Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Game: Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Rated: E for Everyone

Status: Worth Playing

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You can see more about it here.

Overview

Zelda’s been around since I was a kid, so it was fun to share it with my almost-kindergartner. She loves the game.

I’ve heard it called Skyrim for Zelda, and that’s not an inaccurate description.

 

Pros

  • It’s E for everyone, so the violence is cartoon in nature (think Road Runner or Bugs Bunny).

 

  • Bad Guys – Anything Link kills looks like a monster. These monsters come back alive at the next Blood Moon, so they don’t truly stay dead.

 

  • Not Scary – My daughter can be scared by My Little Pony. There was nothing in this game that truly scared her until we got to Gannon at the end. She would occasionally get frustrated with the puzzles in the game, but that’s okay.

 

  • Puzzles – The puzzles are challenging and thoughtful. Not something DD1 could solve on her own, but it challenged her to come up with ideas as even DH and I weren’t able to solve all of them easily.

 

  • Memories – We all enjoyed collecting “memories” (Link has lost his) and seeing what happened that led up to the post-apocalyptic world you start in. It let us get to see the way Zelda and Link went from an adversarial relationship, to friends, to something much deeper.

 

  • Environment – Environment becomes a factor to consider rather than just a backdrop: skeleton monsters come out of the ground at night, rain makes climbing more difficult, the sun rises and sets, the moon rises and sets, there are phases of the moon, etc. Many of these things actually feature in the gameplay, such as being properly equipped for the freezing mountain temperatures.

 

  • Load Screens– The load screens reasonable in length. Bethesda could learn a few things about this.

 

  • Armor Sets – DD1 loved the fact that Link could change his clothes, and she was very mindful that he didn’t overheat or freeze. These outfits were all upgradable, and really needed to be upgraded as you faced tougher monsters.

 

  • Rewards Worth the Challenge – Some things were always a challenge. Lynells and guardians, for example, are never a cake walk even at end game. You are rewarded for the effort with amazing weapons.

 

Cons

  • Gender Roles – It reinforces traditional gender roles. Zelda is the one who can’t master her power. Zelda is the one who falls crying to the ground. Zelda is the one yelled at by her father. Link is the one that has to save her. Blah. I almost didn’t buy the game because of this. Little girls get enough of this garbage without stuff like this reinforcing it. The game was originally going to feature the ability to choose whether you played Zelda or Link as the hero. I hope they release DLC that allows this. It wouldn’t be that difficult of a change. Not really. And it would let little girls see a girl kicking Bokoblin butt. I’ve tried to convince DD1 to think of Link as a girl, but she’s having none of it. Already. This is why not giving girls the option to play a girl is so awful.

 

  • Graphics – Enough said.
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Frankly, the graphics from 2006 Twilight Princess were better.
  • Ending – I won’t spoil the ending, but we were disappointed. Not with the game play, per se, but I wanted the traditional cathartic release you expect at the end of a game. Especially a game this long. I didn’t get it, and I didn’t get to keep playing to finish up all those armor upgrades. Once you defeat Gannon, the whole thing is over even if you haven’t finished exploring. Hoping for a DLC on this where you can have Zelda as a companion and keep investigating the world. Seems wrong to leave the princess in the tower holding Gannon at bay while I explore the expansive world.

 

  • Controls – Unlike Mario Kart that my almost-kindergartener can not only play by herself, but give her father a run for first place, the controls for BOTW (Breath of the Wild) are complex. Even my husband had some issues at times. This was not a game DD1 could play on her own.

 

  • Tedious Upgrades – Some of the clothing upgrades grew tedious. How many times do I really need to camp the dragons to shoot some part of them?

 

  • No Real Story – There main story is pretty sparse, though the memories help. It’s really just: defeat Big Bad or else he will unleash total devastation. No explanation as to why, no character development, not even for Link or Zelda. And there’s clearly a huge opportunity with this with all Zelda has to do to unlock her power. Not even any really good side stories for Link to get involved in as he tries to regain enough strength to defeat Gannon. I suppose this is par for video games, which is really sad. They have the opportunity to do so much more.

 

All in, if you aren’t worried about the gender stereotypes, it’s well worth a play through.

Best Game Purchase of 2015/2016

When Fallout 4 came out, DH bought it the day it was released.

I rolled my eyes when he brought it home. We have 2 small children, and the only time he could play it is on the weekends when the kids are napping or at night, after they go to bed. But he really wanted to play it.

He’s been a fan of the series since it first came out back in ye olde 90s, and he introduced it to me with Fallout 3 and later New Vegas. He played them on the PS3 that was attached to the big screen in our living room. I didn’t get his attraction to the game at first. The plot was flimsy, the characters shallow and uninteresting, and the world irredeemable.

But the longer he played, the more I got into it. It’s like your own mini-dystopia to play in. Whether you’re snooping around Cthuluesque Dunwich building, listening to holotapes of the corruption of the pre-bomb world, exploring Zetan spaceships, or kicking the tar out of the enclave, you’re free to roam and explore. And Bethesda has purposely put interesting things in all sorts of random places to get you to explore.

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Fallout 4 is much the same, and has lured us in just as Fallout 3 and New Vegas did.

The story stinks and I convinced DH not to finish it so that “we” can stay friends with the Institute, Railroad, Minutemen, and Brotherhood. Bethesda won’t give us a “perfect” ending and is trying to show how the world never gets better. People never learn. Blah, blah , blah. Or, they’re just trying to keep their franchise around . . .

Whatever. They all need me to be their rain maker, so they can all suck it and not kill each other on my watch.

There are few living plants and no trees, which DH is quick to point out is ridiculous after 200 years. Just look at Chernobyl, Nagasaki, or Hiroshima. And it hasn’t been anywhere near 200 years. Much of the science is altogether bogus, and few of the characters are more than mildly interesting.

And, of course, there are other things that keep our interest . . .

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Just freakin’ remember to take out the fusion cores before you leave.

Still, we were both super excited for the Nuka World release a couple of weeks ago. So much to do. So much to explore. Better than Far Harbor, in my opinion. And so many raiders to figure out how to back-stab while trying to do as many quests as possible before “we” turn on them. Ahhh, Fallout 4 at its best! Interesting things to see, do, and explore, but no real depth to any of them.

Getting back and forth to the Commonwealth to defend your settlements can be a bit of a pain, and you would think the settlements could protect themselves, especially after equipping all the settlers with full combat armor, grenades, energy weapons, and a boatload of turrets.

But they can’t, so back we go.

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Perhaps the most fun is making up your own characters and situations.

DH is also a writer, so we create characters in the world that are just our own. Filling them in with backstories and other interesting bits. Perhaps the Sole Survivor comes across them, perhaps not, but the world of Fallout is rich and gives a fertile playground for the imagination.

It’s also fun because we both have favorite factions, and they’re not the same. I am torn between the Brotherhood I want them to be (like under Lyons) and the Institute with my much more ethical Sole Survivor in charge. (Shaun, what happened to you?!?)

Whereas DH swings hard towards he Minutemen and to a lesser extent, the Railroad.

So while the game is less than perfect, it is a fun playground for our imaginations. That, alone, is worth what we spent on the game and the DLC pass.

 

How about you? Have you played any of the Fallout Games? Did you like them? Hate them? Play any other fabulous games lately? What did you like about those?