How Nintendo changes the tried and true formula for a fresh new adventure
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” launches March 3 on the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo Switch. It features a hero, Link, who has been asleep for 100 years ever since a dark enemy known as Calamity Ganon took over the land of Hyrule. With the guidance and help of Princess Zelda, players journey through dungeons, quests and the open-air of Hyrule to find the Master Sword and save the day. Here is everything you need to know about the game, as well as what others have been saying leading up to its release.
First and foremost, it is developed and published by Nintendo, with Eiji Aonuma returning to produce the game. Aonuma is the producer and manager of “The Legend of Zelda” series at Nintendo, and has served as either a director or producer for the series since “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.” Hidemaro Fujibayashi is directing the title, and also served as the director and planner for most of the Game Boy Advance Zelda games and most notably, “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” However, throughout the build-up to “Breath of the Wild,” both Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto, the original creator of “The Legend of Zelda” series, have stated the game takes more inspiration from the classic Nintendo Entertainment release, “The Legend of Zelda.”
The actual journey to the game has been quite long. Since the announcement of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” fans have had to wait 1,520 days to actually play the game. The game was originally designed for the Wii U, but after the low sales numbers of the Wii U console Nintendo decided to push the title into 2017 to release alongside the Nintendo Switch.
GameSpot, a video game review and news website, said that the game “embodies the freedom and danger that made the first Zelda game so enthralling.” GameSpot also says that “Breath of the Wild” manages to also obtain the same sense of shock and awe that impacted every gamer as the launch of “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” an entry regarded as the best in the series as well as one of the greatest and highest critically reviewed game of all time. Game Central, another video game review website, said “At this stage we’d be shocked if it didn’t turn out to be the best Zelda since Ocarina of Time,” later suggesting it may even be better.
At the time of writing this, the press is only allowed to discuss the first five hours of the game. However, that has not stopped the many positive comments. Engadget, a technology focused news organization, said, “Five hours in, it feels like a contender for the strongest game Nintendo has launched a console with since Super Mario 64.” Super Mario 64 introduced the gaming world to home console 3D graphics as well as masterclass 3D platforming, and it’s also important to note that the Wii launched with both “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” and one of the most played launch titles of all time, “Wii Sports.”
Why the excitement? Well it seems as though “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is changing the formula that fans have come to know and expect. While the formulaic game design of “The Legend of Zelda” used to be a hallmark that was coveted by game designers, it is now almost too predictable, hand-holding and tedious. Fortunately, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is way more “dense, challenging, and full of wonder” than previous entries in the franchise, according to GameSpot’s Peter Brown. “It may be a very different Zelda, but it’s shaping up to be one of the best ever,” Wired’s Matt Kamen said.
Brown also acknowledges that many may be skeptical of a new “The Legend of Zelda” title falling victim to overall hype. After all, Zelda fans have been waiting over four years to finally play it. However, Brown states that their “enjoyment isn’t tied to holding a shiny new piece of plastic or simply swinging a sword as Link. Breath of the Wild is an exciting game for its incredible landscapes and how, with minimum instruction, you’re allowed to find your footing as you go.”
Jason Schreier, a news editor for Kotaku, said in a tweet, “My review will be up next week but for now I think it’s safe to say I’ve played 20 hours of Zelda: BOTW and it is outstanding. Like, ‘possibly the best Zelda game yet’ outstanding.” Schreier adds that he doesn’t believe to be anywhere close to the ending of the game, and that there are a few pros and cons to the game itself. Schreier says the con is that the “Sprint button is in an awful position and you can’t remap it,” and that the pros are “literally everything else.”
The anticipation is alive and well for a new “The Legend of Zelda” adventure, and while many are looking forward to playing it on their new Nintendo Switches, remember that it will be releasing for the Wii U and pack the same story, environments, and charm as the Nintendo Switch version. It is not a game to miss. GameXplain, a gaming related YouTube channel, said in their preview discussion, “This is a game we’re going to be talking about for decades to come…so you’re going to want to remember where you were, what you were doing in your life, when you played Breath of the Wild for the first time. It is that good.”