Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Many people consider Zelda: Breath of The Wild to be game of the year. It is a fresh take on the franchise, and you are easily immersed in the world of Hyrule. Nintendo has truly accomplished a feat of a game. We can overlook its obvious flaws though. We have been so enamored with BoTW that we refuse to see what’s wrong with it. Let’s try and not be quick to defend it, and look at the ten things that are wrong with Zelda: Breath of The Wild.
1. Weapons Breaking Too Easily
You find various weapons throughout Hyrule. Most of them are useless; especially when enemy difficulty ramps up. There is nothing wrong with balancing combat, but BoTW makes it, frankly, unfair. Some weapons break after 3-5 hits and barely do any damage. This causes you to break away from combat to go find another weapon. Couldn’t we have a crafting system for the weapons? Instead, we are left with the tedious job of hunting for weapons.
2. No Dungeons, Mini Puzzles
This may be more of preference, but one of the core attributes in Zelda games are dungeons. You explore the dungeon, find a unique item, and then kill the dungeon boss. This type of gameplay is what kept people coming back to the series. Now, we are given an area to explore, but it doesn’t hold the same magic. You are exploring giant machines that you can manipulate to get to different areas. You don’t get any kind of reward when exploring; this just adds to the boredom. I dreaded each Divine Beast because I knew it was going to be a mundane experience. The only unique quality each Divine Beast has is the layout is different in each one. Same enemies, same motif, and to top it all off: an annoyingly difficult boss at the end.
3. Too Many Shrines
Besides the Divine Beasts, we have shrines. Shrines are like ‘mini dungeons’. You enter to solve a series of puzzles or test your strength against the guardian enemies. There are 120 of them to be exact. Some of the puzzles are clever, and you feel satisfied when you solve them. However, it starts to become a chore very easily. Nintendo is trying to do something innovative, but it comes across as a cop-out or filler from the lack of dungeons.
4. Too Many Seeds
Just like the shrines, but worse. There are over 900 Korok seeds in the game. Mind you, you don’t need that many to maximize your storage, but if you are a completionist, you will be sorely disappointed. You receive no reward for combing through the massive map. Nintendo actually trolls you by giving you a ‘golden poop’ item that does nothing. The Korok seeds are even more tedious than the shrines. Sure, it takes less time to solve the puzzle to get the seed, but if you repeat the seed processes over and over again. The ‘puzzles’ include putting an apple in an offering plate in front of a statue, or jumping through a ring of Lily pads in a pond. It’s a frustrating part of the game.
5. This Zelda Lacks a Story
There is virtually no story in BoTW. The story begins with Link waking up after 100 years of the devastation that plagued Hyrule by Ganon. Throughout the game, you have to find ‘memories’ to piece together a story. However, none of it is revealing. It’s the typical trope: Zelda needs to be rescued from Ganon, and Link has to save her. We are given some background on the purpose of the Divine Beasts, and who the Champions were, but the story focuses on trying to give Zelda character development. Zelda’s character doesn’t show any depth; she struggles with her responsibilities, but she doesn’t mature in the end. She relies on Link as usual to save her.
6. No Payoff for Side Missions
There are many side missions in Zelda: Breath of The Wild. There are two types of side missions: one is for discovering shrines, and the others are ‘collecting’ missions. The rewards are either, well, shrines, or materials for recipes. You may get lucky and get a gemstone or a star fragment, but those missions are few and far between. I got to the point where I stopped doing side missions, because they were pointless. They don’t help you achieve anything in the game, besides finding more shrines.
7. No Leveling Up System
Enemies get harder over time in Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. The only way to defeat them is to get better weapons. The catch is that you don’t level up; there isn’t a stats system for Link. There are only stats on weapons, so if you have a soup paddle, you are only going to do 1 damage. So, you spend half the game trying to find better weapons. You can only get them by defeating enemies, randomly finding them, or in shrines. You can’t craft or upgrade weapons. It’s such an unfair aspect of the game. There should be, at least, a basic system where you can work towards crafting weapons. Instead, you waste hours looking for weapons that are going to break on you after a few hits.
8. Upgrading Your Armor is a Chore
Unlike weapons, you can upgrade your armor. However, you first have to find fairy fountains to even start upgrading your armor. There are four in total, and you have to pay thousands of rupees to unlock all the fountains. Then, you have to farm materials to upgrade your armor. A lot of the materials are uncommon and take time to find. Some take really rare items such as star fragments. I have played over 100 hours of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, and I have yet to find a star fragment. You can only find one by watching the sky and doing your best to track where the fragment landed. I poured hours into gathering materials because you have to upgrade your armor in order to defeat tougher enemies.
9. No ‘After Game’
Zelda typically doesn’t have content after you beat the game. I was hoping that things would change with Zelda: Breath of The Wild. Alas, I was wrong. We don’t get to see a Hyrule without the threat of Ganon. We don’t get to help with rebuilding the country or finding out what exactly the guardians are. Before you face Ganon (which you can attempt at any time in the game) you have to do everything you want to accomplish beforehand. After you defeat him, you are left with your last save with a little asterisk beside it to indicate you beat Ganon. That is underwhelming, especially when you do a lot of preparation for the final battle.
10. Amiibos are Paid DLC
Oh, Amiibos. Nintendo has taken a clever approach to paid DLC. Amiibos act as a way to get crafting materials, rupees, and weapons. However, Nintendo decided to release several Zelda-themed Amiibos where you could get specific armor sets. If you want to get all of these armor sets, you have to pay at least $12.99 for each Amiibos. After spending money on these figures, you only get the chance of receiving a piece of each armor set. On top of everything else, you can only use each Amiibos once a day. That’s it. You can save before you use the Amiibos, and if you don’t get what you want, you can just load that save. However, you will spend hours trying to get all the armor sets.
Zelda: Breath of The Wild is a fantastic game, but there is so much that has been overlooked. People will always defend this game because it has accomplished so much. Nintendo takes pride in their games, but we need to point out the flaws so they can improve in future games. That is if Nintendo would actually listen to their fans.