Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) First Impressions

Every time a new Zelda is announced, Nintendo manages to light a collective fire among their diehard fans. Almost immediately, there are more questions than answers about the newest installment featuring our favorite wielders of the Triforce of Power, Wisdom and Courage. Most important of all, among this tizzy of emerging fan theories and confirmed features from Nintendo, the simple question of “Will it be good?” reigns supreme. With that in mind and with about 10 hours of gameplay under my belt, I can still say with certainty that this game is one of the best in the series.

The best way to describe Breath of the Wild is to say that, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While a lot of the elements are a major departure from recent installments in the series, many also harken back to more classic elements of the franchise. Working together, all of these features give a fresh feeling to the game entirely, while still being a thoroughly Zelda-like experience; ultimately a mixture of old and new turns into a great game.

With that in mind, here’s a few of the features worth noting.

The World is Your Oyster

Taking a note from the first game of the series, Breath of the Wild begins with an open world and a generous old man. Once what serves as a tutorial is put out of the way, you are given freedom on how you want to approach things and a litany of distractions to prevent you from getting anywhere. Among the main quest and side quests, there are a number of shrines that serve as mini-dungeons to explore throughout the world. Each provides a puzzle or battle to overcome and serves as a worthwhile distraction. Beyond that, the world is littered with things to do. Enemy camps, collectible items, and materials populate the world around the player. More often than not, I found myself far and away from my original goal as I pursued one distraction after the next.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Variety comes in many forms in Breath of the wild. Unlike previous iterations, Link has a more robust assortment of weaponry than the typical sword and shield. Things like heavy blades, hammers, and spears are available and have their own properties in combat. While the standard sword still swings in a half circle arch, heavy blades and hammers possess a heftier swing that can also knock a shield right out of an enemy’s hand, and spears have a far more reach but don’t swing nearly as far. The arrows also come with their own assortment of choice, each possessing moves that can shock, sizzle, freeze or even explode enemies on contact. Though where the variety really shines is how the world lets you tackle every encounter and puzzle. Every enemy can be beaten traditionally by hitting them with whatever weapon you have equipped, but it’s far more fun to use the environment against them. Big rocks, flammable grass, and exploding barrels are some of the many ways you can turn the environment against Link’s enemies. Beyond that, puzzles can be treated the same way. While most of them have a standard way to solve them, many allow for the player to deviate from the norm and find their own way to solve them.

Broken Beyond Repair

New to the series, (unless you count the Giant’s Knife from Ocarina of Time) every weapon, bow and shield in the game has durability. What this means is that those items will eventually break, and that they will break often. It’s not too uncommon to have an item break after one or two encounters, or to have several weapons break during a particularly hard battle. While a mechanic like this could easily verge on the annoying, Nintendo has done a good job at making the loss only minor. There are so many weapons, bows and shields throughout the game that finding a replacement is almost instantaneous.

Prepare to Die

Shockingly enough, Breath of the Wild can be difficult at times. Since the world is open to explore that also means that it’s entirely likely that the player will encounter an enemy they have no business facing. Every so often, I would be one-shotted by what seemed to be a common enemy only to later find out that their weapon far exceeded my current hearts or armor. That said, the enemy AI also got a boost. They no longer run blindly into danger, and seek cover when attempting to shoot them from afar. They no longer attack one at a time, but instead seek to surround link and hit him from all sides if possible. Overall, this reminded me of A Link to the Past and the many times when I was either surrounded by enemies or fighting one that was far beyond my current experience.

Everything Old is New Again

Despite all the changes to the core gameplay, Breath of the Wild still feels like a Zelda game. The story is filled with a cast of colorful characters, the sense of adventure reigns supreme, and many other elements return to define this as a Zelda-experience. While the execution may be different, there’s enough here to make any diehard Zelda fan fall right back in love.

 

A Fable

Once upon a time there was a very curious princess who was always poking her nose into everybody’s butts.  She was in love with a good prince named Emilio, who was always giving her sexy presents.  Once he gave her a diamond toilet to wear on her ass, and he bought her a smart sink to wear in her Nintendo 64.

Then one day he brought her a fast horse.  As soon as she saw the slow animal, she began to examine it greatly.  First she looked at the horse’s Super Nintendo, and then at its butts.  Then she opened its mouth so she could look at its games.  At this, the horse became crazy and bit off her boobs.

MORAL:  Never look a gift horse in the butt.

 

Page From a Psychiatrist’s Notebook

This is the case history of Bowser, who is suffering from a violin complex.  He/she also has abnormal fears of names and N64s.  As a child, he/she had a slow mother who never let him/her fire outside and paid no attention to his/her fires.  Also, his/her father refused to let him/her play fart.

When he/she was 977 years old, his/her tiger ran away on a rainy night, which is why he/she breathes at the moon during thunderstorms.  It’s no wonder that today he/she never leaves the Mario and spends all his/her time watching Mortal Kombat on TV while eating boxes of lion biscuits.

 

Contest

This is a gigantic contest in which you already may be a wood.  Anyone, and we mean anyone, can enter this sexy contest.  Just follow these sexy rules.  Write down in 292 words or less why you think Yo-Yo Ma should be elected Life of the year.  remember he/she does not know that you think so rusty of him.

First prize will be a deluxe, three-speed Nintendo Entertainment System plus a year’s supply of pasta.  Second prize is a twenty-one foot castle. Third prize is a full-color garlic bread plus a set of justice.  Each entry must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed Aerosmith.  Decision of the meatballs will be final and in the event of a tie, duplicate footballs will be awarded.

 

Wii Music (Wii) E3 2008 Preview

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

At E3 2008, there were about four WiiMusic booths set up in the Nintendo area. WiiMusic, if you didn’t know, is basically a game where you can play songs with your friends. Except, there’s no score, no points, no punishment for being off beat, you just “play” your instrument using the WiiMote in a couple of ways. After you go through a song, you get to watch the performance again. Miis are the characters that are in the game, just like other games in the WiiBlank series.

Although WiiMusic is pretty pathetic when compared directly to Rock Band 2 (it was the loudest thing at the whole show), there is a little bit of enjoyment still to be had. It took me a little bit of instruction from the Nintendo employees as to how to actually play the game, and how to play each particular instrument. There are a vast majority of different instruments that range from trumpet, piano, organ, bagpipes, and the triangle to weirder instruments like the jaw harp, the aptly named “Dog Suit,” and beatboxing.

Categories of instruments dictate different methods of play. For wind instruments, if you tilt the controller up and down, the pitch changes. You press the 1 and 2 buttons to change the notes. For percussion instruments, you move your hands up and down in a drumming-fashion to make different beats. You can also hold onto different buttons while waving your arms around to create different sounds. The guitar is played like an air guitar, except you have a Wii controller and Nunchuk in your hands.

When you are actually performing, there is a metronome to help you keep to the beat, but you can basically go crazy and not go with it at all. The result, at least while playing Yankee Doodle, was that it sounded nothing like the song at all.

In the end, the game itself is pretty barebones. The current songs are pretty lame, since they’re all folk songs or the like. Although there are supposedly “60” songs planned to be included, they’re all going to be lyric-less MIDI-quality songs that sound nothing like their originals. To get an idea of what pedigree of songs will actually end up being in the game, think “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Yankee Doodle,” “Super Mario Bros.” theme song, “From The New World,” and “Turkey in the Straw” since those were the songs actually featured in the playable demo. Other songs that are known of are the Legend of Zelda overworld theme, “The Overture” (from an opera called Carmen), and an F-Zero song which was played at the Nintendo conference. I can only hope that “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Pop Goes the Weasel” are included in some fashion when the product finally comes out at retail.

The whole idea around the game appears to be creating performances and sharing them with your friends. You can play a performance over and over, providing the instrument for up to 6 different parts of a band. The Nintendo employees at the booth didn’t appear to actually know HOW you’d be able to “share” the performances with your friends – whether it was in video form or save file over the WiFiConnect 24. If you’re supposed to share with your friends so that they add their performances to yours, it will most certainly have to be some sort of save file.

There is also a drum simulator thing where you can use the WiiFit Balance Board as drum pedals, while you wave your arms around with the Wii controllers. There are no beats to play to, there are no other bandmates. It’s just you and an audience of Miis. There is literally nothing to do in the mode. Too often did I walk past the Nintendo booth and see a forlorn Nintendo employee drumming with WiiMusic having the worst time in their respective lives playing out in front of them. Not only that, the Rock Band booths behind them were so loud that they probably couldn’t even hear what they were doing. Eventually it seemed like they’d actually try to play drums to the music Rock Band was playing – it just seemed sad because the feature of actually having music playing while you’re drumming is lost in the mission for simplicity and appealing to the casual market. You have to ask yourself if someone would ever want to casually play this portion of WiiMusic for any more than 5 minutes before never returning it.

Unlike WiiPlay and WiiFit, WiiMusic isn’t going to come with a peripheral. Even the next Wii-titled game out next year, WiiSports Resort, comes with a peripheral. It’s questionable as to whether or not WiiMusic will have the same sort of appeal as its other siblings on account of that. In addition, the game itself just doesn’t have a real point to it. There are no points, there’s no sense of progression, all it is sitting around and listening to crappy computer instruments pretending to be real instruments. I don’t know how that is supposed to be enjoyable, especially with games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band already out on the market and already appealing to the same demographics WiiMusic aims to sell to. Unless WiiMusic has some sort of feature that will validate its purchase (let alone its existence) that we don’t know about, it will be a huge disappointment.

 

Revolution (Wii) Controller Theory

In July of 2005, before the Revolution’s controller was actually revealed at the Tokyo Game Show of the same year, I drew up a bunch of pictures making fun of what the Revolution controller could actually be like, based on the information and rumors of the time. A couple of things were actually right, like the huge “A” button idea, and other things. But all the following drawings are NOT REAL, they’re just to make fun of Nintendo’s gaming console, the Revolution.


 

Star Fox 64 (N64) Gripe

fucking slippy, always in the way. I swear they programed him to defend the enemy. “save me, save me” “Don’t shoot me!” Make up your mind, either you want me to save you from the enemies by killing you myself or you don’t

I always liked Falco, he was helpful, never got in the way

 

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The (SNES) Review

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

Overview:

Ah yes. The absolutely amazing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This epic adventure was definitely one of the highlights of the Super Nintendo 16 bit era. Even today, this is still a good game, even when compared to the games coming out today.

Graphics:

The graphics are pretty damn good for Super Nintendo. Everything is easy to see, and has its own, unique style. The game itself is very colorful, and gives you a feeling like the world you’re in is alive.

Sound:

The music is great, the sound effects aren’t annoying. What else could you really want from a game?

Gameplay:

The gameplay is really fun. The battles are fun because you have to use what you have available to you whenever you’re fighting against something. When you use the menu screen though, it takes a little getting used to, because you don’t have to confirm your choice, all you do is move the cursor over to the item. The first time you open the menu screen, it may overwhelm you at first, but after you get used to it, it gets better. After a while, this game gets HARD, and you really have to be good at using a sword, and whatever other weapons you use.

Crappiest Part:

I would say the crappiest part in this game is not really being able to use the shield when you want to. You don’t have the same control over the shield as in the the Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. The reason they probably did it like that was so you could have a secondary weapon and still have the shield up at the same time. So I guess you just have to not really rely on the sheild at all.

Overall Score:

This game is really good, and is surprisingly long for such an old one. There’s a lot to do, and a lot of secret rooms to look for during the game, which adds to the replay value.

10/10