Why Legend Of Zelda Breath Of The Wild Is The Most Unique Game Of This Decade
Iterating on one of the most time-tested, influential and all-round popular gaming formulas of all time is never an easy thing. It’s why Nintendo have mostly stayed true to the template they established for The Legend of Zelda back in 1991’s A Link to the Past, though that gets around the fact, that the inaugural 1986 original had far more open-ended aspirations.
When it comes to changing the ‘Zelda formula’, gone is the need to gate off parts of the environment behind a specific item or unlockable. Yes, there’s a tutorial to get you started, but once you’ve got your handy Sheikah Slate loaded up with all its basic functions, every last part of the gargantuan world around you is open for business.
Because to be fair, “See that? You can climb it!” has become an open-world catchphrase, but BotW gives its landscape real consequence, mixing a stamina-dependant climbing, swimming and traversal system with a number of elemental and physics-based powers. All of these feed directly into how you’ll approach enemy camps and underground puzzle Shrines (the new Dungeons), allowing you to tap into a more experimental mentality when deciding what to do.
Want to set fire to a pile of wood, then use a Kokro leaf to blow the flames into some exploding barrels? Feel free. How about grabbing a boulder with your levitation power, dangling it above a boss and dropping it straight on their head? All the in-world ‘elements’ react as they should, opening up the playful nature of any interact-able scenario more than any other entry in the franchise.