Breath of the Wild’s Exploration Cycle ~ Design Doc

Breath of the Wild’s Exploration Cycle ~ Design Doc

Articles Blog


Breath of the Wild is a game about wanderlust. The drive to explore the world around you. The game guides you through a virtually endless
cycle of spotting something that piques your interest, marching over and getting rewarded
in one way or another. But how does Breath of the Wild pull this
off? It’s not automatic. Just having a huge, dense world isn’t enough. There are plenty of open world games that
feel more like big hub worlds. L.A Noire, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Skyward
Swor-ohh… There must be something else to this design,
right? Today, we’ll go over how Breath of the Wild’s
sightlines, terrain, gameplay loop, and Korok seeds help you fall into that cycle of exploration. Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule is an enormous,
sprawling landscape. The world BEGS you to soak in your surroundings,
and to look far out into the distance. Even the game’s marketing is mostly sweeping
shots of Hyrule with Link looking to the horizon. This is Breath of the Wild’s clearest break
from the rest of the series, and its biggest selling point. The environmental designers turn an imposing
vastness into something digestible through the way they use sightlines. The game has a bunch of tools to help you
out, and the tutorial on the Great Plateau teaches the process the game wants you to
use while exploring. After gaining the first rune ability there is a brief tutorial where
you spot and mark the 3 mandatory shrines on the plateau. You’re being taught how to literally use
the spotting tools, yes, but they’re also silently showing off how the game designs
its sight lines. Hyrule is a web of visual bread crumbs. As you explore, you’ll notice that almost
no matter where you are in Hyrule, there are lots of landmarks that call out to the eager
new explorer. Local ones like campsites, enemy hideouts
and shrines, and global ones like towers, mountain tops, and Hyrule Castle. And for most of these breadcrumbs, you’re
the one deciding to pursue them. Instead of a trillion waypoints already filled
in like in an Ubisoft open world game, the BotW map is sparse with only the topography
filled out as you reach individual towers in every region. If you’re not pursuing an active quest,
you’re setting out your own path as you look at the scenery and place your own map markers. Limiting the information on the map changes
the player’s role in exploration from mindlessly pursuing goals like a checklist, to a much
more active role in deciding what to do next. It makes the game feel more open-ended. So you have the urge to explore and locations
to check out, but how does the game dictate the path you take? It’s all in the terrain design. Hyrule’s terrain is rugged. Mountains, hills and canyons are everywhere. You could say that it’s mostly just to emphasize
the climbing but there’s more to it. According to the Zelda team during a talk
at CEDEC, much of Hyrule’s design implements what they call ‘The Triangle Rule’. There is a heavy use of triangular shapes
throughout the terrain and architecture, whether it’s towers, stables, fairy fountains or
bigger landmarks like Hyrule Castle, Death Mountain, or the Dueling Peaks. The team favored these shapes because they
presented the player with a couple of options. Either go around the mountain, or climb it. Whatever choice the player makes, as they
progress, what lies beyond the mountain is slowly revealed. It’s all a part of BoTW’s visual language,
to entice the player’s curiosity. As mountainous as Breath of the Wild is, it
does avoid making its locations feel too similar. Other open world games like Skyrim sometimes
have difficulty distinguishing one area from another, but that’s never a real issue here. Each region in Hyrule is just distinct enough
from each other so it doesn’t really blend together. The dragon on Mount Lanayru, the bonelike
spires in Deep Akkala and parts of the Hyrule Ridge, The rigid form of the Gerudo Highlands. The smooth yet Guardian infested grasslands
of central Hyrule. Triangulating your position is always easy
even without a map. Mountains and distant landmarks like towers
are perfect as long term objectives as they’re easy to spot and work towards. The towers, shrines, Death Mountain, Hyrule
Castle, Satori Mountain, and even the Guardian enemies all are visible from a distance. Thanks to the game’s use of glowing lights,
you can see the goal in any weather conditions, and you don’t even need to place a map marker. The goal itself always beckons. Once you make it to the top of that mountain
or tower, hopefully rich with new found items, spirit orbs, and maybe a goofy story, it’s
on to the next goal. And the journey to that next goal will lead
players to more distractions, more trials, and more stories to discover. Follow the lights, and you’ll have a good
time. But if you need some help kick starting your
adventure the main storyline can help you out. In the main quest of Breath of the Wild you’re
supposed to go around conquering the 4 divine beasts, which is fine and all, but the point
of it is not to provide an elaborate story campaign *whispering* Because there isn’t
one. Instead, there is SO much more emphasis on
the journey itself in Breath of the Wild than in any other 3D Zelda game. The Overworlds of past 3D Zeldas showed hints
of what this style could become, but Breath of the Wild took it to a new level. The 4 Divine Beasts serve more as very rough
suggestions, and you’ll get to them, but you’re really meant to get sidetracked. For many, what starts as “oh look at that”
will turn into an hour long chain of little misadventures. And that’s not an accident. It takes a lot of careful design work to make
this happen. The key to keeping players interested in continuing
that loop is to make sure that those misadventures feel worthwhile. Constant surprises and little distractions
are at the core of Breath of the Wild’s design. No matter where you are, there is always something
worth finding. The rewards may be smaller consumables like
weapons, arrows, food, materials, Korok seeds or something more substantial like a piece
of armor, an ancient shrine, or a tower. If something catches your eye, you can go
after it. Breath of the Wild doesn’t implement a Metroidvania-style
design where you’re blocked from certain locations by your ability set. You’re almost always equipped to go after
whatever you spot as you make your way through the world. Curiosity leads to success, and that success
leads to more curiosity. So that kick starts the exploration loop,
but once the game grabs you it also has to KEEP your interest. It’s easy to LOSE interest in the loop. If you could figure out a ‘best’ way to get
to a shrine, or a ‘best’ tool set to use, that would make the game a little more predictable,
and a little more boring. Loot driven games like Borderlands or Destiny
can get around this with a constant drip of new and better items, but Breath of the Wild’s
item set is much smaller. Instead, the game uses a couple of tricks
to take similar rewards and obstacles and make them feel a bit fresher: Each tool is more versatile than it appears
at first glance, and they combine with other mechanics in unexpected ways. Metal weapons and items can conduct electricity
and be used with magnesis. That can be dangerous sometimes, but it can
also be used for solving puzzles. Torches and fire arrows can set tall grass
on fire, which can damage enemies, or create an updraft to lift you into the sky, giving
you an advantage in combat and exploration. Just about every tool has a liiiiiittle bit
more to discover beyond what you first see. And if you’re creative, a lot of them will
get you out of a jam, in one way or another. Love it or hate it, weapon durability plays
a big role in the exploration cycle and much of the game’s design would simply fall apart
without it. If you could lock in a ‘best’ loadout early,
you lose a reason to experiment with new items. Without the need to experiment with new items,
combat will get more routine, your experiences will be less unique, and you might lose interest
in the game faster. By making you cycle through your inventory,
the game forces you to think a little harder before you use that good sword you found. Finding replacements for these items isn’t
hard, yet the hunger for more items is never totally satisfied. The downside of these design choices is they
can lead to some frustrations. If you figure out a great combination, it’s
annoying to lose the ability to use it. But that trade off is in service to the greater
good. The variety and the restrictions that the
game places on how you explore the world drive the engine that keeps you exploring. So you’re doing great, making some big plans,
but while you travel don’t ignore the small details. They can pay off, too. Korok: “Yahaha!” Korok seeds are the most obvious instance
of rewarding the player’s curiosity. The 900 Koroks hidden throughout Hyrule serve
as a ‘filler’ reward for players to find along the way to a bigger objective, like
the Divine Beasts or the 120 Ancient Shrines. They aren’t a high priority, but they’re
still valuable as they are needed to expand the limited space for weapons, shields and
bows. They never grab your attention like the major
game objectives, but sparkling leaves, statues with fruit placed below, circles of lily pads,
glaciers of ice, rock formations, tree stumps with pinwheels or large leaves, metal balls
chained to wells and tree stumps, and any suspiciously placed rock can all hide a Korok
seed. When you know what you’re looking for, the
seeds aren’t tough to spot, but that’s kind of the point. They are supposed to contrast with the rest
of the world and raise your suspicion. Like the landmarks in the terrain, they help
condition the player to pay attention to their surroundings, which once again feeds into
that never ending chain of curiosity. Lots of the Korok puzzle indicators heavily
use one of the earliest lessons in graphic design: the gestalt grouping principles. They’re a psychological theory on how we
associate things with each other visually: through similarity, proximity, closure and
continuation. The principles of Similarity, Proximity, and
Closure are used in most of the Korok puzzles and work together to catch the player’s
eye. Let’s use a simple rock formation puzzle
as an example. Here, the similarity in size, color, and shape
of the rocks and their proximity to each other hints at a relationship between them. There’s nothing in game to tell you to fix
it, but when you notice that something feels off here you’re rewarded for applying closure. This is done again in the these twin sculptures. The proximity of the sculptures and similarity
of the formation hint at their relationship. You can spot the difference between the two
groups, apply closure, and get your prize. This may sound like a lot of words to describe
something pretty obvious, but keep in mind: the game doesn’t highlight the Korok puzzles
very much. There aren’t (usually) glowing lights or clear
signs you can see from a distance, you just have to keep your eyes peeled while you’re
out and about. They aren’t there to be elaborate brain
teasers either, they just little ‘a-ha!’ moments that you stumble across. Getting rewarded for noticing things that
just ‘feel’ off is another mini reward loop, and those loops all add up in the long run
to keep you exploring. Games focused on exploration are extremely
tough to get right. Most other open world games have a fall back
plan like a great story, a tight combat system, just something to pick up the slack. For Breath of the Wild to succeed as an exploration
game it had to get so many things right at once. Without a toolset of emergent behavior to
tinker with, without drawing in players with its scenery, without a vast world hiding its
details, or without its variety of mysteries big and small, the game would not work. As one of the best exploration games of all
time, Breath of the Wild is a wonderful sight to see. [Chill vibes outro music from Breath of the
Wild]

100 thoughts on “Breath of the Wild’s Exploration Cycle ~ Design Doc”

  1. This game is so good at distracting when you first play it. When I wanted to go to the ice dragon, I ended up renovating my own house and building a village. As for suspiciously placed rocks: my girlfriend was often annoyed when I jumped off the horse because of every random rock at the side of the road. "Now this rock looks so special! …ah, there's a frog underneath. But I still don't trust that rock! You have to be sure!"

  2. After i saw this game, i try not to use fast travel in open world games anymore, played skyrim without using fast travel and got to experience the wasted potential :

  3. The contrast between this and Ubisoft games is interesting. Ubisoft peppers their maps with icons, while BotW lets you find stuff on your own. You could make a good case for both sides, but I personally prefer this system. Much more immersive and personal.

  4. I love this game and this video is really on point. The only thing that I dislike about Botw is that every mistery, no matter how complex it is, no matter if you are helping some kids or a legendary giant dragon, will lead you to a shrine, and, for me at least, it doesn't feel right. The feeling "what in the world could be the reward that I'm getting for this" it's completly lost. A teleportation point and an orb, and that's it. It's kinda boring.

  5. While the layout is good, I did not get a sense of want to explore the area of Hirule. It's mostly comes down to how long time it took between points for me. Many of the things ment to guide me flies right over my head like most things does so this vague curiosity loop does not work for me. The movement is hugely important to me as well in a large exploration game and Link is far to clunky and slow for me and I didn't find the horses to be much better. I've never been a fan of the series as I never grew up with it and still haven't understood why they're as praised as they are no matter how many I try to play through or how many essays like yours I watch through.
    I want to like, maybe even love, the games like so many does but i'm sorry, I just can not find it.

  6. 5:00 You just showed me where to find a shrine that I spent a good 15 minutes searching for and could never find.

  7. So, I am a suscriber to your channel and find your videos interesting with lots of cool ideas, but more often than not I find myself disatisfied with your videos so I thought of leaving some criticisim, I intended for it to be constructive so I hope you don't take it too bad.

    First of all I've seen that you tend to focus on one game, or a short selection of games to make your videos. So if it is going to be the case I encourage you to do fully comit to the game, or to give a wide array of examples of the genre before you start. This one for example is about BOTW, but other publisher was namedropped and a couple of times you referenced them, mainly to place them "below" this game. It didn't felt that right. If what you are going to do is tell us how a game works, I see little need in telling yeah, A makes this much better than B, who only did that other thing. I get why some context is needed, but games are complex so cherrypicking a couple of details from another game seems little context, but instead as you were trying to satablish a "ranking" of sorts. That is why I encourage you to give some wide general examples at the beginning, and let other games be for the remainder of the video. If this game is about open world exploration, tell us what kind of open worlds there are, what ways there are to deal with exploration, pros and cons of it, and then explain the game itself.

    My second biggest criticism is that you seem to mix review/personal opinion of the game itself with a more "neutral professor-like" explanation of the mechanics you want to tell. More often than not you seem to have a strong opinion on why something works or not for you, if you liked something or not, and you project that opinion to what seemed to be an explanation of the design of it. if you like it, you'll deal strongly in pros and will almost skip cons for a determined design choice, like with this video, but it doesn't have to be that way for other people. I guess what I am trying to say is you may want to consider giving some pros and cons and then from that you can work for us why something works for you or not. Me for example like history driven games and working my way to an optimal strategy, so for me what BOTW did (i don't know, haven't played it) may not be the best and not be "the greater good".

    I hope it didn't sound really harsh. I enjoy watching the videos, and it seems to me as you had lots of knowledge about videogames. Just wanted to say a couple of things that is all

  8. If weapons never broke, I would've always stuck with great swords and would've never cared for how spear-fighting felt…
    But because they broke, I was forced to start using spears… And boomerangs… And clubs…
    And because they all broke eventually, I started using them a bit more recklessly the closer they got to breaking… Which made me find more creative uses of them.

    By a hundred hours in, I was flinging clubs from afar, shooting arrows into fire places, javelin throwing spears, throwing multiple boomerangs, and tornado-swinging my way through enemies while locking a bomb nearby so it'd slam into a nearby archer tower.

    And that was just one fight.
    Did I need to do all that? Nope.
    Was it a ton of fun, especially compared to my original stance of sticking to only one weapon throughout the game? Most definitely.

    By that point of the game, I actually started to look forward to weapons breaking. Because it meant I had an excuse to use them recklessly, and it meant I could switch it out for a new weapon.
    I explored and re-explored areas so much that I knew where to go to get a restock of reliable weapons, so losing one was never a terrible thing.

    By the end of the game, I grew to love the weapon breaking mechanic. (Even when I was eventually left weaponless after an insane ambush… I had to rely on branches and a quickly made campfire throughout the fight, and it was glorious) And spears became my 2nd favorite weapon.

    Those giant boomerangs are #1 for me. Nothing's more satisfying than seeing that thing come flying back to you while you're surrounded by enemies, pummeling through a majority of them.

  9. You know. Since a video-game is better if it's well designed ratter than if that desing is great or fun for the player…

  10. I think the spyglass idea would have fixed Dragon Age Inquisition's overwhelming map. I still remember when I first played it and freaked out when I first opened it in the Highlands. I couldn't tell what was what and went everywhere else but my objective for the first hour, lol.

  11. I just got this game in November when I bought a Switch and I couldn't have felt like it was a better deal than I had anticipated. I've only put 100 hours into it and I'm still enjoying it like crazy.

  12. While I understand that many people were left disappointed with this game because of the complete 180 it did for the Zelda formula, this is probably the only other good open world game I've played besides spider man 2 back on the gamecube. Even ignoring the world itself, the mechanics just have so much depth and interactivity with the environment is on a level that no other game has in decades (and all of this on an underpowered console like the Wii U too), making it fun to mess around with all the different paths you can take and fighting styles to adapt in non-binary ways.

  13. I like how natural botw feels but for me it's still too similar to most the other open world games out there… towers and shrines, towers and shrines… also the Elder Scrolls series has way more density… In those I feel like I'm constantly discovering something that matters. In botw I can run around for quite a while finding nothing of significance. I really wish there was some sort of crafting system and at least one more thing as legit as shrines and towers. For me once I hit the 50 hour mark I started losing interest. I don't get what I'm missing… it's good but brilliant? I'm a huge Zelda fan btw

  14. A design i'd like you to tackle is Fire Emblem Heroes, which, despite being a gacha, has a really informative and good-looking UI.

  15. I think it's greatest flaw is that everything you find you can deal with instead of having to get new tools as you go and finding new things that you just can't figure out up front. I love getting a new tool or skill and then coming back to old areas with new options. Having everything up front makes everything feel trivial to me. The rewards are rarely worth it because the rewards can't have any meaningful impact in what you can or can't do. There's maybe 2 or 3 items that actually do this and that really sucks.

  16. I agree with all of this. And yet, due to the weapon durability, I simply hate this game. I wonder how many other people passed on it, because of a loathing of weapon durability systems.

  17. id also like to mention that, due to the terrain, its hard to see much even from a vantage point. you really have to get down there and search to find things, and it makes it easy to hide huge and wonderful environments you never expected to be surprised with.

  18. Aha! So I'm not the only one who shot those ice blocks with arrows! 5:45
    It wasn't until later I realized I could save arrows and just bust those ice blocks with my rune.

  19. All I'm getting out of this video is that I'm apparently playing BotW wrong. I didn't notice half of this stuff and just focused on pushing towards the next story objective or quest objective, in the shortest, most efficient route possible…

  20. I really liked the game, but after completing it I really was glad I was done with it. Many people complained about weapons breaking too fast. Maybe 50% more durability would have been nice, but the biggest improvement would have been a better UI/UX. The most annoying thing about this game was that interruption of flow whenever you switch weapons or want to heal.
    1. Give me three weapon slots (for each type), which each behave like a queue. I can queue up weapons for each slot in the menu and whenever one breaks, the next weapon of that slot gets used automatically. Use a single button to cycle through the slots quickly. You have to tap it at most twice to get where you want and it won't pause the game.
    2. Do that for food as well. When you consume anything, Link should execute the eating animation in the world, not in the menu. The game shouldn't pause. You should only be able to eat when standing on your feet. Eating should be interrupted by enemy attacks.
    3. When finding a weapon that you can't pick up, directly open the menu and let me select which one to throw away. Don't put it back into the chest. That wastes so much time and it is so frequent.

  21. I really love the attention to detail they gave in the sightlines specifically. There are so many scenic spots and the placement of shrines etc with deliberate intent to entice you not only to spot one or two, but to force you to make choices of whether you want to continue down your current objective, turn left to that stuff over here, or turn right to the stuff over there.

    For a game that some complained was too empty, I had the feeling like I was constantly being torn left from right on which direction I wanted to explore next. I liked the tree and fenced area in Kakariko village, a little cutout from the surrounding mountains that gives you a look off into the distance, and you have to decide… do I want to go down this way to all these shrines and cool stuff, or go the other way to the divine beast from the main quest?

    Also, the Bird in the Mountains shrine quest. I loved that the placement of the shrine was really only visible if you went from the spot where the disjointed mountain tops have a perspective of a great bird. Very well done.

  22. Sometimes the game rewards you with nothing but a fresh point of view and that feels rewarding in itself.

  23. And yet I've played Skyrim so many times that I instantly identified the shot as being the snowfield between Whiterun and the wrecked watchtower… =p

  24. Breath of the wild is a nice Tech demo (tho there a lack of game beind it it kinda a awesome world whit nothing to do in so you kinda end up sadly not careing about that world because there no ppl that really give you interesting quest outside of the 3 main "donjon but even than I stop playing because I didn't want to see what next I stop caring about the world because there was so litle quest and as much as the wild life was amazing the ppl in this game just fell AFK and there no one to talk and you kinda end up just wanting to let the world like that because you don't care about the ppl that live in it you care more about the wild life…)

    SORRY FOR THE BAD ENGLISH
    But still I really hope they improve if they make an other open world Zelda THERE NEED TO BE MORE QUEST to make you care about ppl, there need to be more REWARD (sorry some weapons that will break in the next 20 min isn't a good reward whene you need crazy stuff to repair it… really 900 Rupy and also a Diamon Fuck you that just a joke…)

  25. 8:05 I don't agreed whit that there a way to make ppl care about changeing weapons even if the weapons dosen't break:
    Things like elemental damage (giveing bonus damage vs X type of enemies), things like Utility (Aka Spear weapons may have lower Damage but more Reach),
    I just really think Weapons should be Design to be interesting insteed of being a pain in your but to "help you try them all and help you explore"… No all I was form that system was BUG that the Elemental weapons could break and let you die form cold because your fire weapons just broke and you just end up say STUPID WEAPON design why they break! I like Spear why dose I need to use a stupid Hammer that fell too heavy to use and leave you open to counter ATK? isn't this about your Choice I choose to use the Spear that will break in 2 min or it broke… I guess I will use this Branch…

    Like sorry I am just really not a fan of the weapon duratility I think it was not well done and at the end of the day is just a pain more than any thing.

    SORRT FOR THE BAD ENGLISH

  26. if you know all you're going to get is a sphere from a shrine after a simple puzzle or a korok, and that's basically the only thing there is in the world, exploration is not very interesting anymore

  27. Wow. This is most informative game dev video I ever watched in a year time. I mean the details are so real good and on point.

    Luckily Youtube captions manage to properly translate your voice into subtitle, since I am quite deaf as an individual. Awesome video info!

  28. Yes, it has the same, incredibly nice mechanic that the modern Fallout games has I'm going to some location, but going there I spot something intresting and i have to go there instead, and this happens again and again. But i think it's the sandbox element that reallt makes it soar. I haven't had this much fun and felt this free to be creative since MGS5. I hope they make another one on the same engine, but give it time it needs to be 100% completed before release.

  29. I feel like BoTW benefited from the hope that glorious treasures, cool dungeons and interesting sidequests exist somewhere out there (ala Skyrim). However, BoTW ends up feeling quite empty after you realize that most of what you find is useless or repetitive… at least the sights are pretty tho

  30. Excellent video. Can you tell me where you find the translation for the CEDEC talk? Thank you in advance 👏

  31. The open world mechanic is indeed a brilliant idea and I'm impressed with Breath of the Wild but the problem with it, it makes the game pretty difficult and challenging, even the beginning part was difficult and challenging, and it did away with much the story. I'm always into the story in these games, and there hasn't been much of a story besides saving Hyrule and Princess Zelda from Ganon. Another problem with Breath of the Wild is that they also did away with iconic items such as the hookshot or clawshot, the iron boots, the bottles, and potions, the hearts, the lantern, the piece of heart, and the deku nuts, and the dungeon map, and compass. And they also did away with the themed dungeons and the boss keys and replaced them with 120 shines, and divine beasts all which act as dungeons with the exception of Hyrule Castle. And the iconic green tunic ended up becoming a late game item or items in this game like the Hylian Shield was in Skyward Sword. From what I heard and read the weapon durability, and the side quest rewards were panned, but the weapon durability makes the game challenging. I get what Nintendo trying to get with this. As well as with the inspiration from Minecraft, Terraria, Skyrim, and the anime movies by famed Japanese animator Hayao Hiyazaki and Studio Ghibli which explains why Link was wearing a different and blue tunic and is hatless rather than the iconic green hat and tunic when I saw the first trailer in 2014 which wasn't what I was expecting at the time before the game took shape. And I have to admit it is kind of a change of pace for the Zelda series this time around along with the open world mechanic, but the iconic green hat and tunic are 2 of these things that made Link a iconic Nintendo character, and part of the trademark. And fight Ganon from the beginning is extremely crazy and insane, I would prefer going through the game. I'm sure that the next Zelda game that's in development right now will improve on these mechanics. I would love to see the iconic key items, and themed dungeons make a comeback. What I like about the Zelda games before Breath of the Wild like Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, Wild Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword, and A Link between Worlds along with the spinoff warriors game Hyrule Warriors is that they're story driven, the interconnected overworlds, the themes and centerpieces or gimmicks to these games, and the dungeons themselves with their different themes. I think I understand how Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and those 10 other animators felt before leaving Disney in 1979 midway through development of the Fox and the Hound which was the Disney Dark Age. But I still think that Breath of the Wild is brilliant in it's own way.

  32. Definitely deserved the best game of the year, such fun and so much to do with master tier craftsmanship behind it.

  33. I just find it funny those "game critics" saying "BotW map is sooo shallow, there is no depth, you only walk around to find at best a Korok seed or a mini boss that is copy pasted all around the map". Dude after 100 hours in the game and defeating all the guardian beasts, OF COURSE it will be hard to find new things like armors or new setpieces. Duhhh. Those guys tend to forget what drew them in the adventure all over the map in the first place. It's like those people WANT games now to be filled with Ubisoft-like achievements that artificially stretches the game.

  34. I wonder what that waste, VideoGamer X, thinks of this game. He was utterly psychotic for this series back in its infancy, and had one of the first substantial websites. If he could've played this then, he would've probably had a heart attack, but he's probably not quite like that anymore…if he's even alive.

  35. There is no denying that the open world design is stellar (game puts the tools in the players hand and encourages you to use it while you are exploring), too bad that the rewards for exploring are not good; unlike games like Morrowind and Gothic, in Botw there is not that thrill of finding a new cool piece of equipment, or finding a hidden dungeon with a side quest about what happened there for example, like the Vaults in Fallout New Vegas or some of the dungeons in Skyrim

  36. I can see why people like this game, but I can't see how people can consider it a masterpiece when it is riddled with issues. It's a quantity over quality open-world game with a lot of the same problems many open-world games have, along with a bunch of new ones like the horrid durability system. Even somewhat interesting parts like cooking is poorly thought out since there is no real reason to cook "proper" food since the best results come from combining ingredients with the same properties (like increased damage) or just 1 food item that increases temp health/stamina with another food item to instantly create a max stam/health food. There is no real thought put into it. Shrines and koroks are also terrible rewards because the koroks are copypasted (lift a rock at the top of a million peaks, place an apple in a bowl, etc.) and the shrines are extremely inconsistent in quality, some are downright terrible.
    There isn't even any real logic to the rewards the shrines offer. In the bottom right there is an island you have to spend a good chunk of time on to basically survive on in nothing but your underwear, yet the reward is a very low amount of rupees and an orb… while a shrine with a short straightforward puzzle directly north of it (not even 1min away from the island) rewards you with climber gear… like wtf? What's the logic here?

    Anyway, I thought the game was fine but it definately did not have rewarding exploration to me. After a certain point I didn't even care anymore since the reward was pretty much always just a shrine or korok seed I seriously couldn't care less about. Especially once I got the master sword.

  37. 0:27 The game isn't that good and it's not all that rewarding when the orb things aren't all that useful. The UI falls a bit flat as well and the overall gameplay is just average. It's not a good Zelda game but it's an okay game with only a few memorable characters.

  38. I don't think a lot of these amazing things you get distracted by feel really all that great,
    when you constantly find yourself with a full inventory meaning you can't even pick the item up to swap them out.
    It also doesn't help that the process of expanding your inventory is tedious as well.

    It's not just as simple as finding Koroks in the first place, not to forgot that before you finally get Hetsu to wait in the Korok forest,
    he's scattered around in 2 seemingly random locations that a lot of people might not even find until much longer,
    meaning even more "cool breadcrumps" that get left behind, meaning there's not much of a dopamine shot after all.

    The insanely annoying loading times from fast travel also kind of get in the way.
    Overall I just think it's a shame something that's always praised to hell and back is held back by these things almost 100% of the time.
    It feels like I never get to commit to just wandering around and picking shit up because the game blocks me from holding more than 8-12 items for a solid 10 hours.

  39. My initial reaction was that the main storyline was fun and the characters were interesting, the whole game was for me between my first and second divine beasts. That's when I explored and hunted treasures. Probably the best week in gaming I've ever had. I never liked the fragile weapons though.

  40. I would still like the weapon durability to be a little higher.
    I am fine with a twig only lasting me 4-5 hits, but when you do a similar amount of durability for a sword it just gets silly.

  41. I have to say I only just found your channel. Thanks to youtube's usually bad recommendations actually.
    And I absolutely love this video. The script and the explanations and even your phrasing. You didn't sound like you were just reading a script out loud.
    Also the visuals, you always showed engaging examples. I even saw landscapes and korokpuzzles I never found myself.
    So uhm, thank you. Not only for giving me an awesome video I can link to all my friends bragging about how amazing breath of the wild was…
    Also for giving me the urge to pick up the game again to fill out my own map.

  42. I would argue that BOTW2 would have to go back to this formula and persoanlly I'm not the biggest fan of it. I don't need an overly large world to have fun and I would love to see BOTW2 be a more florished world and smaller. More people and a better story

  43. Just seeing this video makes me want to start up another playthrough. Love this game more than any other Zelda I've played, and deserves a place in my alltime top 5 videogames. Zelda games immersion for me was so often broken by the relative small scale of Hyrule up to that point, the 'walls' surrounding what's supposed to be natural areas and the plot coupons. They ditched all that and focused on the landscape and the exploration, which were allways my favourite bits. Feels like they made this game just for me.

  44. While i admit the pure genius of this whole design for its geographic aspect, i still didn't really enjoy BOTW that much.
    There were two things lacking for me : meaning and pacing.
    Meaning : At the moment i understood the exploration didn't have anything else important to offer besides shrines and towers, i started to snob all those puzzles because " it's probably just a stupid Korok ". And worse, i even snobbed the battle at some point : you waste weapons to slaughter respawning monsters which rewards you with a weapon. Bottomline ? You get nothing out of it, like the Pizzas from TMNT on Nes.
    Pacing : walking and climbing feels so slow that it takes forever to reach anything you spot in the distance. And since you get this sensation of "meaningless" i mentioned above, the hidden puzzles they put in between lose their power to distract you, and you end up spending your time just walking from one place to the next for hours.
    Mario Odyssey took the same kind of approach, hiding things in every single corner of the level, but i think it worked better because the exploration is full of action : you run, jump, rebounce, throw your hat, and the levels are much more smaller and thus concise : you don't have time to get bored.
    Zelda Botw is a constraining experience to me : "you don't like Stamina Bars, breaking weapons and rain ? I know , but it's for the sake of balance ! " . But what's the point of balancing when your balance mechanics end up making the game unfun ?

  45. I love your delivery. Most YouTubers bank a lot on their personality and charm, with mixed results. Others are so drab it sounds like we're bothering them. You my friend are perfectly in the middle! Not to mention you always have something to add to the conversation. I hope to do the same, to conceptualize possible futures for games.

    Keep up the great work!

  46. I love the exploration in this game. Every playthrough I set a goal, and every time I get sidetracked and end up doing only a fraction of what I intended. And I love it.

    I really must applaud Nintendo for really working on the world, and taking the bold step of making the journey memorable through the player's experiences and not the story or combat. Almost every memory you make in BotW feels like something you earned. One of my favorites is what I call "The Story of Me, Eventide Island and the Floating Orb", in which one thing led to another and I ended up transporting an orb on a raft half-naked in a thunderstorm. Also everything involving the dragons was just fantastic. It says something when I refuse to shoot them for good loot because I just love seeing them flying across the landscape with the pretty music.

    This is something I've experienced bits and pieces of in previous Zelda, but it was never fully realized until now. For example my fondest memory from Twilight Princess was the one time I missed a Poe by a second, and not wanting to redo a flying puzzle to get back to the same place, I sat on the floating raft for the entire in-game day just taking in the scenery and music. And from Minish Cap it's not the story or freeing Zelda, it was the locations and music – the Minish woods, the top of Mount Crenel, the sanctuary and top of the wind ruins, finally going above the clouds… BotW made me feel like that again.

    If I had any gripe, it'd be that the lack of proper dungeons. Booting it up I expected to find hidden temples and strange complexes, and while you sort of do with the labyrinths and the forgotten temple, they're too brief to feel like proper dungeons. The divine beasts and shrines were fine, but were repetitive, and towards the end I was hungry for delving into a deep, dark brooding dungeon. It also plays into what I think was a missed opportunity: caves. Those were one of my favorite things from Twilgiht Princess, and with the way BotW works they'd be perfect. Imagine delving into a dark cave, just you and your torch, not knowing what was deep inside. This would've also put the luminous armor to good use. They touched on this with the Leviathan in Hebra, and seeing that I just wanted more!

    But that said, I'm amazed at the quality and originality Nintendo keeps putting out. I wouldn't call this my favorite Zelda game, but it's up there and will be one of the most memorable playthroughs of any game in recent years. And I'm sure sooner or later I'll get the urge to return to those verdant fields.

  47. Weapon breaking is definitely an interesting mechanic. In Dead Rising 1 and 2, I rarely switched weapons (unless I was dicking around) once I found one I really liked because you can get magazines that will significantly increase the weapon's durability. Like in Dead Rising 1, once you get the mini chainsaws, you basically have one of the best weapons in the game and with the right magazines you can hold on to several until the end of the game.

  48. i do feel they should fix the weapon durability but not by removing it, but by adding a second non degradable weapon system, perhaps you start with the master sword but its shattered so its equal to basic sticks and shit, but it never breaks, and over the course of the game you can find pieces and slowly put it back together increasing its power, so you always have a reliable weapon you can fall back on but it will still likely be weaker then the more fragile expendable weapons you have at that point, think of it like the infinte ammo pistol a lot of shooters have, you could also have side upgrade you can get that change how it functions, ei an extended handle if you prefer fighting with a spear, or some magic wind gem that causes it to spin and return to you liek a boomarang or elemental gems if you want to dick around with fire

    it would also add an in story reason why you are dicking around so long instead of dealing with ganon like the divine beasts repairing the master swords really somethign you want to do before confronting ganon

  49. Ocarina is still my sentimental favourite, but Breath of the Wild is, I think, the BEST Zelda game ever made (and a close second-favourite). The exploration is such a huge part of that, the world feels so rich! I finished the game and only have about half the seeds – that means there's still SO much more than you'd find just in regular gameplay!

  50. Hmm, I can see what you mean about the weapon durability system helping to promote exploration; however, in my case, it made me actively avoid combat. I would find some weapons I liked and then avoid combat so that I wouldn't lose my weapons to durability damage.

  51. It was a very fun game, but I wish the final battle was actually challenging/fun/storyline important past "congrats, you win". I almost wish I didn't complete the 'temples' so that it could have lasted longer. I also feel Zelda's storyline ends with little fanfare. We have a giant set up and no real payoff. (and yes, I found every memory)

  52. Overall design of BOTW:

    Farm stuff to farm stuff to farm stuff that brokes so return to farm stuff.

    What a fucking waste of a zelda game 🙁

  53. I still feel like the durability system was completely unneeded and poorly implimented. Early on, you do struggle and need to find different weapons and use them in creative ways, but after around mid game you start collecting more weapons than you need, and by late game, you are constantly stuck with a full inventory of the same strongest 3 weapons in the game alongside the Master sword. By that point, the durability no longer matters and when a weapon breaks, it is a mild inconvenience, however the game still forces you to pull out new weapons. It would have been much better if there was an upgrade hidden somewhere only late game players could reach like Hyrul Castle, that would grant infinite durability. That way I do'nt need to go and take out my 10th massive Lynal crusher that has been wasting away in my inventory among the dozen other of the same massive ancient greataxe.

  54. One of the reasons I never liked Borderlands much is that nothing you ever find is ever that special. Just another weapon that I'll use for a few minutes until something new comes along. The rewards felt pointless, much like in Skyrim and Oblivion. I just know that I'm not going to find a super-powerful weapon worth a bazillion cash in that next chest over, because that's just not how the game works. Morrowind on the other hand… Gettin' some crab-cash.

  55. This game's graphics also serve the gameplay really well, the game is so beautiful that often I found the view atop a huge mountain or great vantage point was a reward in and of itself. Love this game!

  56. So why with all this amazing design i feel so disconnect to the game, when i explore simply feel a endless walk to some point to get something that wil broke soon or get a korook seed anda can´t remeber where is the guy to trade them and aparantely isn't marked on the map when i know to met him once. I want to be emersive in the game and like it, i see there are good ideias and mechanics but just can't.

  57. Worst Zelda experience i have ever had. Sesrching for apples and Korok seeds is lame and boring. Ill take dungeons any day

  58. With how overstatured open world games are, i'm surprised it took this long to "fix" the genre, and it took such little effort. It's nice to know that a little more thought went into the game than simply "make a giant world and litter it with filler collectibles", but that still doesn't do it for me.

    I disagree about the weapon durability system, and the justifications for it always seem like a weakness rather than a strength. You need to play it a specific way, otherwise it would get boring? It just sounds like your game is boring. Forcing variety isn't fun, giving people lots of options and letting them experiment is fun. The game's variety of three kinds of weapons also doesn't encourage much experimentation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *