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Breath of the Wild: A breath of fresh air

By Alex Paolozzi, March 7 2022—

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the 19th instalment of the Legend of Zelda video game series. Much like all the other instalments, it features you as the hero, Link — no, not Zelda — around the mystical land of Hyrule. You partake in various missions and quests to free Princess Zelda, hence the title of the series, from the evil Calamity Ganon, while also managing to set the rest of the kingdom of Hyrule free in the process. 

If you are a fan of the Zelda video game series, you may be asking yourself why bother with playing another variation of the same style of game that has been around for decades? And the simple answer to that is that Breath of the Wild, while similar in some aspects to a regular old Zelda game, is so much more than a typical run-of-the-mill somewhat remastered version of the series. 

In a typical Zelda game, the overarching structure for the series has been for the characters in the game to tell you to “go to this specific place on the map to get this item” or, “go there because you need to fight the next boss and that’s where you’ll find them” or, “talk to this person in this town because you’ll need something from them to move on with the campaign.” This is how I would describe a typical Zelda game and would like to categorize it as a “here and there” genre of a video game. 

Now let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with a “here and there” type of game. Hell, I’ve played many video games with lots of structure and process geared toward them and have enjoyed them to a seemingly endless extent. This, however, is not what Breath of the Wild is about. Breath of the Wild takes a whole different and unexplored twist on a typical classic Zelda game — you are allowed and encouraged to take the adventure into your own hands. 

The game is played throughout an “open world” platform which allows the player to explore every nook and cranny of Hyrule, none of which the likes have ever before been experienced within the Zelda series. Being as Breath of the Wild is an “open world” game, this means that you are free to climb, travel and interact with every developed aspect of the game with no limits on how you approach enemies or unexplored areas.

This “open world” platform allows the player to discover, on their own, how to solve puzzles and defeat bosses, whereas, for decades, a regular Zelda game would sometimes almost hold your hand on how to achieve certain missions and be very involved in where you would be going next and how you would get there. 

In Breath of the Wild, you can get from point A to point B on foot, by horseback, paragliding or even sailing. You can kill enemies in whatever creative and outside-of-the-box ways you can think of — you can even fish or hunt for food to create new recipes to replenish health. Breath of the Wild allows for you to take a step back from the main mission of saving the princess and destroying evil and allows for you to walk around Hyrule and get to know all the different kingdoms and people that reside there. 

The game gives so much attention to detail and is beautiful to look at —from endless desert valleys to the farthest corners of the ocean. The different elements and terrains are all unique and made to look so realistic. The world itself is eloquently designed to be admired from as far as the eye can see. Simply looking across the horizon to admire the beauty of nature, or climbing to the top of a mountain to stare at the sunset makes the game seem even more life-like.

The game developers spared no expense towards the details within this game. There simply is no structure to the game and players can choose to engage in whichever way they see fit. Sure, some parts of the game still have that typical Zelda game feeling but that makes sense. I wouldn’t want to play a Zelda game without the typical puzzle-solving or saving-the-princess-story arch that the fans of the series have grown to love.

All I’m saying is that Breath of the Wild takes a turn that some may have never imagined would be a part of a Zelda game and it is refreshing to see a new spin on an old classic. Breath of the Wild is another way for players to experience one of the most beloved video game franchises of all time and I would highly recommend both Zelda and non-Zelda fans to give this game a try.

If you love adventure games, there will certainly be something for you to enjoy about the openness and well-roundedness of The Breath of the Wild.

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