Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2017
It’s amazing that a game released at the beginning of March is still such a central topic of discussion, especially in a year as packed as 2017, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild blew audiences away, and for good reason. The Zelda series is one of the most prolific video game franchises around, and its tried and true formula has garnered widespread acclaim. Yet for all that, Nintendo completely threw out much of the Zelda formula with Breath of the Wild, giving players a massive, living open world to explore.
Breath of the Wild wastes little time with setup and story, dropping you into the vast world of Hyrule within minutes of the opening. Freedom is truly what the game is about, giving players the option to tackle objectives in any way they see fit. Even the bulk of the main story doesn’t drag you along a single line, instead letting you choose which area of the world you want to explore first. Breath of the Wild liberally sprinkles rewards and discoveries around what feels like every corner of Hyrule. The world map, icons, and story are unobtrusive, instead allowing you to simply explore at your own pace. A grip meter also lets you climb nearly any surface in the world, giving you massive amounts of freedom in where you can go.
It’s staggering how much there is to see and do in Breath of the Wild. Whether you want to uncover the full main story or not, there’s something for you to do at every turn. Breath of the Wild may have reinvented the Zelda formula, but it’s a change for the better, as it’s created one of the best open-world games ever made.