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.