Few things bring me joy like discovering new beautiful secrets. Breath of the wild might as well be called “Discovering New Beautiful Secrets: The Game”. My favorite game before BOTW was Ocarina of Time. For those who have played all of the 3D Zeldas, the surprise the first time you pressed X to jump and grab an edge to leave the Resurrection Shrine was an ecstatic moment. It literally made my eyes open wide and exclaim, “Oh my god you can jump.” This was the first sign that things have shifted dramatically from the 3D Zelda formula we as Zelda fans know and love.
The art style is amazing. I always loved Wind Waker’s cell-shaded artwork and it truly shines in higher resolution and makes the most of the Switch’s limited hardware. I love the fact that the linear wave-like texture of the shrines and guardian tech was based off of a prehistoric time of Japan called the Jomon period. The ancient weapons balance the feeling of exciting technology while staying firmly rooted in a fantasy world. The grass, trees, cliffs, the four main racial domains, and the crumbling Hylian architecture are all so inspiring that I feel the rich implicit history that I woke up too late to see take place. The forest spirit, little challenges given by charming characters in the middle of the wilderness (Goron golf is great), the island where you lose all of your stuff, are all examples of the treasures this game is hiding away only waiting for you to explore.
In BOTW the shrines and divine beasts act as placeholders for traditional temples. I am hoping that with BOTW 2 coming out we will see some more thematic puzzling challenges while keeping the world open and being able to take the story in any order like this one. The glory of this game is that you can combine the physics, moves, and items to explore the world and turn over every stone (“Ya-ha-ha! You found me!”). I love Breath of the Wild and it inspires me to seek out adventure in my own life and keep on experimenting with my surroundings.