Why 'Zelda: Breath of the Wild' Is the Perfect Game for Staying at Home

Enjoy the wilderness without leaving the couch

Key Takeaways

  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a video game for the Nintendo Switch.
  • The game features a completely open world, with weather, animals, and beautiful landscapes.
  • You even get a camera for snapping selfies.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo

Not only is Zelda: Breath of the Wild possibly the best video game ever created, but it is also 100% the best way to escape lockdown without going outside. 

Imagine spending a few hours exploring mountain peaks or watching the sunset burn across wetlands as local birds wade by. Maybe you hunt some boar, take a wild horse for a gallop over the plains, or just wander, camping out and cooking over a fire, or take a selfie in front of the distant rainbow that appears after a storm. That is the world of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild is an adventure role-playing game (RPG) on the Nintendo Switch. It’s the latest in a decades-long line of Zelda games, but this one is different. Widely regarded as the best video game ever made, Breath of the Wild takes place in a completely open world. There are missions aplenty, including the age-old (and still problematic) goal of rescuing Princess Zelda, but you don’t have to complete any of them.

"The environments are so beautifully immersive, so real in their behavior, that the simplified, almost cartoonish visuals work perfectly."

The Bits in Between

In regular RPG games, you might try to get to the next challenge as soon as possible. The bits in between are just that—little more than spacers for more exciting sections—and they are often boring. In Zelda, these bits-in-between are the game. I’ve been playing for months now, and while the challenges and missions are beautifully designed, and a lot of fun, it’s the world, itself, that is the main draw.

Partly this is down to the open nature of the game. Not only can you wander aimlessly, but the game almost encourages it. There’s no little creature nudging you towards your goals, like some kind of fairy Clippy. Also, exploring is rewarded. Not just with discoveries of treasure, but with the discovery of the game's incredible design. You even get a camera early in the game that can take selfies. 

The Beautiful Game

Screenshots do no justice to Breath of the Wild. To really get the appeal, you need to see the game in action. The environments vary, as in most games, with a hot lava region, a forest, open plains, and so on. But these landscapes are also home to wildlife, and they react to the weather. In the wetlands, you see wading birds native to the region, and when the late-afternoon sun reemerges after a thunderstorm, its light reflects off the wet land. Wind also rushes across the plains, ruffling grass, and spreading fire if you’re not careful with your cooking.

The weather is highly interactive. Put your metal weapons away during a thunderstorm, unless you want to get all Cape Fear. Rocky cliffs are too slippery to climb during rainstorms, and, occasionally, the day darkens so much that you just want to hide up somewhere with a nice fire. 

Even the animals behave as you’d expect. A wild boar will ignore you, or run away as you approach. If you get too close, though, it may attack. Wolves, found in the barren lands near the forest region, will sneak up on you in groups, but if you attack one, the others scatter.

Link cooking in Breath of the Wild

Nintendo

As I mentioned, screenshots aren’t enough. The game’s graphics may be technically inferior to the best PC games, but who cares? The environments are so beautifully immersive, so real in their behavior, that the simplified, almost cartoonish visuals work perfectly. It’s like comparing a watercolor painting with a forensic photograph.

If you already have a Nintendo Switch, then you should buy this game. If you don’t have a Switch, then it is worth getting one just for Breath of the Wild. It really is that good.

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