Paige FTW: How I Learned To Love BOTW

I’m a year late to the party — I’m always late to all the parties — but I’ve finally fallen in love The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I just couldn’t get into it when it debuted last March. The controls felt clunky. I died all the time, constantly. I hated that my weapons broke. The wide, open fields held no appeal.

But I went back two weeks ago and haven’t been able to put it down since.
The key, for me, was the road.

Breath of the Wild is much touted for its sense of exploration — if you see it, you can reach it, climb it and find a Korok seed underneath a rock at the top. But I can’t do that. I found myself frustrated as I attempted to capture that freewheeling sense of freedom, to the point where I quit altogether.

So this time, I stuck to the road. I didn’t go racing off in random directions. I stuck to the road and followed it as closely as possible. I marched from Kakariko Village to Hateno Village. It was good. I marched from Hateno up to Zora’s Domain. I followed other paths to unlock other regions.

And somewhere along the line, I started to enjoy the game. Inventory management became easier. The controls felt more natural.

Following the road led me straight to the Master Sword (even if I can’t yet pull it from the pedestal), Kara Kara Bazaar and even a weird Great Fairy Fountain for horses.

Now, deviating off the road is easier. I have a better idea where things are and how to find my way. I’m actually … enjoying the experience.

It does seem counterproductive to play a game ostensibly about freedom by defying that very principle, but perhaps the truest expression of pure freedom is to find its limits. That, or I’m just a stick in the mud.