The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Initial Impressions

By Adam Riley 25.02.2017 1

It is finally here, within touching distance after a painfully long wait for long-term fans: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch is set to land on 3rd March, and wow, what an experience. Cubed3 has already gone hands-on with the new Zelda adventure, both in its Wii U form, as well as briefly at the Nintendo Switch Premiere. Now, though, the final game is in the team's hands and it has exceeded all expectations so far. Why? Well, those wanting to know more should clearly stop reading this and jump on in to find out…

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A lot of the initial praise for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stemmed from the expansive nature of the world around Link, with the promise of being able to reach every landmark seen in the distance from atop large heights. This is certainly no exaggeration, as even in the first few hours of play almost every nook and cranny had been ventured to and explored in the hope of uncovering the deepest, darkest secrets within, digging out as many treasure chests and early dungeon trials as possible.

Weeds, herbs, creepy-crawlies, frogs, fish, and all manner of other weird and wonderful items lying around after slashing through trees, grass, and so on, had been collected to find out their purpose, be it simply regaining small bits of health, or cooking them in various combinations to create delicious meals that add numerous different status upgrades to Link. Trees had been chopped down (or even blown up!) just for kicks because it is so enjoyable to roam around, killing time and destroying as much of the surroundings as possible, and boulders had been pushed and rolled about to squash enemies, simply because it saves the hassle of hand-to-hand combat at times. There is much to enjoy from traversing the land, rather than just merely focusing on the core objectives; and even the objectives themselves can be done in different orders, for those that prefer freedom.

Despite being a hero of time, Link has never been deemed a 'superhero' but in Breath of the Wild he becomes almost like Spider-Man, with the ability to climb any structure - even seemingly flat walls! Run at something you want to scale, and maybe get Link to do a little jump before making contact, for good measure, and up and off he goes, like a professional, scaling even the steepest of structures. As long as his stamina bar (also used when dashing or swimming) has some juice left in it, watch the courageous (or foolhardy?) chap get down to business, opening up areas that would have been simply impossible to access in other similar games. This latest Zelda outing has all the vastness of the Xenoblade titles (handy warp points alleviate lengthy treks - never fear!), but without the constant mini-missions to slow things down. The cooking side for creation potions/elixirs - rather than shopping for them - may not be everyone's cup of tea, but once new abilities are learned, gathering the required ingredients becomes far quicker and easier to do, and, thus, makes the trial-and-error process of cooking at campfires not as frustrating as at the very beginning.


 
An intriguing inclusion is the need to keep changing weapons, rather than sticking with one tried-and-true dangerous implement until an upgrade is found later on. Here, collecting foes' fallen items, or even making use of natural weapons (like branches from fallen trees, or clubs from certain enemies), is a necessity in order to replenish broken tools that either wear out over time or become broken by incorrect usage (a brittle blade against an ancient, extraordinarily thick tree trunk, or even a large rock, will not end well!). It keeps gamers on their toes, as there is nothing worse than being in the middle of a brawl when suddenly Link's blade breaks, or arrows run out. It is wise, then, to keep a plentiful supply of extras on your person, as well as other ammunition. Abilities gained further into the adventure assist with this, to avoid potentially frustrating moments, but there are times in the early stages where those three initial health hearts are far too useless, and death will befall Link, time and time again, until the lay of the land is figured out (with a helping hands from a useful tips screen), and the correct supplies are gathered. This Zelda is tougher than those that went before it; not unfair, by any means, but certainly more challenging than expected…and for the better, because the reward is oh so wonderful.

It is definitely "so far, so good" for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with the Nintendo Switch adventure growing in stature even after just a few hours of play. There are some elements that will be new to veterans of the series, and it may throw some off at first, but this is an "onion masterpiece" in that it has so many layers, and peeling back more and more seems to offer up endless treats underneath, gradually growing stronger and stronger as you reach the centre. Mixing in elements from other popular adventures, whilst keeping the core Zelda feel has certainly paid off. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be pre-ordered today, and will launch on 3rd March.
Box art for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Get excited, folks! The more I've been playing this, the more amazing it becomes!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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