Having never before played a Zelda game, going into Breath of the Wild presented a rare opportunity. As such an influential franchise in the industry, a large proportion of people currently playing through the latest of Link’s adventures will be doing so having already played through one of the previous titles in the franchise available.
Stepping out onto the great plateau for the first time gives you a first insight into the vast open world landscape that the developers have been working towards for so many years. Aesthetically, the game is stunning. Lighting and shadow effects are not only prominent throughout but are well balanced and add to the iconic art style that the game promotes.
Whilst Link is able to fast travel between locations that you discover during the course of your playthrough, I’ve found myself often travelling the old fashion way between objectives solely because graphically the game makes such a menial journey so enjoyable.
Freedom plays a huge part within Breath of the Wild. Not only does the game allow you to pretty much go wherever you want from the offset, there’s a diverse range of mechanics integrated into the game that gives you the freedom to act and play in a style that suits you.
It’s the attention to detail that sets Breath of the Wild apart from other titles around. From cutting trees to climbing cliffs, there’s a huge amount of joy to be found just exploring the world before you. Throughout the game, your shield can be doubled up as a board which Link can use to surf down the slopes and grassy rolling hills throughout Hyrule.
Weapon degradation also plays an effect throughout the game, encouraging you to constantly explore and find new items on display throughout the land. That being said, at times weapons appear to wear thin far too quickly, just as you’re about to get familiar with a new spear or rusty sword it’ll shatter into a thousand fragments leaving you weaponless and at times frustrated.
Perhaps the most useful item utilisable from the offset is the Sheikah slate, an ancient device that allows you to harness the power of different runes discoverable across Hyrule.
Just as you’re about to get familiar with a new spear or rusty sword it’ll shatter into a thousand fragments
The slate provides a subtle nod towards the Switch’s portable device which only adds to the charm of the device. Getting to grips with the slates various rune based powers is at times slightly clunky but provides the basis for some interesting and fascinating puzzles throughout the world’s various shrines.
Unfortunately, my experience with Breath of the Wild so far has been marred by a lack of optimisation on Nintendo’s part. Whilst, for the most part, the game runs considerably well on the Switch’s handheld there are noticeable issues with framerate especially when the console is docked and played at a higher resolution. At times these issues cause the game to slow to a point where it makes it difficult to actually play.
In all honesty with the time Nintendo have spent on Breath of the Wild framerate issues like these not only can’t be overlooked. They take away from the immersive nature of the gameplay and take away from its fun factor.
Many review scores for Breath of the Wild have given it perfect scores across the internet, but until Nintendo fix the game’s graphical performance, I don’t feel like the game can be considered as such.
This copy of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was bought and paid for in full by our Editor-in-chief Jared. Having spent only 6 hours playing the game this review serves to display his first impression of the game.