The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Raid » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:38 pm

I figured this game is big enough to warrant its own thread, rather than posts dotted around the Switch hardware one.

So yeah, this is currently in 4th place on the all-time list on Metacritic, with three times the number of reviews as OoT which stands only one percentage point higher. While I've noticed Zelda games attract higher review scores than most, this really is a big departure from the tried and tested formula that began with A Link to the Past on the SNES, and a return to the open-world concept that started the series 31 years ago. You are given most of your main abilities after the tutorial section, and then you go in whichever direction takes your fancy on your own adventure. You are given a map marker on the completion of that tutorial bit, but whether you follow it is up to you.

I was concerned when I first heard that the open world would not be gated off by item abilities; there was always some amount of satisfaction when you finally obtained the hookshot or the blue tunic, allowing you into areas that were previously impossible to traverse. Hyrule is now a playground, and it lets you approach its challenges in a way of your choosing. Individual enemy camps can be little puzzles, with helpful elements dotted around that you can use or ignore.
-You can charge in with sword and shield and just hit things until they die
-you can pick off enemies with your bow
-you can sneak in and steal your napping enemies' weapons leaving them much weaker opponents
-you can roll bombs down hills and then detonate them when in range
-if you have a vantage point, you can glide over their heads and drop bombs directly onto them
-you can pick up metallic objects and drop them on top of their heads
-you can set fire to the grass surrounding their camp causing burn damage
-you can blow up their explosive barrels with fire arrows
-you can sneak in while they're unaware and stab them in their backs
There's just more variety in how you choose to tackle these fights than any other open world game I've played. Link is so much more mobile than the Dragonborn ever was, and Hyrule has more useful verticality than Skyrim. The combat system has more depth than most games of this type, with the traditional Z-targeting giving access to more moves than previous games in the series.

This is a game of systems, and combining these various systems is where the fun happens. It's completely intuitive, and things interact in the way that you'd think they would.

Then there's the dungeons, or rather, the lack of dungeons. This was another bit that worried me at first, as sprawling dungeons have been replaced by 100 or so much smaller shrines that contain two or three similarly themed puzzles. They have a real Portal test chamber feel to them, and in the 12 I've completed so far, require a lot more thought than dungeons ever did, largely because they're now completely optional letting players just abandon them if they're too hard rather than being stuck and unable to continue. Each shrine has a main end-point that rewards you with a spirit orb (exchange four of these for a heart container or stamina expansion), but the real challenge comes from getting to the chest. The chests can contain anything from clothing to powerful weapons, are entirely optional, and usually re-use elements from the shrine in slightly different ways.

And as with every Zelda game I've played, it's all so utterly charming. The character designs are varied and good looking, the animations fairly natural, and there are hundreds of little touches that raise a smile. Link has a habit of kicking chests to open them when he's stood to the side of them, and if you do this when he isn't wearing anything on his feet, he stubs his toe and hops around for a second. I met two children looking at horses; one says "Nay", and other corrects him with "It's neigh".

So, it's a bit good is what I'm saying.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Subway Diet » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:53 am

You've said it all, really.
A few hours in and I'm having a damn good time with this so far. And I say that as someone who hasn't enjoyed a Zelda game since Ocarina of Time.

Amazing what shedding all the endless tutorials and opening up the gameplay can do. :-k
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby eVoL » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:47 am

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digit ... u-face-off

Tldr
Other than 900p vs 720p there is next to no difference in the WiiU version. Sweet! I was getting mild regret from selling my switch but this has appeased it for now.
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Raid » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:22 pm

I'm about 15 hours in now, and it still feels like I've barely scratched the surface. I think I've been in three of the regions now, though I only have the map for two of them, and between them it could still be mistaken for a full game world, but it's maybe a third?

I unhorsed a bokoblin knight earlier, and found that his horse was slightly better than the two I already owned, so decided to keep it. I wanted to make my way back to a stables, but I was quite close to the Sheikah tower for that region and didn't want to turn back. Sadly the tower was on top of a mountain and I think that region has permanent rain so I couldn't climb up to it. I had to ride through a lizard village, then discovered my first glimpse of the Zora civilisation.

I got the horse back to the stable but it took me about an hour. I named him Odyssey because it bloody felt like one.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Quietman » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:00 pm

One thing I haven't heard much about is the story - Can you tell us a bit about it (no spoilers!)?
IMO :P :wink: :P :wink: :P :wink:
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Raid » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:12 pm

I'm not very far into the story as far as I can tell, but reviews did say it was the game's weak point.

The setting is that some terrible calamity destroyed the kingdom of Hyrule 100 years prior to Link waking up without his memories. One of the game's more unique aspects is that you're given a set of photos taken by Zelda, and need to find the locations in which they were taken to trigger a memory, and I think the story is built up from these fragments.

Otherwise it's a fairly simple heroic adventure where you complete various activities to help people, who will in turn offer their help in your fight against Ganon. I know vaguely what these activities involve, but you could consider it a spoiler. I've not embarked on these yet so I don't really know what they entail, but I know that there are multiple races in Hyrule and they each play a part.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Raid » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:25 pm

As with most of the more exciting moments I've had in this, last night I accidentally stumbled upon probably my favourite "quest" so far. I noticed a large island off the south-east coast, so I took a boat out to see what was there. As soon as I set foot on dry land, I got a shrine-style message telling me that my challenge was to complete a challenge without any of my usual equipment or supplies, I had to use only what I could scavenge on the island. They didn't take my Sheikah slate, so I still had my bombs and magnesis and such. There was no saving during any of this, so it all had to be done in one go.

I had to recover three of the ancient power core things and place them . One was at the top of a fairly standard Bokoblin tower, which was pretty easy. From that I scavenged a bow and some arrows. The second was in a much better defended set of ruins crawling with Bokoblins and one of the big Moblins that can kill you in one hit. The Bokoblins had to be killed to get close to the core, which required some creative use of bombs and explosive barrels. I managed to avoid the Moblin on my final attempt.

The last challenge was to kill one of the Hinox world bosses. Using an extremely limited supply of arrows. And melee weapons that barely do 5 damage per hit. In a thunderstorm. Jesus. By this point I'd managed to scavenge some fruit and other ingredients that buffed my offense and defense, but a single hit would take me down to a quarter of a heart. It was about the most nerve-wracking fight I've had so far. Brilliant fun too.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Quietman » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:57 pm

That sounds AWESOME.
IMO :P :wink: :P :wink: :P :wink:
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DjchunKfunK » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:58 am

Completed the Plateau lastnight, well I say completed I still have a few bits to tidy up at some point, but I've finished all the Shrines and got my glider. I've really enjoyed the first area of the game and as has been mentioned the sense of wonder and discovery is just so good.

The game is also full of so many great little touches: from the way they create a feeling of scale, especially when looking down from the Plateau; the way enemies interact with each other, Bokoblins being harassed by Boars; to how Link starts to sweat and pant the longer he has been climbing.

I'm having a lot of fun so far and there are no noticeable issues with the Wii U version.
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Mantis » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:46 am

How's the frame rate? I'm considering not bothering at all because I've heard that it can tank quite a lot on Wii U at times.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Raid » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:52 am

I must be between 25 and 30 hours in at this point. I have to say that my initial estimate of having been to a third of the map by the 15 hour mark was laughable - this must be the largest open-world I've played in, and if not, it feels like it because of the amount of stuff to do. I've completed 32 of the 100 or so shrines, and they still manage to entertain - I visited one yesterday where on activation of a console, it tracked your controller orientation and allowed you to play a brief crazy-golf course. You moved the giant club by tilting your controller, and had to get a power core into a socket.

It turns out that your horses can actually be killed. I wasn't expecting that from a Nintendo game. Poor Odyssey met his end when I rode across a bridge only to encounter four fire-arrow using moblin archers. It was a narrow bridge and I couldn't turn around quickly enough. I'd only just found the NPCs that allow you to customise your horse, and I'd given him a bitchin' mohawk. Anyway, I pulled out the magic flame sword I'd been saving and fucking murdered them.

This feels like a proper adventure, something I haven't really experienced in games since my early days of Ultima Online back in 2001. There's the odd map marker given to you right at the start to get you to a couple of villages, but after that you're given access to Zelda's iCloud account and told to just go and find the locations she's photographed. You need to find these locations by looking for matching natural landmarks in the photos and world - if this had been made by Ubisoft you'd get a giant arrow saying "GO HERE AND EXPERIENCE MEMORY RECALL", but Nintendo have actually decided to trust the player's intelligence and it works beautifully. There's a recurring NPC that you can stumble upon who'll give you hints, but these are verbal clues, not a glowing circle on the map for you to search. Every other plot element I've come across I've done so just by wandering into it - things never feel like they're locked away because you don't happen to be on the right quest.

I know every post I write on this game seems to be gushing praise, but I really think it deserves it. Open world games have never been done this well.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DjchunKfunK » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:12 pm

Mantis wrote:How's the frame rate? I'm considering not bothering at all because I've heard that it can tank quite a lot on Wii U at times.


I haven't had any issues so far. I hear that it can fall a bit in stuff like villages, especially when it rains. On the Plateau though I've had no issues.
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Subway Diet » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:18 pm

DjchunKfunK wrote:
Mantis wrote:How's the frame rate? I'm considering not bothering at all because I've heard that it can tank quite a lot on Wii U at times.


I haven't had any issues so far. I hear that it can fall a bit in stuff like villages, especially when it rains. On the Plateau though I've had no issues.
Just saw the new Digital foundry video .


(Spoilers for early locations, just in case.)
Seems like the Wii U is locked at 20fps while in villages, compared to the 30fps with hitches on the Switch in docked mode.

Haha. I guess it recreates that N64 Ocarina of Time charm.

Also, the strength of this game alone is making me start to regret selling the Switch. It was the smartest financial move on all accounts, for sure... but I'm desperate to play it again. Just gonna have to go cold turkey and hope that Mass Effect takes some of the edge off later this month. It's gonna be tough waiting till "Holiday Season" :x
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Raid » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:17 pm

Needed a new horse after yesterday's misadventure. I may have overdone it.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DjchunKfunK » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:14 am

Jim Sterling has reviewed Zelda and given it a 7/10 leading to a not insignificant amount of ire from sections of the internet, his site also suffered a DDOS attack.

http://www.thejimquisition.com/the-lege ... ld-review/

I think some of the criticism feels like nitpicking and some points are factually incorrect, but at the end of the day it's his opinion.
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