Reviewing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

BOTW-Share_iconMy horse died. It wasn’t even an epic, valiant death. I was fighting a simple moblin along a forest path while riding my horse, and the creature swung at me with a big sword and killed my horse. It was very unceremonious. However…

Right before that battle, I had just fought and defeated something called a Guardian, a tentacled robot that is one of the hardest enemies in the game. It was the first time I had tried fighting one, and I succeeded. I was riding my horse for that battle too, and there was a frightening moment when the robot shot a laser beam at me that set my horse on fire and almost killed me. My horse and I both survived and we won the fight, but were injured. I knew it was time to bring my horse back to the stable so he could heal up after this intense battle, but instead I was curious about a nearby forest path I saw, and I went in that direction instead. That was where I encountered the moblin who delivered the killing blow to my horse. It was my fault that my horse died, because my thirst for adventure overcame my desire to take proper care of him.

In Breath of the Wild, you can tame and keep any number of horses, but this particular horse was the very first one I ever tamed. I had named him “Boko” because I rescued him from a bokoblin. He was immediately very friendly to me, as if thankful that he was no longer being used for malicious purposes by a bokoblin anymore. Our “bond” rating had reached 100 before I even bought a saddle for him.

This story is why Breath of the Wild is a perfect 10/10 glorious masterpiece. I had an emotional connection to that horse. In this game, the world is so fully alive and so real, with characters who have daily lives and schedules and do things like run indoors when it starts raining, and with animals who flee if you run up close to them or shoot an arrow towards them, and it so powerfully adheres to its own laws of physics and chemistry, that you will create your own stories and adventures.

No one else will ever have the adventure that I opened this review with. It simply can’t be replicated. The game world is insanely massive and will be full of experiences that are wholly unique to each player. The combat and exploration are very fun. I generally hate the idea of “crafting” in games, but the cooking in Breath of the Wild is actually really easy and enjoyable.

The game is an absolutely flawless fantasy-survival simulator and I have a lot of trouble putting it down, even after around ~25 hours in. Get it.

*Bonus review: the Nintendo Switch is an amazing console. I use it exclusively as a handheld (though the main feature is that you can easily switch between playing on your TV or using it as a handheld), and it’s the best gaming experience EVER. The 3DS and, formerly, the Game Boy, were great but this is the first time that home consoles, with their meatier content and better graphics, have become playable on the go or around the house, and that’s amazing. Other reviews whine about lack of Netflix, or a wonky left Joy-Con, but that’s all made-up. They aren’t real problems, and this console has already created and allowed for some of the best gaming experiences I have ever had in my quarter-century life.