Zelda Breath of the Wild tore up the rulebook when it launched for Nintendo Switch in 2017.
Taking place in a mammoth open world, the epic Legend of Zelda release gives players freedom to explore the environment and complete quests in any order they please.
You can skip most of the game and attempt to battle Ganon from the off – although good luck with that if you do – or visit towers and shrines, perform quests, and search for new items.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild has certainly gone down well with fans and critics, scoring an incredible 97% on Metacritic and selling nearly 15 million copies at the time of writing.
It’s been such a success that Nintendo announced plans to release a direct sequel during the company’s 2019 E3 Direct conference.
But while fans are right to be excited about any new Zelda game, my problem is that the first game isn’t as good as everybody makes out.
I’m not suggesting that Breath of the Wild is a bad game or anything as preposterous as that, but I do think it’s a tad overrated.
Nintendo must make these improvements if Breath of the Wild 2 is to avoid the same fate.
Where’s the story?
For a game that can quite easily run past the 100 hour mark, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is incredibly light on plot and character development, especially compared to previous games in the series like Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker.
Players can piece together past events by unlocking various memories – and it’s recommended that you do – but there’s still very little beyond the initial premise of defeating Ganon and restoring peace to the land.
Storytelling tends to suffer in most open-world, non-linear games, because the narrative only progresses once you’ve finished messing about in the sandbox and decide to move the plot forward. The problem is even worse in Breath of the Wild, because there’s really not much of a plot to begin with.
If the Breath of the Wild 2 teaser trailer is anything to go by, then it looks like Nintendo will address this issue with the darker sequel, so fingers crossed.
Please do something about the rain…
In theory, I like the way Breath of the Wild forces players to consider the elements when moving around and exploring the game world. It makes it feel much more like a survival game, where you have to plan ahead and ensure you have the correct provisions.
In reality, however, the rain and lightning made me want to throw my Switch on the floor in frustration. For a game that involves so much climbing, it’s annoying that you can’t make much of any progress when it rains… and it rains a lot.
Hopefully the sequel will have some unlockable gear or rune that can be used to offset your inability to climb in wet weather conditions.
The lightning is also a pain in the backside, but at least you could do something about that.
Make stronger weapons…
Zelda Breath of the Wild encourages players to explore the world and make their own adventures, which is something I really admire about the game. Unfortunately, when rain makes it impossible to climb, players are more likely to cut journeys short and fast travel instead.
I would argue that the lack of weapon durability has a similar effect on the game’s combat. Breath of the Wild’s weapons are ridiculously fragile, breaking after just a few strikes.
While this gives players increased motivation to hunt for Korok seeds in order to increase inventory slots, it also makes me want to avoid combat altogether in order to keep my better weapons intact.
I’m all for weapon maintenance in games, but Breath of the Wild’s system is over-the-top and annoying.
Give us some more variety…
Ultimately, Breath of the Wild feels a bit sparse for such a big game. There are too few enemy types, a lack of engaging side quests and not much in the way of story.
Even the shrines – of which there are more than 100 – feel like they’ve been copy and pasted, sharing the same aesthetic and falling under the same handful of different categories. I would have preferred fewer shrines with more diversity.
Here’s hoping Nintendo shoots for a tighter game with more variety when Breath of the Wild 2 finally hits the Switch.