I’m Not Sold Yet on Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stole the E3 spotlight for most people this year. It’s being heralded for it’s large, gorgeous open-world, expansive customization, and new gameplay mechanics. It fuses modern open-world mechanics in a 3D Zelda style, but the story structure seems closer to the original Legend of Zelda or Link to the Past by allowing Link to do what he pleases while Zelda (presumably) rots in her dirty cell. While that’s fine for some, it isn’t appealing to me.
Now before you grab your pitchforks and torches and burn me alive, which you can do in Breath of the Wild (and yes, I am implying all Zelda fans are closet arsonist), hear me out. I’m a cynical skeptic. I’m the type of guy who won’t board the hype train until I’m positive it won’t head straight off a cliff of disappointment, so take my complaints with a grain of salt. With that said, let’s ease into what’ll probably be good about Breath of the Wild.
From the generous display at E3, it looks like the puzzles will be more physic-based, which allows for a greater degree of freedom for both Nintendo to develop and the player to solve. There’s only so much you can do with item-based puzzles. Not to mention if the item is crap (I’m looking at you, spinner), then the whole dungeon suffers. Moving blocks and hitting switches can only get you so far, so this is a step in the right direction, assuming Nintendo can nail the main dungeons.
The customization is also a step in the right direction. Being able to equip different armor and weapons is a feature I’m glad Nintendo decided to pick up. I’ve always hated Link’s hat. The tunic is fine (lobster pajamas are better though), but I’ve never understood why that dumb, useless, green snot hat. With the exception of Minish Cap, I could never figure out its purpose. It doesn’t block the sun, look protective or warm and it’s definitely not for fashion purposes, so gamers will be able to happily make Link wear whatever they please.
I hate cooking in both real life and in games. If I can’t easily roast meat, my characters will eat raw ingredients, and unfortunately, Breath of the Wild will require Link to eat food in order to restore health. Maybe I just don’t like change, but there was something special and incredibly morbid about finding disembodied hearts in tall grass and pots. If eating is the only way to get health, it’ll feel like a chore and put a damper on the whole experience for me.
Dealing with weapon condition is also a chore. I’ve never heard anyone praise a game for including weapon degradation because it’s a restriction that interrupts gameplay. I’m hoping crucial weapons or items are indestructible because nothing would kill a Zelda game’s pacing like leaving a dungeon midway through to repair an item. Although it would be pretty funny if the Master Sword broke mid-fight against Gannon.
Breath of the Wild is set to have the largest world in the series, which could be a double-edged sword. If there’s nothing to do besides survive, then it’ll be too empty to hold my interest. Exploration and surviving have never been my cup of tea. I enjoy sprawling worlds with interesting side quests and almost always make a beeline to my next destination. I’m the type of gamer who needs a reason to explore the unknown besides pure curiosity. And if this Legend of Zelda, doesn’t have enough, it’ll quickly lose my interest.
As we all know by now, this iteration of Link is a trap. While some gamers were disappointed with the lack of a female Link (and even more so with Nintendo’s reasoning), the underlying reason why people want a female Link is more important. The Zelda formula has gotten stale, which is why Majora’s Mask is so highly praised. Legend of Zelda games have consistently been innovative with their gameplay (sometimes for the worse *cough* Skyward Sword), while the plot largely remains stagnant. This needs to change. I can only rescue this princess so many times before I start to doubt that she holds the Triforce of Wisdom and just refuses to learn from history. Breath of the Wild could break the cycle, but I won’t hold my breath…of the wild.
This is all speculation, so nothing’s for certain yet. I hope I’m proven wrong and this article can be looked back on as baseless paranoia, but many of these reasons are why I’m just not as excited for this upcoming Legend of Zelda. I don’t think it’ll reach the levels of Ocarina of Time, Link to the Past or Windwaker. However, I can see the appeal, but open-world, survival games aren’t my thing.