Breath of the Wild: A Departure from Progression

At first, I thought Breath of the Wild seemed like a game that would stick to the formula for most of the previous Zelda games. Link, the protagonist controlled by the player, is tasked with a quest to travel to the castle and save Princess Zelda from Calamity Ganon, the force of pure evil that has devastated the land called Hyrule. As he travels the Great Plateau, he is given a series of instructions detailing the order of locations to visit and shrines (puzzles) to clear. Just like in other Zelda games, I expected to reach the final boss fight in a linear progression, defeating enemies and solving puzzles that became more challenging as I spent more time in the game.

I could not have been more wrong.

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After the player has made his or her way through the shrines of the Great Plateau and obtained his glider, Link can jump from the Great Plateau and glide anywhere he wishes. Anywhere the player can see, Link can run, swim, or ride a horse to get there. Every tree and mountain is climbable. Every ravine can be crossed, every cliff can be jumped from, and any monster can be defeated with any weapon.

I was fascinated by the freedom this game offered; I had never experienced anything like it in the games I had played before. I was expecting to be restricted from certain areas until I had cleared a certain boss fight or obtained a secret item. I quickly set off exploring as many areas as I could.

However, I found that the great amount of freedom in Breath of the Wild also included the freedom for me to die over and over again to powerful enemies. When I first began playing, I would often wander into the domain of a raging Lynel or a sleeping Hinox, only to find myself extremely outmatched and dead within seconds. I also learned that I was nowhere near ready to fight the fast, deadly automatons called Guardians that can kill Link in one hit from their powerful lasers (the Guardian fight music still haunts me to this day). I eventually discovered that my pot lid shield and my rusty broadsword were not going to help me defeat strong enemies like these.

But, with time and new discoveries, I was able to power up Link and strengthen his inventory, giving me more health, better weapons, and a greater chance of success. In addition to that, the game’s freedom and unique physics engine allowed me to continually invent creative ways to defeat an enemy of reach the end of a shrine puzzle. For example, I could drop food in front of enemies or cause explosions with bomb arrows to distract enemies, and then sneak up behind them while they don’t suspect it. I could also pick up metal objects with my Magnesis rune and bash monsters over the head with them (this was particularly fun). Perhaps the most efficient way to attack enemies I found was to slowly creep up on them while they were sleeping and deliver what’s called a “sneakstrike,” taking out a significant portion of their health.

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Not only does Breath of the Wild emphasize freedom in exploration, but it also allows unique approaches to the main objective of the game. The early portion of the game directs you to Kakariko Village (although you don’t have to go there), where a character named Impa tells you that you should free the Divine Beasts from the control of Calamity Ganon. The Divine Beasts are four ancient, powerful machines that, when freed, take aim with their own powerful lasers at Hyrule Castle and assist you in your final confrontation with Calamity Ganon. To free each Divine Beast, you must solve the puzzle within each one and fight a manifestation of Ganon at its end – either Waterblight Ganon, Windblight Ganon, Fireblight Ganon, or Thunderblight Ganon, depending on which Divine Beast you enter.

However, the player can actually choose to forgo the Divine Beasts entirely and waltz right into Hyrule Castle. In this case, Link would have to fight all four blights and Calamity Ganon in an even more brutal boss fight within the sanctum of Hyrule Castle. This is certainly not the easiest way to complete the game, but it is possible. Top speedruns of the game clock in at under 30 minutes and feature players entering Hyrule Castle with the most basic shield and a tree branch as a mêlée weapon. On the other hand, some players invest hundreds of hours into the game to achieve a 100% completion rate, finding every Korok, clearing every shrine, and completing every side quest available in the game.

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Although the story of Breath of the Wild is captivating on its own, the freedom is what I found the most enchanting. The freedom to explore, to discover, to create, and most importantly – the freedom to fail. The ability of the player to find their own way through fights, puzzles, and challenges is something that makes Breath of the Wild stand out from other Zelda games, and it is what makes the game one of my favorites of all time. I believe that the incredible attention to detail and the subversion of typical linear progressions within Breath of the Wild will encourage players to return to it for generations to come.   

The world of Hyrule

Let me start this off by asking: What is the greatest video game ever made?  Broad question, open to many opinions I realize.  By now you’re probably wondering what I think the answer to this question is, (no I’m not going to pick Assassin’s Creed).  The greatest game ever made is: “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”, created for the greatest gaming console man has ever known: the N64.  Now that you know my answer, I will begin to explain why I would want to live in Hyrule (where the game takes place).

This game totally engulfed my life when I was around 7 years old.  I was fascinated by the overpowering good vs. evil themes that the game employed, as well as the simple (and mostly happy) life that the ordinary people lived in their villages.  There are many creatures that live throughout Hyrule including the Gorons an the Zoras.  They are both awesome.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind being either one of these creatures.  The Gorons have massive amounts of strength and seem virtually indestructible, while the Zoras can breath under water.














Sure there’s an evil king (Ganondorf) who rules over the land, but if I lived there I wouldn’t be worried at all.  I could devote my time to aiding Link in his quest to banish the evil that resides over Hyrule, or sit back and watch him do it anyways.  Good always wins over evil, (at least that’s what I thought when I was 7).


Listen! (C-Up)

As I sit here contemplating what exactly I find to be my favorite game, few things jump out at me. Of course I could always say something that I found relatively enjoyable that has recently been released like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I could also say something that constitutes ass-kissing like Lord of the Rings Online (wouldn’t that just be appropriate from me?). But in all honesty it is extremely difficult to choose that one perfect game that balanced joy, fear, excitement, and sadness and organized them so perfectly that Beethoven could hardly match its perfection with his symphonic genius. Then I think I found it.

I was home a few weeks ago, enjoying my family time as usual. We decided to make a day of driving around town and doing a little shopping. Now, of course, no shopping trip is complete without the quick trip to Wal-mart to pick all your family necessities. So, I did what I normally do when we make a trip there, I browsed the electronics section for things to criticize and/or admire. I was walking through the Nintendo section when I stumbled upon the new giant signs exclaiming that the 3DS’s were now only $169.99. I had never used one and I was curious as to what they looked like with the “revolutionary” 3D graphics (Which has definitely not been in use since the 90’s…). So I moseyed on over to the display model, powered it on, clicked on demo, and waited. When the game loaded up I heard a heart-wrenching tune: the intro music for Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

I was torn into pieces. How could I have forgotten such a magnificently poised series as Zelda? When I was young, I owned a Gameboy: Color and I started my Zelda experience on Link to the Past. I always loved the epic story of an unlikely boy/young man who rose from the lowest rank, starting with nothing but a sword and shield to conquer the evils of the lands. Not only did this game evolve with some of the greatest gameplay qualities of the time, but it also held the values of courage, wisdom, and friendship to such high standards. No matter how old I was, I always adored the story line of one of these games: dressing up like Link on Halloween, running around the yard with a plastic sword yelling “Hiyah!”, and practicing the ever important speed boosting technique of shoulder rolls around the house. As I stood and played the first mission inside the Great Deku Tree, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia swept over me and I once again felt as if I was 8, enjoying another round of everyone’s favorite sequence: the Water Temple. If ever there was a game that impacted me, it was Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

[As this will be my last post until after September 11, I would like to take the time to say that my prayers go out to those who lost family or friends on that fateful day 10 years ago. (moment of silence)]

~~D3LTA04, Faithfully devoted to the defeat of Ganondorf [Post 2]