In what has become one of the most acclaimed entries not just in The Legend of Zelda, but in the whole pantheon of Nintendo greats, Breath of the Wild launched the Switch on its runaway success. More than that, however, it has come to be praised for venturing beyond series norms and bring a breath of
wild fresh air to Link’s adventures. Gone is the linear progression across Hyrule through a defined order of dungeons. From the outset past the opening area, the player is free to explore the entirety of the game’s map with virtually no restriction. Whether actions are taken to progress the story at all is optional in lieu of wondering at will through the various environs, climbing everything in sight.
This climbing mechanic itself is one of the most exciting features that Breath of the Wild offers. The ability to traverse terrain vertically adds more than just a single new dimension to the experience of exploring Hyrule. Peaks and valleys throughout the overworld hide mysteries and puzzles, but they also offer perspectives over landscapes that continuously entice players to discover what lies around, above, or below each next horizon. Further encouraging meticulous combing of the game’s eponymous wild is the hunt for the some 900 korok seeds tucked into myriad hiding spots, as well as the collectathon of hundreds of armor, weapons, and materials along with associated photographs for the log. All of these obtainables contribute to the player’s completion percentage, which the endeavor to raise kept me coming back to Breath of the Wild over and over.
As if the base game didn’t offer enough to do, Breath of the Wild has received two major DLC upgrades. The first, Trial of the Master Sword, challenges the player to progress through a series of chambers using nothing except what can be found within the trial itself. Ballad of the Champions, the second DLC, adds even more puzzle shrines and even a new dungeon, complete with boss fight. As a reward for completing each new side quest, the player receives boosted strength and abilities to aid the never-ending journey to uncover every inch of Hyrule.
I also snagged the Special Edition release on day 1, which included a nice commemorative coin, map of Hyrule, soundtrack selection, and Switch carrying case. I make frequent use of the carrying case when I travel and love its cushioned interior with hard plastic exterior that gives me piece of mind knowing my console is protected while in my travel bag.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a must-have for experienced fans of the series and newcomers alike. Even more casual players will love wandering the wild at a self-determined pace. We can’t recommend this one enough (edit:) and are eagerly awaiting the release of the announced sequel.