Game Design Analysis: Breath of the Wild

Hello everyone! Today we’ll be analyzing what has become one of the most popular adventure games in the past decade: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This game was celebrated as being a completely open world experience and a freedom that hasn’t existed in The Legend of Zelda since the original title. So today we’ll be looking into how that was made possible and what tactics the designers may have used to guide you along a path that may not be immediately obvious.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)

First let’s talk about one of the big selling points of the game: The ability to go about the game in any order and take on the final boss at any time. But can you actually take on the final boss right off the bat? Well, you can go there, but don’t expect to make it very far. If you haven’t yet beaten the four dungeons throughout the game, the four main bosses will appear at the castle with the final boss. Now you may think this is to make things more difficult, but in fact, it’s there to make it nearly impossible. See one of the big mechanics that many complained about, the weapon durability, exists for a very big reason here. If you were to go to the final boss right away, you won’t have many weapon slots right away and you simply won’t have the means to beat them all before all of your weapons are broken and gone.

Although you do have access to infinite bombs, some phases of the final boss require you to have weapons and shields. Then there’s another matter to look at, the quality of those weapons and shields. You might be able to get by with a few weapons slots as long as you have really good equipment. And that’s where the experience system comes in. That’s right, although there is nothing in the game to indicate such, there is a hidden experience system in which defeating enemies grants you experience points which increase the quality of equipment you’ll find as well as affect other changes in the world. This means that in the beginning of the game, you won’t find very decent equipment. Of course, as I said before, it’s only nearly impossible to win, as there is always good equipment to found in Hyrule Castle itself. That does mean though, that you will have to plan your route carefully, avoid any unnecessary fights, and master the timing on shield parries. A tall order to be sure, but a challenge many gamers can’t pass up.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The Complete Official Guide: -Expanded Edition

Now let’s move on to another part of the game, the route you take through the map. Despite having open freedom, a majority of players go through the same route, and there’s a good reason for it. Truth is, the designers created the map to give you a logical path. Upon finishing the Great Plateau, you are tasked with going to Kakariko to the East, thus beginning your path. From there you are given the location of the four Divine Beasts to defeat in whatever order you wish. However, one of these Divine Beasts is located just North of Kakariko and is the obvious first choice. From there you are guided from the first closest Divine Beast to the next closest one moving you into a counter-clockwise path around the map. Not only does this give you an order of which dungeons you finish, but also which bosses you take on first and what order you get certain armor sets and equipment such as the Master Sword. This path is favorable to how the designers created each biome and region, and also provides some ease of travel to the player.

Well, that’s all for now, join us next week where we pick up another game and analyze some if it’s design choices. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Breath of the Wild and try it out for themselves. And, leave a comment below if there’s any games you want our analysis of!

Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con – HAC-001(-01)

3 comments

  1. I’ve played Zelda for quite a while now , and am stuck on the forgotten memories quest (where you have to visit the places on your Sheika Slate) Do you think you could make a walkthrough or something about this? I love this article. Amazing. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! I don’t know if I plan to do any walkthroughs in the future since they take a long time to make, but it’s definitely a possibility! As for the forgotten memories I can give you a tip! In Kakariko Village if you talk to the artist and offer to take a picture of the Great Fairy Fountain in the forest to the East for him, he’ll help you find the nearest memory. After that, you can find the artist at almost every stable in the world where he’ll tell you where to find each memory. Just be sure to have the map unlocked so you can see which areas he’s talking about! Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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