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03/08/2018 18:15:22 •••

Requiem for a Legend

So here, we are then. Zelda inevitably goes open world. Could Nintendo possibly do it? Transport the tried-and-true patented Zelda formula to a massive sandbox without sacrificing any of the series' soul? Could they aim this remarkable momentum and create One Legend to Rule Them All?

As sad as I am to have to make this statement... it couldn't have failed to achieve this harder if it had tried.

To be fair, the first few hours of the game were everything I could hope for and more; gone was the 3D games' increasingly arduous "prologues" (for lack of a better word) stringing you along for literal hours with breadcrumbs of gameplay before finally letting you roam "free", though more often than not, still tied to linear and predetermined progression. Finding shrines and using cute physics-based psychokinetic powers were great training for the real meat of any self-respecting Zelda's gameplay: extensive dungeons, and the awesome multi-purpose equipment they hold! Let's go, man! The world's my oyster and I am the bloody Walrus; goo goo g'joob, motherfucker!

...The horror... THE HORROR...!

In only a scant few hours of extended game play, I came to the slow realization that—bloody hell— they really do mean for some repetitive few hundred puzzle rooms and some barely-extended versions of the same to, like, be the game, don't they? What's more, its focus on item crafting and boilerplate "fetch X number of troll sphincters to get an item that'll be worthless in a few hours" quests turn the game into nothing more than an endless grind for better equipment that will break at the most inopportune moment with little chance for recourse, because that was just so much fun in earlier games, roight?

Yep, all Breath of the Wild is, is 100+ hours of gathering resources so you can upgrade your weapons to get better resources to make better weapons to get better resources to realize that you deeply question your life choices. This approach, ultimately, renders every thing the game does right, things of infinitesimal inconsequence. They don't as much create a new direction for Zelda by incorporating recent trends, as they do their hardest to make Breath fit that often unimaginative and rote mold by cutting off parts so they can fit a square peg into a round hole. At what cost, Nintendo? At what cost?

How can a flame that burned so brightly suddenly burn so pale...?

Needless to say, Breath of the Wild is the biggest disappointment of my life as a video game connoisseur this side of the millennium, and that's even before the damage it will cause to a continuing series can be assessed in full. I sincerely wish it had never been made at all. If future games are to model themselves on its profound, singular mediocrity, then we two are no more.

All legends must have an end.

12/27/2017 00:00:00

I hardly see an issue with the weapon durability system, since:

  • A.) weapons are plentiful enough that's it's easy to find replacements for any that you've lost.
  • B) The game offers a multitude of ways to dispatch enemies (such as using environmental hazards to your advantage), without charging in with your melee weapon.
  • C). Stealth kills and headshots allow you to kill quickly while preserving weapon durability.

...and above all, combat in most cases is optional. So if you're that concerned about possibly having a favorite weapon break, either use a different one, or just don't fight.

Personally, I use archery as my primary means of attack, 'cuz it's so effective that I rarely have need of my melee weapons anymore (including the Master Sword). Speaking of which, there's another viable alternative. By clearing the Trial of the Sword, you'll fully power the MS which doubles its durability and anytime it starts to wear out, there's a quick and simple solution to recharge it.

I'll disagree with the review in general, but I wanted to address that point in particular because of how often people complain about it. I'm remiss to use the "get gud" meme, but in this case, I'd say it applies because the game gives you a wealth of options. There are numerous You Tube vids of players finding creative ways to drop mobs; including elite enemies such as Lynels in record time without sacrificing their weapons stash.

That's the inherent advantage of open design.

03/06/2018 00:00:00

What are you talking about? You canít upgrade your weapons with resources. Thatís not even a gameplay feature. You can upgrade your armor, but that doesnít break and most armor stays useful for the whole game. I fail to understand what youíre trying to say.

03/06/2018 00:00:00

You can buy better weapons (or \"buy\" better weapons in the case of a lot of the item-trading), and upgrading armor is one of the game\'s primary progression systems. A lot of the game is just resource acquisition. Indeed, I think he is too generous in calling it a \"loop\" when, effectively, the rewards for combat are so paltry and the costs so high that it\'s never a good idea unless you can\'t find a way around or just want to have some fun.

I liked the game more than he did, but I didn\'t nearly like it as much as I\'d like another traditional Zelda title, and I agree that this one\'s immense critical and commercial success has single-handedly ensured I\'ll probably not see another for a very long time. And also agree that the opening brims with promise, but the rest of the game squanders it with bare-bones storytelling, cut-and-paste enemies, and a lack of good sidequests or screentime for the side characters.

03/08/2018 00:00:00

@SpectralTime: How is the story "bare bones"? BotW has the deepest narrative of any entry in the series, so far.

The player can always choose to ignore the story and head straight for Ganon, but that doesn't mean it's lacking. In all honesty, most traditional Zeldas have minimalistic narratives. The only reason anyone think there's progression is because they unfold in linear fashion, whereas BotW leaves it up to the player to uncover the story however they choose.

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