Shacknews Game of the Year 2017: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

In a year defined by Nintendo's willingness to reinvent itself, Breath of the Wild's developers stripped away convention to create a masterpiece that will stand the test of time.

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In 2009, Rocksteady Studios' Batman: Arkham Asylum received praise as the best Batman game and arguably the best comic-book-inspired game created to date. Such specific accolades never sat well with me.

While there's no denying that the Batman license made the game's characters, gadgets, and locations instantly recognizable, Arkham Asylum was a fantastic game independent of those elements. It was a compulsively playable "Metroid-vania" title, full of lore to uncover and nooks and crannies to plunder. Moreover, its Freeflow Combat system was so simple to pick up yet difficult to master that it became—and continues to be—as pervasive in action games as Resident Evil 4's and God of War's quicktime events years earlier.

In the same vein, many reviews of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hailed it as the best Legend of Zelda game. While that may be true, that compliment sells short Breath of the Wild's confluence of visual flair, perfectly understated audio, purposeful world design, wildly malleable game systems, and player-driven storytelling sure to leave as indelible a mark on game design as 1998's Ocarina of Time, as well as the franchise's 1986 debut, before it.

Breath of the Wild makes a strong case for handcrafted content. Many developers turn to procedural content generation to populate their worlds with things to do and see. That's understandable. Algorithmically generated content is much more affordable to produce, and makes for experiences guaranteed to turn out differently every time. Nintendo shunned convention, opting to place every mountain, sand dune, expansive plains, village, lake, river, stream, and shrine by hand. The result is a world that feels both purposeful and excitingly uncharted, waiting for you to discover it.

"By hand" is exactly how millions of players have come to prefer exploring open-world games. The simple act of making every surface scalable adds a new dimension to interaction with terrain. When a mountain or derelict temple stands in your path, you need not go around it. Just latch on to it and climb it. At the top, you'll usually find something worthwhile, but the act of climbing is quick, smooth, and freeing—a reward in and of itself, one that has rendered conventional modalities of travel cumbersome.

Exploring Breath of the Wild's massive world is satisfying not only because it's a delight to navigate, but because of what you can find or do on a moment-to-moment basis. Every time I set a goal—find and conquer a shrine, win over a Divine Beast, stock up on cooking ingredients—two or three other things competed for my attention. Everywhere I look there's a new place to explore, a new enemy type or mob of enemies to fight, or flora of fauna to add to my bag of cooking ingredients.

Much like Link tossing a mix of this, that, and the other into a cookpot, Breath of the Wild's combat borrows ideas from previous 3D Zelda titles, while stirring in new ingredients. Dark Souls fans will find the game's parry system a welcome addition, but the timing required to flip over an enemy attack and then land a flurry of strikes feels immensely gratifying to pull off.

Yet sword-and-board combat is only one way to approach monsters. Runes such as bombs and Stasis give players an edge. Or shoot a fire arrow into the tall grass at your feet, setting off a blazing fire and creating an updraft that you can ride up into the air to rain down arrows. Or toss a Lizal Forked Boomerang then catch it with Magnesis: It will rotate in place, giving you a makeshift buzz saw to grind through enemies. During one thunderstorm, the giant metal sword began to spark, indicating an imminent lightning blast. I tossed the sword on the ground near an advancing Moblin and then ran. The lightning struck the sword just as the Moblin stepped into the blast radius, chewing through the last of its health.

My favorite gif from Breath of the Wild

Freedom of expression extends far beyond combat. Players have traversed Hyrule's expansive map using Magnesis to push metallic weapons against rafts to create speedboats, jerry-rigged airships, cut down trees to use as bridges, and fallen back on the simple act of leaping from a precipice and gliding through the air.

Opening Breath of the Wild's map presents an interface that I hope to see adopted by other open-world developers. In other open-world titles, open-world maps tend to be so cluttered with icons as to be overwhelming. Their side quests are fun at first, until players realize that there are only half a dozen or so varieties. In Breath of the Wild, completed shrines act as waypoints, but every other marker is placed by you. No counter pops up when you collect another grasshopper. No objective herds you toward another tower that must be scaled to progress. Even the simplest actions such as stalking rare fireflies is satisfying because you are in control of what you're doing, and when and how often you decide you need to do it.

Hyrule lives and breathes independent of the player's actions. NPCs roam villages and the countryside, throw their arms over their heads and run for shelter when rain begins to fall, rise and turn in on their own schedules, and go meta by scolding you for coming behind sales counters or talking to them while standing on those same counters. Monsters can be seen hunting wild game in the fields. These and other actors can interact with you, but they don't need you. They're doing their own thing. Just like you.

Breath of the Wild is by no means perfect, but its flaws are mitigated largely by virtue of offering so many ways around them. Weapons degrade, but exploring will turn up more than you'll be able to carry. Even toothless starting weapons such as such as branches can be enhanced by cooking strength tonics. Rain makes surfaces slippery, but you can always find another way up, go do something else, or combine climbing gear and stamina elixirs to bound your way to the top. Stumped by a shrine puzzle? The harmony of the game's physics and chemistry systems means that unlike in Zelda games of the past, there's always more than one solution, and the solution you come up with could be totally unique.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a reinvention of Zelda, but it's so much more. It is a systems-driven masterpiece, the ideal sandbox where every step you take and every decision you make becomes uniquely your own, and the bar to which all other open-world and action titles will have to measure up for the foreseeable future.


Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Shacknews Awards as we celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017 and check out Shacknews Top 10 Games of the Year 2017.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 1, 2018 7:15 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Shacknews Game of the Year 2017: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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      January 1, 2018 9:50 PM

      I like this game very much. It is my favorite Zelda game of all-time.

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        January 2, 2018 7:32 AM

        If I ever get a Nintendo switch I would certainly plenty it

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        January 2, 2018 7:36 AM

        I'm still not placing it above Ocarina of Time, but it's damn close. I assume this discussion has already happened 2832030 times on here and I missed it.

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          January 2, 2018 7:48 AM

          Once I finish OOT on my 3ds I might give this a try.

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          January 2, 2018 7:51 AM

          OOT was so good they spent decades chasing Ocarina trying to recreate it but slightly worse.

          Theres a lot of room to improve on the BOTW formula, like in the combat and story and puzzles and dungeons. So a sequel could be good

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            January 2, 2018 7:58 AM

            Yeah, one of the best things about BotW is that its flaws are all so apparent that we can easily see methods by which the game can be improved upon in its inevitable sequels.

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          January 2, 2018 12:21 PM

          Ocarina of Time is where I stopped caring about Zelda games and Breath of the Wild is where I started again. They are such profoundly different games and I selfishly hope they keep with the new direction for a while.

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          January 2, 2018 12:28 PM

          Ocarina of Time is not even as good as A Link To The Past.

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            January 2, 2018 12:30 PM

            Thank you!

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            January 2, 2018 12:42 PM

            Or Majora's Mask, or Wind Waker.

            Neither of those are as good as A Link Between Worlds or BOTW, which is kind of insane because Nintendo arguably released two of the best Zelda games in 2013 and 2017

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        January 2, 2018 7:57 AM

        It's in my top 3 for sure.

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        January 2, 2018 8:25 AM

        I absolutely love BOTW but I do think there's a case to be made that if the overworld-dungeon_x7-ganon formula is what you liked then it's going to be in a separate class than the other Zelda games.

        That said I can't imagine them making another game like that again unless it's on the 3DS or whatever succeeds the 3DS. And that's assuming that the Switch isn't already what succeeds the 3DS long term.

        Then again not every game needs to be Super Mario Odyssey, some Mario games can be more fluff. Maybe they'll do a "throwback" Zelda game while working on whatever BOTW2 winds up being in seven years or whatever.

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          January 2, 2018 9:27 AM

          I feel like they can merge what people loved about the old Zelda games into the new open world design that BotW has put forth, although maybe not at the same scale. If they either A) increased the size and variety of the dungeons or B) built them straight into the map instead of being their own separate things it could go a long way (and would help differentiate them too). I see Hyrule Castle from BotW being the prototype for future dungeons, only maybe with a less confusing map (or maybe not) and more puzzles as gateways for getting up. I could also see whatever takes place of the tablet upgrades, instead of being what they are in BotW, be built into the dungeons as rewards there. Make it not impossible to complete anything without them but make the dungeons built around using the items that get upgraded or something like that.

          There's a lot of potential for the two design philosophies to get merged, maybe bring the baby back without the bathwater kind of deal.

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            January 2, 2018 12:03 PM

            It would basically be a cross between BOTW and A Link Between Worlds, taking two of the best games ever made and making it even better.

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      January 2, 2018 7:42 AM

      Will be interesting to see if this becomes true:

      ...sure to leave as indelible a mark on game design as 1998's Ocarina of Time, as well as the franchise's 1986 debut, before it.

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        January 2, 2018 8:06 AM

        I don't think it will. There's not nearly as much new and game-changing in BotW as all the breathless praise would have you believe.

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          January 2, 2018 8:10 AM

          It’s also almost can’t by virtue of Ocarina (and Mario 64) ushering in a new epoch of video games. e.g., BOTW uses, inter alia, Ocarina’s “z Trigger” combat system.

          I think the question is whether it’s manner of open world will be something other devs aspire to.

          We’ll see how well AC Origins and Far Cry 5 sell.

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            January 2, 2018 8:14 AM

            I don't see its version of an open world as being largely different from most other open world games.

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              January 2, 2018 8:16 AM

              It’s profoundly lonely, which is what makes it unique. The way you interact with it also feels so much better than anything else.

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                January 2, 2018 8:17 AM

                Basically it’s a true adventure game to my mind (and if we didn’t live in a world where that genre was point and click).

                The Ubisoft games and others don’t really feel that way.

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                  January 2, 2018 12:00 PM

                  Everything the developers did was to promote a sense of discovery and wonder.

                  Something like the dragons could have been presented in so many ways, most of them obvious (some badass fight or something). In this BOTW they presented them with a strong sense of romanticism and awe. This approach applied to everything else in the game.

                  TONE is something they had complete control over. Its something that a bulletpoont checklist feature focused appraisal is completely blind to.

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            January 2, 2018 9:30 AM

            Psst. Your fly is down and your JD is showing.

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              January 2, 2018 9:31 AM

              haha. Grazie, counselor. I hate when that happens.

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          January 2, 2018 8:12 AM

          the climbing is definitely overrated, its not as good as Shadow of the colossus or even *gasp* assassins creed which has some logic and animations to what you can and cant climb.

          The biggest thing is that it lets you go anywhere, which games havent done since Stalker.
          But unlike stalker this sabotages progression, puzzles never get harder because they cant build on their difficulty like linear games can. Enemies just get reskinned with higher hp after you play for a certain number of hours.

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            January 2, 2018 8:17 AM

            The biggest thing is that it lets you go anywhere, which games havent done since Stalker.

            Every open world game lets you do this to a greater or lesser degree. Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Bethesda RPGs, Witcher 3, all of them. It may be highly inadvisable to do so, but as you suggest, that helps give a sense of progression, and ultimately the game will still let you try.

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              January 2, 2018 8:20 AM

              i guess thats true. maybe its only significant as a zelda game, because those have always been about doing dungeons in a certain order to open up new areas. Sort of metroidish. Except the first of course.

              Those other games you cant complete the game first thing after the tutorial though. for better or worse

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              January 2, 2018 9:29 AM

              Those games are all full of invisible walls, aren't they? HZD, for example, puts very strict limits on where you can go and what sorts of things you can climb.

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                January 2, 2018 9:44 AM

                Not really.

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                  January 2, 2018 11:21 AM

                  Yeah all of those games are chock full of invisible walls, especially the Bethesda stuff and from what I've been hearing HZD is no different.

                  Playing Skyrim after BotW is a real eye opening experience.

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                    January 2, 2018 11:51 AM

                    Hzd has an invisible wall in that if you do get on a mountain and go off the map it'll ask you to turn back.
                    Other than that it's completely open

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                      January 2, 2018 1:18 PM

                      And the pre defined climbing areas. And the stuff blocking you from getting to spots. It’s a pretty mediocre open world game design wise.

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                        January 2, 2018 1:28 PM

                        Its a game filled with mediocre systems that still manages to be far less than the sum of its parts.

                        The people who would really enjoy it are those who already like what Guerrilla liberally cribbed from, which is Ubisoft open world games, so that makes sense here. There's definitely an audience for Assassin's Creed games so fair enough, its just not my taste, but saying that they offer anything in terms of freedom or meaningful player choice is nonsense.

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                      January 2, 2018 11:39 PM

                      Alloy can only climb certain walls and the designers put unclimbable walls everywhere to try to guide you through the game. I found playing HZD after BOTW infuriating :(

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                        January 2, 2018 11:45 PM

                        The BOTW team was much larger, so they had the luxury of being able to rethink everything.

                        I'm sure Guerrilla will do another HZD, and I'm sure they'll borrow a lot of ideas from BOTW. I expect HZD2 will have many fewer mysterious and irritating invisible walls.

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                  January 2, 2018 11:45 AM

                  They are absolutely filled with invisible walls. Traversal in HZD and AC is insanely limited

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            January 2, 2018 8:20 AM

            Having just completed Origins and every AC before it, lol. I’m not going to address it any further w/r/t climbing.

            I do think the rain penalty was absurd. That was a legit annoyance. But otherwise it’s the first game where climbing was part and parcel of the adventuring. And it was a challenge. A gamble. Am I going to make it? Do I have enough in me? Is this the right angle? What about that over there?

            As it should be.

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              January 2, 2018 8:30 AM

              I think it just frustrated me because it was so slow. And silly just staring at a screen full of blank grey cliff as he magically slides up it. then there's rarely much at the top besides a plant to collect or a chest with a generic weapon.
              then if you wanna increase your stamina you have to do 4 shrines, which was the last thing I wanted to do.

              Jumping off and gliding down was always fun though.
              But yeah its nothing compared to SOTC which has you using physics to launch yourself up and around, and has some visual variety to the things you're scaling, whether its ledges in cliffs or vines or beasts

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                January 2, 2018 8:40 AM

                Pretty much my feeling about BotW climbing as well. I much prefer AC's climbing mechanics, though I wish finding routes up walls was more challenging like in the early games. The plethora of hand-holds in more recent games combined with the ability to leap up trivializes climbing more than I'd like.

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                  January 2, 2018 8:42 AM

                  AC doesn’t really have climbing mechanics. It’s just hold up + R2 (or whatever).

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                    January 2, 2018 8:44 AM

                    This post is an example of what is known as irony.

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                      January 2, 2018 8:51 AM

                      I’m not following.

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                        January 2, 2018 9:16 AM

                        In BotW you hold down a button, press up, and Link spontaneously clings to and climbs almost any vertical-ish surface in the world, like he's some kind of gecko.

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                          January 2, 2018 9:27 AM

                          Link's stamina falls at a rate depending on the difficulty of the surface, so if you pick your route carefully you can climb much higher.

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                            January 2, 2018 9:42 AM

                            I'm aware, though that stamina restriction can be bypassed without a great deal of trouble. And in AC you have to choose your starting point and route.

                            Point is, oversimplifying climbing to "hold button and press up" applies to both games.

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                    January 2, 2018 8:48 AM

                    And the path finding is so bad in AC climbing. BOTW climbing felt natural and controllable.

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                  January 2, 2018 8:50 AM

                  Its also interesting in AC because of what youre climbing.
                  Those games are incredible in that they give you an awesome reconstruction of a city from history, you can go up to now ruined real life buildings, and climb to the top and see them from every angle.

                  I ride past St Pauls every day, ingame I've climbed it. That's much more motivation to engage than anything in BOTW

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                    January 2, 2018 11:52 AM

                    Awful games. Even the “good” ones like Black Flag are insufferably bad.

                    If you’re easily distracted by pretty pictures, enjoy chasing icons, and engaging in poor moment to moment gameplay, then AC (or Horizon) is for you.

                    Its standard AAA Ubisoft, features over quality.

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            January 2, 2018 11:54 AM

            Climbing was so boring one of the first powers you get in the game was to negate much of the need for it.

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              January 2, 2018 12:45 PM

              Yep,hold up and wait. That’s it. Revolutionary!

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                January 2, 2018 1:04 PM

                It's more the "figure out which path is optimal in order to minimize both cost and risk" combined with "almost every wall is climbable" which opens up the world dramatically and turns every location into its own set of puzzles. Appreciation of BotW's genius requires understanding that, enjoying the act of exploration for exploration's sake, and the realization that the game rules are so dependable that you can scientifically determine a best possible outcome for any scenario (so that means you should actually like practical sciences, not just engineering). Combine those three and you have a game that just didn't really exist before, much like PUBG taking deathmatch to a supersized scale or the original DotA.

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                  January 2, 2018 1:15 PM

                  ^^^ Gets it. Some of the comparisons other people are making here to Ubisoft games and HZD are so one-dimensional, superficial, and completely miss the point

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          January 2, 2018 11:56 AM

          A focus on self-direction and exploration with a robust opening toolset and high mobility (which still has risk/reward attached) are all things that will creep into other games.

          Developers everywhere are paying attention to what Nintendo did here. Its influence will likely be as inescapable as Dark Souls’ influence has been.

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        January 2, 2018 8:50 AM

        The open world aspect that it really nailed was giving you a toolbox, and then just wishing you luck. Once you finish the starting area there are no more items or abilities to unlock in the story. That's a big change, and it works so well I can't imagine other games apeing it in a lot of ways.

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          January 2, 2018 8:50 AM

          *can imagine

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          January 2, 2018 11:43 AM

          The Egoraptor video from yesterday criticizing Twilight Princess, Ocarina Of Time, and Skyward Sword, which was also made three years before BOTW came out, explained what the other 2D Zelda games and A Link Between Worlds got right.

          The reward wasn’t the thing you got after accomplishing a challenging task, the reward is that you figured out the thing.

          If one values loot, covets rewards, or is focused on stat grinding, they would miss the entire point. If one values moment to moment gameplay and problem solving then they enjoy it.

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            January 2, 2018 12:11 PM

            For the reward to be successfully completing a challenging task, the task has to actually be challenging. The tasks in BotW were not, with rare exceptions

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              January 2, 2018 12:30 PM

              There is always an element of problem solving no matter what the difficulty was. If you completed something with ease its because you generally took the time to step back, assess the path or obstacle, and then formulate your own solution to defeating that problem.

              The reason that BOTW has remained a GIF machine since its release is because of all of the different ways it allows you to do these things, whether it is traversal, taking out a camp, completing a Portal-esque puzzle room, sequence breaking, etc etc.

              Either way, based on how common it is where people talk (or even complain) about how difficult their experiences can be, I'd say I disagree with you

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      January 2, 2018 7:58 AM

      So, I love the world they created, and exploring. I just can't get beyond the weapon system. The same with Dying Light.

      Just....why. There is nothing about the system that makes the game better :(

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        January 2, 2018 8:04 AM

        theres only like 3 or 4 weapon types. 2 handed, 1 handed and spear. The attack animations etc are the same, only the skins and damage values are changed. So it doesnt have the variety of something like dark souls. there is no reason why they couldn't have made a permanant version of those 4 that you could modify.

        but they needed something to put in the hundreds of hidden loot boxes

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          January 2, 2018 8:10 AM

          There's a few more than that.

          - 1-handed
          - 2-handed
          - Spear
          - Wand
          - Boomerang
          - 1-handed/boomerang hybrid

          Still, I agree. The weapon system was mostly just irritating.

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          January 2, 2018 11:28 AM

          I do believe they could have gone a different route with the weapon system, like maybe steal Monster Hunter's dulling and upgrade mechanics (modified for Nintendoness, of course) instead of the weapon break system. That gets the weapon type point across without requiring the constant cycling of weapons. At the end game you're full of the best stuff anyways so outside of some special circumstances you're never without the best stuff you could find, much like MH.

          The other big criticism I had, outside of real dungeons, was the enemy variety. There are a ton of enemy types that didn't show up (of all the Zelda games this one made the most sense to have LikeLikes, and BotW's world totally could have used a section of the map full of poes and redead). I feel like that would have greatly aided in location variation and combat tactics variations, beyond the simple element types and enemy strengths that showed up.

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        January 2, 2018 12:07 PM

        Eventide Island and Trial Of The Sword make me believe otherwise. I straight up like the weapon system, it forces problem solving and improvisation just like all of the other systems in the game. Those are among two of the best parts of the game and they hinge on limited resources and weapons breakage.

        Weapons as ammo in a survival sandbox makes sense in other contexts. I wonder if part of the pushback is because people in fantasy settings are used to hoarding and grinding stats in weapons themselves rather than having them as disposable resources like guns in other genres.

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          January 2, 2018 12:12 PM

          "Weapons as ammo" is a great way of putting it. I never thought of it in those terms explicitly, but I did start to consider weapons as disposable resources. Much like in FPS games, I kept my best/biggest ones for really dangerous situations, and used the "workhorse" weapons.

          I do, however, think that the starting inventory space is just a bit too limited, especially given that you can easily miss the upgrade merchant. Even one extra slot was enough to make me feel comfortable.

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      January 2, 2018 8:53 AM

      the Shack got it right

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      January 2, 2018 11:04 AM

      In all my years of gaming, I have enjoyed exactly two Zelda games:

      Link's Awakening
      Breath of the Wild

      So I'm OK with this. :)

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        January 2, 2018 11:30 AM

        Those are two of my three favorites, so you've got some good taste there.

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          January 2, 2018 11:31 AM

          I bet the other is A Link to the Past, isn't it?

          People tell me that if I liked Link's Awakening, I'd like LttP, but I didn't have an SNES and never had the chance to play it.

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            January 2, 2018 11:33 AM

            I almost replied to your post to tell you exactly that. You should still play it, it's a great game. Link's Awakening is different and quirky but I loved both as a kid.

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              January 2, 2018 11:34 AM

              I think it's in the SNES classic, right?

              I plan to buy one of those if/when I can find one, so there's my chance!

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                January 2, 2018 11:35 AM

                It is, yes.

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                January 2, 2018 11:37 AM

                yup its in the SNES Classic, and would be the preferred way to play at this point. It's also available on Game Boy Advance, and on Wii, Wii U, and 3DS virtual consoles. I'm assuming it will be on the Switch VC as well, but who knows.

                It's also one of my favorite games of all time!

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            January 2, 2018 11:42 AM

            Actually, without the same levels of nostalgia for ALttP, it goes to Ocarina of Time. ALttP is below that followed by ALBW.

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              January 2, 2018 11:50 AM

              That would have been my other guess if you hadn't specifically called out Link's Awakening. Everyone seems to like Ocarina.

              I wish I liked Zelda games the way others did. I've played all of the console games except ALttP for some amount of time (I never had an SNES). OG Zelda bored me as a kid. Zelda 2 was just awful. I found Ocarina clunky as hell to play, and Majora's Mask wasn't much better. I played all these on their original consoles around the time they were released.

              Wind Waker was pretty good for the first couple of hours, but then I got frustrated and quit and never went back. I was also deathly ill (I literally nearly died) at the time so I had no patience or stamina. It's the only one I can see myself giving another chance. Maybe.

              There are a number of games on the mobile device line that I never touched like, uh, Spirit Tracks. Minish Cap? The recent one where you go paper-mario-style on the walls?

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                January 2, 2018 12:08 PM

                A Link Between Worlds is exceptional

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                January 2, 2018 12:17 PM

                A Link Between Worlds (ALBW) is the last one you mentioned there, it follows the traditional 2D Zelda gaming mixed with some of the same "do it in whatever order you want" that they built BotW around (as it was the first game they tried that with) mixed in. Highly recommend you play ALttP first, at least give it a go if not complete it as they exist in the same world, but it's still quite good.

                Spirit Tracks and the one before Spirit Tracks for the DS whose name I don't remember I didn't really like. Minish Cap was actually developed by Capcom for the GBA and is pretty good. A lot of people who like LA also liked the GBC games (as they're built on the same engine as LA:Deluxe) Oracle of Seasons/Ages, although I don't feel like they were made as well they're still pretty fun.

                The 3D Zelda's got worse and worse with telling you how to play the game and beat the puzzles instead of letting you figure it out for yourself, especially after Majora's Mask (which has its own issues, but I like that they tried something new). Skyward Sword's Fi was worst of all because often you couldn't even attempt to figure out many of the puzzles before she blurted out "you should do this with this". Glad to see such a departure in BotW even if they threw the baby out with the bath water on that one. Skyward Sword still has my favorite ending in the series (although Wind Waker holds my favorite Ganon fight still) though almost no one who played it got far enough in to see it.

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      January 2, 2018 11:28 AM

      Well deserved, congrats Zelda and Nintendo!

      Zelda: Breath of the Wild owns.

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      January 2, 2018 11:56 AM

      I thought BoTW was a well above average game for the majority of my time playing it. I didn't really like the grind or the slog and chose to power through the divine beasts. Then I was faced with going to beat gannon and ending the game and I opted to keep playing more. So I guess I liked it a little more than I originally thought.

      But it may not be Zelda itself that I like. I do. But what makes it something hard for me to end is the way I play zelda. I can steal moments here and there and play as a parent in a way you can't with other games. That's probably what I don't want to end more than the game itself.

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      January 2, 2018 12:10 PM

      Great article David, you always get it

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        January 2, 2018 12:40 PM

        Someone here made a great comparison a few weeks ago, I forget who.

        He compared it to The Martian, where the player has to "science the shit" out of everything. The game gives you obstacles and goals, many of which pull you to them with an invisible sense of gravity, but it is up to the player using the game's interlocking physical systems and their own ingenuity to figure out on their own how they want to solve it.

        Two players may approach the exact same basic traversal problem in two very different ways. This simply doesn't exist in inherently limited games like Horizon or Assassin's Creed. Its why BOTW is a veritable GIF factory while the main thing those other games are good for is picturesque screenshots. There is little about their gameplay that justifies watching a video for since everyone is having essentially the same experience.

        I think this is a huge reason why the game has been so engaging for so many people. People don't necessarily want to chase AAA Ubisoft style quest markers or perform errands. Turns out its also fun to go around and suss things out for yourself.

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          January 2, 2018 12:52 PM

          I didn't compare it to the Martian, but I did mention having to "Science the Fuck" out of everything. http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=36852934#item_36852934

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            January 2, 2018 1:01 PM

            It hits upon one of the great things about the game in such a concise way

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              January 2, 2018 1:14 PM

              Yup, the game also captures the joy of exploration for explorations sake extremely well, in no small part by making the entire world a puzzle, not just space through which you get from point A to B over and over again.

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                January 2, 2018 1:24 PM

                This is exactly why I can't stand most open world games.

                There is no engagement in something like an Assassin's Creed game or HZD outside of the most superficial reasons. Even then you generally ignore the only good thing about them (pretty graphics) because you're too busy focused on HUD icons or a minimap.

                I never liked errand quests, Following A Target Very Slowly™, or running from A to B. I need real constant engagement and making the entire world a puzzle on macro levels (how do I traverse this region?) and micro levels (how do I deal with this encampment with the tools I have and the physics system at my disposal?) held my attention.

                Its the same reason I still play Dota after all these years, there are always new problems in both the micro and macro levels to be solved as I'm playing it.

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        January 2, 2018 12:53 PM

        Unless he is talking about Home Alone. Otherwise, yeah, he always gets it.

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      January 2, 2018 1:07 PM

      Nailed it two years in a row, gg Shacknews