I like it when Nintendo reimagines an old franchise and they succeed.
Breath of the Wild departs from the tried and true formula of Zelda games set forth by Ocarina of Time. While Ocarina of Time and its successors are a series of steps, Breath of the Wild is an open world game. You draw your own paths from point to point and can stop everywhere in-between.
There are a fair number of Zelda references. Even though this game plays completely differently from its predecessors, you do feel as though it is definitely a Zelda game. I could not say the same of Skyward Sword when I played it, as so many classic Zelda characters were absent from that game. Here, you run into familiar faces such as the one below:
Among others…but no spoilers.
It wouldn’t be a blog post of mine if I didn’t comment on the soundtrack. Everything about Breath of the Wild feels like something completely new. Where the old games where characterized by distinctive rolling tunes and marches for each location, Breath of the Wild seems to take advantage of silence as a key component of its music. The ambience is minimal but fitting. Shrines are some of the only places with a distinct bgm. I really love being able to hear the wind blow. The landscapes are absolutely gorgeous. The grass sways in the wind. Rain falls and creates puddles on the ground. The sun comes out and causes all the raindrops to glitter.
I felt like I would have had more to talk about being 4 hours into the game, but maybe it’s a great thing that I don’t. I feel like this game is less about accomplishing goals and more about experiencing the journey. NPCs carry on their daily lives as you continue your journey to save the world. They work farms during the day and go to bed at night. You actually feel like you’re invading their personal space because there is no load screen when opening doors(!) and you can see them enter their homes for the night. I think twice before picking up any apple that is placed on a table or farming tool that is set aside while the NPC takes a break. Sometimes they react. I also love sitting down next to another NPC and using the fire to cook as they chat at you about the weather like real people would. It’s a completely different feeling from the inane, distinct NPCs found in the older games that had defined quotes and nothing more.
Anyway, I think the overwhelmingly positive reviews of this game on the internet speak to how great it is. Time to go back to playing :).