First Impressions: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Stunning


We’ve barely made it through the first section of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but the game’s met our expectations and exceeded them so far.

As someone who knows the “rules” of The Legend of Zelda as a series, I’ve never been more delighted to see so many of them “broken” in the way that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does. Granted, the series tried to innovate its way out of a console formula codified by Ocarina of Time before. That was Skyward Sword, and we don’t talk about Skyward Sword.

But with Breath of the Wild, Nintendo has somehow managed to keep the game feeling very much like Zelda and very much not like Zelda. Be warned: some minor spoilers now follow, mostly for the first few hours of the game.

Something that continues to strike me as I climb and run and ride my way through this new Hyrule is the new approach to sound. We’re used to hearing the strains of music while we explore. Breath of the Wild doesn’t always have an accompanying soundtrack. Sometimes, in fact, it is just you and the wild. Additionally, there really is voice acting. At least they’ve also kept the little sounds accompanying text boxes when people don’t have voices.

It is fun, though, to recognize all the little musical cues in the game. I swear every time something is downloaded to the Sheikah Slate, I’ll be rewarded with the “duh-na-na-na” sound effect. After all, the downloading sound is the build-up older games play when you open a chest. My hopes are high that it will happen.

I’ve actually died a couple times already in the game, but I’m not mad at it. It’s hard to fight years of Zelda muscle memory as to how combat works. Weapon durability isn’t my favorite thing in the world so far. However, I do like that the map actually marks where you died. Additionally, the autosave function seriously helps.

There’s so much to do in this game. I feel as though I have just barely begun to understand every one of the new systems. However, I don’t feel as though I can’t proceed in the game. Thankfully, I make sure to cook plenty of food before I go to the dangerous areas.

Also, I have discovered that you can dye clothing. All-black-wearing Link, here I come … just as soon as I can gather the materials.

Next: Mass Effect: Andromeda: Voice Cast and Missions

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is out now on both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch. The full Culturess review will follow.