So, yeah, like everyone else in the world, I'm going to be talking about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that takes many of the mechanics we all know, and makes them not only so much better, but so much simpler as well.
While, we're at it, I'd like to add that from now on, I'm going to be adding a scoring widget to the top of the page to rate the games I cover, as I'm going to be covering games in depth, I'd also like to know what you think about them. Soon I'll also be taking surveys for user opinions on the titles we cover in these posts as a way of determining what we can all collaboratively take from each title.
The Opening of an Open World
The great thing about BOTW isn't just openness on it's own, it's the sheer brilliance of the simplicity of the mechanics, as to take what has already existed in many other open world games, and provide it in a way that functions to the best of it's ability. The player is FORCED to explore the world around them to best survive the intense environment.
One Critic, Jim Sterling, actually saw this to be, to some extent, a limitation of the game, giving it a 7/10. With all the backlash of the community, it goes without saying that most people disagree. I don't think it's right to devalue his opinion though, and I would like to provide some insight as to how BOTW could be improved to fix this entire situation.
Weapons In Japan
the Legend of Zelda franchise has a variety of memorable items that are almost as much the IP of the game as the characters themselves. The Master Sword, the bow, all of it. It adds a distinct character to the game, it adds the Zelda characteristic to the game. And while BOTW does have these items, the fact is, items are not treated the same way they were before.
Is that a bad thing? Of course not! BOTW is a great game! Player opinions are based off of the impact of these design decisions though, so it's always best to look into the WHY of the situation, not the HOW.
I mean, let's be real, would you really think of Kingdom Hearts the same if the next title in the franchise didn't include a Keyblade? Of course not! This is important!
For a very long time, weapons in video games have been treated more like the extension of oneself than just a stick to be flung about, and A LOT of this ideology has come from Japan. So, it goes without saying that this same type of thinking has always been one big part of Zelda as a franchise.
Zelda VS Roguelikes
Roguelikes are probably one of the best examples of the same mechanic implemented in a game, and the growing popularity of the genre is likely to have played a role in people being so use of this misuse of what would otherwise seem important to gamers.
In both games, almost EVERY item you find is completely disposable. From cloths and armor, to weapons and food. It means almost nothing, and you won't miss most things once they're gone. You don't have much to grow attached to in the world, and while that may be part of the point, as to allow the player to feel completely free in their choices, I feel that this could all be easily fixed by providing mechanics that had previously existed in the Elders Scrolls games before Skyrim.
Freedom of Characterization
If there is one thing the Elders Scrolls games do well, it's making things that other games may otherwise portray as rather basic as the very defining point of the player's self expression in the game. That ranges from characterization of apparel, to the weapons in your hands. And, at least in my opinion, they do this pretty damn well.
Imagine if, in BOTW, you were able to make whatever weapon you'd like reusable,
In my honest opinion, I think this really could fix everything.
Anyways, that was our Game Design Breakdown of the month! Let us know what you thought in the comments below, and always make sure to check out the free content we have available this month too!