Impressions of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 🎮🐴🍄🏹
I'll start this post by saying I thought I had taken way more cool screenshots during my play through that would be fun to share here. I was wrong.
The combination of a persistent head cold, DST, a “snow” day, an unexpected 12-hour work day, and finally actually getting to put some hours into Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has made me a very unproductive and groggy person (Seriously, how is DST still a thing?!). All of my good 2017 habits got flushed and content creation kept getting bumped. So now it’s time to re-motivate and get things moving!
I wanted to get back into the swing of things here at NTFO with my thoughts on LoZ: BOTW. I have sunk over 60 hours (I don’t know exact play time because, as mentioned in my thoughts on the Switch, there’s no native app to track play time). I have barely scratched the surface of this game.
I guess insert minor ~*~SpOiLeR~*~ alert here. I don’t think I’ll be revealing anything that those really interested in the game haven’t seen in their Newsfeed or heard from friends.
To give you some context of my play through at this moment:
- 11 heart containers
- 1.8 stamina rings
- 41/120 shrines (34.17%)
- 51/900 Korok seeds (5.67%) <- I heard the reward for all 900 is Korok poop so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- 2/4 Divine Beasts (50%)
- 2/12 captured memories (16.67%)
- 9/15 Towers aka Region maps unlocked (60%)
I go between aggressively screwing around to aggressively progressing the plot. I also spent a large portion riding my horse (Gerard 😍) which took away from on foot exploration that would have lead to more Koroks and Shines. There are signs/hints that are substantially more obvious to me at this point in the game that didn't stick out to me when I started that would have helped my Korok and Shrine search. I would go back to the first area of the game, but the map is so huge it’ll be quite an undertaking.
The plot is there, but it takes a little work to paint the full picture. You’re, optionally, tasked to find obscure locations in the game based on a picture album built on the Sheikah Slate, Link’s iPhone. There's an NPC, Pikango, that will give you some help to find these areas when you run into him, but I find I’m not always motivated to stop what I’m doing to seek them out even after his specific guidance. I imagine once I open up the full map I’ll be more inclined. The areas the pictures correspond with will trigger a cut scene “memory”. These “memories” build up the story from 100 years ago when Calamity Gannon took Hyrule. I’ve only managed to find two memories so far. There are ones that unlock automatically with the Divine Beasts’ main plot. I enjoy a good plot, but am thankful I don’t have to sit through constant mandatory cut scenes that take their sweet time (Pokémon Sun and Moon felt like I was just smashing A trying to get through them). These memories are voice acted and progress without prompting which makes them enjoyable when you finally locate them. The game advances fine without a spoon-fed plot, but I’m looking forward to tracking all the memories down. 100% or bust.
Memories are not the only thing that will try to steal your attention. There are also Great Fairies (I’ve only found one), mini-bosses, not-so-mini-bosses (the Lynels are terrifying), side quests from NPCs that will sometimes be worth your time and will sometimes only result in 50 rupees, and, of course, the Koroks and Shrines. There is no shortage of shit to do in this game.
Mechanics and Game Play
Game play feels good and takes advantage of all the controller's buttons. The weapon/shield/bow shortcuts are great when I remember to use them, and Z-targeting is alive and well. Use of the controller’s gyroscope helps pinpoint where to shoot an arrow, but can be tricky when using the Runes (magical tools on the Sheikah Slate… apps on Link’s iPhone lolz… that can move metal objects, create ice pillars, etc.).
The gyroscope, however, is hot garbage water in some Shrines. Certain challenges require you to move, rotate, and tilt the controller to move, rotate, and tilt something on the screen (move a ball through a maze, light torches on each side of a cube with the lantern hanging above it, etc.) and it is TERRIBLE. It sounds like it should be pretty easy and straightforward, but every movement I make translates dreadfully to the action on screen. It’s time-consuming and sometimes just short of impossible to do. It’s especially problematic if you’re in handheld mode and you have to turn the entire console away from you. Hard to finish a puzzle you CAN’T SEE.
Speaking of terrible! Swimming is terrible. It uses up stamina and when you go to “dash” it shoots you in an awkward straight line. Why can’t I turn and swim fast!? This may just be an issue I have, but I hate swimming. I’ve drowned a lot… Another problem, that is probably also unique to me, is my tendency to press in the left analog stick during battles which makes Link crouch at inopportune times and consequently results in a very annoying death.
Back to positives: hunting and horse taming are really fun. Paragliding is my shortcut to everywhere. I become so engrossed in the game I actually feel my stomach sink if Link almost falls off a cliff. The game autosaves often so I never have to worry much about losing a lot of progress because I got caught off guard by some douchey Moblin that kicks me in the face. Cooking meals and elixirs can be a bit tedious and time-consuming, but also entirely addicting. I’m so emotionally attached to my horse that I refuse to do combat while riding. In fact, I accidentally got Gerard killed by a Guardian (chilling spider-like laser-beam-eyed mechanical enemies that can 1 hit KO) last night and without hesitation, I loaded up the last autosave point. I refused to allow Gerard to suffer at the hands of the Guardians… and of my stupidity.
Quickly back to the less than positive: it rains a lot. This is no big deal until you’re climbing a cliff/mountain face and all your progress was for naught. I’ve learned to keep my eye on the bottom right of the screen where the weather is laid out very plainly, but still find myself sliding down something I just spend minutes carefully scaling. Also, Guardians respawn. “Ancient arrows” used to take them out in one good shot are not easy to come by (you need specific “Ancient (Guardian) parts”, arrows, and rupees). So, when I revisited an area where I had sniped one of those bastards only to see that it had come back from the dead, I wasn’t too pumped.
I still need to try using amiibos in game. I have the Super Smash Brothers Link and Wolf Link. Sounds like you can get some pretty dope stuff in game by scanning a figure.
The game is an endless, boundless scavenger hunt. I even feel myself rushing this post because I want to go play some more!
What are your thoughts on BOTW? Planning on picking it up? Have you been sucked in like I have?
Future post aspirations:
- I want to delve more into brewing science posts. I just attended an American Society of Brewing Chemists workshop at U Sciences in Philly. I was also just rewarded a scholarship from Pink Boots Society that will allow me to enroll in Oregon State University’s Beer Quality and Analysis course! I can’t wait to learn more!
- I’ve been living a far less lazy and a far more productive life using Bullet Journaling. Love to dedicate a post blabbing about that.
- I caved and pre-ordered Yooka-Laylee for PS4 that’ll be out April 11th. I still fully intend to get it for the Switch when that time comes. Hopefully, I’ll be ready to move on from BOTW. I’ll definitely give my full report and Banjo-Kazooie comparison when that’s out!