I spent some time this weekend playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I did not pick up a switch, so I am playing the game on Wii U. I wanted to cover some base observations after around 12 hours of play.
You can play on the Wii U tablet, but it is not for touch screen use on things, such as placing map markers.
You can play with a Wii U Pro gamepad, when playing off the TV.
You will see some slowdowns, but the game is still playable and functions without fault.
Touching the touch screen, juggles between playing on the TV or Wii U gamepad LCD. There will be a brief load while it goes between display modes.
The world map exploration is pretty enjoyable. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, but the Skyrim comparisons, break down to the item and weapon inventory system. Side quest and main story documentation is a thing as well, so seeing where you left off is vastly easier than most prior Zelda games. So far I’m having fun. There is quite a bit of exploration and I just broke the surface.
There is some more realism in respect to food gathering and elixir making, so that will factor into your exploration. That’s all I’m going to say at the moment, since my concern was sharing observations of the Wii U edition, since most all review outlets are covering the Switch edition.
I’m actually playing this game. It’s a different leap for a Zelda game for sure, largely due to the inventory system and world map. You will learn real quick when you are in an inappropriate zone, because the enemies will wreck you. Amiibos are helpful to give you more in-game items and the Zelda ones seem directly correlated to getting chests with weapons or armor in them. You will unlock a skill shortly into playing, that will let you pick a spot to activate the Amiibo and items will drop there.
Food crafting is pretty handy, as it will give you some temporary character buffs, in addition to replenishing your hearts. Shrines are mini-dungeons where you mostly do puzzles, but also have some for fights. Random note: I got to see this played @ the NYC Nintendo World location. Wild that they have that giant screen, but on a good note, the Wii U version looks relatively close to the Switch version. Considering those consoles are still hard to find, that’s a nice perk. Granted I’m not too keen on jumping into another Nintendo console just yet.
Saving happens automatically, but you can also save at any time. I mentioned stamina and it comes in most use for evasion, gliding, climbing and extended attacks. Funny thing about the game manual… it does exist but covers just about zero game mechanics. I did pickup the game guide book and it details some of the fight mechanics you will learn in some of the Shine challenges. A few ripostle type counter moves and such to get the solid beats in on those fights.
The world map is pretty huge, imo. I discovered over half of the zone towers. Level design is very heavily layered and diverse with plenty of hills and enclosures to explore. You can also tame wild horses and ride them around, with the option to stable some as your own horse. As you encounter other ranches, you can call your registered horses to that region, as the call range of the whistle is fairly limited.
I saw other people mention this is a significantly different game feel for a Zelda title and I agree. Harder a play but fun to explore. Keep note another change is the weapon system, where most all items lose durability and break. There is a method to repair some items, but typically it means it will break shortly after the worn down message.
Apparently, you can throw damaged items @ Octorocks to swallow and they will spit out your item repaired to full condition
I’ll continue to play through but I have to say I’m glad to have picked this game up. I don’t want to cheapen it with comparisons to other games, but a Skyrim (Item and Quest system), Far Cry (gliding exploration), Dark Souls (Items and challenge difficulty) seem to be pretty accurate. Take note I am only on the 1st Boss (Primal) Dungeon.
I spent the last week on Holiday and beat Ganon on Saturday.
I had quite a good time playing through. Spent plenty of time in the Shines to gather orbs so I could increase my Health and Stamina. The stamina boosting is pretty helpful in combat, evasion and especially climbing. As I was outside Ganon’s fight, I was low on healing items and was getting stomped. So I used amiibos to get cooking items and a little more gear (from the Zelda ones), left the castle, cooked and came back for the win on that fight.
You can continue to play after beating Ganon, but you will need to warp out of the castle to continue on your adventures. I’d have to check my play time but I think I got about 60 hours in. I tend to take my time and did plenty of exploration around the world map. I did decide to pickup the season pass for the extra content… so at some point there will be more story to play once the DLC kicks in.
There were a couple of Shines that relied on the tilt mechanism and felt a little wonky, but I managed to complete those. Random tidbit for anyone who likes to use an external speaker from the Wii U Gamepad. It will output audio over the 3.5mm port, even when not playing in tablet mode. I had an external speaker playing game audio, since I was playing on a LCD without audio output.
I am replaying this on the Switch console. Being able to play on my lunch break is pretty awesome. Then I can come home and plug my Switch into the dock and play on the TV. I really enjoyed this game and am glad to be playing it again. Aiming arrows with the Joy-Con is really satisfying for aim control. I am talking correlation to VR with touch controllers good.
The DLC is now active for this game, in respect to the 1st pack of 2 from the $20 DLC pass. I only did a couple of the missions so far. It turns out my Amiibos are helpful to get equipment and crafting items. If you wondered when the timer resets, it looks to be midnight on your console / local time. I have a few Zelda amiibos that give treasure chests as well. I was pretty hyped about the Wolf Link companion and lottery for Epona you can get.
I am able to better juggle my stats and boost perks with food recipes. Be sure to take pictures of items once you unlock your tablet abilities in-game, so you can use the radar to find items in a pinch. I like to call this game Legend of Skyrim largely based on the equipment and inventory system but the exploration also adds to that title. The game world is very enjoyable to explore and has tons of things tucked into it’s details. I have always been a Zelda series dork, but I am completely on-board with this being one of the best games made. It’s fun and immersive. It’s easy to find yourself staying up pretty late because you wanted to clear a dungeon / divine beast.
I either play with the Joy-cons detached but installed in the battery grip addons, or joy-cons in the comfort grip. I did not pickup a Pro Switch gamepad yet. On the go, I play with the Joy-Cons docked to the console, holding it like a new-school Gamegear. I can say the 3 hour playtime estimate on battery is pretty accurate. Playing in bed is quite nice too.
I mentioned the Wii U gamepad in the above post from my 1st playthru. I can tell it will be easier to rotate for some temples, since my view will not be bound to needing rotated since the detached Joy-Con would be your gyro instead of the whole Wii U tablet. Audio always works right off the Switch display and when docked, I run headphones or speakers from my external display, since that is getting the video and audio from the HDMI connection.
If you get the chance and have funds to pickup a Switch, I say it’s worth it. The game selection is still kind of light, but between now and the end of the year, some big games are coming to the console. Less of a draw for some if you already played them on PC, but stuff like bow aiming in Skyrim with the tilt gyro is a good control mechanism. Playing on the go and being able to have a little LAN device that is light and low profile, is interesting as well. I added some Switch specific stuff, but BotW is a great game, none the less.
I have 11 heart containers and 3 of the 4 guardian temples cleared. I’m going to check my Wii U playthru but I don’t think I got the Master Sword on that 1st playthru due to the 13 base hearts requirement. In my 1st play I pumped into stamina more heavily, as on the Switch, I used food items to supplement my stamina and hearts for boss fights. I didn’t clear many of the shrines of the goddess until the 2nd guardian was cleared. Then I started putting my upgrades into heart containers.
I unlocked all the scout towers on both versions and on this playthru have been finding lots of the treasure chests under water via the magnesis rune. I have done a couple of the DLC item quests but still have plenty to explore. The 2nd DLC will also drop here in the winter. I picked up the Pro controller and do agree that it’s quite comfortable to use over longer sessions than the Joy-Cons. I also have had some nice outdoor sessions in local parks over my lunch break. Speaking of breaks, I might fire up Cave Story+ over lunch today to give myself a break from doing another 8 shrines, to then grab the master sword.
I wrapped up beating Ganon around the end of October. I still load up to enjoy post-game content and clear some quests. I have also been doing shrines to max my stamina bar so I’m ready for the 2nd batch of DLC this Winter. I love this game and the switch mobility is top notch.