The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review: Gaming At Its Finest

Introduction

The moment that I realized The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a masterpiece hit me like a bolt of lightning, literally.

It was another day in Hyrule. I was walking around Great Plateau, hoping to find a few more shrines to get me a precious Spirit Orb, when a storm came through. This was not out of the ordinary, as in my many hours of playing it I had been stuck in a few bouts of rain. But when I was struck by a bolt of lightning and my health was cut in half, I knew that I had to be smart about my next move. Thinking on my feet, I took off all my metallic gear; my sword, my shield, even my armor. And after I did that, I could walk through the storm unharmed.

That event proved to be that eureka moment that made me certain of how amazing this game was. That moment, that rainstorm in the dark of my room, certified this game as a masterpiece to me.

Part One: The Wanderer of Hyrule (Mild Spoilers)

Whenever you first boot up Breath of the Wild, you see an unconscious Link lying in a pool of water while a disembodied voice tells you that Calamity Ganon is gaining power, with only Princess Zelda holding him back. As Link, you are the only one who can save Hyrule, and if you don’t, it will be destroyed.

Walking out of the Shrine of Resurrection, you see the quiet landscape of Hyrule around you. There’s trees, the castle in the distance, and the gentle sunshine of the day upon you. As you walk forward, you see a path, and the only person in sight, an old man in a cloak, baking apples. He tells you that you must activate the tower in the middle of the plateau, along with the four shrines scattered around it. After you do that, you go to the Temple of Time, and surprise! It’s actually the King of Hyrule in ghost form. He gifts you the Paraglider along with a quest- to seek out the leader of the Sheikah, Impa.

Now, after seeking out Impa, I found myself wandering Hyrule for a few hours. I was lost in the snowy mountains of Hateno Village, the quiet plains of Central Hyrule, and the wetlands of Lanayru. I found the lack of direction jarring at first, but I soon did a few sidequests, got some heart containers, and decided to take on the Divine Beasts. Oh boy, was I glad I did.

Part Two: The Divine Beasts (Major Spoilers)

The Divine Beasts are by far my least favorite part of Breath of the Wild.

The Divine Beasts function like the main puzzle dungeons of the game, sans the Shrines that are scattered throughout Hyrule. I will be real: these dungeons are borderline impossible without a guide.

There are four Divine Beasts, Vah Ruta, with the design of an elephant, Vah Rudania, who looks like a lizard, Vah Medoh, which looks like an eagle, and Vah Naboris, which is a camel. Now, some of these monsters are harder than others. But in all honesty, Naboris is really hard, easily the most difficult of the four.

Each Divine Beast is designed around a different gimmick. With Vah Medoh, you can tilt it forty-five degrees on its side. Vah Naboris has an electrical system that can be tilted around to create a working circuit, Vah Ruta has a trunk that can be propelled into the inside of it, and Vah Rudania can be flipped ninety degrees. All of these gimmicks can be difficult to maneuver at first, but once you search up a guide and do some experimentation with it, you’ll be conquering them in no time.

The bosses that lie within these great machines are a challenge enough. I managed to beat Fireblight Ganon, Vah Rudania’s boss fight, in one shot, along with Windblight Ganon, Vah Medoh’s ultimate challenge. But with Waterblight Ganon (Vah Ruta) and Thunderblight Ganon (Vah Naboris), I found myself having much more trouble. Waterblight Ganon had a difficult attack pattern that was difficult to get a good read on, and Thunderblight Ganon was just… hard. Combined with its ability to teleport, and a shield that requires all of your focus to break, it was a challenge not for the faint of heart. But once all was said and done, I managed to finally conquer them all in about two week’s time.

After defeating the Divine Beasts, I found myself again wandering. I knew that the Calamity awaited me in Hyrule Castle, but I knew that I was under prepared. So I did what anyone else would do- grind out some Shrines, get some heart containers, and draw the Master Sword.

Part Three: The Final Chapters

After defeating all of the Divine Beasts, you’re left to your elements and your wits about you. You know that the fight against Ganon will be made easier, yes, but you know that you lack the preparation to take on the final battle. So for the last few hours of the game, I found myself doing more exploring than ever before.

By now, I had reached around ten heart containers, four from the Divine Beasts and the remaining three from the Shrines around Hyrule. And in my opinion, Breath of the Wild shines with the Shrines.

The Shrines are the miniature dungeons, each one with a different mechanic. Some require the use of the Runes that Link acquired early in his journey, others based entirely in the brute force of combat. But all of them have the same reward: a Spirit Orb.

Four of these peculiar spheres can be exchanged for one Heart Container or Stamina Vessel. During my first run, I did only a few shrines, getting only enough to draw the Master Sword.

Speaking of which, the best weapon in the game, the Master Sword, is only acquirable once you reach thirteen hearts. And getting all of these heart pieces were definitely a grindfest. My first run, I only did around 50 shrines, but my second time around, I ended up doing all 120 shrines. Sure, I found the constant grinding annoying, but it was worth it. I got the best armor in the game, the Tunic of the Wild for it, so if you’re playing through it, I recommend it.

Part Four: The Road to 100%

After I completed Breath of the Wild for the first time, I found myself longing for more. And so I did what a normal person would do. I restarted the game and decided to play through it again, getting EVERYTHING there is to get.

In order to get 100%, you must get all 900 Korok Seeds, clear all 120 Shrines, beat all 40 minibosses, and all 76 sidequests. This is really hard to do, but when you finally finish it, it’s like having a two-ton weight being taken off your shoulders. Also, once you get all 900 korok seeds, you get one final reward – Hestu’s Gift, which is actually just a stack of poop.

Conclusion

Breath of the Wild is an amazing game. One that I think will never be replicated. The sheer scope of the game, how the entire story is open-world and free to explore, creates a unique experience that I think will never be seen again in gaming.

Breath of the Wild gets the Eli Moore Seal of Approval, along with the rare Perfect 10 rating. I hope that everyone finds time to play this, and despite its few minor flaws, it is a perfect experience.