Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild


I’ve been playing this slowly since release, and just recently got my wife started on it. She’s not much of a gamer (beyond the Mario/Kart games, she’s only played Animal Crossing and Windwaker) but she’s completely hooked now. She just called me at work to gush about finding a giant horse.


It’s just amazing… it does so many things so well. The depth of the gameplay is surprising too, in terms of how you can do so many things due to various underlying mechanics.

Even 5 minutes into the game, I was doing stuff that was fairly simple, but still surprising. I accidentally swung the axe I had found, and swiped down a bunch of grass. This was reminicent of previous games, so that was neat… but then I swung it at a tree, and sure enough, could chop IT down. Or just bang on the tree to get apples to fall.

I lit a tree branch on fire near the old man, and was like, “Hey, I wonder if you can burn this bush…” sure enough, it caught fire… then it spread to the grass next to it, and to me.

It’s just all these little things, put together in this amazingly perfect way.

It’s been a long while since I have seen how amazing the Zelda team is at making games, but this highlights their skill in new ways. I honestly didn’t think it would be this good. I figured it’d be a mostly derivative and nostalgic experience, and I was ok with that… but they did something special with it, while still holding true to their roots.

I generally like games. Even games which other folks don’t like that much, I can almost always find something to enjoy about almost any game. But it’s rare that I have the experience that this game is giving me. Probably the last game to impress me to this extent was Witcher 3.

It really reminds me of Ocarina of Time in this regard. When we see it today, Ocarina is dated. But it still holds up, and at the time, Ocarina of Time was up there with the greatest games ever made in the entirety of video games, in my opinion at least. I think that literally everyone I know who ever played it loved it. I can see this game having a similar effect on folks, especially those who haven’t been exposed to games much in the past.


I think the witcher 3 is a very apt comparison, except that in the Witcher 3 a lot of what was there was there through sheer force of production. That’s a huge game with a huge amount of content, and that’s where it’s soul lies, but then a lot of that content is slightly sloppily slapped together. It’s understandable and a great game, but you could see the seams.

What I love about this one is that it evoques a comparable sense of awe towards it’s world with a tiny fraction of the content. It’s not really an expensive to produce game (comparatively). The amount of unique mechanics, enemies, terrain… It’s not that much for the size of the game. But it’s crafted so beautifully, which such care towards geography and biology, and avoiding repetition, and with such few extraneous elements (I would say almost none) that it works wonderfully in a way that’s both expansive and minimalist at the same time.


I think the coolest thing about all the incredible interaction in Breath of the Wild is how they arrived at much of it by simply looking backwards to the very first Legend of Zelda for inspiration.


Another confirmation that the second DLC will be releasing in 2017 comes via a special message for Nintendo’s antipodean fans, with Eiji Aonuma reassuring those hungry for new content that the team’s “currently working on it with great effort” and “it’ll be available by the end of this year.”

Yesterday, I foolishly missed that the GOTY thread on QT3 was specially for PC games, so I’ll post why I’m in love with BOTW here instead:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is my favorite game ever, and even 80 hours in, the game keeps presenting me with situations that throw me off balance; I can’t rely on rote gameplay reflexes. It’s not I don’t love the familiar, that’s what keeps me coming back to FPS campaigns, but there’s something about how the systems interact, complimented by just the right amount of authored/scripted content and feedback, which I just find myself losing hours to this thing (I can’t afford to stay up late!). I have to see if a certain tactic will let me avoid a nasty campfire, or if I can manipulate the physics system in a strange way to solve a puzzle, and the reactivity of the world is just a delight which never stops surprising me.

I know immersive is a word that gets thrown around too much, but I just find this game engages me in a way that others can’t approach, at least not since the original Thief. A week ago, I stumbled across the Iwata easter egg. It was such a gorgeous, sincere gesture that you don’t usually see in games.


It’s a beautifully engaging work of art that’s for sure, and unless something amazing happens with Xenoblade 2 it’ll be topping my list this year too. I struggle to think of any finer gaming experiences I’ve had.


It bounced off me when I tried to play, but after reading everyone’s compliments I am willing to try again. I’ve never played a Zelda game before, so I have no history with the series. My first attempt to play failed because the world was too open. I started, talked to that guy, did the first shrine or two (have a couple of powers) and then stopped because I couldn’t really figure out what to do next. Wandering the world led me to places where I would just freeze to death.

Is there a non-spoileriffic walkthrough or guide? This kind of open world just may be too open for me. I need more NPCs with exclamation marks floating above their heads. Supposedly there’s some kind of town or hub that I never found?


Cook some food to keep yourself warm.
You were going in the right direction.


How does one cook food? I think I tried throwing apples into a fire, but that didn’t work.

I don’t usually require this much handholding, but I guess I’m getting old :)


Some fires have a pot over them. Some do not. Those that do can be used to add ingredients to. You can hold multiple things in your arms at once and them drop them in the pot! Experiment!

You can also toss a single apple in a fire and provided it starts on fire, it will also cook. :)

Look for red spicy peppers for those cold areas. ;)

Basically, think about the game the same way you would think about interacting with things if you were really there. Yes, some of what you can do is “videogamey” but everything fits together in physically realistic and chemically realistic ways.


Thanks. I’ll definitely give it another go. I’ve held onto the game because I knew I would some day.


Just don’t be afraid to just play. The best thing about the game is there is no right way to do things. You could make a beeline for Ganon if you want to. You could never fight him at all. It’s totally up to you. There are bread crumbs and quests and the like, and following those are good for some direction, but you really can just climb whatever mountain you want to climb. The entire game is a puzzle that’s not unlike life itself, minus a permanent death if you fail. You can always continue from the Game Over screen. Have fun!


I met the fish people last night. It’s interesting how you learn more about the past ordeal with Zelda and the other Champions through your memories. Zelda, especially, has more of an actual character than she ever had in any past game.

As Dave mentions, the game is very open, with lots of ways to do things. Similarly, much of the game world makes sense, even if it’s in a gamified way.

For instance, climbing rocks works in a reasonable manner… The steeper the slope, the more stamina it uses. If you try to climb up under an overhang, you’ll usually slip off. But you can jump up while under an overhang, and he’ll leap out from the cliff face and grab the ledge, ultimately saving stamina (where jumping up a cliff face generally uses more stamina than just moving up the face).

Stuff like weather has a non trivial impact. Rain makes stuff slippery, and so climbing is harder. But it also makes it easier to sneak up on stuff by raising the ambient sound.

Lightning is pretty amazing in this game… and it WILL hit you. If you’re running around in a lightning storm, and holding metal weapons, you run the risk of getting zapped (but you’ll know it’s coming).


Just like real life, if you eat lots of hot peppers you’ll turn red and can survive in the arctic.


The science checks out.


They warm you!


When I got the heat protection armor and they immediately introduced an area where it wasn’t effective and you still needed elixirs I almost put the game down for good. I finished off the Goron beast, have one left but probably won’t pick it back up for a while with all the other stuff that has released recently or is out soon. I’ll finish it, but it may be 2018 when I do.

A lot of little things aggravate me about this one.


Wait… which heat protection armor? The one in the shop in the Goron village?


Even on the plateau at the very beginning of the game, there are many ways you can approach getting the four shrines:

  • You could find the old guy and his shack, in which there is a book that teaches you how to cook
  • You could climb up the sides of mountains to scale places you think you “shouldn’t” get to, but it’s fully in line with what the game expects
  • You could find one part of the plateau where the old guy gives you a jacket that will keep you warm enough
  • You could experiment on your own to figure out how to cook
  • You can just collect a bunch of food, like apples and peppers, and eat them regularly as you go up the cold area to replenish the health you’re losing from being cold

The biggest thing to learn in Breath of the Wild is that there simply isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do anything. The game is intentionally open in a way where you’re encouraged to just try combining the different systems together however you might want to.

The “right” way to do something is whatever you personally happen to come up with that allows you to survive while reaching your goal.


Well, once you get off the tutorial plateau you could. But yes. :)

The plateau is a beautifully designed tutorial area that mirrors the rest of the game in miniature. It teaches you a lot you need to know in an organic manner rather than constantly holdng your hand (bar the control popups early on). You just need to be observant, and experiment.

For example, when you first emerge into the wild there’s the old man by the fire. There’s an apple tree just before the fire. You can knock them down, pick them up, eat them. They restore a bit of health.

There’s also an apple lying by the fire - but it’s a ‘baked’ apple. When you pick it up, via natural-sounding dialogue the old man hints that you can combine apples with fire. If you talk to him a second time, he gives more direct information about cooking apples. It’s not just flavour text, it’s tutorial.

So you try it by dropping an apple next the fire, and lo and behold it catches fire and turns into a baked version, which restores a bit more health than the uncooked version. Then you wonder what else you can burn … there’s a torch lying nearby. When you pick it up, the old man warns you to be careful with it near dry grass… and so it goes. :)

There are similar moments when you find the old man again, chopping down trees, cooking in a pot by combining items, and hunting. It’s all the way the game teaches by showing in the gameplay, rather than telling.