A review of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: the most recent mainline Zelda game (released in 2017). If you have a Nintendo Switch then, you know of it. With the sequel only a few months away, a renewed focus is on BOTW. With people replaying it, a new interest in the game has emerged, with people asking: “should I play BOTW before the new game?” or “is it as good as I remember it?” It is time to answer those questions.

The story

You play as Link, a hero who’s been asleep for 100 years and with no memory of what happened and who he is. You must defeat Calamity Ganon – who you almost died to 100 years ago – and save Princess Zelda. Before you can, you must free the Divine Beasts and their Champions. The Divine Beasts are giant, robotic animals designed to combat the Calamity. They became corrupted by Ganon and their pilots – the Champions – were sought out and killed. You also regain memories in the process and understand what happened 100 years ago. The majority of the game’s story takes place before the events of the game. It can make it feel disconnected, like what you are doing in the present does not matter to what happened in the past. But that’s not true, you’re helping right the wrongs of the past. With this in mind, confusing the player helps put you in Link’s shoes. Link has no memory of past events and neither does the player. So, it helps make the world and the story feel more open and mysterious.

The characters

You play as Link, the silent protagonist, to save Princess Zelda. Along the way you meet the Champion’s spirits and their Descendants. The character that is fleshed out the most is Zelda. Even though you only see her at the very end, the memories you recover are of all the people, places, and events that she was a part of. Since Link does not talk, you are, in essence, seeing Zelda’s memories. You follow Zelda’s story through her memories. The Champions are not fleshed out in the main game, they’re remnants of a time Link does not remember. But, in the DLC they become utilized characters, you understand their background and motivations.

The gameplay

The game’s tutorial part (the Great Plateau) is the only mandatory part of the game. Everything you need to know how to do for the rest of the game is learned there. That said, it gets easier as you get better at using the mechanics of the game. It’s very rewarding, you die less and you make more progress. The better you are, the better Link is. It becomes fun to fight and defeat enemies that you were once scared of. The game rewards you for your efforts by giving you better equipment and resources.

In 2023

After the game has been out for six years, a question must be asked: is BOTW still a great game? The answer is yes. Yes, this game has stood the test of time. Its graphics are still great, the gameplay is fun and the characters are delightful. With a renewed interest in it, due to the upcoming sequel, it has a large, excited fanbase of people returning to the game. It’s a fantastic game full of secrets and unique experiences. No two people have the same experience playing it.