It’s been a week or two since I officially finished my first BOTW play through, and I think I finally can digest the whole thing. First of all, it’s an awe-inspiring game comparable with the scale of the Witcher. I guess since the Witcher was my previous big RPG, I’ll do some comparisons/review.
The freedom which the game gives you is truly unbounded; couple this with a pretty interesting physics engine, and you get crazy ways to defeat enemies. This is especially true early game, where enemies you encounter are weak enough to be killed with bombs/objects. The combat mechanics are actually much deeper than I initially thought, though there’s only really one fighting style that can work. Games like Skyrim or Witcher lets the player really choose a different path (e.g. mage, sneak, one-hander…) which BOTW doesn’t have. Maybe it’ll change in the future, but this might go against the theme of Zelda.
As the game progressed, I really did feel much stronger and better fighter. This connected incredibly well with how the story plays out: Link wakes up 100 years after failing to defeat Ganon and must train again. This compares much better to the other RPGs which seems to be indecisive about how strong you are throughout the game (Geralt is suppose to be an accomplished Witcher already, why the level up system?).
Finally, the endgame proved to be a nice “endgame-fantasy” type. Urbosa’s fury is simply the strongest ability in the game, with the power to just damage and stun enemies for a substantial amount of time. I managed to clear out the Yiga hideout instead of sneaking by using Blizzard/Ice rods and Urbosa’s fury. Couple this with the DLC’s cooldown reduction, and everything fell immediately.
Speaking of the DLC, they were underwhelming. I did enjoy the additional storyline cutscenes, but compared to the Witcher’s massive HoS/BW for only $5 more than Zelda’s, it’s really pales in comparisons. The way the game makes combat harder is not through more intricate fighting patterns or dodging, but rather to take away your powers in the trials. It’s a bit frustrating to say the least.
I didn’t really even mention the dungeons; I guess they were a thing too. In the grand scheme of things, they were far overshadowed by other aspects of the game. I just have one thing to say: motion control can go piss off. The story element is also weaker, with the characters very under-developed. I would really like to know the backstory of the Champions more than what the game gave us, but the Zelda-Link relationship is quite fleshed out. The world does do a good job of showing us the history of Hyrule though: juxtapositioning the Forgotten Temple and the Temple of Time are really cool in how ruins can show what happened.
I normally don’t play games a second time, but I may have to dive into BOTW again…