Every now and then we have moments in a game series that take our breath away, 20 years ago, it was taking that first step onto Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time and seeing a vast world open up before us, seeing Death Mountain in the distance and knowing that we would at some point explore it. Yes, Ocarina of Time broke up the world into sizable chunks that the Nintendo 64 could handle, but for the time it was amazing and new.
Since then the Zelda series has fallen into a formula. The worlds have been large but fragmented, the storyline concise but linear, giving the player not much in the ways of freedom to roam Hyrule and do as they please. Nintendo have heard these complaints and set a goal to create the ultimate Zelda title, and after nearly 20 hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, they aren’t far off.
In this new title, the world is completely open and Hyrule is yours for the taking, we aren’t split by loading screens and everything opens up to the player in one fluid motion. With the world opening up, Nintendo have also removed all form of linearity from the title. Gone are the days of going to dungeons to unlock items in order to progress to the next dungeon. In Breath of the Wild, Nintendo gives the choice back to the player, go to dungeons in whichever order you want and the explore the vast world that has been created.
Nintendo has put faith back into the players to figure out the dungeons for themselves, dungeons no longer have a linear feeling and players have the choice to tackle the dungeons in whichever order they wish. Nintendo have turned Breath of the Wild into a world of experimentation as well as exploration. Nearly every item you pick up has some significant use in the world, whether it is to craft, to cook or to use in some form of physics experiment. For example, small things such as berries from foraging or guts found from the monsters you kill can be used to cook meals with bonus effects that can save you in a tough situation, or potions with added bonuses. In the beginning of the game you are given a set of powers and abilities to be the staple to help you throughout the world, these being powers of magnetism, pausing time and freezing water. The more you play with some of these abilities, the more you will learn of the greater level of depth Breath of the Wild offers.