Alright, so I’ve been trying to figure out what platform I wanted to create this review for, since you know, I dabble in all aspects of the interwebs, but I decided that this was probably the best and fastest way to get it done. YouTube would be good if I had gameplay footage, but I don’t, and the amount of editing that would have to go into using enough screenshots would take way more time than I’m willing to spend not actually playing this game.
So, without further ado, I present to you,
MY THOUGHTS ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH
We’re gonna start with the console and just get it out of the way, and then I’ll get to some general thoughts/fangirling over Breath of the Wild.
I preordered the Nintendo Switch, along with Breath of the Wild, about 24 hours after preorders went live. It took some scrambling, because they went FAST, but I managed to snag the Special Edition bundle of BotW from Best Buy, and the actual console from GameStop. Then I just had to wait. They both arrived by UPS on March 3rd (release date) around 5 pm, and I dove head first down the rabbit hole.
The console has potential. I’m not exactly someone who is big on portable gaming, so that aspect wasn’t a huge selling point for me, and to be completely honest, if Breath of the Wild hadn’t been the launch title, I wouldn’t have preordered. But it was, so here I am, and my bank account hates me, again.
I played on the tablet for a bit because the Joy-Cons weren’t charged out of the box, but the tablet had a partial charge. When the Joy-Cons are attached to the tablet, they charge, so I did that for a while. Eventually, the console started warning about low battery, and I switched (lol) to the TV. After a little bit, the Joy-Cons were almost drained, because they hadn’t fully charged, so I wound up taking a break to make dinner and give my dog some attention. After about 45 minutes, the Joy-Cons were fully charged and I got back to exploring Hyrule.
I did not preorder the pro controller. I went hunting for one on launch day and failed to find one at Walmart, Target, GameStop, Best Buy, or Toys R Us. Basically all they had left were some screen protectors and some amiibos. I managed to find one online at Walmart.com. It arrived on Monday, March 6th. So for the entire first weekend, I played with the Joy-Cons attached to the grip that comes with the console.
I also want to throw out there really quickly, that the charging grip that you can order is completely unnecessary. Once the Joy-Cons are fully charged, reviewers have said that they’re good for 20 hours or so. To be completely honest, I was logging about 15-18 hours/day (yes, I’m a piece of shit human being) and they weren’t even halfway drained by the time I finally decided my brain needed sleep.
The Joy-Cons are…different. They are absolutely tiny. I have decently large hands for a woman, and I felt like I was holding a child’s toy. The grip does help, but it’s still an awkward setup, with buttons directly above or below the control sticks. I wish the grip had more depth to the part you hold on to, because towards the end of my gaming sessions, my hands were actually cramping.
I did experience the lagging from the left Joy-Con that other reviewers have mentioned. It wasn’t full disconnection; it was usually just a lag. Link would continue to run even when I had stopped moving the analog stick for another second or two, and then he would stop. This was especially annoying on cliffs because he would run right off to his death. It usually occurred when I had made my way into an interesting position on the couch as an attempt to be comfortable despite spending my entire day sitting, or when I had my feet propped up on the coffee table with my legs being physically between the Joy-Cons and the console. So we’re talking some sort of Bluetooth issue. Not entirely sure why it’s happening, I’m not that big of a tech person to try and speculate and figure it out, I’ll sound like an idiot, but it’s a thing that a lot of people have brought to the attention of Nintendo, and hopefully a patch will fix it. Maybe hold off on purchasing extra Joy-Con sets for multiplayer games, in case it is a hardware problem.
I feel like the Joy-Cons have potential, and will probably be more relevant for titles being released sometime in the future, but for extensively long gaming sessions of Breath of the Wild, the pro controller is where it’s at.
My pro controller arrived yesterday. I played for a few hours after my work shift with it, and all I can say is, BUY IT. I know it’s a hefty price tag ($70), but like I already said, it’s just so much more comfortable to play with. I did not experience any lagging/disconnecting/Bluetooth issues with it whatsoever. Also the layout of it just makes it more convenient to use.
I have not experienced any blue or orange screens of death. *knocks on wood* Thank god. I would probably cry.
All in all, I think it’s a cool console. I’m really looking forward to see what else comes out for it. I’m stoked for Super Mario Odyssey. I watched an interview with Miyamoto where he mentioned that they were going back to Super Mario 64/Super Mario Sunshine gameplay style for Odyssey, and that makes me so excited because both of those games are bomb. Also looking forward to a new Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and I even think Mario Party could be really fun on this.
As a lifelong Nintendo fan, it makes me so happy to see them making a comeback.
Now, on to the good shit.
If you’re a purist and don’t want to hear ANYTHING WHATSOEVER about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, turn back now! I’m not going to disclose any main quest plot spoilers, but I am going to talk about some of my favorite aspects of this game so far, and might do a second post with plot spoilers because I NEED TO DISCUSS THEM WITH SOMEONE AND NONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE THIS GAME ARE AS FAR AS I AM.
I’m going to try and keep this as general as possible. This is the main reason why I decided to blog this, because I can just keep editing it. I tend to ramble in my podcasts, and I just post them completely unedited, so I feel like this is the best way to not only keep my thoughts on track, but to also not piss anybody off.
Brief background of my love for Zelda:
The first game I played was Ocarina of Time for N64. It was released in 1998, I was six years old. That’s actually a good starter game because it gives you most of the history and background and is just a solid starting point for the world of Zelda. I fell in love. I played the rest as they came out: Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword. Eventually I found the original NES title and I played that as well. I have not played the Gameboy Zelda titles. [As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never really been big on portable gaming. Pokemon Blue, Yellow, and Crystal are about the only games I’ve really gotten into on a Gameboy. There have been others, and I distinctly remember how exciting it was to get a GameBoy Color (we also have the original grey GameBoy that’s an actual brick), but I’ve pretty much always been a main console kind of person. It’s more comfortable for one, I’d rather stare straight ahead at a TV than stare downwards and screw my neck up.] I’ve played all the main console games multiple times, while sober, while drunk, while trying to see how fast I can beat them (Ocarina: 18 hours w/o massive skipping of cut scenes or hacking). Anyway, I’m a die-hard Zelda fan. I love the stories, the characters, and the lore. So as soon as I heard Breath of the Wild was the launch title for the Nintendo Switch, I immediately knew I was ordering a new gaming console. There wasn’t even anything to think about. It was happening.
Size comparison. No need for a giant case when the cartridge is tiny.
Open your eyes.
This game is a masterpiece. And I do not say that lightly. As someone who has played each 3D Zelda multiple times, I have a lot of opinions. There are things I like, there are things I don’t like. Things that are annoying, things that make me squeal in delight at how magnificent they are. This is why I don’t really have a favorite Zelda game, because there are things I love and dislike about all of them. (Yes, even Ocarina, sue me.) Breath of the Wild is magnificent. This game is everything I have wanted a Zelda game to be since I first picked up that N64 controller back in 1998 and beat Ganon for the first time.
The open world is absolutely massive and I’ve spent so much time exploring. Just when I think I’ve checked an area out completely, I look at my map and I’ve only explored a quarter of that particular province. It’s incredible. Hyrule truly feels like a massive country with diverse areas and people. Some familiar places exist: Gerudo Desert, Zora’s Domain, The Lost Woods, Kakariko Village, Death Mountain, and Goron City, just to name a few, as well as countless new villages and areas. Provinces that were introduced in Twilight Princess (Eldin, Faron, Lanayru) combined with classic towns and areas create a version of Hyrule where the entire timeline makes sense. It’s incredible.
This game is challenging. I think it was Polygon’s review that said something along the lines of how this is a product of creators taking their audience’s intelligence seriously. I don’t feel babied along. There are no tutorials, and very few explanations. You figure it out by trial and error, and it’s so satisfying when you stare at a situation for so long and are completely dumbfounded by how to make it work, and then you finally figure it out.
The dungeons (not exaaaactly dungeons, but I’m not touching the plot in this post, so we’ll just go with dungeons) are clever as hell. They are not your traditional make your way through, find keys, fight a mini boss, get an item, find the boss key, fight the boss-type dungeons. They’re giant puzzles that eventually lead you to EPIC bosses. The downside of this is that if you’re not entirely sure if you’re strong enough to be there, you don’t really find out until you get to the boss and one hit kills you. Then you’re like, oh hey, maybe I shouldn’t be here yet.
The good news is you can easily warp to the dungeons. If you realize that you’re not strong enough to fight the boss, you can go get stronger and then come back. And it’s not like the boss is buried deep within the dungeon, like previous designs have been. They’re pretty much waiting for you right at the front once you’ve unlocked them. So far, I’ve completed one dungeon that I’m pretty sure is the one you’re supposed to start with, just because I made it through the boss battle with it being difficult, but not totally impossible. But I have another that I made it to the boss, and one hit was leaving me with about a quarter of a heart. So I’ve been hunting heart containers, and wound up starting another dungeon, that I’m realizing is probably the one you’re supposed to do second. The non-linear quest thing really keeps you on your toes.
I’m going to try and wrap this up, because I realize this is getting really long.
A few final thoughts:
I really love the cooking/survival aspects of the game. It makes it more realistic and requires more thought to go into what you’re doing and the decisions that you’re making.
THE WEATHER AFFECTS YOU. Oh my god, I love this. If it’s raining, it’s reeeeally hard to climb mountains. Duh. And you can get struck by lightning if you’re carrying metal weapons during a thunderstorm! I love it.
Your horse can die. This freaks me out so much. It shouldn’t, because it’s a game, but it does. But you basically have an endless supply of wild horses to catch so it’s not the end of the world if you lose one.
The fact that your weapons can break is really frustrating, but again, makes it more of a challenge. The Master Sword does exist though, because it HAS to, this is Zelda after all, and I just recently found it. Haven’t acquired it yet, but I’m assuming it doesn’t break. So I’m really trying to get it just because I’m so sick of my weapons breaking.
I think that’s about all I have for now without getting into the plot/pissing people off.
This game is really magical. It’s hands down the best thing I’ve ever played. It’s not a traditional Zelda game, and I know that’s making it a very tempting purchase for people who haven’t been into these games in the past. If you’re on the fence about it, let me make it easy for you:
You need this game in your life.
Alright, that is all. If I think of more things, I might make a part 2, and I also might do more plot-related thoughts, because again, THE STORY IS SO GOOD.