The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
March 14, 2017
Filed under A&E
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“Open your eyes,” whispers a mysterious voice from within the darkness. The young man climbs carefully out of the stone bed, not knowing where he is or how he got there. He walks across the dimly lit room to a pedestal that presents an item to him. The voice calls it a Sheikah Slate and though it is perfectly foreign, it also seems somehow familiar to the young man. The door opens and he proceeds to the adjacent chamber, which has two large chests. One contains a pair of well worn pants, and the other an old tunic. Both are a bit too small but it’s better than wearing nothing at all. The young man jogs down the stairs and across the hallway beyond, coming to a stop at a rock wall. With a great leap, he springs onto the short wall and climbs to the top, continuing down the hallway beyond. As the final door opens and he steps outside for the first time, he beholds the beautiful landscapes of a place called Hyrule. Then the words flash across the screen in bold white letters, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” And so the adventure begins.
At last, the long anticipated Breath of the Wild hits the shelves at Wal-Marts and Gamestops across the nation, beginning the adventures of our young hero Link in his latest quest to save Hyrule in a title unlike anything else in the Zelda series. Featuring vast, open world landscapes, Link is able to traverse Hyrule like never before. With the addition of the ability to jump, climb, and sprint, even the peaks of the tallest mountains are within reach, provided you have the patience and stamina necessary to take on such a challenge. The addition of the stamina meter to the game puts some limits on Link’s capabilities, preventing him from endlessly sprinting across a vast desert or steadily climbing Mount Hylia without stopping, but that won’t stop a determined player from getting from point A to point B. This vast and open Hyrule is well complemented by incredible graphics that truly make the game feel more like a work of art than a battle for survival.
And speaking of survival, this is the first game in the Zelda series to not feature hearts that can be collected to restore health. So how does Link heal himself in this vast and dangerous world? Breath of the Wild answers this question with the first cooking system in any Legend of Zelda game. Link must gather up various ingredients while he’s in the wild and can eat them for a quick fix or bring them to a campfire cook them for better healing properties. Or, Link can bring a number of ingredients to a cooking pot and make a wide variety of dishes each with their own set of unique effects in addition to healing. These effects can be anything from cold weather resistance, to increased stamina regeneration, faster movement speed, improved stealth, and many more. The possibilities are endless!
But good food won’t get you very far without a means of defending yourself. In addition to cooking supplies, also scattered across Hyrule are a variety of weapons including short swords, spiked clubs, two-handed swords, woodcutting axes, warhammers, torches, spears, and an assortment of shields to complement single-hand weapons, all of which are usable the moment you pick it up. The sheer variety of weapons gives Link numerous options in combat and at the height of it all is a counter system any-like anything seen any other Zelda title. If Link executes a well timed dodge, be it a side hop or a backflip, time will slow down for a few precious moments, giving Link time for a devastating counter-attack! And even if your timing isn’t spot on, if you execute a backflip, pressing the attack button will cause Link to leap back into the fray in his signature jump attack. And, just like in Twilight Princess HD, Link can perform a shield bash and, with good timing, stagger attackers and even deflect projectiles! Even early on, Link can become a deadly opponent in combat, even at a distance. Unlike other Zelda title, Link can acquire a bow and arrows early on and put them to good use snipping unsuspecting Bulblins or triggering massive explosions to take out whole groups of enemies. Also, Link can acquire three kinds of special arrows in just the starting plateau, fire, ice, and bomb arrows, for additional functionality. And, to top it all off, for the first time in any Legend of Zelda game, Link can throw his melee weapon to deal double damage at short distances. Just be careful it doesn’t break! Then again, if your weapon breaks in combat, it’ll deal double damage and hit nearby enemies too. Just make sure you have a spare handy!
Then there’s the mysterious tablet Link gets at the very beginning of the game, the Sheikah Slate. This strange and powerful item can be used to bring up maps, set pins on the map as points-of-interest, peered through to view distant objects and locations, unlock chests and doors, and open up various shrines scattered throughout Hyrule, each with its own set of challenges, and other functions that have yet to be discovered. But that’s not all. The Sheikah Slate can be used to manipulate the world about you through the various runes it can be imbued with, including stasis, magnesis, remote bomb, cryonis, and Amiibo. With this item in hand, Link can freeze an object in time, manipulate metallic objects in the open air, freeze water into blocks of ice, create and remotely detonate bombs, and even make use of Amiibos to get a fairly random selection of materials but also a chance for some rare items including weapons and armor featured in previous Legend of Zelda games.
Dark forces threaten the beautiful land of Hyrule once again and it falls to Link to venture through the untamed wilderness, battle monsters of incredible power, and defeat the darkness enshrouding Hyrule Castle. Adventure awaits in The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild!