Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
His name is Link, not Zelda... AND HE'S BACK!
The Gamers Score: 9.0
Legend of Zelda: BotW - 9.0
Let me start off first by saying this game is gorgeous, you can spend hours just in awe of it's amazing rendered world. Think Skyrim but in the palm of your hands. I'm surprised at the power of the Switch. Glad I made my intern stand in line at midnight to get me one. Now i'm not going to be that reviewer that walks you through the story and why he does what he does but I think with a Zelda game you know Zelda's kidnapped by a form of Gannon and we have to go rescue her. Although this time you wont have to go it alone as eventually you list the help of the champions. Like hours upon hours in you finally enlist their help
Link is back and you start off on the highest mountain in Hyrule, pretty much just to drop your jaw from moment one. Graphically it's not quite the crisp look of The Ocarina of Time but it's not the cell shaded mess of The Windwaker. The environments are much more realistic but that doesn't mean you're not going to be Hiyah'ing your way through grass still. The environment becomes a major factor throughout the game and turns out to be your true enemy. If you get too high on a mountain you'll freeze to death, if you equip a metal weapon during a rainstorm you will get struck by lightning. Stamina is everything, you will live and die (a lot) by it. Enemies are all around you but still feel sparse and far apart. When the blood moon comes, everything you've killed will respawn i'm guessing so the world doesn't run out of enemies. Don't get me wrong I love this game but it feels like a lot of running in between enemy camps and friendly villages.
To break up your time running or galluping around the world Zelda has added shrines and towers as checkpoints so you don't lose your mind in the open space between villages. Instead of a magic whistle or epic sword this time you gain the Sheika Slate that slowly fills with runes like time stopping, magnetism, and an endless supply of bombs. Shrines are complex puzzle based rooms that you have to use a specific rune to clear, gaining you spirit orbs that you can donate to a goddess statue for upgrades of stats. Take my advice, don't fall in to the max out my hearts trap and max out stamina first. All those hearts you gain drain in about 30 seconds freezing to death on a mountain or drowning. Shrines are complex enough to keep you interested and at over a hundred there's plenty of these side quests to break up the story if you want. Some are required, some are not so good luck trying to guess that.
Nintendo finally found a use for its Amiibo's above their save your Smash Bros game to it uselessness and made each Zelda Amiibo drop all manor of food and a unique treasure chest of weapons, clothes, or in one case Epona. You can use any other Amiibo for a bunch of food but the cool stuff only comes from the Zelda figures.
The game is rich, complex, fun, and will probably take you forever to complete but it's not all sunshine and rainbows, the game is not without flaws. Camera movements are not always ideal and you'll find yourself adjusting it constantly, but no game has ever gotten this right. While the environment being a big factor starts out cool it really starts to get annoying after awhile. Chop down the trees to make firewood to cook food to make you cold resistant is tedious at best. Like I said earlier there is no master sword to get you have a cornucopia of garbage weapons from enemies stronger weapons from bosses or Amiibos but they are all fragile. It takes 3 hits on a basic enemy to down him and your basic weapon breaks after 4 or 5 hits. It seems like they tried really hard to make this open world feel real but at the end of the day I don't want to carry 12 swords and axes.
This could have been the perfect game if not for the almost too realistic gameplay so that's why it loses a point. That said, pick this game up on WiiU or Switch you will not regret it!