The Magic of Zelda: Breath of The Wild
I’ve had The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild in my possession for about a weekend and I yet I feel like I’ve spent an eternity with the game. This is because the world of the game is one that feels lived in by not only the characters within the game, but by me, the player. I’ve put in tons of hours into the game. In fact, I’ve put in too many hours into the game. But, at this point I don’t care. All I want to do is experience the world. Leading up to its release, many of the writers, critics, and analysts pointed out in their reviews and discussions a certain “magic” about the game. A thing that many had in common was that they could not pinpoint exactly what that magic was. I too see this magic and even though I may not be able to put it together as eloquently as some, I may still be able to give describing that “magic” a shot.
During this last weekend I have been tweeting and messaging my friends nonstop about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild. My messages have ranged from “Have you seen this” to “How do you do this” to “I can’t believe this happened” and every variation. I’ve messaged friends about how angry I was that other developers have not made open world games like this before. Breath of The Wild seems to me to be the correct way to put together an open world. It’s one of the only games I can think of that seems to do it right.
The world of Breath of The Wild is its own character. By this, I mean that it has its own personality, crazy amounts of stories, and importance. The game is about discovery and the world was made with this in mind. I’ve played maybe about 15 hours of the game and already have a crazy amount of stories involving random boss encounters, islands I’ve discovered, characters I’ve met, tactics I’ve come up with, shrines I’ve discovered, and the list can go on and on. It differs from other games in that its open world not only has a reason to exist, the game is strictly about that world. The game is about the story that the world has to tell you. The game doesn’t tell you what is where. It allows you to discover these things by yourself. The game doesn’t tell you how everything works. The game expects you to learn. The game expects you to discover. That discovery is core to the experience.
Breath of The Wild’s design reminds me of what it is like to take a trip. In real life, there is a difference between the experience of flying, driving, and walking. A flight from Seattle to Miami would be a quick easy experience. A drive would be much slower, but would allow for an experience that would have been previously lost. However, if I were to walk to Miami from Seattle, the experience would be life changing. I would meet people, understand the land in a deeper way, read every sign, and become intimate with the world around me. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild forces you to slow down and walk. The game wants you to take in the details of the world. The game wants you to understand the intricacies of the design. It wants you to take a second to enjoy the experience rather than just unlock the next cut scene or complete the next objective. The game wants you to take a breath. And I believe in that moment of serenity is where the magic lies.
This piece was written by Blessing Adeoye. You can find Blessing on the internet either getting into dance battles or praising Jet Force Gemini at @blessingjr on the Twittersphere.