Zelda Breath of the Wild is breath of fresh air on the Switch. The dreamlike art style, the game play and even Link breathe new life into the Zelda franchise. From the extensive E3 coverage, trailers, and the DC Nintendo Switch event, I knew this was game I wanted to play.
Look and Feel
The first images of Breath of the Wild gave an instant dreamlike feel fitting for a fantasy game. The game does not disappoint with this style. The cut scenes and game play seamlessly blend together. The transition of time is so subtle but fast and sometimes only noticeable by the changing of the sky. The extra details of what’s in sky, something best seen from a mountaintop or tower transition nicely. There is nothing that seems out of place including Link who not in his iconic green tunic.
It wouldn’t be Zelda game without our favorite hero, Link. Link has a full range of expressions that bring him to life. When Link is cold he shivers. If you cook something horrible, he has a disgusted face. If you cook something that is delicious, he gets excited. When climbing or running and you’re meter is running low, he looks exhausted. Having found lots of new ways to die, also means discovering new expressions. Freezing, falling and drowning are all quite expressive deaths.
While dying is only part of the fun, there is no shortage of other things do. There are over 100 shrines to explore, monsters to kill, hunting, fishing and cooking. The shrines are the perfect size mini puzzle rooms. The also give you transportation points which aid in getting from one side of a map to the other quickly. There are daytime monsters, nighttime monsters and boss like monsters to find. Hunting and fishing provide the meat you need for cooking. Cooking will help provide various forms of protections and heal more hearts.
Styles of play
The Switch device, there are multiple ways to play. I have found the two best methods of play that work best for me. The first is in handheld mode. This makes it easier if you are going to be using the bow or the finder on the Sheikah Tablet because it allows you to simply move the Switch to locate and aim. The other method I find is using a playstand and using the Switch in tabletop mode. The playstand acts like a tablet stand that has 3 adjustable angles and allows the device to be plugged in while playing. I do not use the joycon controllers in the joycon grip with this method. I am able to comfortably hold one joycon in each hand. They are light and it allows for my shoulders to remain in a relaxed position. The pro controller is for those who are more used to a traditional modern console controller. I did not find this as comfortable as using the pro controller. Of course there is a TV mode that places the Switch into the dock. There is no shortage of ways to experiment for what will work best for each player.
Between the ease of the Switch, the depth of the way to interact with the game, Link’s very expressive nature and fantasy dreamlike art, Zelda Breath of the Wild is exactly the breath of life that Nintendo needed.