Statues of the Goddess from Skyward sword
Breath of the Wild is the 19th game in the Legend of Zelda series, so it has a lot of lore it can build off and utilize. The statues of the goddess first introduced in Skyward Sword return, but they are more than aesthetic this time. Present the statues with Spirit Orbs and you’ll be given the choice of increasing either your heart meter or your stamina gauge.
The appearance of these idols also creates a direct connection between Breath of the Wild and Skyward Sword, illustrating that Link and Zelda brought the beliefs and traditions of Skyloft with them to the surface after they descended to Hyrule.
Zoras, Gorons, Shiekah, and Rito and koroks All Return
Almost every race that has ever appeared in the Zelda series is present and accounted for in Breath of the Wild. The Goron walk the blistering trails of Death Mountain and show off their manly prowess. The Zora heroically guard the hallows halls of Zora’s Doman. The Rito make their way throughout Hyrule, recounting ancient songs for Link.
Even the adorable Koroks hide in various corners of the map, waiting to be found. And of course the Shiekah play a large role, with their ancient technology assisting Link on his journey. Each race is as deftly characterized as they have been in the past, adding a grander sense of adventure to proceedings.
The game begins with Link waking up
In classic Zelda tradition, the game begins with Link opening his eyes. The hero of Hyrule never seems to be able to wake up on time, especially when the entire world is on the brink of despair. Breath of the Wild’s awakening is a bit different, though.
Link wakes up from a 100-year sleep after he was defeated at the hands of Ganon. It’s a new take on the classic trope but it also means that Link has a very established past in the world the second he enters it.
Combat is still Focused on Dodging and Blocking Using the Lock-on System
Ever since Ocarina of Time introduced the lock-on system to The legend of Zelda, every 3D game in the series has utilized it in combat and puzzle solving. It returns in Breath of the Wild, but using it is slightly different because enemies aren’t as respectful as they once were.
Instead of taking their time to fight the green-clad hero, they will all rush him at once, making it harder to focus on just once enemy. But it still gives combat a great movement and rhythm and ensures that the massive open world still feels like a Zelda game.
Very Open Ended Nature is Reminiscent of the Original Legend of Zelda
The original Legend of Zelda was a series of screens arranged into a large open world that was explored from a top-down view. Each screen held its own secrets and challenges. It was also an incredibly open game. There was no specific order that you needed to complete the games’ dungeons in. You could just set out and see what you could find.
Breath of the Wild returns to this mentality, giving players an unprecedented level of freedom when exploring the world. The story is comprised of four main tasks and they can be completed in any order. Because of this, players no longer feel constrained by the game itself and can tackle each challenge as they see fit.
The Old Man
There has been an elderly figure guiding Link on his adventure in nearly every Zelda game. They never play a major role, typically giving the hero the advice he needs to begin his story, but since the very first game, the Old Man has given Link a major tool that he needs for the rest of the adventure.
In the first title it was the sword and in Breath of the Wild he gives Link the Paraglider, letting him traverse the wide world of Hyrule with ease. Seeing the mysterious old hermit return for the latest entry in the series serves as a nice reminder of the roots of one of gaming’s greatest franchises.
Epona Wolf Link
Epona has been Link’s trusted companion for years, and there was no way she was going to sit Breath of the Wild out. You can also tame and ride wild horses, but your trusty steed is still in the game with her trademark brown and white color combination.
Wolf Link also makes a cameo if you own the Wolf Link amiibo that was released alongside Twilight Princess HD. It inserts the four-legged hero into the game as a companion.
Breath of the Wild marks a major departure for the series. For the first time ever players are free to explore a fully open world, but the game manages to remain a Zelda game in the truest sense of the word. While combat makes up a good deal of the game, puzzles are its true bread and butter.
There are only four dungeons in the latest Zelda but there are more than 120 shrines – mini dungeons that test a player’s thoughtfulness and prowess in combat. Because the game gives you all of your abilities in the form of runes right off the bat, you can tackle the shrines in any order, so there are always puzzles to solve as you travel the world.
Stamina is Brought Back From Skyward Sword
Instead of rolling repeatedly to make Link move slightly faster, Skyward Sword introduced the stamina gauge. Hold down the A button and a small green circle popd up by Link’s shoulder, slowly decreasing as he continues to sprint.
Breath of the Wild takes this a step further. Stamina still lets Link sprint, but it is also used to climb anything in the world, perform stronger moves in combat, and utilize the paraglider. It also means that you can no longer roll the days away, somersaulting through the grass.
Effect Clothing is Back
Link may be an ancient hero, but he isn’t invincible. Over the Legend of Zelda series, he has needed a bit of help to tackle certain challenges. This help has often shown up in the form of clothing, whether it be the blue tunic that allows link to breath underwater, or the red tunic that gave him the ability to withstand intense heats.
The Zora tunic is back in Breath of the Wild, making Link swim faster and allowing him to swim up waterfalls. Warmer doublets give him a better chance at surviving in the cold. Link still needs to worry about his wardrobe, but he has many more options this time.