So I recently received my Nintendo Switch with Breath of the Wild and I am completely in awe. The Switch itself is a really cool idea, being able to ‘switch’ modes on the fly is really seamless and plugging it in to the TV makes everything bigger and better. Breath of the Wild is a really good looking game and although the graphics aren’t Witcher 3 level, the art style cleverly hides the fact that it is running on a mobile chip. The storyline itself is really engaging, dragging you straight into a really stimulating story and gameplay tests your creativity, with most main parts not being based on what the power of your weapons are and rather whether you can think your way through a situation, using different powers you have to solve a puzzle – often with more than one way to solve it.
The game is massively open world and the user can even go straight to the end of the game if wanted – although most will not survive due to the need for good items. It drags you into the world of Hyrule, engaging you in the main story along with side quests and Shrines. It really does not hold your hand either, with most quests requiring searching for places among the whole of Hyrule, with the only guidance being asking people for help. This develops into a very adventure-based game, with the fact that everything is a discovery adding to the pleasure of the game. Completing a shrine is married to its own satisfaction, many having a quite simple solution but requiring real thought. As a person who can usually only struggle through fighting scenes (mashing buttons isn’t really my forte), Breath of the Wild brings a whole new experience, allowing targeting and slowing down of time to engage in battles, allowing even the most unskilled player (me) to be able to do well, as long as they remember the right buttons to press.
Without spoiling anything, the storyline at first seems very ‘Save the Princess’, akin to Peach in Mario, but players will later realise that this is not the case, bringing a fresh twist on a classic game. Players can choose whether to go straight for the storyline or for shrines, or even just roaming the world. There are many side quests and other areas for the user to explore, with Easter Eggs scattered throughout and I really enjoy the way that the player can do what they want quite a lot more than previous Zelda games. I also found that instead of going for some enemies, players should sometimes just run past them – something that at the start I thought was cheating, but later on discovered was probably the right way to do things as some enemies are just too hard to kill, especially early on with the limited weapons available.
Being first on the game does have its merits, but also its downfalls. Although not detrimental to the game, there are times when the system will drop frame rates when connected to a TV. I find this happens most in lots of grass (probably due to the fact that the game is rendering all the interactions with the grass which is very GPU intensive) but this never makes the game unplayable and fixes itself within a few seconds. I have found no real bugs in the game
In terms of the Switch itself, the console is very well designed and makes nice clicks when the user attaches or detaches the Joy-Cons. Although it looks very badly designed, the Joy-Con grip actually feels very ergonomic and fits into my hand perfectly. The console has nice noises throughout its interface and brings a very simplistic UI design which is quite fresh for a Nintendo console (along with its high-ish resolution screen).
It hasn’t been without its hiccups though. The left Joy-Con will disconnect randomly for me, sometimes resulting in an unexpected input or not being able to do something. This usually happens for me when I’m sitting in front of the TV and the controller dips underneath the table. I am not really sure why it disconnects as it is well within a metre. Also, unlike the Wii U, the control sticks are on opposite ends. I understand why Nintendo did this – so that two people playing each with an individual Joy-Con have the same controls on both sides. Finally, the screen is very prone to scratches because it is made of plastic. I understand why they did this – it means no broken screens, like the 3DS. It however means that the console will show wear and tear a lot more quickly and basically requires a screen protector. Unlike the 3DS, the Switch has no protection for its screen however and therefore users just have to be very careful with the console. I will include more of this in a full review of the console itself.
My life it seems has become dominated by this new console. In some ways I am glad that I can’t see the amount of hours I have played on the game as I am sure it is way too high for the amount of time I have had it. I am about half-way through the game and am very excited to continue. I will report back later.