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Matt's Video Game Reviews (9)

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Dragon Quest XI: Echoes... N/A
Assassin's Creed Odyssey 4.5/5
Final Fantasy VI 4/5
The Legend of Zelda: Br... 4.5/5
Tobe's Vertical Adventu... 3/5
Valkyria Chronicles 4 5/5
Papers, Please 2.5/5
Divinity: Original Sin 5/5
Firewatch 3.5/5


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild   Nintendo Switch 

The Legendary Breath of the Wild    4.5/5 stars

The 2017 release of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BOTW) came with much fanfare and anticipation. It debuted on both the Nintendo Switch and the dying Wii U. Since its inception it has become one of the best-selling games of all time, currently sitting at 29.5 million copies sold (according to the list on Wikipedia). This open world action-adventure game promised much to fans, and it does not, for the most part, disappoint.


4.5 out of 5

The primary plot of BOTW involves Link awakening after 100 years to world threatened by Calamity Ganon. His primary quest is to purge four Divine Beasts of Ganon’s influence and secondarily to rediscover memories of the past. The quests are simple but effective. Despite the endless possibilities with an open world, the straight forward objectives were refreshing. Players may accomplish the objectives in any order, defeating whichever beast they choose, rediscovering whatever memory suits them. They can rush the game, or they can soak it up, distracted by countless other details involved in the gameplay. The simple overarching story facilitates any of these types of play-throughs. The action of the story builds throughout as one region and Divine Beast are conquered at a time, and the climax comes in no other place than Hyrule Castle. These elements might be predictable, but that doesn’t diminish the enjoyment. More back-story is revealed as one navigates each region and dungeon. Memory is an important theme throughout the entire story and a primary component to the overarching plot. My primary criticism would be that the dénouement is predictable and somewhat lacking. Hyrule castle is an excellent dungeon, but the encounter with Ganon could have been better, but that’s okay.

The story is also accented by eccentric characters. Whether it be the ageless Purah or Hetsu and his (its?) maracas, the story leads Link to unique NPCs that make the gaming experience memorable. Each region involves new characters with stories of love, anger, addiction, and obsession. Oddly, their passions are relatable to players living in an internet-culture world. For example, who isn’t searching for 100 wild restless crickets? Okay, maybe there aren’t many hobby entomologists in search of countless crickets, but there sure are many consumed collectors of any number of things. The peculiar NPCs add a pleasant whimsy to playing the game, and I appreciated that.

Overall, I would say that the simplicity of the plot and the whimsical characters made it a pleasure to play. The gameplay and presentation added with the story to make a cohesive whole.


4.5 out of 5

The most controversial part of BOTW, drawing the most heated debate among fans and fanboys, has been the breaking-weapon mechanic. Melted Joystick’s own Nelson solely refers to the game as Break Of The Weapons. I do think that the game suffers from the lack of a way to mend weapons, especially the favored ones of any player. I often found myself exclusively using bokoblin clubs so that my swords wouldn’t break. The ubiquity of arms does alleviate some of the stress related to weapon loss, and I tended to store away my best as decorative pieces in my house, waiting to be equipped for the final dungeon. To be honest, I was moderately annoyed by this mechanic. It wasn’t so bothersome that I refused to play the game, but I did find myself wanting to mend certain arms.

The open world of Hyrule is appropriate in scale and fast traveling around the map using the Sheikah Slate is convenient. I did appreciate the tower climbing element to reveal each region. It was good of Nintendo to borrow such mechanics from Ubisoft’s catalog. The Shrines scattered throughout the map had enjoyable puzzles, and I appreciated that I could solve a few puzzles and do various other things in one sitting. The Divine Beasts were, however, the highlight of the game. The intricate puzzles found in these dungeons are evidence of Nintendo’s perfecting the gameplay of 3D environments. One minor complaint would be the unmemorable side quests that are scattered throughout the regions. Not many of these come to mind after recently finishing the game, and the prizes for completion aren’t often worthy of note.

Lastly, I found the crafting of potions and food an enjoyable part of the game. Collecting materials was natural and not a burden. Plus, Link could hold as many acorns, apples, and mushrooms as he could find. He never was encumbered by the goods he held in his bag, which definitely was a bonus. Cooking food and brewing potions wasn’t onerous and I would often fill my bag full of dishes and potions, then use the power-ups as needed. The game didn’t require me to cook so much that I felt too much time was spent in front of the fire.


5 out of 5

BOTW proves that the race for hyper-realistic graphics is not what it’s cracked up to be. This game runs on mobile phone hardware. The Switch, or the Wii U, aren’t or weren’t the leaders in computing power for their respective generations. Yet, that doesn’t matter. Graphical hi-fidelity can be overrated. What’s more important is the visual style, and BOTW does not disappoint. The landscape of the Hyrule is expansive and breathtaking. Regions on the map are diverse with color palates appropriate to their location. The game feels like Link is interacting in a beautiful water-colored painting. The game’s environment is compelling and enchanting, and it compliments the story and gameplay. The character design, specifically of all the guardian technology, evokes primordial sentiments with its liberal use of geometric design. I couldn’t help but think of the geometric pottery I studied in my Ancient Greek Art class at the university.


4.5 out 5 (not an average)

BOTW was a very enjoyable game to play, easily one of the my favorite games on the Switch. I was tempted to give it a 5 out of 5, but the breaking weapons prevented me. The other flaws in the gameplay and story were easily overlooked because of the sheer joy to play the game. The immersive world, looking like a painting, added to the enjoyment and I spent nearly each day this past summer in Hyrule. Highly recommended.



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