Last time, we talked about how Breath of the Wild makes use of its shrines as a short-form, handheld-friendly take on the Zelda series’ dungeoneering.
There’s another major part of the game that provides an interesting twist on this traditional aspect of the franchise, however, and that’s the Divine Beasts.
Providing significant, dramatic, story-critical challenges for Link to overcome, the Divine Beasts may, once again, be a bit of a deviation from Zelda’s previously established norms, but they’re still very cool.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 6 – A Beast of a Time
We’ve already seen numerous ways in which The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild distinguishes itself from its illustrious predecessors, but one of the more controversial changes for some was how it handled “dungeons”.
Rather than unfolding through a progression of discrete, large, self-contained dungeons that become more challenging as the game progresses, Breath of the Wild instead provides you with 120 shrines to discover and solve, with each taking just a few minutes at most to get through.
It’s a markedly different approach to classic Zelda — but it fits perfectly with the game’s non-linear, exploration-centric structure. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 5 – Indoor Play
I’m not an especially active or outdoorsy type… but I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of being out in nature. You know, so long as it isn’t trying to bite, sting, cut, burn, poison crush or otherwise bring me to harm in one way or another.
Some of my fondest memories are from childhood, when I had the good fortune to be able to go camping with both my class at school and my Cub Scout pack. My most longstanding, happiest recollections of those trips do not involve the many activities we participated in — but rather simple things, such as gradually drifting off to sleep to the soothing sound of rain on canvas (occasionally punctuated by class clown Christopher Smith farting) or feeling a quiet sense of awe at the almost complete silence around us, save for the leaves on the forest’s trees rustling in the wind.
Breath of the Wild is making me extremely nostalgic for all this sort of thing. And, best of all, I don’t have to go out in the blazing hot British summer sunshine and/or torrential British rain to enjoy it.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 4 – Peace and Quiet
“I wonder what’s over there” has been an aspect of game design that creators of open world games have been grappling with for some time now.
Ideally, when playing an open world game, the player should be able to find a definitive answer to “I wonder what’s over there” simply by… well, going there. “You see those mountains in the distance? You can actually go there” and all that.
Not every open world game gets this quite right, but Breath of the Wild presents an excellent example of how to do it very well indeed.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 3 – I Wonder What’s Over There
One key way in which Breath of the Wild differs from its predecessors in the Legend of Zelda series is in how it handles protagonist Link’s core abilities.
In past Zelda games, Link would typically (though not always) gradually acquire a selection of useful items over the course of his adventure, and in most cases these would correspond to the challenges in the dungeon or situation in which he found them.
In Breath of the Wild, meanwhile, you get given all of your abilities almost from the very beginning of your adventure, and then it’s up to you to spend the rest of the game figuring out all the different ways in which you can use them.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 2 – Toys of the Trade
I’ve had The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sitting on my backlog for a long time now, and I’ve been trying to work out the best way to cover it, because I knew that I definitely wanted to cover it in one form or another.
Was a Cover Game feature right for it? Perhaps, but with one or two exceptions, I tend to prefer to reserve the Cover Game slot for games that don’t get much attention from the mainstream press. And Breath of the Wild has certainly had plenty of mainstream attention.
The other consideration was that Breath of the Wild is a massive game, so doing something a bit more… “long term” was perhaps in order. With that in mind, then, I welcome you to the first installment of The Zelda Diaries, chronicling my journey through this ruined Hyrule, and the thoughts that occurred to me along the way.
Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 1 – A New Beginning