Best of the Decade: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The excitement and intrigue that surrounded The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the years up to its release was immense. But when it eventually came out, we were not prepared for just how groundbreaking it would be for the franchise.
Breath of the Wild took everything that makes the franchise so beloved and moulded it create a unique Legend of Zelda experience. From the open-world setting to the distinct lack of the signature dungeon levels, this game was truly a step forward.
I remember booting up this game for the first time and it was such a magical experience, as you step out of the Shrine of Resurrection, the music swells as Link runs out onto the plateau to see this massive landscape stretching as far as the eye can see; showing you what is to come, but also giving you a full grasp about how expansive this game is. With Hyrule Castle at the centre looking ominous and dangerous, leading you to question what on earth happened to transform Hyrule this much.
What I love is that you can go to Hyrule Castle straight away and take on Calamity Ganon from the very beginning when you have no clothes and three hearts, it encourages you to explore. On top of the exploration element, the mechanics encourage you to play. I have seen so many people doing so many things that just look overly convoluted and silly, but the mechanics actually allow them to work and it is absolutely fantastic, it doesn’t hold your hand it tells you to make the most of this rich world and the fun that can be had with it, making it one of the best sandbox games I have played.
But the world itself is also stunning. The style is a combination of the cel-shaded style of Windwaker and the more ‘realistic’ style of Twilight Princess, resulting in beautiful landscapes and such incredible and varied character designs, from the Koroks to the Bokoblins everything in this game is utterly charming.
On top of this, the storytelling is top-notch. The world is filled with ruins of a Hyrule past, some of these ruins are familiar locations from past Zelda games that if I am being honesty couldn’t tell, but the very fact that these easter eggs are so ingrained int eh game shows how much love went into it.
The mystery that surrounds the entire things is immense. I distinctly remember playing it a, climbing a mountain and all of a sudden this giant thing appeared in the sky, it was huge, I had no idea what it was and then it vanished. It is only until you explore the world more that you see more of these dragons appearing making the world seem so rich and magical, I can’t convey how amazing it was seeing them for the frit time, the sense of awe I felt was immense.
It is moments like this that make this game so special in my eyes. The love, time and effort that went into the making of this game is apparent. It was made for the fans, it was made for newcomers to the franchise as well. It is just a perfectly crafted game that I can spend hours in, not just fighting enemies, but wandering around the peaceful and beautiful landscape.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was such a leap in the right direction for the series, and it shows how such a dramatic change can be welcomed and create something so special in an already beloved franchise and is why it remains one of the best games I have ever had the privilege to experience.