Our final assessment of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is in, and we're far from alone in our glowing praise of Nintendo's open-world adventure. In fact, having just traversed the internet to assemble illuminating review snippets from our peers, glowing might be too weak of a word. Shining? Blinding? Solar? Seriously - this is the most unanimous acclaim any game has received in years. Take a look.
Kotaku on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's freedom (no score)
"There is no tutorial section. The real game has already started. You can go talk to that important-looking bearded man a few feet away or you can just start walking in a random direction, climbing over any obstacle you find. You don’t have to go find your sword. You can just pick up a nearby stick, or steal the old man’s axe, or defeat a monster and take its weapon. A blue spirit won’t pop out and tell you that no, you shouldn’t go that way until you talk to the old man. Breath of the Wild always says yes. Fi and Navi and Midna aren’t welcome here."
GameSpot on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's combat (10/10)
"Enemies are intelligent and utilize wildly different tactics that force you to diligently study every aspect of their behavior. Basic enemies can be toppled through careful use of a shield, but there are harder enemies that will destroy this defense in a single hit. In these cases, it’s imperative that you parry or dodge an attack at just the right time, which will trigger a moment of slow-motion that allows you to unleash a flurry of attacks against your vulnerable foe. These moves are your last line of defense when the going gets tough, and they require precise timing to execute. Given the myriad enemies and weapons you're up against, mastery feels almost unattainable even with substantial practice. However, that also means you are constantly learning in the face of unforeseen challenges."
Polygon on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's visual style (10/10)
"All of this is painted in the most sophisticated visual style and presentation Zelda has ever seen. The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword were striking in their own ways, but Breath of the Wild is their clear culmination. It is a frequently stunning, consistently striking visual achievement, evocative of legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli’s films in a way that seems lovingly influenced rather than derivative."
IGN on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's framerate and Switch performance (10/10)
"In the foreground, Breath of the Wild’s anime-inspired art style is colorful, remarkably lively, and beautifully animated, but it comes at the cost of brief framerate hiccups and object pop-in that’s most noticeable when you’re playing the Switch in TV mode, where it renders at 900p, and when there are a lot of physics particle effects flying around the screen. The issues are less frequent playing on in portable mode on the 720p screen, but regardless of where I played the performance problems never significantly soured my gameplay."
Eurogamer on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's interwoven mechanics (no score)
"Underpinning the whole game is an extremely strong and multifaceted suite of linked systems, including weather, stealth, cooking, and a fantastically fun and convincing physics simulation. (Even item drops from enemies are fully physically modelled.) Cooking, which provides useful buffs as well as refilling your health, isn't the recipe list you'd expect; it's a system where the same dish can be conjured from different ingredients and at different potencies. It's not about collection or rote learning, it's about understanding the rules and then improvising with what you have."
Ars Technica on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's survival (no score)
"Between the tough enemies, the fragile weapons, and the constant search for cooking materials and other items, exploring and battling in Breath of the Wild feels like an important struggle for resources, rather than a perfunctory search for the few meaningful items amid a sea of useless drivel. It's an addictive cycle that urges you to keep working to replenish your constantly dwindling supplies."
Glixel on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's difficulty (no score)
"Breath of the Wild is difficult. Its DNA was coded with strands from survival games like Rust and Minecraft, and combat can be challenging in ways similar to Dark Souls. The odds can feel overwhelming, whether you’re infiltrating an enemy outpost full of sleeping goblins or venturing forth into the cold, cold mountains or the heart of a fiery volcano. If you’re not prepared - if you’re wearing the wrong armor for the climate, if you didn’t cook enough of the right food, if your weapons can’t dent an area’s resident enemies - you’re going to die. This is a monumental shift for Zelda, and one it turns out was sorely needed. It’s been decades since a Zelda game was properly demanding, and it feels like the series coming home."
Everyone on Zelda: Breath of the Wild's speedrunning potential
Between the absolute freedom it affords you and the unexpected reactions it encourages, Breath of the Wild speedruns are going to be phenomenal.
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