Just because my time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has come to a close, that doesn’t mean I have stopped thinking about it. This game was an amazing experience, and it introduced a plethora of improvements that have elevated the Zelda franchise to new heights. Below is a list of the four new features I hope to see in every Zelda game from here on out.
4: Survival – Of course, most games require some form of survival, and it’s as simple as this. Don’t run out of health, whether it’s a health bar, a row of hearts, or even honeycombs. But when it comes to Breath of the Wild, survival is taken to a whole new level. Sure, Ocarina of Time required us to wear the red tunic in order to survive the heat of Death Mountain. Ratchet & Clank requires the O2 mask before you can breathe underwater. But rarely has weather played so big a role in a video game, at least for me. Link can lose hearts if he remains in the snow too long without the proper protection or if he runs around the Gerudo Desert in the middle of the day. (It gets 129 degrees out there!)
You can also be struck by lightning if you equip anything metal, and Link can also die if he runs out of stamina, mainly if he loses his strength while climbing a mountain or swimming. Oh, the sheer number of times I’ve drowned in shallow water. Similarly, you can’t climb when it’s raining because surfaces are too slick, and you must hunt and forage for food in order to manage your health. If you’re not careful, you can even be attacked by wolves or bears!
3: Shrines Aplenty – After playing a Zelda game with 120 mini-dungeons (otherwise known as shrines), I feel I have been immensely spoiled as far as my puzzle-loving side goes. As such, I can’t imagine the Zelda series ever returning to a handful of dungeons and no more. As much as I’d love to see the return of larger dungeons, I do hope the shrines are here to stay. Seeking them out was just good fun, as well. It made exploring that much more rewarding.
2: Rock Climbing – Before the game was released, when I first saw an image of Link scaling a mountain, I was rather apathetic. Little did I know that this would be one of the single-most vital improvements to the franchise since Ocarina of Time’s debut in 3D. Hyrule’s massive scale would quickly become meaningless if Link had to simply go around any obstacle in his path. Mountains in video games were often no more than background scenery and a natural way to create boundaries the player couldn’t cross. Now every inch of Hyrule can be explored because even the mountains are just another part of the adventure. And I never anticipated the immense satisfaction I would get from climbing a tall peak, even if nothing could be found at the top to reward my efforts. For the first time in my life, I fully understand George Mallory’s famous response when questioned as to why he wanted to climb Mount Everest. “Because it’s there.”
1: No Required Objectives – The fact that this game allows you to skip all objectives and head straight for the final boss is mind-blowing. Even games that aren’t strictly classified as linear rarely ever allow such freedom, and I’ve grown to expect some kind of structure when playing a video game. And then Breath of the Wild comes along and challenges everything I thought I knew about gaming. My eyes have been opened. Why must games have structure? Why can’t I reach the final boss at any time? Why is the list of things I can’t do in a video game often longer than the list of things I can? Breath of the Wild gives us an impressive freedom we’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, and I sorely hope this isn’t the last time we see something like this.
What were your favorite aspects of Breath of the Wild? What new features can you no longer live without? Are there any features you hope will not reappear in the future? Please let me know in the comments below, dear readers!
The Duck Demands That Next Time, Ducks Can’t Be Hunted for Food…
Image from Flickr User: Jeux Video