[Celebration of the Wild is a month long celebration of the anniversary of this beloved game. All month long we will be picking our favorite songs, fan works, places, memories, and more of this wonderful addition to the Zelda series. Breath of the Wild has revolutionized the franchise all for the better and it’s only suiting we take this month to celebrate its achievements.]
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a Switch. Although I enjoyed the games on Wii U, I couldn’t wait to see the end of that era, almost as an enjoyable consequence regretfully. I knew things had to change with bad sales, and dare I say bad design and marketing — which makes perfect sense if you go back to the Wii U after using a Switch for any period of time.
When Breath of the Wild was announced as a launch title with the Switch, my excitement levels grew. As usual, I steered away from any spoilers, even any extensive trailers or screenshots. Nintendo couldn’t have executed the style of the game any better. I had long ago realised not to compare each Zelda game to another.
People I spoke to who hadn’t really played Zelda before (yes, they exist), or a Nintendo console since the Wii era at least, couldn’t believe how good the graphics on the Switch looked even after considering the limitations. Breath of the Wild is a huge reason for that. Possibly the biggest compliment I could give the graphics is that it seems to help people forget about 4K or HDR.
Each Zelda, despite being the same franchise, is different, yet the same. Just look at Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask before the controversial Wind Waker came along, blowing us away after our initial ignorant scepticism. Legacy, therefore helped me to be open-minded towards Link’s latest outing before having played it. I wasn’t disappointed. My advice is to stay open-minded if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of Breath of the Wild. It isn’t going to be your last favourite Zelda title, but it is that uniqueness that makes the entire franchise so exciting! It’s the same, yet different in a good way.
Warm Fuzzy Nintendo Feelings
Everyone knows how good Breath of the Wild is almost a year now from its release, but less so is the awareness of the intrinsic feelings you receive when playing this incredible game. Each player will have their own objective whether that is getting straight down to business in Hyrule Castle to destroy Ganon, or perhaps they will be more aligned with my own personal aim of getting 100% in the array of enjoyable games provided by Nintendo platforms — excluding the excruciating search for 900 Korok Seeds of course.
Playing Breath of the Wild was an absolute pleasure, in what I can only describe as nostalgia with a simultaneous welcoming of contemporary Zelda. It’s a feeling that would be synonymous with Super Mario Odyssey later in the year and with any luck, the Switch as a console generally. Nintendo absolutely nails this delicate balance. These latest entries in the Zelda and Mario series are what I dreamt of and then some regarding the sequels to the likes of Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64. They pay homage, yet move forward in a beautiful direction the player will have no problem of entertaining. The intuitive tutorials in both games alone would have any gamer who has experienced something like Twilight Princess in tears.
A Beautiful Environmentally Friendly Soundtrack
I also had the pleasure of listening to a stunning soundtrack, which I initially questioned. I wondered why the game hadn’t alluded to more traditional Zelda tunes in the early stages of the game – I didn’t hear the Great Fairy Fountain melody until many hours into the game, which was a sense of pure joy.
When I realised the soundtrack had a tinge of Animal Crossing, I quickly scoured the internet to see if such a thing had occurred. When I discovered Manaka Kataoka, the Animal Crossing: New Leaf composer was involved, suddenly everything made sense. Even the soundtrack was a new direction!
The music really complimented the environment, providing the player with careful access to the interaction across the land, from horses galloping, to the flow of wind as you glide off the top of a mountain. Any runner could compare it to playing music down low while enjoying the natural surroundings in real life. Rather than constant backing music gamers are used to, an enlightening touch of a piano key with periods of silence helped me immerse deeper into this breathtaking world.
Not only was I engaging in Zelda as I usually would, I was also relaxed, simply because of the terrific music. This allowed the game to be even more enjoyable and easier to play. It begins to feel like you are in the world Link is in. That is why he is named Link after all!
Final Thoughts (100 years/nearly 200 hours later)
In a nutshell, the music really complimented the game and the adventure of exploring in the wilderness, a sure sign of any great composer. Exploring the never-ending landscape, finding a Great Fairy Fountain or hearing those familiar sounds in Hyrule Castle will fill your ears with pleasure. After Manaka Kataoka’s stellar job, I would love to see Grant Kirkhope’s iteration of music within the Zelda universe.
Overall, while the game itself is in my humble opinion, the best game I have ever played, it is the personal experience that you receive intrinsically thanks to the environment, art style, and music, carefully coupled with just the right amount of nostalgia that nearly disregards the critical acclamation and brings it to a new level. It is almost like the game is designed just for you, despite the millions of copies that are currently out in the wild. The evidence for that is within the different experience each player has even after many hours of gameplay.