole article and not even understand like basic-tier game design. "No im a completionist, i have to get all the things even though the game is so far removed from encouraging me to do it that it literally gives me a piece of poop as a reward for it".

KhushrenadaMarch 03, 2020

I'm kind of split on this. On the one hand, I understand the feeling of not understanding why everyone has glowing love for a game that does not seem to deserve it. Especially when you can clearly point out many legitimate criticisms and flaws about it. Super Mario Galaxy is the worst Mario game and thanks to my hard ranting now everyone else knows this too.

On the other hand, I tried to make sure my rant hated the game and not the player. (Although maybe I still insulted some people while trying to tear down Galaxy 1.)

On the other, other hand, I also put in 400 hours on BotW. I explored all areas and my map was fully covered in green from my hero's path. I found all the Koroks (although I ended up having to use an online resource to find some I missed combing the map), I completed all shrines and sidequests and got a 100% rating on my Sheikah Slate map. I completed the compendium, I maxed out all clothing, I got all of Kilton's medals and I completed all the DLC. I busted every enemy camp on the map and probably collected 90% of all the hidden treasure chests in Hyrule by setting my Sheikah Sensor to beep for treasure chests. I'm a completionist also and Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece. It is still the best top game of both the Wii U and Switch's library. Nothing has dethroned it yet. Justin needs to open his eyes and wake up to the truth that Breath of the Wild is one of the best and immersive sandbox games ever created.

broodwarsMarch 03, 2020

As I've said in the past on these forums, I vehemently dislike Breath of the Wild and have never understood the people who lined up like Pavlov's dog to give the game 10/10s and Game of the Year awards.

Ever since Wind Waker, each new Zelda entry has felt like an extreme over-correction to the complaints against the previous one. Didn't like the whimsical tone and visuals of Wind Waker? Well, here is your SUPER EDGY GRIMDARK ZELDA with REALISTIC GRAPHIX in Twilight Princess. Thought Twilight Princess was a bit grim and you wanted a bit more story? Well here's ALL THE ANIME STORY with Skyward Sword. Thought Skyward Sword was super restrictive and way too story-focused? You thought it really should have had voice acting? Well here's Breath of the Wild, a game that HAS no story; has almost no direction whatsoever; and what voice acting it DOES have is god-awful. Happy now?!!!

I dislike Breath of the Wild because it doesn't feel like a Zelda game to me. It feels like a Survival game peppered with Portal test chambers. Where are the intricate dungeons with clever puzzles? Oh right...we can't have those because our level designers needed to populate Portal test chambers. Where's the joy of exploration when 99.9% of what you can find is either money you don't need or utter trash that breaks in 5 hits? Yes, you can climb that mountain in the distance, but when you get to the top there's nothing worth finding. And because the ENTIRE GAME needs to be designed as if it was someone's first area after leaving the Plateau, there is no escalation in complexity.

This is a post-apocalyptic world, so where is the EMOTION? How is Majora's Mask STILL the most emotional game in the series given all the interactions you have with the villagers? Throw in a soundtrack that's barely even present (which doesn't help the game's general soul-less feeling), and the game just didn't click with me. Hopefully, the sequel gives me more of what I look for in this style of game.

ejamerMarch 03, 2020

I liked most of the voice acting though.

SorenMarch 04, 2020

Yo that title is 100% clickbait so y'all should just own up to it.

I don't really care much for rehashed opinions I've heard here and on Discord for the past 3 years but man there's some outright dismissive and borderline insulting things said about both the devs and the fans of the game in this piece.

I know y'all can do better and I'm surprised this piece doesn't show that.

ShyGuyMarch 04, 2020


YodalovesuMarch 04, 2020

You put 400 hours into a game you hated?  There's something wrong with that.  There really is.  If you don't like something, please don't spend 400 hours of your free time doing it.  Just.. do something else, man.  Life is short.

VroomVroomSporkMarch 04, 2020

I think the entirety of your opinion can be summed up by the smug criticism of the Korok seed sidequest by not realizing there is a clever and cogent reason why you became the butt of a very large, golden joke:
A side quest like the Korok seeds can only be fully completed if you use an online guide. In other words, you cheat. And you don't get rewarded for cheating.

Instead, you get rewarded for exploring. They pepper the world with twice as many Korok seeds as you need to max out your inventory, because the idea is you will stumble upon these challenges organically. This is a game about exploration. The problem is not in the design, but in your preconceptions about what one should expect, and they served you the unexpected.

NanigansMarch 04, 2020

More like Justin's a rube

GaviinMarch 04, 2020

I agree with most of this, though I'm probably a bit more forgiving in terms an overall assessment.  I'm baffled how it got so many perfect scores, but I still would have given the game ~8/10.

One thing I can't agree with enough though is how truly god awful the voice acting was.  My goodness.  I had to mute the game during the flashbacks.  It was just embarrassing.  At least give the option to turn off the voice volume in settings.

Also, the music was indeed a bit of a letdown.  Some good stuff here and there, but largely lacking.

And yes, the item management / weapon system was super annoying.

The korok seeds... eh.  If I'm being honest, the only reason I kind of liked it was because I had a tracker through some zelda fansite that allowed me to check off the seeds as I collected them.  So it was satisfying seeing all the icons clear up over time.  That's probably not great game design though.  900 was overkill given the lack of rewards.

That said, it's an absolutely beautiful game, quite well polished, and I appreciated that it did have a "Legend of Zelda" feel to it... not necessarily in terms of game mechanics -- because it did diverge from many elements established over the course of the series -- but the overall world, enemies, etc.  Felt like it had the spirit of the original NES game in it, even if it wasn't as focused, probably due to its sheer size.

Luigi DudeMarch 04, 2020

I don't really understand why it's so hard for the Breath of the Wild haters to see why the game is so well loved, especially if they put 400 hours into it.  It's an open world title, that lacks the jank usually associated with the genre, and a lot more engaging gameplay.  Just watch Youtube video's of all the crazy shit people have done and continue to find new ways to play, and you'll see why this is the game that finally made Zelda appealing to wider audience.

Hey I love Skyward Sword as well, it's actually my favorite Zelda title but I would never recommend it to someone new to the series.  Skyward Sword was the naturally end to what happens if you focus on the puzzle aspect of the series and make the entire game one giant dungeon, which I loved, but I understand why it put off a large part of the fanbase and made the game unappealing to non-Zelda fans as well.  Of course as a fan of the puzzles in Zelda games, I feel Breath of the Wild is underrated in this aspect.  Yes it doesn't have as many giant interconnecting dungeons ones, but there's still a lot of great stuff in the shrines.  Some of these shrine puzzles despite being technically smaller, were still more challenging then what the previous 3D Zelda games provided.

Actually when it comes to challenge, that's the other reason why Breath of the Wild is so well loved.  Breath of the Wild is the first 3D Zelda that actually respects the player and doesn't think we're all babies that will quit if we die once.  Enemies can actually kill you in this game, so there's a reason for players to want to get better equipment and gear.  That's why I find it funny when the article says side quest are meaningless in this game, and acts like the previous games were better.  I'm sorry but in the previous 3D Zelda games the side quests were even more meaningless since the games were already easy from the start and doing those quest just make an already easy game, much easier since you don't really have any reason to extend your health that much or get better equipment. 

nickmitchMarch 04, 2020

Hot Take: Breath of the Wild has a story, and it's pretty good.

Ian SaneMarch 04, 2020

Exploration has always been my favourite part of Zelda.  In fact I have a tendency to leave a lot of Zelda games unfinished with only the last dungeon remaining because at that point I've seen the whole world and the remainder feels like a chore.  The story isn't usually interesting enough that I really care about the ending.  Since Breath of the Wild is pretty much entirely focused on exploration it is right up my alley.

It does have flaws.  I don't like how the weapons break so easily.  There needs to be recipe book.  I'm not that into the story either.  But I am rather excited that a game this good that nailed so many things right is just the first attempt at open-world Zelda.  They made one of the greatest games ever and yet there is obvious room for improvement using the same formula.  So how good could they take this?  We might see a follow up that puts this game to shame!

However I do understand that it strays quite a bit from the traditional formula.  I'm fine with that but if that's what you want then I can see how Breath of the Wild was disappointing.  Personally I feel the traditional formula has been done to death and at the very least we can step away from it for a bit to let us miss it.  They could always release a more retro-style Zelda in the future like how Mario has the NSMB series.  I also think it would be cool if they could find a way to incorporate a few bigger dungeons into the open world design or have some way to incorporate permanent power-ups to access new areas.  That sounds really hard but they might as well take that into account.  One thing that could help is having more permanent or repairable weapons.  You might not have something that is required to access something but could help.  I certainly noticed I would check out challenging areas with better armor or more endurance or hearts for example.

For me part of Ocarina of Time's appeal was that it felt like the biggest game of all time when it came out.  I felt like I could do anything and compared to prior games I could do a whole lot.  But eventually other games surpassed that formula in scope and OoT lacks that same wonder from today's perspective.  It looks like a pretty tiny and restricted world now that I'm not comparing it to early Playstation and N64 games.  And the games that followed with similar templates also felt small.  Breath of the Wild was the first Zelda in a long time to feel grand and ambitious with a huge world were you could go anywhere and do anything.  If you think of Zelda as a gameplay formula of dungeons and an overworld then BotW doesn't quite feel right but if you look at Zelda as a general concept of having a grand adventure then it nails it.

But it's not undeserving of some criticism and I think later sequels can be even better and maybe even feel more Zelda like to those that weren't into it.

ForgottenPearlMarch 04, 2020

I love the frontpage image showing all targets on Link.  It sums all this up well. :)

animeetchiJuly 18, 2020

I haven't finished the game yet, stop start, stop start. In fact i've only ever finished the two n64 variants, and enjoyed the skyward one.

Q: I went to ask this on a YT  b4, but Is hardware what limited this zelda game from being more engaging?

Because from a creative point, the foundations are there.

*Incentives i feel are lacking. And variety to break monotony

*could technically a portion of dungeons  have been substituted to utilise the surrounding area for challenges, puzzles/fights/riddles (using things like sunset/sunrise/"when the sky is red and there is but only undead" etc). but still have the datum warp.

* Small achievements for entertainment: height, temp, glide.
*little fun challenges, like using the shield to slide down the mountain for a seed thing.
* things like the element horse beast , could have been possessed by gannon, then upon defeat have a character/personality return, and idk unlock an element buff that you can select to contribute to either a bow/sword/shield (lvl1,2,3). Add a bonus to be able to summon them in the area as an alt mount.
* fairy. Maybe it could have been in hibernate as apart of the story
* More character connection, involvement.

Because i feel that if another platform with more hardware capability had a hold of this franchise, my little creative thought pool would be but a pin drop.

ShyGuyJuly 19, 2020

Everytime this pops up it makes me angry.

thewhitestrabbiteverSeptember 25, 2020

It's a great game if you're an autist and a bit too obtuse to figure out what made Zelda good to begin with. It's a good game if you're the kind of person who reads a 9/10 review and believes it because you didn't know how Nintendo used their clout and influence to manipulate scoring. It's a good game if you like sterile shrines in place of dungeons. It's a good game if you like bad dialogue. It's a good game if you like watching Sidon's trademark, never-before-seen flex with a twinkling smile. It's a good game if you pop a boner in the fish section of your local grocer. It's a good game if you like snow bowling with an unmarried man in a log cabin on a mountain. It's a good game if you like playing as a walking lightning rod. It's a good game if you like that little rain cloud that follows unlucky Link wherever he goes. It's a good game if you like rounding up all the megazords so that Lord Zed and Rita won't make their monster grow.

Wow what a good Zelda game. No dungeons. No likeable characters (unless you're into children's programming). No lasting weapons (they're mostly made of paper). The first master sword in the whole series with erectile dysfunction. No unique items aside from Link's starting abilities. Yeah I'm sorry but you guys are kinda slow and kinda ruined the vibe for future Zelda titles because you like to eat poop and pretend that it's just seeds. We honestly could do better, and I applaud the author of this article for calling a spade a spade. The rest of you in these comments who either behave oblivious or offended or hurt, please get a clue and stop labeling a Skyrim Lite game as "good" just because it has a rather vast yet rather empty sandbox to run around in.

Just because you're on Adderall and shrines give your shriveled, overclocked, synthetic meth-addled brain a tiny hit of dopamine due to the stimulating yet relaxing subliminal impact of a neon blue tint doesn't mean you've done the franchise any favors by ignoring the gaping holes in the fabric of Zelda's original design. This game is pretty, but it is beyond flawed as a "Zelda" title. 4/10

KhushrenadaSeptember 25, 2020

You're right. I've decided to change my opinion of this game from 6/10 to 11/10.

Everything you listed about what makes it a good and great game is absolutely true and I realize now just how much I like those things and wish more games did this. I was always focusing on the negatives but you've highlighted all the positives I missed. Thank you for finely articulating what makes this game so perfect and a must play. Now that am no longer oblivious to why this game is a masterpiece, I'm glad it is the best selling Zelda game ever since it means future entries will follow this new style because it is what the people want. Everybody wins!

AdrockSeptember 25, 2020

Quote from: thewhitestrabbitever

I applaud the author of this article for calling a spade a spade.

I found Justin Berube’s alt account.

MelodyMarch 24, 2021

I completely agree with Justin and I know a lot of people who do as well. The new Zelda game was not made with longtime fans in mind. They threw away almost everything that fans liked about the franchise and made a generic RPG, that frankly does not excel at anything compared to other RPGs. If you're looking for an RPG, you might as well buy Skyrim or The Witcher III which are more worthy of your time. The game seems enjoyable on the surface but falls short in everything including enemies, story, characters, and battles just to name a few. Looking at the majority of the time spent in the game, you'll find yourself either wandering around in the empty world or doing annoying things such as trying to climb a cliff, looking for korok seeds, trying to farm a huge amount of items for your gear when there's barely any enemies that drop it. During my playthrough, I found myself wondering quite a few times why was I even doing this. There's absolutely no reason to do anything in botw as you are rarely rewarded with anything valuable. I do think however that the new engine and freedom are a great entry into the franchise, but it is absolutely clear that the development of the game was rushed. You might like botw and that's fine, but I am glad to hear that the Zelda team will be adding more traditional Zelda elements to the sequel.

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