What is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open world adventure game on the Nintendo Switch and Wii U. Telling the tale of a young swordsman called Link, the game begins as you awake from a 100 year slumber, only to discover you've lost your memories while you've been under. Quickly brought back up to speed, you soon discover that while you were asleep, an evil, and incredibly powerful villain known as Calamity Ganon has been growing in power, and will soon be able to break free from his prison in Hyrule Castle... As the only one capable of stopping him, it's up to you to set out on a quest to free four mechanised divine beasts, and defeat the evil Ganon.
How do you play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?
Promising an expansive land to explore, an epic story to discover, and over 100 puzzle based, dungeon-like "shrines" you can approach in whatever order you see fit, Breath of the Wild is a game you can lose yourself in for hours at a time. As an open world game, players have a lot of freedom here, and how you spend your time with it will likely depend on what floats your boat.
If you're here for the traditional Zelda experience - a strong story - there's just over a dozen story quests to complete, each of which gets you that little bit closer to your showdown with Calamity Ganon. Completionists will love the game's photo mode, which asks you to track down and take pictures of every single type of monster, animal, flower, item, treasure and weapon in the game - a figure which totals nigh on 400 photos if you want to snap 'em all. Those looking for puzzles can explore Hyrule, searching for the elusive, puzzle based shrines, where they can test their wits against a brief five minute challenge that usually involves either some kind of physics (rolling a ball, using a piston to catapult a bomb), or one of your handful of special powers.
Or you can grab a horse, name it, and go for a ride; climb a mountain and admire the views; explore the cities, villages, mountains and forests nearby; set sail on a raft powered by your own wafts with a leaf; or go fishing in a slightly unconventional style - by using bombs!
How easy is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to pick up and play?
Unusually for a Nintendo game, Breath of the Wild is a game aimed squarely at the most experienced of players, with several features designed to make the game that much more challenging to play.
First up is the Stamina system, which limits the amount of physical activity Link can do at any one time. Rock climbing, sprinting, gliding, and even swimming all drain your Stamina meter, with some draining it in only a few seconds (like sprinting), while others, like climbing, can be a lot harder to judge. Either way, you'll need to think long and hard before you start scaling a wall, scouting out any potential rest spots where you may be able to pause and get your breath back. Similarly, you need to be careful not to try and cross a stream if your Stamina starts dropping too fast, as if you run out of Stamina while swimming, you'll drown. The changing weather in-game makes things even more complex, as rain makes steep surfaces (like most cliffs and hills) all but unclimbable, meaning if it starts raining while you're halfway up a cliff, you'll need to either find another way around, or simply sit it out and wait for the storm to pass.
Even getting health isn't quite straightforward. While on older Zelda games, defeating enemies would drop hearts that would heal you, in Breath of the Wild, the only way to get health back is to eat the things you find on your journey. As most enemies don't drop edible items, you'll have to regularly head off the beaten track in search of apples, fruits, or even spicy peppers to ensure you have a stock of items that can heal you. Even then, there are several types of enemies roaming the land that can kill you a single hit, along with random boss-type creatures that pop up and attack with little warning - luckily, you can sprint away from most of them.
To add to the mix, your weapons are destructible too. Many weapons will irreparably break after only a handful of hits, meaning you'll need to keep a stock of weapons on hand - but with only eight slots by default, you can get down your stash of weapons very quickly.
With no adjustable difficulty level, Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a complex game that's aimed at an experienced audience - although its regular auto saves do mean you won't lose too much progress when you die.
With only partial voice acting, a strong reading ability is also a requirement for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Sample sentences include:
- If I did find someone who knew the missing ingredient, I would happily reward them with my warm doublet.
- That... is Calamity Ganon. One hundred years ago, that vile entity brought the kingdom of Hyrule to ruin.
- All you do is toss a swift carrot, rock salt, and fresh milk in a pot and stew it up. Then, voilà! So yummy!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is fairly light on mature content. With nothing in the way of bad language at all, and no sexual content (there's just one, ever so slightly scantily clad character - a giant fairy), the only real mature content of note here is the violence, and even then, it's mild.
Violence in Breath of the Wild is of a distinctly cartoon variety. While Link attacks enemies with a sword, spear, bow and arrow, or even bombs, there's no blood on impact, with weapon hits instead being marked by bright flashes of colour. However, one early quest does require you to hunt an animal (usually a boar) - on killing the animal, it disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving behind a steak-like hunk of meat. Enemies also leave behind items when defeated, some of which are labelled eyes, or guts, etc.