To call The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a "hotly anticipated" game is putting it lightly. You know that burrito that Jesus microwaves that is so hot that he himself could not eat it? That's how hotly Breath of the Wild is anticipated. At long last, I managed to get my grubby little mitts on Nintendo's long-awaited return to Hyrule, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. While our full review of the Nintendo Switch launch title is embargoed until late next week, here are my first impressions of the game, along with some tips and tricks that will come in handy when you get to play it next week.
The controls take some getting used to
Maybe it's because I'm not entirely used to the Switch and its myriad ways with which to use the Joy-Con controllers, or maybe it's because you need to have them lined up properly with the console or else you run the risk of de-syncing, but Breath of the Wild has a bit of a learning curve with its control scheme. The inventory management system in particular can be a bit clunky until you get the hang of things. And you'll be using it a lot because you have a limited number of slots for swords, melee weapons, and ranged weapons, all of which have finite durability that will need to be monitored.
Don't loot everything you see
I know it's difficult to resist the siren call of picking up every glittering, glinting, gleaming item you come across. After all, we've been programmed by years of video games to essentially be virtual hoarders. (Honestly, no one needs this much cabbage). But in Breath of the Wild, you don't need to give into your baser, magpie-like instincts because you are never that far away from getting a bigger, better, shinier item. You need to be judicious because you have limited inventory space, which will fill up quickly unless you upgrade it. That isn't to say you should ignore treasure completely, but don't let it slow your gameplay to a grinding halt.
You're basically Spider-Man
Spider-Link, Spider-Link, does whatever a Spider-Link does!
Link has always been an agile hero, jumping, rolling, and clambering his way through all manner of dungeons and temples. However, in Breath of the Wild, he can climb practically any surface, which means that you can truly explore this open world in three dimensions. Climbing to new heights becomes even more important and gratifying once you acquire the paraglider, allowing you to travel to otherwise inaccessible locations. Plus, climbing towers like the one depicted above, will reveal new areas on the map to you and provide a beautiful vantage point to take in the heights of Hyrule.
Discretion is the better part of valor
As 1986's The Legend of Zelda taught us, it's dangerous to go alone. While you'll be taking a slew of weapons and protective gear with you on your quest, you will also find that sometimes it's better to simply avoid a fight. Hyrule is full of all manner of murderous monsters that can quickly overwhelm you or possess dangerous abilities. In fact, you won't necessarily have the tools to defeat every monster you come across right away. Often times, it's more advantageous to run away and live to fight another day. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold, so your patience will be rewarded with blood.
Make ample use of shield surfing
Just in case extreme climbing and paragliding weren't enough to convince you that Link should have starred in Point Break, Breath of the Wild also lets you ride Link's shield like a surfboard. In order to do it, equip your shield by holding ZL, then press X to jump and hit A while in midair. The move allows you to gain quite a bit of speed and can help you outmaneuver opponents, but it has the side effect of rapidly damaging your shield in the process. Just make sure to keep an eye on the item's durability or you may find yourself suddenly tumbling down a mountainside, taking massive amounts of damage before ultimately falling over a cliff onto the rocky shoals below. Not saying that's what exactly what will happen to you, but I'm speaking from a place of experience.
Don't forget to use your amiibos
In addition to feeding an unhealthy addiction to collecting things in real life, amiibo will confer a number of in-game bonuses to you if you use them with Breath of the Wild. It has previously been announced that using the Wolf Link amiibo will allow you to summon Wolf Link in-game, and each of the The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary amiibo will grant you airdrops of meat, fish, and other goodies.
Become an Iron Chef
While some people prefer the alchemical pleasures of brewing potions or the joy of smithing their own armor, my favorite crafting system is cooking, and Breath of the Wild is perfect for that. Throughout the game, you'll gather a number of ingredients that you can combine to create curative items that can both restore your health and confer resistance bonuses to you too. For example, if you find yourself freezing to death after scaling a mountain, then roasting a spicy pepper or two might be in your best interest.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available on Nintendo Switch and Wii U on March 3, 2017.
Will you be picking up Breath of the Wild? What are you hoping for from the new Zelda? Let us know in the comments below.
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