Tag Archives: zelda breath of the wild

The Problem of Side Quests in Open-World Games

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Open-world games really need to stop doing that thing where dozens of side quests and collectibles pop up as soon as you open the map. This is a well-discussed issue, but all the games I’ve been playing recently really highlight the differences between how some open-world games handle side content, and what the main problems with these games are.

I’ve been playing Yakuza 5 for a while, I recently started getting further into Horizon: Zero Dawn, I finished the main story of Assassin’s Creed Unity recently, and I started a new game in The Witcher 3. I guess I’ve also been playing the extra difficulty mode in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on and off. In Horizon I’m pretty much just blazing through the main quest, as I did in Unity, but in all the other games I’m getting pulled into the side quests. Continue reading

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Why I Couldn’t Make A Game Of The Year List This Year (It’s Really Just Zelda)

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The simple truth is, I finished way too few games that came out in 2017.

As of writing this I just finished Resident Evil 7 and never even touched YakuzaNierGravity RushNiohCuphead, and probably a lot else I can’t think of right now. I played a few hours of Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and might get started on Evil Within 2 right after I finish typing.

I did play through some good games in 2017. Overall I think this year was another good one to follow up 2015 and 2016. Games — particularly big-budget games and console games, are in the middle of a stride right now after what I saw as a sort of slump between 2012 and 2014. Very notable has been the comeback of Japanese third party console games — the ones I just said I hadn’t played, after people had been wondering where they’d gone since around 2005. That many of these games are only for PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 and PC, has also brought upon nostalgia for the era when people bought the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 for all their Japanese exclusives.

Nintendo’s first party output for the Switch in 2017 was a whirlwind. Putting such strong first party support into the Wii U which few people even bought allowed it to pump the Switch’s first year with ports from the Wii U which to most people were effectively new games. Really though, despite how great the games I played this year were (which I’ll get to further down), nothing came close to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for me.

I didn’t want to bother with ranking everything I played this year because when I thought about my favorite games of 2017, I asked myself “What 2017 game would I play right now, ignoring everything else like my backlog?” Zelda is pretty much the only answer I have. Continue reading

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More Games Are Using Compasses Instead of Minimaps

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I’ve started to notice that open-world games coming out in 2017 and 2018 are getting rid of the minimap in favor of a quest compass like the one Bethesda uses for Fallout and Elder Scrolls games. I think the compass is preferable to the minimap, but doesn’t solve a fundamental problem with pathfinding and quest design in these games. Continue reading

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Zelda Breath of the Wild is a Case Study in Game Tutorials

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You know what else The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gets right that so many other open-world games miss? The tutorial.

I’ve heard very little mention of how the game’s initial area: The Great Plateau, does such a great job of being a thick tutorial without actually feeling like a tutorial. It’s worth comparing it to how a lot of other modern games, particularly open-world games. Continue reading

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What Cooking In Zelda Breath Of The Wild Gets Right

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I haven’t had free time to do much else but play Zelda: Breath of the Wild so I guess I can talk about something else in it this week, like why I enjoy its cooking system so much compared crafting systems in other games.

When I start up a new blockbuster game, particularly a role-playing game, one of the things I dread being introduced to is the crafting system. Seemingly every game has to have one these days but the majority either feel like a needless stop on game progress or something I can just completely ignore. Mainly, Breath of the Wild does two things to make its cooking system, which is basically a crafting system, more enjoyable and rewarding. Continue reading

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What Q1 2017 Means, And Zelda’s Use Of Geography

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My time over the last few weeks has been taken up by Zelda and a few other relatively big things going on in my life. I guess I can take a moment though to at least say something about my time with Zelda and look back at what has been an uncommonly good first quarter of the year in video games.

It almost feels like a fall release schedule in that there has simply been too much new stuff for any one person to play thoroughly, between Gravity Rush 2Yakuza 0Resident Evil 7NiohNier: AutomataHorizon: Zero DawnMass Effect: Andromeda, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What’s interesting to look at though is that it has been an uncommonly good quarter for console games. Of what I mentioned, only RE7, Nier, and Andromeda have PC versions. If I’d been able to play these games I would have actually gotten some use out of my consoles. Possibly more important though is that this quarter likely signifies 2017 as sort of the year Japanese console games came back. Continue reading

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My Reactions To Different Weapon Durability Systems

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Undoubtedly the most divisive feature in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been its weapon degradation system. The discussion over it has gotten me looking back at how I’ve reacted to weapon degradation in previous games only to find it hasn’t been a uniform reaction at all.

In short, weapon degradation is one of those things that in the context of game design is just a tool to be used in different ways. Different developers may use it to different effects for different kinds of games. Like open-worlds in general or quick-time events or whatever else, I don’t believe weapon degradation is universally good or bad. Continue reading

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The Difference Between PS4, Xbox One, and Switch 1st Party Games

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Quarter one of 2017 has been pretty good for first party exclusive console games, particularly from Sony but also for Nintendo if you count one incredible game. In the midst of this I’ve also heard a lot of talk that one reason Microsoft is behind Sony in console sales is because its lineup of exclusives is weaker. What’s interesting is if you look at the first party lineups of each console manufacturer you see different strategies or a preference for games with different kinds of business models. Continue reading

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Nintendo Switch: Not A Change But A Consolidation

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Following Nintendo’s Thursday night presentation on the Switch, I don’t see its upcoming console as a really significant change for the company. What I see is a consolidation of just about everything Nintendo has been doing over roughly the past decade. I see aspects of the Wii, the Wii U, and the 3DS, but all refined. I’m not sure how successful Nintendo actually expects this strategy to be, whether it’s actually looking to blow up again, or just survive. Continue reading

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Nintendo Switch Launch Period Speculation

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So the time has come. Everybody even remotely interested in Nintendo is probably gonna be up Thursday night (North American time) for Nintendo’s full reveal of its launch plans for its next major hardware platform, the Switch. That’s less than two months out and only just now getting answers on crucial details like price and launch lineup. Rumors and predictions are all over the place.

I don’t think I have any predictions on the system itself that will significantly differ from what all the major publications are probably already saying: the most likely price is $250 USD, the likely date is the weekend of March 18th, and it’s looking increasingly likely that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will make it to launch in Japan and North America. My previous posts on the Switch have also pretty much laid out what I think may happen to the platform long-term. That still leaves a lot of questions to consider for the launch period games though. Continue reading

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