While loads of Switch players and Nintendo fans alike have praised The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for its upheaval of traditional Zelda traditions, some players were left wondering just what the point was. Even the Shacknews staff disagrees on the exact merits of the game, but with that said, we all did manage to agree on one thing — that Breath of the Wild wins the award for Shacknews Best Open World Game of 2017.
Coming to understand the charms of Breath of the Wild involves not only grappling with the game's many mechanics, but figuring out just what to do at any given time. Like other RPGs, Breath of the Wild has missions and treasure and various collectibles, but none of those are really the main focus, so to speak. The point, if indeed there is an overall point, is not to mindlessly shamble from quest to quest, but instead to run and ride around Hyrule just to get a glimpse of everything it contains.
While exploration might have been an option in other titles to release this year, in Breath of the Wild, exploration is the name of the game. Players who want to be pointed to destinations, or those who want to fast travel between villages and shrines just to be closer to mission markers, are really missing the bigger picture. New wonders and rare dangers lurk around every corner of Breath of the Wild, to say nothing of Korok seeds or buried shrines or rare vistas that can restore the Hero of Time's cloudy memories.
Even simple things like hiking up a mountain or trodding through snow-ridden fields winds up feeling like its own adventure in Breath of the Wild, and it's that sense of wonder and of exploration that lands it as our choice as Shacknews Best Open World Game of 2017.
Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Shacknews Awards as we celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017.