PLOT A warrior gets a rude awakening from a mythical monster.
RATED E 10+ for Everyone 10 and older
DETAILS Nintendo Wii U; $59.99
BOTTOM LINE You may not be able to stop playing.
At its best, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, inspires you to remember some of the most exhilarating adventures you’ve experienced or read about. The plot? To save the kingdom of Hyrule, the warrior Link, who has just awakened after 100 years asleep, must quash the horrible Calamity Ganon, who’s the main antagonist in this series. Shown first as a fanged, boar-faced monster made of ember-stippled black smoke, he’s a megalomaniac bent on destroying Hyrule and, of course, he holds Princess Zelda hostage.
Thankfully, the varied gameplay and animated splendor of this world make up for the story’s weaknesses. At times you’ll feel like you are part of a dramatic sword and sorcery safari where enchantment holds you tightly in its clutches. In one particularly difficult scenario, you stand atop Vah Ruta, a colossal stone elephant that is captive in the middle of a reservoir. Outside and inside, it’s more like a majestic Angkor Wat temple than the usual sprawling dungeons seen in previous games. Eventually you try to search, without falling off, for a hidden terminal switch at the very tip of its trunk. Flicking enough of these switches frees the elephant.
Although this may be the most compelling game Nintendo has made in its 37-year history, playing is never an effortless endeavor. You cannot change the difficulty settings to weaken its monsters. Early on, swords, spears and bows break after minimal usage. Be prepared to die more than a hundred times over the course of 30 hours of gameplay.
Even as the difficulty may become frustrating, you’ll keep coming back for more. But the more you play, the more likely you are to finally finish off the monster. Here’s hoping there will be many more roads to travel with Link.