The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild feels like a whole new IP. If it was not for the Zelda skin which includes the sights, sounds, and of course a classic Zelda storyline, we could think that Nintendo just released a whole new video game series.

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Breath of the Wild is not the first open world Zelda game, as they have all been open world. What makes Breath of the Wild stand out from the other Zelda games, is its take on open world exploration, with a touch of survival. Climates affect Links health, food needs to be cooked to take on certain challenges, and the weapon system is like nothing ever experienced in a Zelda game. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a phenomenal adventure, one that we will never forget.

Climates affect Link’s health, food needs to be cooked to take on certain challenges, and the weapon system is like nothing ever experienced in a Zelda game. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a phenomenal adventure, one that we will never forget.

Platforms:  Nintendo Switch | Wii U

Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Distributor: Core Group

Release Date: 3 March 2017

PEGI: 12

Price: R879

Calamity Ganon has reappeared in the kingdom of Hyrule, and Link awakens after 1000 years to fight the beast, and bring life back into the once thriving land. With a massive open world to explore, very little direction at the start of the game, and no boundaries holding us back from going anywhere we want, it felt like we had been thrown into the deep in of Breath of the Wild.

The world in which this new Zelda game takes place is like nothing we have ever seen before. Mountains soaring into the sky, forests lush with trees, wildlife, and, of course, all the lovable characters and creatures we know in the Zelda series have been carefully placed in the world around us. Breath of the Wild feels like freedom, and if you can see in the distance, you can go there. It also helps that Link can climb almost any surface. This means that exploration of the world literally goes from the ground to the mountains. If there is a massive cliff ahead of you, cook some mushrooms with an apple, and climb it. This food enhances your stamina and lets you climb for longer. Link is not held back by any environment at all in Breath of the Wild, as everything and everywhere can be explored.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

While the world is vast, much of it is rolling hills and empty forests. Sure the game fully brings to life the Kingdom of Hyrule like never before, but often an hour or so of exploring with nothing to find feels like wasted time. It is as open world as open world games get, and those who need direction might feel a bit intimidated at times by the sheer magnitude of the lands. Towers that are scattered around the game unlock the area’s map view, and you can easily spot something in the distance and tag it with your lens. Link’s Sheikah Slate is like a fantasy world iPad, and it has everything he needs to survive the world.

The Sheikah Slate is both Link’s inventory system, map, and even his abilities as throughout the game he learns to master new things like the ability to spawn bombs, control metal objects, and even slow down time. These abilities are constantly being challenged throughout the new Zelda game. If it is not trials that offer complex puzzles that need these abilities to be completed, it is general exploration of the world and even combat.

Link, however, does not always feel powerful in the new Zelda game. The weapon system in the game has taken on a more survival durability path, than the previous “one weapon, one game” take in past Zelda games. This means that everything Link can use for combat – a sword, spear, shield and even bows – all break after a while. It all depends on the durability of it, and that you learn as you play the new Zelda game. Luckily mostly everything in the new Zelda game can be used as a weapon, this even includes a skeleton’s arm, and a broom.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild is challenging, and as much as we tried our hardest to master the equipment system, it could never be enough when the time came for us to fight off an ogre or a guardian.

All this goes hand-in-hand with the cooking system, and everything can be cooked. How good ancient gears must taste with some apples and lake bass is still to be discovered, but the possibilities are endless in the game with cooking. Certain items grant stamina boosts, and others are vital to surviving the cold and host climates. A chili pepper cooked can give you 2-minutes of cold resistance, which is vital to surviving the snowy hills. Other recipes come in handy when heading into a big fight, and they can even extend your health bar for a limited time. We were constantly on the lookout for new items to throw into the pot, and new ways to make dishes. Most of the time this resulted in a dubious food, of which had no special effects, but it refilled one heart of Link’s health, so it was still useful to some degree.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Health is something that can disappear very fast in the new Zelda game, and the combat system relies heavily on Link’s weapons. It plays homage to the classic Zelda games, and other than the new weapons to use like two handed, and even spears, there is not much new here, and it is perfect that way.

We have to mention the Nintendo Switch here as we played the whole new Zelda game on the new console and it was fantastic. The game runs at a solid 720 while in portable mode, and full 1080p in TV mode, and both look stunning. The 1080p mode does suffer from some rather nasty frame rate drops at times. However, the gameplay remained solid throughout the experience.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

The controller scheme is also a great addition to the new Zelda game, and both in handheld and docked into the controller dock while playing on TV, resulted in an experience we had full control over. The HD rumble feels great when you shoot an arrow, or teleport away from one location to another, and everything in the new Zelda game ties very well into the Switch’s design and features.

Verdict

Gold Award

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a stunning new direction for the series. It is the perfect blend of old and new, while still staying true to the Zelda roots. It is a system seller, and there is no doubt about that. Everyone needs to play it, and let their minds vanish into the Kingdom of Hyrule for a few days.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review
Magnificent open worldSimple yet effective storySurvival mechanics
95%Masterpiece