The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
THE LATEST IN THE DECADES-OLD SERIES COMPLETELY REINVENTS ITSELF ON NINTENDO’S NEW CONSOLE
$89.95; Switch (tested), Wii U
The shrines, it turns out, are just the beginning. Ever since our first play of this sprawling adventure, we’ve been working to the assumption that these short, taut puzzle dungeons would be BreathOfTheWild’s focal point. And that’s true, to an extent.
Nintendo has studded its largestever game world with over 100 shrines; they’re self-contained, subterranean chambers that are a vital component of Nintendo’s first open-world game, serving as tutorials, pacing devices, fast-travel points, signposts, landmarks – and puzzles. Yet they aren’t the only way
BreathOfTheWild taxes the grey matter. There are puzzles, by the dozen, above ground too.
That hoary old open-world cliché now needs to be updated. See those mountains on the horizon? You can go to them, yes, but forget about simply setting a map marker and following a prescribed GPS route. Heading to a mountain-top shrine you spotted from a kilometre or two away, you find yourself divided from your destination by a large ravine. Do you cross it using the bridge you can see on the horizon off to the west? Do you paraglide across and grab the cliff on the other side, gambling that your stamina wheel will last long enough to take you to the top? Could a cliffside tree be chopped down and serve as a bridge? Or do you head east, where the landscape might elegantly curve round, along a mountain path straight to the summit?
Whichever route you choose, chances are you’ll get dragged farther off course along the way. There might be a bandit camp to clear out, a wild horse to break, an irresistible peak to scale, or a curious arrangement of stones that you simply can’t leave uninvestigated.
Perhaps you’ll happen across a stable and spend some time by the stove, cooking restorative meals and brewing stat-buffing elixirs, selling unwanted ingredients to Beedle, the nomadic merchant who has a remarkable habit of always knowing exactly where you’re going to pitch up. Then maybe you’ll stay the night in a comfy bed for the temporary health boost it gives you. The next morning you’ll saddle up, head off and, with any luck, remember what it is you came here for in the first place. This is a game where you always have somewhere to go, and sometimes even make it there.
This world is an absolute, and unremitting, pleasure to get lost
RIGHT Paragliding the way to get around, and it doubles as a special attack.
TOP Link spies a mountain, and can go there, but it’s likely he and you’ll be distracted along the way. Not a bad thing, actually.