The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS/WiiU)


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    Finally got around to playing Breath of the Wild. It's clearly a fantastic game and I can totally see why so many people loved it and why I had a great time with it. I won't go into crazy detail as I'm sure everything has been discussed but I want to go into why I probably don't love this game as much as the majority.

    Weapon degradation - Yes, I know, it's the one thing everyone has mentioned. Before I played it I was told that it's totally fine and gets you to mix up your combat. My response to that was usually that I dislike weapon degradation in pretty much every game. So I will just say that I didn't end up liking it and disagree with the people who said it encourages you to mix your combat up. For me, the combat is not deep enough to be worthy of encouraging different playstyles with weapons. So I just felt like I was picking up a weapon, throwing it away and fighting with another. I'd have much preferred if you just got a weapon and had it instead of getting a slightly better version.

    Memories - I didn't go in expecting too much because of what people said and overall the story/memories are pretty disappointing. I felt like the majority didn't really even develop what was going on in the past.

    Shrines - I'd a really good time with the majority of shrines. There were 1 or 2 motion ones which I really hated and made me dislike using the Switch in handheld even more but overall, they're a nice little challenge. I do think the measure of strenghts shrines are a bit of a waste though as it's purely stat dependant really.

    Divine Beasts - Like the shrines, I enjoyed them but probably felt like they were too easy. People mentioned that the Shrines felt like mini dungeons and the Divine Beasts were dungeons but to me it felt like the shrines were a room of a dungeon and the beasts were mini dungeons.

    Progression - And so I guess all the above really leads to this and why for me I didn't love the game while I absolutely get why others loved the whole pick up and play. When I play a game, I usually really want some form of progression. So that can be me as a player getting better, the story progression, interesting skills. For me, I don't think this game does any of that. There is nothing really from a skill point of view that you get better at. All the shrines are generally very much their own thing and the things you get from beating the Divine Beast arguably make you a worse player I would say. There is a stage too where you just feel like you're already powerful enough and there's no real need to do a shrine as you know you're just going to get more health or stamina from it instead of an interesting item.

    So I hope I explained why it's not my favourite game from last year although easily a great game. It's just missing a few things I really adore for it to be that.



  • @tokeeffe9 said:

    I'd have much preferred if you just got a weapon and had it instead of getting a slightly better version.

    Would you though? Applies to Zelda combat in many games, but I especially think to Windwaker, where by the end of the game when you're fighting lots of dudes at once you're simply going through the motions of "okay, I cut this to drop their armor, and then I do this move and they die" and it gets super boring. At least with weapons with durability it leads to scenarios like disarming your enemy and stealing their weapon to fight them with or looking at a threat and going "I should switch to this weapon I've been holding onto as they're effective against these enemies." You also would be less inclined to use all the other tools at your disposal for taking out enemies if you just had a sword that never broke, and I know this because the way you play the game after getting the Master Sword proves it, even with its recovery periods.

    I do think the measure of strenghts shrines are a bit of a waste though as it's purely stat dependant really.

    As someone who ran to a moderate test one when I had 4 hearts and still pretty bad gear, resulting in my most fun encounter in all that I played of the game, then I'll disagree. Not having tons of hearts yet to fall back on I had to be super careful as each hit was devastating at that point in the game. I literally got down to half a heart left and beat the enemy by smashing my final weapon across it with the crit damage from the weapon breaking being just enough to finish it, and it was thrilling. Now, I wasn't as thrilled later on running into lots of these same cookie cutter Shrines when I had so many hearts and such good gear they no longer posed any sort of threat to me, so I do wish there were less of them in general, but that one amazing multistage fight of my first encounter with it when I was technically too weak for it was absolutely worth the experience. Was also great at that stage of the game to get some of those ancient weapons that were more powerful than the stuff I'd find anywhere else.

    When I play a game, I usually really want some form of progression.

    Hearts and Stamina are one progression. Learning cooking and how to make the best stuff is another. Upgrading your outfits for defense is another progression. Upgrading your Runes to be more powerful and have new abilities is another progression. More powerful weapons appearing from slaying many enemies is yet another progression, one you feel very directly when you can start one-shotting lesser enemies. Upgrading your inventory to carry around way more weapons, bows, and shields for every situation is another progression.

    So that can be me as a player getting better, the story progression, interesting skills.
    There is nothing really from a skill point of view that you get better at.

    Maybe you, but I know I certainly got better at traversing the world. I learned how to go through terrain much more efficiently, a necessity earlier in the game when you have very limited stamina, and still use later on when you have tons of stamina to breeze through the world like a bullet, to the point where a horse would only slow you down. Got much better with the bow as well and knowing when to use it and when not to as arrows are such a precious commodity, even late into the game. No more getting zapped and dropping stuff, because you know to use a ranged option to dispatch those types of enemies instead. You also know not to waste weapon durability on ChuChu, because you can easily take them out with bombs instead. You start putting mental sticky notes on every weapon you pick up, knowing exactly what scenario you're saving it for.

    Story progression is mostly in harder enemies appearing, including the Yiga Clan starting to pop up places which eventually ramps up in frequency, and while that isn't much it is because the story is about you becoming stronger to take down Ganon, which everything you're doing lends to that goal at the end of the road. Yes, you can get reckless as a player after Mipha can just revive you when you die most of the time, but the whole point of that is you earning that power to have a slightly better chance against Ganon and his minions. That's a progression, although obviously generally agreed to be one of the game's weaker sides, a concession made to facilitate the game's extremely open nature.

    The runes you get at the very beginning and things you get after Divine Beasts from the Champions are your traditional "skills" you'd find in other games, but what I love is the skills you and others discover and are still discovering while they play from playing with what the game allows you to do and combining elements to pull of crazy stuff. Saw one of the other day where someone figured out you can toss a boomerang straight up and then move a certain pattern to make it spin around you lots in a row, heavily damaging enemies around you. Saw another where bailing from a shield surf spin at the right time would make Link perfectly vault over a wall horizontally that would normally be impassible height. The game is full of these things to discover if you play with the systems available, and while there might not be a shield charge that inflict six seconds of cold damage over time with a cooldown mapped to a button, you can pull out an ice weapon and freeze an enemy with a single attack before switching to a Korok Leaf and blowing the frozen enemy sculpture off a mountain, shattering it below. It rewards experimentation and creativity, and the progression is you discovering and learning these fun tricks to pull off.

    you know you're just going to get more health or stamina from it instead of an interesting item

    Aside from the couple Shrines with pieces of those few armor sets in them, there's where I totally agree with you. What ticked me off in particular playing was finding extra important locations like the Shrines of Power, Wisdom, and Courage and only getting the usual rewards from them, instead of something that more significantly shook up the gameplay like finding Rings that permanently halve the damage you take or such, although that example in particular isn't needed after you've found a couple Great Fairy Fountains. A couple more toys like the Master Cycle Zero would've been nice, but I'm sure that'll get fixed on the next game now that this one set the base and they have more time to fill out the rest.


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    @mbun

    Would you though?... At least with weapons with durability it leads to scenarios like disarming your enemy and stealing their weapon to fight them with or looking at a threat and going "I should switch to this weapon I've been holding onto as they're effective against these enemies."

    Ya, I'd still prefer without degradation. As you mentioned, if you've a weapon that does more damage on a certain enemy, you'll switch to that. As for the master Sword, I only used it when it did double damage, otherwise I wouldn't. I just didn't feel like the combat was deep enough for me to think, oh ya, this weapon will be great here. I just looked at what did the most damage and that worked pretty much every time.

    I literally got down to half a heart left and beat the enemy by smashing my final weapon across it with the crit damage from the weapon breaking being just enough to finish it, and it was thrilling. Now, I wasn't as thrilled later on running into lots of these same cookie cutter Shrines when I had so many hearts and such good gear they no longer posed any sort of threat to me, so I do wish there were less of them in general, but that one amazing multistage fight of my first encounter with it when I was technically too weak for it was absolutely worth the experience.

    That's totally fair. You had a great experience with one. I never really felt that way throughout the game just because the autosave feature is so generous that when you die, you'll just restart there again and overall I either found that I was so weak that I'd have no weapons left to fight with or I was so OP that it was a breeze.

    Hearts and Stamina are one progression...

    Yes, you're correct on all the progression you mentioned. It's not necessarily what I'm looking for though. I'll give an example to be more specific. When I play something like The Witness, you get a set of puzzles and you get a better understanding of these puzzles the more you do. Then you see them used somewhere else with another puzzle and that information you learned earlier, is still useful now. I love that. With BotW, a person can go into any shrine, cook any meal etc and it's a completely singular thing which is fantastic for someone who just wants to pick up and play but for me, I love that feeling of improving at something.

    Maybe you, but I know I certainly got better at traversing the world. I learned how to go through terrain much more efficiently, a necessity earlier in the game when you have very limited stamina, and still use later on when you have tons of stamina to breeze through the world like a bullet, to the point where a horse would only slow you down. Got much better with the bow as well and knowing when to use it and when not to as arrows are such a precious commodity, even late into the game. No more getting zapped and dropping stuff, because you know to use a ranged option to dispatch those types of enemies instead. You also know not to waste weapon durability on ChuChu, because you can easily take them out with bombs instead. You start putting mental sticky notes on every weapon you pick up, knowing exactly what scenario you're saving it for.

    Sure, these are all things that make you more efficient at the game. Even if you didn't take any of this onboard, you'd still have no issue imo because you pick up so many items everywhere you go anyway. Also, just a quick side note, horses are awful in this game. I forgot about one side quest with a horse, jumping over fences and for some reason, this one on a slight hill would always just make the horse stop. That was 1 of 2 times I really hated the game. Other being the first motion Shrine which was essentially unplayable in handheld mode.

    Story progression is mostly in harder enemies appearing, including the Yiga Clan starting to pop up places which eventually ramps up in frequency, and while that isn't much it is because the story is about you becoming stronger to take down Ganon, which everything you're doing lends to that goal at the end of the road. Yes, you can get reckless as a player after Mipha can just revive you when you die most of the time, but the whole point of that is you earning that power to have a slightly better chance against Ganon and his minions. That's a progression, although obviously generally agreed to be one of the game's weaker sides, a concession made to facilitate the game's extremely open nature.

    I feel like they still could of given us something interesting. Bar maybe 1-2 memories, I didn't find any of the characters interesting and going through Zelda's search of her powers, it just never felt important.

    The runes you get at the very beginning and things you get after Divine Beasts from the Champions are your traditional "skills" you'd find in other games, but what I love is the skills you and others discover and are still discovering while they play from playing with what the game allows you to do and combining elements to pull of crazy stuff. Saw one of the other day where someone figured out you can toss a boomerang straight up and then move a certain pattern to make it spin around you lots in a row, heavily damaging enemies around you. Saw another where bailing from a shield surf spin at the right time would make Link perfectly vault over a wall horizontally that would normally be impassible height. The game is full of these things to discover if you play with the systems available, and while there might not be a shield charge that inflict six seconds of cold damage over time with a cooldown mapped to a button, you can pull out an ice weapon and freeze an enemy with a single attack before switching to a Korok Leaf and blowing the frozen enemy sculpture off a mountain, shattering it below. It rewards experimentation and creativity, and the progression is you discovering and learning these fun tricks to pull off.

    For sure, the cool thing about this game is how creative people can get. That's awesome.



  • @tokeeffe9 said:

    something like The Witness, you get a set of puzzles and you get a better understanding of these puzzles the more you do. Then you see them used somewhere else with another puzzle and that information you learned earlier, is still useful now

    That's basically what Korok puzzles are. There's also some lesser instances of finding shrines where learning stuff earlier will help you find another that's slightly more well hidden. A couple of the Shrine interiors themselves also build on one another, but they're spaced so far apart and you're able to run into them in any order that you could easily never know. I do think the devs attempted to place the simpler Shrines in the world in a way that they would be found first though as some are straight up in plain sight, while others are tucked away.

    That Shrine I mentioned with the thrilling fight was in plain sight, but it was all the way at one edge of the map, and me choosing to run across the map to reach it at that point in the game was a very conscious decision through a very dangerous path. That said, I couldn't tell from afar that it was a combat Shrine and might've thought twice had I known in advance, but by the time I reached it I knew I wasn't turning back.

    With BotW, a person can go into any shrine, cook any meal etc and it's a completely singular thing which is fantastic for someone who just wants to pick up and play but for me, I love that feeling of improving at something.

    Not that it takes super long to grasp, but you definitely don't learn optimal cooking from a single meal. It does take some trial and error as you discover ingredients and how to combine them well, and that's ignoring the straight up recipes on the walls of the stables that you can screenshot for later reference.

    Also, just a quick side note, horses are awful in this game.

    They have uses early game, but once you get decent stamina they only slow you down, least until you get the Ancient Saddle and Bridle so you can teleport them to you.

    I forgot about one side quest with a horse, jumping over fences and for some reason, this one on a slight hill would always just make the horse stop.

    There's a I think shoulder button you can hold that helps horses deal with terrain that's difficult for them, but they balanced it by making the horse move extremely slow when using it, so it isn't super useful for what you mentioned specifically. They are a bit unwieldy overall, but I still like them more than the Master Cycle Zero cause you don't have to hold a button down continuously to make them go, which frees your finger to attack while riding instead.

    I feel like they still could of given us something interesting.

    Game was already way over planned production schedule. Who knows how much planned stuff was scrapped or how late the story we did get was implemented. I wholly expect the next game to fix stuff like this as they have the base for the game finished already and can focus on everything else this time.

    going through Zelda's search of her powers, it just never felt important

    It is basically all for the moment of the final memory, but yea I wasn't a big fan of this Zelda. The diaries you find just make her seem like more of a brat, but I guess in the end she stepped up to fulfill her duty so that's some slight character redemption.


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    I do want to emphasis that I had a great time playing this game and I'm totally onboard with them continuing the Zelda formula like this, as opposed to something like Odyssey where I hope that's just a one off. Personally I'd be hoping they remove the weapon degradation and while they don't need to bring back dungeons necessarily, I hope they have areas that size with that level of challenge.



  • @tokeeffe9 said:

    I do want to emphasis that I had a great time playing this game and I'm totally onboard with them continuing the Zelda formula like this

    Yeah, I just like discussing this stuff.

    as opposed to something like Odyssey where I hope that's just a one off

    ˢᵃᵐᵉ
    same

    S A M E

    Personally I'd be hoping they remove the weapon degradation

    I don't want to see it removed entirely, but I do think it'd be good to add NPCs that can repair weapons you become attached to and maybe even forge others from scratch once you find blueprints or something. Master Sword becoming unbreakable with no cooldown periods also wouldn't bother me. It is silly how it has to teleport back to recover now.

    while they don't need to bring back dungeons necessarily, I hope they have areas that size with that level of challenge

    Personally, I want more underground areas and more caves. Less holes in the wall with bombable rocks, and more passages through a wall with bombable rocks leading somewhere new.



  • Good talk guys, that was interesting to read!

    I'm one of those who loooooved Breath of the Wild and yet I can't fully disagree with much of what @tokeeffe9 said. I guess what it boils down to is how much the game's flaws affect your enjoyment.

    About the weapon degradation, my gut feeling tells me they realized it could be an annoyance, but the alternative - letting players find a weapon they like and keep it until the end of the game - would have heavily reduced the need to explore the world and that would have been even more detrimental to the overall experience. They wanted to maintain this "survival" feeling throughout the game and that's a tricky balance to find when you also want to provide progression to the player (which they did through hearts and stamina). Something had to give and it was weapons. Hopefully they come up with a more elegant and less divisive solution for the next game.

    It's actually very exciting to think about the inevitable sequel. The template laid out by BotW was already masterful in my opinion, so imagine a game that irons out all the kinks and improves on its strengths. GOTY 2020.


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    Possibly although I never felt like I was exploring to find new weapons, it was just that there are enemies and they have weapons.



  • @tokeeffe9 early on you def hunt around for weapons. Once you get a good grasp of the world its less of a thing



  • @tokeeffe9 There's specific places on the map where weapons will always be if you go back there, which is cool when you find a spot for a great flamesword or such. Always mark the ones I find with the sword icon on the map to keep track of. Early game I think I got most my weapons from chests, especially the challenge chest of every Shrine. Those usually had some good stuff. Late game I think just jacking ones from enemies is best since the stats on them can get ridiculously high. Got a one handed sword from a Lynel that did over 100 damage per hit once. Used it for the final boss of the last DLC.