PAGEFTW: Take A Breath

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been making me nervous. I was expecting to hear that the game was solid, not the Greatest Video Game Of All Time.

            I’ve been a Zelda fan since Ocarina of Time, but I’ve not always had the smoothest sailing with the series. My personal favorite is Twilight Princess, which had a certain moody atmosphere no game in the series has neared since. On the other end of the scale, I abhorred Skyward Sword’s non-optional motion controls.

So while I’m quite fond of the series, I’m not a diehard devotee.

Well, I’ve spent a few hours with the game, and my verdict is that … it’s fine. It’s very good and I enjoy playing it, but when Persona 5 comes out in a few weeks, I shall feel no regret about jumping ship and leaving this one unfinished for a time.

I agree with the mainstream consensus that Breath of the Wild is a beautiful, sprawling world that rewards creativity and exploration. It feels alive, one of the most vibrant Hyrules ever made. It pays tribute to Zelda’s long history while pushing the envelope to new, promising places.

            It’s also kind of annoying? The menus are unintuitive. The controls are weird as hell, and I can’t remap most of them. The difficulty strikes me as a little overly brutal at times (especially in the first, tutorial-esque area). I hate weapons breaking on me. And so far, at least, the story seems like … the same old Zelda story.

            Also the Sheikah Slate is literally an in-game Nintendo Switch that requires firmware updates. It’s so obvious! So dumb! I can’t get over it.

            Perhaps the little things are bothering more than they would because of the relentless praise. Final Fantasy XV, which you know I love to death, had tempered reviews that correctly identified its flaws, and I love it in spite of those drawbacks. Too much hype can be fatal.

Be warned before you fly to Breath of the Wild — don’t mistake greatness for perfection.