360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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JaySevenZero
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360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 1:58 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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bixer
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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by bixer » January 14th, 2019, 4:38 pm

I know this probably seems like treason given the internet's general consensus, but I don't understand what all the fuss is about with Breath of the Wild.

For the first hour or two I thought I was going to love it just as much as everyone else did. The game looks stunning and controls just as well as you'd expect it to. Being able to look anywhere into the distance and realise that you can get there is something I've never experienced in a video game before and was a truly incredible new experience. I was also initially a fan of the shrines, as the standard Zelda dungeon formula was becoming stale, so multiple shrines with only one or two puzzles within them as opposed to fewer dungeons with multiple puzzles within them felt like a good way of freshening up the franchise.

One of the first common annoyances however is the weapon degradation system. The 'reward' of finding a new weapon is instantly diminished when you realise that it's basically only going to last you for 10-20 hits before it vanishes into thin air. You soon get to the stage where running past enemies seems a better choice than engaging in combat so that you don't have to deal with this as much.

While the first shrine I entered seemed like an interesting new idea, by the time you reach the second and third, you realise all the textures within all 120 or so of them are just copied and pasted and working your way through them soon becomes a chore for that reason - paired with the fact one of the 'rewards' for doing so is just another papier-mâché weapon that you're too afraid to ever actually use. I soon found myself wishing we could just go back to the tired dungeon formula.

The fact that you can go anywhere you can see also starts to wear thin once you realise that there's not actually very much to do in between destinations. Enemies are a hindrance that are to be avoided for the reasons above and other than that it sometimes just feels big for the sake of big. Yes, the terrain and the scenery look stunning, but if the only added gameplay from that is that I have to hold forward on my left joystick for an extra couple of minutes every time I want to go somewhere, I don't really understand how that's a pro.

That level of expanse could be fine, but a big open world adventure like that lives and dies by whether or not traversal of the world is fundamentally fun. Again, here unfortunately it's not, due to the frustratingly low stamina gauge you start the game with. It's a solid 3 or 4 levels lower than it should be and getting it powered up enough until it's actually at a usable state takes far, far too long. You'll constantly fail to climb anything that takes more than 10 seconds to do so and don't even get me started on the pointless extra tedium added to that when it rains.

It's a good game, no doubt about it. It's ambitious and I respect Nintendo for not just playing it safe and giving us the usual linear adventure, as that's just starting to feel like variations on Ocarina of Time at this point. But for all the problems with the game mentioned above, I just don't understand how the game seems to have already reached this 'masterpiece' status among critics and gamers alike.

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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by stvnorman » January 14th, 2019, 10:23 pm

When I got a Switch and a copy of Breath of the Wild for my birthday in 2018, the first thing I did was play Ocarina of Time on my 3DS. I’d never played a Zelda game before and wanted to play a classic before being spoilt by the latest and greatest.

I started Breath of the Wild the same night I finished Ocarina a couple of months later, and for the next 90 hours revelled in a glorious looking, enormous version of a world I’d recently become very familiar with, and surprisingly attached to. I felt genuine sadness visiting places like the Temple of Time, and seeing its decayed state in such stunning detail. But more often than not, just wow, look how far we’ve come!

I found that the main story mixed very organically with side quests, shrines and other things to discover, at least until very late on when it was clear you could choose whether to bring it to a close or carry on doing what you fancy for as long as you wanted to. I made that decision after 80 hours, with the last two Divine Beasts ready and waiting to be tamed, and what could be deemed a slightly anti-climatic climax after that.

As a footnote, I’ve since played through the original Legend of Zelda on the NES Classic and again on the Switch. Breath of the Wild is a very good game, and might be the latest, but for me at least, the greatest lies much further back in its ancestry!

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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by DomsBeard » January 15th, 2019, 12:30 pm

Ocarina of time is one of my all time favourite games so I had high hopes when I bought this when I picked up a Switch but I have tried and failed on 4 occasions to play this game.

It boils down to it making itself too difficult to get into. The weapons degrading system is a farce and freezing to death if you go the wrong way in the games opinion early doors got tedious very quickly. I enjoyed all the shrines I took on but I have filed this under it's not you it's me as a Zelda game I will never get on with.

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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by KissMammal » January 15th, 2019, 5:11 pm

While I don't consider BotW to be the best Zelda of all time (I'm not even sure I'd consider it my favourite Zelda of the last decade) and I generally sympathise with all the usual complaints and frustrations leveled at it, I think it's easy to forget how stale the series was becoming prior to 2016, and I cannot overstate how relieved I am that Nintendo decided to take such a bold leap into the unknown and attempt to shake the formula up with this iteration.

I didn't complete the game - I lost interest shortly after unlocking the last section of the map (figuring that I'd seen most of what the game had to offer) but very much enjoyed the 50 or so hours I spent with it, and I'd love to see where Nintendo takes the series next - perhaps a quasi-sequel in the same mold as what Majora's Mask was to Ocarina of Time?

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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by Nupraptor » January 18th, 2019, 7:42 pm

Breath of the Wild is an utterly glorious game and one of my favourite games of all time.

The main wonder of the game comes from the combination of the core mechanics and the game world itself. You very quickly realise that you have two defining abilities from very early on. First, the ability to climb on virtually any surface in the game. This means that the possibility for exploring the environment is unlimited. There are very few games that offer that level of freedom. The second is the acquisition of the glider that further speeds up your ability to explore and incentivises vertical exploration.

Then you have the game world itself. It's so rich, beautiful and teaming with new things to see and do. There are Koroks hiding under rocks or behind mini environmental puzzles. These give you a quick burst of satisfaction for solving them. There are monster encampments to discover and strategize how best to approach and defeat. There are shrines to discover and puzzles to overcome which each challenge you in new ways and encourage you to explore the depths and flexibility of the game's mechanics and physics.
There are so many things scattered throughout the environment to make exploring an endless joy, whether it be puzzles, combat or simply another amazing view or new environment to see.

This game means even more to me because it was one of the first games that I could truly share with my daughters. They were 8 and 10 at the time. We each had a save file and we would swap stories about the different things we had seen and discovered. We would offer each other tips and encouragement. Despite all my gaming experience, the controls and mechanics were so intuitive and user friendly, that they could jump right in and they discovered many of the game's environments and secrets before I did.
I was delighted when they tracked down and learned how to tame horses before I had. I remember the time we first saw a dragon, elegantly and slowly cruising through the sky of the game world, not as a specific, scripted event, but just there, in the world. We shared the delight when one of us found each new Champion Memory and were treated to a new and beautifully animated cutscene as a reward. Our crowning achievement was when we finally found the final memory.

If my daughters had any complaints about the game then it would be that they would LOVE to have been able to play through the game as Zelda herself rather than just as Link. This is something that emphasised to me the importance of representation in video games and media in general. We all have the capacity a empathise with characters even from different backgrounds to ourselves, but there is a different dimension when a character shares specific features and commonalities with you. I'm a straight white male and so I never have a shortage of main characters in games or media who share many of my features. This is not the same even for the roughly 50% of the population who have two X chromosomes. Things have really improved in terms of female representation in video games, but even today, you see a more limited range of female protagonists in games than you do for male protagonists. My daughters thought Link was great, but they would have been able to identify even more with a female protagonist who had her own agency. We are told that Zelda has been using her power to hold back Ganon's evil for many years, but it's not often that we get to see her ability and agency directly. Even in the final confrontation, she bestows her power to Link for him to deliver the final blow against Ganon rather than doing it herself.
This point is our only real "criticism" though and even then it is more an aspiration for the future rather than an actual criticism of the game itself.

I believe that Breath of the Wild is gaming at it's finest. It is a joy to play. It is freedom. It is wonder.

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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by Nupraptor » January 18th, 2019, 7:55 pm

Apologies to Leon by the way. I understand if all that is too long to include in a podcast. I'm sure there will be a lot of people who have a lot of things to say about this game - including criticisms. There is some sort of satisfaction just in having written my thoughts down, even if it doesn't make the cut. Looking forward to reading more responses.

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Re: 360: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Post by ElsieTheAdventurer » January 19th, 2019, 8:52 pm

Breath of the Wild is applauded for moving the Zelda series away from linear game design and back to the open world exploration of earlier titles. I actually see the Hyrule in BotW as a hybrid of both, marrying open world and linear game design. I think a good example of this is the Sah Dahaj shrine. Once you find the foothill stable near Death Mountain, you notice a path leaving the stable, worn into the landscape, which isn't marked on your map. If you follow the path it takes you through some caves, and then to the shore of a lake. At first disappointed that the path leads nowhere, you notice it actually descends into the lake and, upon examining your map, you realise there is a path of shallow water you can follow across the lake, which leads to a hidden shrine.

Breath of the Wild is a masterclass in discovery and makes exploration fun and rewarding. It's use of landmarks, landscape design, settlements, curiosities and vistas create a world which can be navigated intuitively, rather than by map waypoint markers as has become so common in other open world games.

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