Breath of the Wild: A Review

Last post I was wondering if I would continue grinding out gear, or just go beat Ganon already. Well, I chose the latter. So now I can give my full thoughts in a review.

This is a great game. An absolute masterpiece. While there isn’t really any other option, it’s definitely worth paying full price for this game. Hell, it almost justifies my purchase of a Switch just by itself. It isn’t perfect, and I can certainly see why it puts off some long-time Zelda fans, but to me, this game is nearly ideal. If I had to give it a score, it’s 10/10.

As I said some posts back, this game perhaps most resembles one of those survival games that were super hot a few years back. I’ve played Conan Exiles, and this is very reminiscent of that style: not really much narrative (especially narrative pressure to keep advancing), but really you just explore and do what you want. Eventually it might be a good idea to advance the story; but if you want to get every seed, comb every inch of land and water, open every chest, that’s definitely a valid option. Or, if you just want to rush the main quest, you can do that too. Personally, I did it halfway: I explored a bunch, did about 100 shrines, got about that number of seeds I think, all the while taking my time in doing the beasts. Even took some time out to take most of the pictures for the compendium.

Personally, I am a big fan of this structure. Some folks aren’t – they want their bounds, they want that narrative push. They want that constant feed of story. This game isn’t that. You pick up bits and pieces of the story as you go. Pretty much all you are forced to learn is that 100 years ago Link and Zelda, along with four champions driving divine beasts (machines from an ancient civilization) failed to defeat Ganon, but the princess somehow managed to delay the final defeat until Link could recover – and now Link can fix things to defeat Ganon. That’s it – that’s the main story. Of course there’s a lot more to it, more to the world, but you actually have to go out and find it. Some people hate this, but I love it.

There is also a decided lack of dungeons. There are the four divine beasts, which are basically each a very small traditional Zelda dungeon. There are the about 120 shrines, which are each basically one or two rooms of a traditional dungeon. Some folks think this is very uninspired, and not particularly Zelda at all. I can see that, and kinda agree. But I don’t see that as a negative, since, honestly, I was never too fond of the dungeons in Zelda games. I really don’t like puzzles. I mostly like the combat and other gameplay of the Zelda games, but the puzzles and dungeons are not my thing. (I’m the type to keep a guide open at all times, to keep the momentum going, not stopped too hard by the puzzles I can’t figure out quickly.)

The biggest problem in this game, to me, is the weapon system – specifically the way the durability system works. For one thing, I could not see any indication of durability, until the thing was almost broken. This sort of opacity really irks me. This goes double when the absolute low durability of basically every item is taken into consideration. You really have no clue how long a weapon will last, and it of course will explode in your hands at the worst moment. And of course you have a very limited inventory, so you can’t just stockpile weapons for all occasions when whatever you’re using breaks. Against minibosses (and even some of the later mobs) you can lose several weapons, even good ones, just going against one enemy. Super annoying. Even the unique weapons will break, though there’s always a (very expensive) way to get them back. My guess is the devs were thinking that they provided the player all these weapons (you can pick up every weapon held by every enemy, with very few exceptions), so they had to give the player a reason to pick up all these weapons. Still the biggest annoyance in the game.

Second-biggest annoyance: white text without outline, so you can’t read it over anything white – the brightness is higher than portrayed in this shot.

The world is also a bit empty, even compared to other open-world games. There are some areas that are well-developed, like the Gerudo or Zora areas, while others are very underdeveloped. The world seems like it should have more than the two hundred or so NPCs that seem to exist outside of those two places. Indeed, the world seems half-finished. The Rito and Goron cities in particular, despite being associated with divine beasts, are like an afterthought compared to the other two “ethnic” towns. The Hylians don’t fare better: Kakkario Village is a proper town, but the rest are just small outposts, and one town so forgotten it isn’t even on the map. It would have been nice for these places to have been fleshed out.

But other than those complaints, I have to say this is one of my most favorite games I’ve ever played. I wasn’t expecting something so great, despite the great reviews (basically no reason to trust professional reviewers, and most people don’t share my taste anyhow), because all the complaints I heard were pretty consistent (which I agree with, if not to the same degree). To be sure, this is my new favorite Zelda game. I’m really surprised that two new additions to my top five Zelda games were on the Switch; if I knew it would be this way, I would have gotten one a long time ago. Neither is a traditional Zelda game, but they are made with the usual Zelda heart and soul (and skill), and that’s what endears them to me.

No Ideas

tfw no Zelda gf

I’ve been racking my brain for hours trying to come up with something to write about. Apparently it’s Brainstorming Week for Blapril, so that’s appropriate I suppose. But nothing’s coming. Unlike many people, I luckily still have work, which I have to go to (hard to be a janitor, even if a supervisor, and work from home, though I’m willing to give it a try!). Today an easy project turned out to not be so easy (story of my life these past couple of weeks – but the converse has proved to be true was well), and it kinda sapped my energy – especially my mental energy. (Also, it was outside – always a bad sign – so heat and my allergies flaring doesn’t help matters.)

I uploaded a bunch of BotW screenshots last night, intending to use them sometime soon. Unfortunately, they’re mostly of the above quality, more fit to be used as tweets than for blogging purposes. And I can’t really use them to illustrate my progress in that game since last time, since I haven’t made much. I mean, sure, I’m playing an average of over an hour every night (more like two), but I haven’t really been advancing the plot that much. Just filling in the map, doing side-quests, that sort of thing. Though I did at least start the Gerudo main quest line last night, getting the thunder mask (as indicated by the top pic, and what is below).

It’s just not Link if it’s not green.

But yah, no big ideas for posts. Well, that’s not true – I have ideas, lots of ideas. Even have plans. Even have hinted at them in some of the last few posts. But they aren’t ready yet. Need more things like screenshots and stuff. (Always there’s more to do…) But nothing ready for today… In fact, I think I made basically this post in August…but just have to keep writing. Even if it’s just a stream of consciousness like this.

And, now an idea has come! But this is a post already written, so this is what you get. I mean, this is the fourth paragraph already! While this might not pass the AP exam (need five paragraphs, don’t you know), I think it’s good enough for a blog.

Breath of the Wild: My First Several Days’ Thoughts

I was initially going to title this something along the lines of “first impressions,” but after playing this over a week, and doing half the guardians, I think my impressions are a little beyond initial. But my main impression: this is a great game, that could be made possibly the best game ever made with only a few tweaks.

As for my initial impression, the big take was: this is what Conan: Exiles could be, if that game had some actual structure (and no base building). Both games feel pretty similar, at least at first, before they really get going: you are a weakling in a very dangerous world that doesn’t care about your existence, and won’t even give you weapons that don’t break after a couple of mobs. And you climb things. A lot. But not too high, or you fall down and die. Which death will be marked on the map for no reason.

I have to say, I really like the format of this game. A lot of people put the game down for not really having the traditional dungeon structure, but I quite enjoy not being stuck in a series of puzzles and combat rooms. The shrines are basically individual dungeon rooms spread across the map, which is just fine by me. And I don’t mind there not being monsters or npc’s every ten feet. Maybe they could be more common (especially villages), but it’s fine.

My major complaint is the same as most folk’s: the equipment durability. It really should be twice what it is. And it really sucks to finally get good stuff, only for it to break on some low-tier mob and you have to take their crappy stuff. I really hope that gets addressed in the sequel.

The Month Past, and the Month Yet Ahead

It’s the official beginning of April (the 1st doesn’t count), so here I am, to describe what I did, gaming-wise at least, last month, and what I hope to do this month.

As I mentioned before, I got a Switch. A new system naturally means new games. And, as I mentioned before, I got them: Splatoon 2, Hyrule Warriors, and Breath of the Wild. I also got the cheap standard-style controller, just for fun, which turned out to be the right call, as it’s what I mostly use (I also play on TV, always, so far).

Started with Splatoon, which is a fun game, but not really my speed. I’m not all that into competitive shooters in general, nor console shooters. Once I got access to the noob roller, though, things started looking up, but I was kinda frustrated by the lack of coordination between the competitive, coop, and single-player modes. So I only played a little bit of that.

Next came Hyrule Warriors, which was a game I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I know it’s not really cool to like it, but I did. In fact, it might be my new favorite Zelda game; it’s definitely up there, at any rate. Not just for the cute girls, either, though it does have that.

Speaking of cute girls, isn’t BotW Zelda very cute? This is a seriously fun game. Also frustrating sometimes. Like, why even have those stupid forced gyro sections (remember how I got the cheap controller?)? But still, very good. /v/ has been crapping on this game since day 1, and there are some valid criticisms there, but it’s an extremely good game.

Granblue Fantasy Vs. came out on Steam. So I got it with the Season 1 pass. $80, and it doesn’t even come with gacha game codes. Bad move, but I guess it was to prevent cheaters. Even with the simplified controls, it’s too much for me sometimes. Even in the single-player modes. I’m just not a fightan’ game guy, no matter how much I want to get into the genre.

Also did the normal stuff in the various gacha games. Granblue Fantasy had it’s 6th anniversary celebration practically the whole month, which included a ton of free rolls; those turned out pretty well for me. That anniversary event was good too; it disappointed a lot of people, but I thought it was quite good – I think it was just got overhyped, over practically nothing. (Also, fujos and yumes mad that the brute got the unit instead of the bishi.) Dragalia Lost is currently having it’s 1.5 anniversary celebration, which is cool I guess.

As far as MMO’s go, haven’t really done much. ESO is seriously on the backburner for me – too many other games I’m actually excited to play right now, rather than the inertia that drives my MMO playing.

As for next month, I plan to finish BotW. Not 100% it or anything (I’m not going to be posting videos of me doing cool stuff – I can barely handle the basics!), but I’ll finish the game to my liking. Then it will be Fire Emblem Warriors. After that, who knows?