Nintendo Switch & Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (Zero Punctuation)

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I’m willing to bet it crossed Nintendo’s mind
more than once to call its new console the S-Wii-tch, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed
and for once we have a Nintendo console whose name actually means something. An appropriate meaning as well, for a ‘switch’
is another name for a beating stick, with which one might conceivably flog a dead horse. Oh and it also lets you ‘switch’ between living
room console and handheld, a service just as unasked-for as it was when the Wii U tried
it. But while the Wii U could switch from living
room to handheld only if the handheld remained inside the living room, you can carry the
Switch to the upper slopes of Kilimanjaro and still have a bit of a game, although you’d
better hope there’s some free power outlets up there. I guess Nintendo are still employing a fleet
of obsolete construction robots as QA testers because the controls still favour geometric
shapes over anything designed with human hands in mind, and using the thing in handheld mode
with my massive masculine mitts was as comfortable as wanking off a VCR. But hey, that’s the point of the whole ‘switch’
aspect, you play it the way that’s comfortable for you and let all the other ways stick a
U-bend on their todgers and piss up their own assholes. ”
I feel Nintendo are vastly overestimating its average user’s tendency to leave the house,
but if you are forced to do so because of a family picnic or because most of the couch
is on fire, you can snap the controllers off like a big electronic Kit Kat, prop the screen
up on a flat surface and continue gaming as God intended. Until the battery runs low, at which point
we discover that some world-class intellect put the power input on the underside of the
screen, so you can’t plug the cable in while it’s propped up on a table. You’re either going to have to interact with
nearby family members or rescue workers to pass the time or carry around a large cordless
drill. You’ve got two options once you detach the
controllers – you can either continue waving the two ends around like a complete pillock
with two garage door remotes or you can give yourself a well-deserved slap, insert them
into the special housing that turns them into a standard controller, and come and join us
in the fucking real world. I say ‘standard controller’ but only if the
definition of ‘standard’ now includes having a wireless connection that’s more like a casual
pen-friend relationship. If there was anything between the controller
and the console, such as part of my leg or an affectionate dog, then I’d get all kinds
of sync issues, the game wouldn’t realise I’d stopped pushing forwards and Link would
walk straight off a tower to his death. Which might as well transition us to the fact
that there’s a new Zelda game, with towers in it! Because this one’s trying to be more of a
sandbox and I guess Ubisoft must have taken Nintendo aside and given some advice. “Trust me, can never have enough towers. My games are full of ’em. I love towers. My dog is named Tower. I grind up towers and snort them. Sometimes at night I take a little model of
a tower and shove it -” WELL ANYWAY Breath of the Wild is a new Zelda most closely comparable
to Zelda Twilight Princess, in that it too is being released for both a new and an old
console and is most definitely a more advisable purchase for the old, because the old has
other games, not to mention a degree of backwards compatability and isn’t going to charge you
a subscription to play the same old Nintendo tat you’ve been repeatedly buying and rebuying
for the last forty fucking years. But I digress. Link shows up in Hyrule and finds himself
tasked to rescue the usual princess by getting the usual sword and slitting up the usual
bastard. And in other news, the sky continues to be
blue and the Trump administration fucked something up. ”
What is interesting is that Breath of the Wild takes a decisively hands-off approach
to structure. The traditional Zelda linear acquisition of
useful stocking fillers that gradually open up the map is nowhere to be seen. In fact, if you want, you can jog straight
from the tutorial area to the final boss fight and take him on. You’ll get fucking mulched, you’ll need to
be conveyed back to the save point between two slices of bread, but it’s nice to see
Nintendo finally acknowledge the many obsessive psychopaths in their core fanbase. “Hey, bet you can’t speedrun this game, you
insane, beautiful bastards,” says Nintendo with a sly wink. Knowing full well the speedrun will be online
inside a day. And by week two they’ll be posting blindfolded
speedruns on Guitar Hero controllers using only their knobs. Everything else in the game is there to make
the final fight easier. Building up hearts and stamina, assembling
weapons that don’t break if you stare at them for too long and the main point of doing the
four dungeons is to enlist someone from each of the four major races of Hyrule to come
and hold Ganon down while you get in a few free kicks to the goolies before the fight
starts proper. I like it ‘cos it’s organic game design. I like that you spot landmarks from towers
by looking at them with your magic smartphone telescope and marking them off manually, ‘cos
you know at that point in a Ubisoft game the map would just spooge a bunch of icons like
a highly aroused clown with confetti up his dick. I like how the only proviso for getting the
Master Sword is having enough hearts to tank the massive life-threatening hernia Link gets
from trying to pull it out. ‘Cos it’s as good a measure of worth as any
and you know another Zelda game would make us solve puzzles stolen from the back of a
cereal box for thirty minutes. Which is not to say Breath of the Wild isn’t
above making us prove our worth every alternate fucking step. The main source of hearts and stamina upgrades
are the five hundred quintillion microdungeons that all have the exact same decor. Endless glowing cyan, it’s like being stuck
in Isaac Clarke’s wardrobe during a rave. Making the final boss easier isn’t really
your only motive, we also explore for exploration’s sake, and the game world’s size and repetitive
scenery makes it a bit dull to get around. Then again, I’m always talking up Wind Waker,
Wind “70% featureless ocean and 30% conversations with fish” Waker. Then again, again, Wind Waker had character. In Breath of the Wild, Ganon, or rather Calamity
Ganon, which is his new title and not the name of a Nintendo-themed musical western,
isn’t a character at all, he’s a generic evil force whose job is to sit around inside a
giant pulsating bollock and wait to be killed. Character may be what we sacrifice with the
hands-off approach. Although the exception is Princess Zelda,
I liked what they did with her, an insecure nerd in so far over her head that she’s giving
the blue balls to deep sea angler fish. I’ve got some control issues, even beyond
the controllers having more syncing issues than the fucking Titanic – the stealth element
is a complete waste of space and since weapons degrade like the atmosphere at a party after
the cops show up it’d be nice if the weapon selector didn’t suck on old tea towels – but
on the whole, Legend of Zelda: Death of a Salesman is, while a bit emotionally cold,
a broadly absorbing open world that offers something for every flavour of lunatic Nintendo
fanboy. Old school nutters will like the traditionalist
feel, 100% nutters will like taking photos of every monster, animal and air molecule,
and as I said, the speedrun nutters will love it as soon as they figure out how to control
it with a Fisher Price piano and an egg whisk.

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