I can often sense the hesitation from my team when a video game of prodigious reputation review assignment queue. I do not blame them. The internal struggle between geeking out about a beloved franchise and objectively reviewing a game such as The Legend of Zelda—Breath of the Wild is real: one risks drowning in anonymity by joining the legion of 10/10s, or becoming a pariah after benefiting from an overwhelming barrage of clicks after a pugnacious 7/10.
Rather than ask someone to write a review that would inevitably read, “It’s Zelda/10!” I have asked the writing staff of Geeks Under Grace to narrate their most pleasurable experiences alongside those which they would rather not mention. My hope is that as a staff, we would be successful in archiving a comprehensive interpretation of this landmark Nintendo title, as the contributors are not only interdepartmental (list of departments here), but also assorted in their investments as “gamers,” from those who own all current-gen systems to those who purchased a Switch for the sole purpose of playing Zelda. There should be something here for everyone.
It is customary for a traditional Geeks Under Grace review to include this section. While we will not be scoring this title, the rubric remains otherwise unchanged. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is rated E for Everyone, which is generally safe for persons aged ten and up. In-game violence is cartoonish; language is innocent and plain. The all-female Gerudo tribe make their return, notable because they have been absent since their introduction in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time . They sport their customary two-piece attire appropriate for the desert in which they inhabit, their bodies slender and muscular as they are an interpretation of Amazonians. (In contrast, Great Fairies also wear a two-piece albeit they are significantly more voluptuous and coquettish). Link’s quest will require him to infiltrate one of their cities which prohibits men from entering. However, he must seek out a certain male Hylian with a solution: cross-dressing.
Lore in The Legend of Zelda has always been of a spiritual nature. Here at Geeks Under Grace, we favor the Christian symbolism over that of the pagan. Still, readers should know that Mummified Sheikah sages await in in the depths of shrines—mini dungeons—in a state of eternal meditation until a hero who is worthy approaches; they grant what are called spirit orbs, four of which can be exchanged by praying at goddess statues to increase health or stamina meters. This process is a central, unavoidable mechanic in the game.
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, we move forward to our writers’ contributions. Enjoy!
It all starts in a place called the Shrine of Resurrection, a name that instantly fills me with comfort at the promise that death is something that is already past and has been triumphed over. Whatever awaits me on this adventure, I am sure that it does not include dying. A warm feeling of safety fills me. I have to climb a short wall to get out of the place. I can climb! Fantastic! I absolutely love climbing.
Just outside is a vast open world, full of lush color and untamed beauty. It isn’t long before I stumble upon my first weapon: A treant’s severed limb. That or an ordinary tree branch lying in the grass. With it, I make short work of my first meager foes. The sun is shining, clouds are moving lazily across the sky with the promise of nothing but perfect weather ahead. It was only a couple minutes before I find the first upgrade to my weapon: a sword. Ha! Look at that. Calamity Ganon, you don’t know what’s coming for you. Two minutes in, and I’ve already leveled up. Nothing can stop me.
My sword breaks.
Hmm… unfortunate. But it was a pretty weak weapon anyway. Just an old sword lying in the grass. I’m sure ahead of me are weapons of unimaginable power that will cut through a hundred enemies before their edges even get dull. Eyes sparkling with hope, I begin to make my way through the vibrant world that is the Great Plateau.
Climbing proves a little more challenging than first thought. Some of the places here are so high, I get vertigo just looking at them. And…it is actually something of a chore to scale them. But from what I can tell, it looks as though the Great Plateau is mercifully one of the highest places on the whole map, and the rest of the world sprawling far below is a meek plain that won’t be offering too much of a challenge. I’m a little disappointed, to tell the truth. I’m warned that it’s too much of a drop to survive right now, so I don’t risk it, even though I’m feeling pretty invinci… wait, what is that? Someone’s shining a red laser pointer at me. Nevermind. I can probably just hide behind that tree.
Well, that was unexpected. But it happens to the best of us. What was that thing, though? Dangerous, that’s what. Thank goodness it’s broken down and covered with moss, unable to do anything more than swivel and aim. Could you imagine what it would be like if that thing was mobile? I shudder and continue my exploration.
It’s a shrine! It contains a puzzle the likes of which I haven’t seen since…other fantasy adventure games I have played. Solving it assures me that I am impressively intelligent. There are four shrines on the Great Plateau. By the time I finish them all, I feel like a genius.
I die again during my explorations. A few times. I perish by the spear of an enemy, by freezing, by falling from a wall. That laser gets me again, even though I wasn’t even going into that shrine this time. Three hearts is not enough. I’m starting to feel like Teddy Flood from Westworld.
I find more weapons! Yes!
They also break.
Eventually I leave the Great Plateau. I glide down on the winds, doing slow circles until I alight with perfect grace (my landing only costs me one heart) on the ground of the world below. Now it really begins. Everything that came before this was just practice. And here before me is another shrine to kick this off. Wow. Five shrines already. A few hours of this and there won’t be any of those things left, I’m certain. And I have four hearts now, so my days of dying are officially over.
In the distance I see an actual dragon! Heh. As soon as I get a better weapon and a couple more hearts, that thing is so dead.
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