I know this topic has been done to death but I've never found a good thread that has critical discussion from both sides and isn't just "It's too open with no direction" or "well I think it's great so therefore it is." I want to hear what you guys have to say, from both the pro-BoTW and the anti(?)-BoTW. Please be nice. And also for reference, I have 50 hours in the game and got it in February of this year so I sorta missed the 2017 hype train and I've played every Zelda game prior to this one.
The Good: Breath of the Wild is a really good game. The world is huge and varied; the environments, from the flora and fauna to the architecture, are all very distinct but work well as one Hyrule. The four main towns really show each race's unique characteristics. The combat system is superb, the various ways you can take down enemies either stealth mode, fast dodging or just straight-up bomb arrows. The art style is probably the best thing going for it. Cell-shaded while also being pretty realistic. The colours, the lighting, every time I watch a speedrunner play the game it makes me want to play it again.
The Bad: It doesn't feel like a Zelda game to me. Now, what does that mean? It changed up what a lot of Zelda games in the past did, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but I think they took out too many core zelda elements that made it sort of lose it's identity. Where have the dungeons gone? "Well they were replaced with shrines and divine beasts" (I'll get to that) All the dungeon specific items like the ice rod, hookshot, etc. "Well you have a million different melee weapons and bows." Even though. they all basically do the same thing + some elemental effects and different base damage. Why is there no actual crafting system? There's cooking and alchemy, but how come we can't make things like arrows or weapons. I understand they want you to go exploring and FIND weapons but what if you were able to craft a basic sword, axe, hammer, or bow in a few different styles (wood, steel, gold). They could all have basic damage counts so you would still feel a desire to go out and find better weapons but you could also craft some lower-level weapons if you're out, or sell them for cold hard rupees. Along with the crafting I wish we could use the elemental stones we find and fuse them to non-buffed weapons to create elemental weapons. The shrines are boring. I'm sorry but they are. The only ones I enjoyed were the ones where there was a quest to unlock the shrine, but even then most of the time the actual shrine is the quest to find it, once you're inside the game just sorta goes "here's your spirit orb". They're all indistinct from each other and repeat a lot of concepts. The divine beasts are better and I'll discuss why I think they could stay the way they are in the final section. I don't want to talk about the Korok seeds. The storyline and quests. All the quests boil down to a few things: "Go to this place and kill these dudes." Or "here's a song from old that has a secret riddle, figure it out". Or "hey can you find me some meat / 12 grasshoppers / some shiny rocks." None of them has any real character development or effect on the world.
How to make it better: This is the section I'm excited for cause I really want to know what people think of these ideas/if you agree or not.
Crafting: Just add basic craftable weapons and arrows. The way armour is in the game is perfect in my opinion and I don't think there needs to be craftable armour, but definitely basic weapons. Also, enchanting weapons with elemental stones would be sick.
Dungeons: Keep the idea of the four divine beasts. However, before you actually go into the beasts there are two regular Zelda puzzle dungeons per divine beast in that area that are themed for the environment (Forest temple and Bug(?) temple for Faron area). Each of these dungeons has a unique boss like in traditional zelda games, gives you a heart container upon completion as well as a unique item like a fire rod, hookshot etc. Once you get these two items only THEN can you enter the divine beast that's relevant to that area. You would still be able to have an open world in which you'd have the choice to start any divine beast you want, but there are these preliminary dungeons you have to complete first, that don't involve the same gimmicks as the shrines did. In the overworld maybe you can use the Hookshot to pull down a flying guardian faster but the item isn't necessary to beat any enemy or complete any task outside of the divine beast dungeon. It would just give more options and freedom to play the game in different ways. This would make for a total for 12 dungeons, 8 being item-based and 4 being the divine beasts, similar to past games.
Quests: Add more character-driven quests that depend on the environment around them. Maybe in a town, there are two competing general stores with a long history of competition and one of the store owners releases a bunch of giant bugs into their stocks of items in the basement and you get to choose if you'll help the other store owner and kill all the bugs or you can leave him to financial ruin. Maybe there's a giant stable you find hidden away from society where the owner works his animals really hard and treats them horribly and you can choose to sneak in at night and free the animals or go on your merry way. These would really add an extra layer of depth in the world as if you're affecting it in ways that are immediate to see. It would also add more character development past the stories we hear about Zelda, Link and the champions.
Towns: Just add more towns and farmsteads please.
I hope you all made it to the end. I want to know you're opinions! Do you agree, disagree, don't care? I'm very curious! Also just want to reiterate, it's a good game. It's beautiful, the spirit of adventure is engrained in this game. But there are many things I think that could be introduced in BoTW2 or the next Zelda game that would really bring it to just peak Zelda.
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