The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch

As an introduction to the Zelda franchise, this game is a revelation.

Played for 35+ hours (as of Dec 30, 2021)

For years, I had been hearing people rave about Breath of the Wild. But even when I was finally ready to pull the trigger to buy a Switch, even when the GameStop associate told me “Seriously, everyone loves it” — I decided not to get it. It was on my list of games to check out, but I wasn’t super excited about it yet. Instead I came home with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (obviously), Animal Crossing: New Horizons (mostly for my wife) and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 (because nostalgia). All great choices — but since I got Breath of the Wild a few weeks later, I’ve played it more than all the others combined.

Listen: I was a Zelda n00b and didn’t really consider myself an RPG guy. I’m terrible at fighting games and much more comfortable with Mario-style platformers. I’m not ashamed to admit I was a little scared of this game that everyone loves. Well, it turns out they love it because it is awesome.

One hundred years after Gannon devastated the world, it’s your job to help Link unravel the mystery of his past. In the wake of that calamity, the kingdom of Hyrule is wild and complex, with something to discover wherever you walk, ride, sail, or hang-glide. There are ruins overrun with monsters, cozy villages full of interesting NPCs, and intriguing bits of ancient technology scattered about.

As an RPG novice, I found it easy enough to follow the game’s cues and chip away at the main quest. But I was not (am not) in a hurry to finish the game. New side quests pop up regularly, and I do whichever ones sound interesting while saving others for later. And sometimes it’s enough just to explore: climb a mountain, glide down to an island, ride a horse in a new direction. I guarantee you’ll discover something new, even if it’s a fight you weren’t quite prepared for.

The sequel to this game is supposedly coming in 2022, but I still have so much left to do. And that’s great. This is a game to savor, and one that I’ll be revisiting for a long time.