Video games have a bad reputation of being distracting, busy, violent, and most of all, time-consuming on unnecessary things. And unfortunately, many people take that as a blanket statement that goes for all video games. That’s not true.
Then a game like Breath of the Wild is put in front of you: at first thought, you may look with disgust at the Nintendo Switch and tell yourself, “There’s no way I’m falling for a video game.” But BOTW isn’t your everyday hack-and-slash, loud, annoying video game. It immerses you in a world of its own, embracing the real-life concepts of trying out new solutions to puzzles, exploring the world around you, and appreciating nature. So stop feeling guilty you’re “drowning in another video game of the modern century.” Not only are you being a cool kid, but you’re doing yourself and your mental health a big favor.
Breath of the Wild is enjoyably calming
The world of Breath of the Wild has monsters here and there, but they can be avoided at will – no one’s forcing you to go beat up a Bokoblin or have your heart pound as you dodge Ganon’s attacks. Instead, most of your travels will rather be filled with peaceful journeys across open fields, with relaxing piano taps accompanying them at times. You can climb trees and hunt. Or you can just stand on a cliff and appreciate the view. It’s the kind of game where you can put down your controller, lean back, and take a deep breath in peace.
And this goes for all people: everyone loves a good open-world adventure that makes them one with the young. If you just want to chill out after a long, tiring work day, BOTW will be there for you. If you’re worrying unhealthily about homework, BOTW will be there for you. And if you need an escape from life’s troubles, BOTW will be there for you.
There are challenges for your brain, too
If you’re the kind of person who loves brain games, BOTW can fill that role, too. There are over 100 shrines (mini-dungeons with logical or physical puzzles inside or outside of them) scattered across the overworld simply waiting for you to find them. Some of them are only unlockable by completing an outside quest, while others are either standing in plain sight or hiding under natural obstacles. The shrines solely rely on your puzzle-solving abilities, timing, and mind flexibility. Fortunately, BOTW’s realistic physics engine will ensure everything that happens in these puzzles makes sense, and you can look clearly at what you did and make the needed changes. After all, every failure is a learning experience.
This isn’t another Skyward Sword or an ordinary story-and-explore game where the main quests are forcibly dumped on you. These shrines aren’t required; you only visit them if you want to. And if you’re feeling stuck on a puzzle, you can leave and teleport back to it when you figure it out.
It doesn’t leave traditional Zelda story progression
Don’t worry, if you arrived at Breath of the Wild for a traditional Zelda experience with dungeons and all, it has that, too. BOTW doesn’t fall victim to its own choose-your-own-path progression that it forgets to be authentic Zelda. The Divine Beasts serve as BOTW’s inventive new dungeons, and there’s a not-so-overwhelmingly difficult boss fight at the end of the game. The quests that go along with them are pretty fun, too. They’ll age well: after you finish them, you’ll look back fondly and be proud of yourself for figuring your way through each level.
There are also (very emotional) memories that the amnesiac Link can find on his journey across Hyrule, indicated by a glowing hue of yellow light shining from the ground. These contain both happy and sad tales of Link and Princess Zelda’s budding relationship before Ganon struck, and the unique Four Champions’ endeavors to bond with each other before they all tragically died in the war. Even if you’re not deeply touched by every cutscene (who expects you to be), you will most likely form some sort of connection to the storyline, whether that’s feeling terribly sorry for Zelda or falling in love with the Champions.
Oh, and you have to save Zelda from Ganon, too. What kind of Zelda would BOTW be without our favorite damsel-in-distress story?
In conclusion: A new, better kind of Zelda
Breath of the Wild is more accurately not called a game, but an experience. There’s a new Hyrule that’s bigger than you can imagine, and even if you think you’ve done everything there is to do in the overworld, there will prove to be at least one location you haven’t found yet. Even if you don’t like the idea of roaming around and lifting up rocks to find Koroks, the shrines and side quests will keep you busy for quite a long time. You have a world to explore, puzzles to solve, characters to learn about… what else could you want? In Kass’s words: Breathe in the breath of the wild.
Breath of the Wild is the escape you never knew you needed.