In the final battle between the evil king Calamity Ganon and the champions of Hyrule, Link, the legendary Hyrulian hero, is struck down.
Princess Zelda, who is the reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia, protector of Hyrule and the Triforce, was able to protect link from Ganon’s fatal blow by shielding him and carrying him to the Shrine of Resurrection. A hundred years have passed and all of Hyrule has been cast into darkness, awaiting the hero, Link, to cast out Calamity Ganon by finding the fabled, “Master Sword”, the sword that seals the darkness.
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is the latest continuation of the classic mythology of the “Legend of Zelda” video games. “Breath of the Wild (BOTW)” differs greatly from previous titles, but does not stray away from the true storytelling of Hyrule’s mythology that (almost) every other “Legend of Zelda” game possesses.
BOTW easily sports the most content than any other “Legend of Zelda” title. Most other titles have an open world that can be explored freely, coupled with a linear story line. BOTW is essentially a full “sandbox” game, meaning the player can skip or play any content they choose. It is possible for a player to defeat Ganon within 25 minutes of the beginning of the game, when Link is first resurrected. Doing so is not without its challenges, however.
BOTW has a fulfilling story that can only be uncovered by paying attention to clues, listening to the story, and exploring the wilderness that is now Dark Hyrule. A hundred years ago, Link was accompanied by four other champions, each hailing from the sea, mountain, desert, and sky. Each champion was tasked with piloting a Divine Beast, giant mechanical machines that the ancient order of Shieka had built to defeat Calamity Ganon long ago.
Each champion piloting the Divine Beasts has fallen to Calamity Ganon, with their spirits trapped in the machines. Ganon was also able to corrupt the Divine Beasts, making them cause havoc during the past 100 years throughout Hyrule.
After 100 years in the Shrine of Resurrection, Link has lost his memories of his companions. BOTW gives an optional side quest to uncover these memories, not only of his friends, the four champions, but also of his connection with Princess Zelda. Link is tasked with releasing the four Divine Beasts from Calamity Ganon’s grasp. Meanwhile, Princess Zelda has been using her powers gifted from Goddess Hylia to seal Ganon in Hyrule Castle for the past 100 years.
In freeing the Divine Beasts, Link is reunited with the spirits of the four champion pilots, and their ancestors who have become the new champions since the original four’s passing. The stories behind the Divine Beasts are all fairly fulfilling and profound. Only one of the Divine Beast quests felt rushed, with almost no motivation other than the outlying problem of Calamity Ganon to actually free it. Link just shows up, people complain, he fixes the problem, and then he moves on.
Otherwise, the game has a much richer story that can be uncovered by exploring. Every region has stories to tell, from uncovering ancient mythology about civilizations of old, to simply helping people in need. There are also 120 “Shrines” to be found, most of which are hidden away. Each shrine is a puzzle that unlocks items, and a currency called “Spirit Orbs,” which can be used to upgrade Link’s health and stamina bars.
BOTW will be considered another classic, next to “Ocarina of Time,” (OoT). Since OoT has been out for 21 years, it has had much more time to be scrutinized and dissected for the story and subtext that it delivers. BOTW will be subject to the same scrutiny as OoT by fans, and I think that more secrets will be uncovered as time goes on. It is these properties of the game that make it a masterful presentation of works from the game’s developers and artists. Small details are always hidden, waiting to be uncovered in “Legend of Zelda” games, with each detail revealing more of the mythology of Hyrule and her legends.
I give “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” a 9/10.
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