So after 180+ hours, my husband and I finally bothered to beat Ganon and finish the main story of Breath of the Wild. I have been wanting to talk about my various likes and dislikes for a while, but I wanted to at least wait until this point. We still have plans to keep playing (need to get all those Koroks and also working on a World Boss-related thing), but at the very least, most of our goals are done.
This WILL contain spoilers so if you do not want spoilers, you may not want to read this just yet. This also will not be a proper review–if you’re looking for that, reviews will be up on my husband’s website.
That said, this is going to be a bit different than most of my other ramblings as I’m going to be talking from a standpoint of watching more than playing and thus, will focus more on the characters and story and music and things versus controls and gameplay. Zelda is a game I grew up always watching and so each one is like its own movie for me and thus, it’s something that I’ve always gotten more out of watching than playing (though, I still play sometimes). I will say, just to give an idea on what to expect, Ocarina of Time is my favorite Zelda followed by Skyward Sword. I also don’t think it’s possible to really rank Breath of the Wild due to just how different it is, but let’s get to it.
Starting from the top, I’m really glad they voiced the game for the most part. I actually do enjoy most of the English voices and some, I even prefer to the Japanese such as Impa’s, but others, like Mipha, go back and forth for me. Sometimes I think they sound fine in English and fit well compared to the Japanese while other times it just feels sort of off. The only voice I really found myself disliking is Zelda’s because it’s just… so different from the Japanese version and in general, I find I prefer when they at least try to get a voice that is a similar speech/tone in every language because otherwise it can give such a different feel to the character and it really does. Despite her saying the same things, it doesn’t feel the same and it’s just really odd and I don’t understand why they gave her such a dramatically different voice.
It may also just stand out to me because I relate to the Zelda in this game a lot. I don’t want to turn this into talking about myself and own experiences, but I empathize with her so incredibly much and she is definitely one of my favorite characters in the game and definitely one of my favorite Zelda’s. Besides Zelda’s voice, the main thing that bothered me is the fact that Link never speaks. We kind of get a reason for why this is in Zelda’s own diary in the castle, but the problem here is the fact that:
1. He doesn’t have his memories so this should no longer be an issue to begin with right now.
2. By the time he does have his memories, many moments are just… incredibly awkward because he doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t even have to talk much, but the silence just doesn’t always work here and it genuinely removes part of the immersion of the moment, which, ironically the reason they probably wanted him not to speak is to not ruin it for the player. We’re rarely even in the first person though to ever actually feel like we’re Link. There are the moments where he looks down at the Sheikah Slate and one time towards the end and that’s really it. In general, considering we see all the memories in third person omniscient (which is weird in itself considering it is supposed to be Link remembering these things and not only are we seeing everything in third person, but we’re seeing and hearing things Link wouldn’t have been able to), it just makes everything all the weirder.
If they do continue with the voice acting in Zelda games, I really hope they will reconsider and actually give Link a voice, even if he doesn’t say too much.
Going into things more story-related, I really want to know what was with all the blue in this game. Hyrule Castle’s banners aren’t blue, yet the Champion’s clothes, Zelda’s Princess Gown and Scholar Outfit, and Link’s outfit in the game were all various shades of blue and I just… don’t understand why? I wish there was some explanation for why Link didn’t wear green in this (heck, you even get a “traditional” tunic for the game if you finish all the shrines…) or why Zelda’s dress was blue in this game instead of pink/purple. I feel like we were given changes for most things (such as Ganon’s appearance), but not really any information on this and I feel it’s something that will bug me for a long while. Despite my issues with Hyrule-related colors, I adore the Zora designs in this game. All the jewelry that Mipha wears is so pretty and I think she has an amazing character design–I really wish she was given more than just being another unrequited Zora love interest to Link.
I will say though, this story is… really depressing. Like no matter how I think about it, I think the story makes me feel more sad than happy. In general, I don’t think any Zelda game really has a 100% happy ending, but at least I feel like things are mostly positive as they continue to improve. Here, things will start to improve, but with all the loss weighing heavily on it. 100 years of destruction, Castle Town is gone, Link finally has his memories back, but his family is probably long gone. The fact that the only Champion that even got to see some of their family/a descendant is Daruk. I wish Mipha got a chance to see her brother and father. I wish Urbosa got to see her daughter. Revali is kind of a jerk, but I still wish he got a chance to see his home too. The fact that Zelda’s last meeting with her father was that fight on the bridge is absolutely heartbreaking. He finally wanted to properly comfort her and he died. She didn’t even get to see him before his soul finally rested.
It’s just… really heartbreaking in a lot of ways. Heck, the fact that as you go onto each Divine Beast talking to their spirits and then having to fight the enemy that murdered them 100 years ago. There’s such an overall heaviness that even upon saving Hyrule, it still feels a little empty–like it wasn’t enough. And Zelda blames herself where, even if maybe she could get her summoning power working (which is another thing–I’d love to know more on why it didn’t work sooner (besides her losing her teacher and mother), why it had to wait for that moment and what that specifically unlocked it), she never would have reached them. There’s just so much loss that even after saving Hyrule, I still don’t really feel satisfied.
One of the things I really hope the DLC adds, especially after the post-game scene if you have all the memories, is a post game with both Zelda and Link going around and trying to help build back up Hyrule and talk to everyone who suffered these 100 years and/or lost someone. Maybe someone can even play as one of the two and it’ll be a fun co-op journey. I don’t know how possible that actually is, but it’s what I really hope they do. Even if not a co-op thing, I just want a proper post-game. While I get why the whole “oh, you can go back and re-fight Ganon because we put you right before it!!” thing exists, I feel it’s really out of place with this kind of game. I feel like maybe they could’ve had an option if you go in the castle to ask if you’d like it set to before you fought Ganon, but it just looks kind of silly to be exploring this enormous map with the same evil castle and people worrying about it.
The world itself is quite amazing. There’s so much to explore and I’m not really sure if we’ve even seen all of it despite how much we’ve played and getting more than half the Koroks… speaking of Koroks, while I love them, I wish there weren’t so many. 900 is just way too much and while I can guess why they did (with such a big map, gives more people more chances to find them randomly upon their explorations), I still think it would have been better to just have a smaller amount. I mean, there’s 120 Shrines which is only ~13% of the amount of Koroks. They could’ve done a similar amount and been fine. Especially if it means we wouldn’t need to zoom in as far as possible to even see the ones we’ve found.
I also really love that every character has a name and personality. Everything is so dynamic and you learn so much about all the people in each place. It kind of reminds me of part of why I enjoyed a lot of the Side Quests in Majora’s Mask. Here are just some of my favorite side characters:
I would say my biggest issue with the game is the item durability and limited weapon/shield/bow space. I just dislike those kind of systems and while I enjoy most of the changes in the game from traditional Zelda games, this isn’t one of them. I think I’d have at least been less annoyed if item limits weren’t an issue and you could repair everything, but it just was disheartening to use a lot of things I really liked only to end up losing them. At least my favorite weapon could always be replaced. Unfortunately, my favorite bow was forced to disappear and only be used in the final battle :P I wish you got to keep some version of it as it’s really pretty.
Going back to the world of the game, I will say I have… mostly good feelings on the music, but it’s a bit odd as well. I liked everything I heard, but because it’s all very atmospheric, there isn’t really much that is very iconic. Like Breath of the Wild’s main theme is definitely one of the most recognizable new pieces for the game. There are Battle-related ones as well, but I don’t care for those too much myself. The thing is, and what I feel a lot of people demanding for these forget, even if they had a few selections for bigger songs as you explore, the constant repetition when exploring such a vast world would get incredibly annoying. The game wants you to explore and a constant song playing over and over would just get tiring. This also means when certain songs like Kass’ Accordion or the big boss battle themes start playing as you explore, they’re THAT much more recognizable and it really helps them stand out.
I remember when my husband and I first ran into Kass. The Accordion started playing and his first thought was that the music changed for the area while mine went straight to there being an actual Accordion Player and urging him to find them. I was clearly right, but it made it such a standout event for our playthrough which I don’t think would’ve been as exciting if the music wasn’t the way it is. Or like wandering around and hearing the music change and seeing a giant Dragon fly by. That was so exciting to run into on our first exploration of Faron.
Even Hyrule Castle, despite being like this… dark, gritty, remix of various past songs, the fact that we don’t actually get to hear most of them outside that just makes it all the more of an experience. And I’ll be honest, I did get a little tired of it just from exploring the entire castle–I think if you’re just heading straight to Ganon, the music is perfect for the atmosphere, but if you’re exploring every single nook and cranny, it does kind of get to you after a while.
My favorite songs are probably Prince Sidon’s theme, the music for Zora’s Domain (which is one of my favorite places in the game along with Satori), the music after beating a Divine Beast Boss, Princess/Zora Champion Mipha’s theme, Gerudo Champion Urbosa’s theme, Rito Village, Rito Champion Revali’s theme, the Epilogue Theme, and Captured Memories. Captured Memories especially, while just being a remix of the original Zelda theme, is just so beautiful and I wish it was longer.
And while not necessarily my favorites, I also really enjoy the Molduga Battle Phase 2 song, Kass’ theme, the Dragon theme, Attack on Vah Medoh, and The Divine Beasts Strike. Also Hestu’s theme is always amazing as is his dance:
Going into some minor things that I wish were changed up:
1. More spaces for more Horses (and it’d be fun if you could Board other things too). 5 isn’t enough when there are so many amazing horses in the game. As it is, because we didn’t realize one side quest required a horse we had boarded, we had to give up a horse we had already become attached to. Sure, it let us make room for the Giant Horse, but it’s not really an issue I liked running into. Similarly, I wish you got to pick which Horse you used at the end. If we knew the first horse you boarded was picked for the end battle, we would have boarded Epona first rather than me having a panic attack seeing Shortcake show up who, besides being my lovely pink horse, also had some of the lowest stats which made the battle a bit trickier than it should’ve been.
2. I wish we could get more houses. I love the house quest and how decorated it gets once you buy everything, but it just made me really want houses in some other places too. I feel like with how you help build up Tarrytown too, it was like setting up for a house there as well that never came.
3. The awful Blood Moon cutscene. Good for the first time to introduce it. Bad every other time. Like the moon is red and fire-y ash is practically floating down everywhere–we can kind of tell. I get that you can skip it, but it still felt frustrating to even see it come up? Even just the option to turn it off permanently. We once had the cutscene pop up 6 times in a row. I wish I was kidding.
4. Not being able to complete the 3rd stamina wheel or the 2nd Heart row :/ Even if you do everything, you’ll be 3 short. I hope maybe you can get more in the DLC.
5. I wish there was some gear to make rain not effect your climbing because wow, does that ruin things a lot.
6. Please stop making every Zora Princess/member of Zora royalty be in love with Link. It’s always unrequited and they deserve better characterization at this point.
7. I really disliked how the Fairies were done in this game. Ignoring the creepiness of some of the cutscenes, I just don’t like the whole “give us tons of rupees to let us help you” thing from it and I would’ve preferred some kind of puzzle or other aspects over paying them tons of money. The Horse God is really the only one I can understand the “money to open” thing, though, they also terrify me in a whole different way so…
8. More Rupees. I get that there is a reason for them to be so scarce in this game, but it still felt like too much.
9. The lack of Saria’s song in the Lost Woods or even by the lake named after her. Saria is one of my favorite side characters in the series and that is one of my all-time favorite songs (In fact, I used it as my town theme several times in Animal Crossing–the original, Wild World, and City Folk).
10. I REALLY WISH THE TRUE ENDING LET THEM HUG. They just walk off together and they both just need a hug, okay?
11. It’s silly that the Champion Powers/Gifts will only recharge once you fully use them. If I use up one of Daruk’s charges essentially, I shouldn’t have to wait until I use up all of them before it’ll start recharging any. It can be a longer charge when there’s at least one left, but it’s incredibly silly to be wandering around for hours on this last charge only to get somewhere I may need to use multiple, have just the one left, and then get stuck waiting.
12. Not an actual dislike, but I genuinely do want to know why the Gorons were let into Gerudo Town. The fact that you never get some kind of answer to this bugs me.
13. The Yiga Clan are just super annoying. The stealth mission was also kind of annoying–I wouldn’t have minded so much if it wasn’t for the fact that being caught made it an endless stream of them attacking you versus just the group of three that initially attack.
14. While I do love most of the tools in this game, I genuinely miss the Hook Shot/Grappling Hook.
Which, speaking of tools in the game, I know some people are mixed about getting everything at once and while I’m a bit mixed myself (mostly because I wouldn’t have minded if we got a few things later on similar to how we got the camera feature), I actually really liked that we did. I think it gave people a lot more freedom to experience the World in so many different ways versus having to do it in the same order every time and/or get certain things before being able to go back to properly solve a puzzle. There’s many things where I’m sure we didn’t solve it as intended, but I think that also makes it a lot more fun too.
So yes, overall I really enjoyed the game. I have a lot of feelings about it, clearly. I’m really anticipating the DLC and I hope they bring out more information soon. Despite being nearly done with the game, I think we’ll still be finding new things overtime, even once we 100% it. Also I really hope someone makes Sand Seal Plushies: