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A wordy (probably not that original) take on Breath of the Wild

(Some spoilers)

Ok, I really have a problem about BoTW. If you asked me how many stars I would give it, I would probably say 5. However, I would have trouble giving it more than 17/20, maybe even just 16. What I'm trying to say is that if it seems like I'm nitpicking, I'm really not. My issues with the game really made the game a lot less enjoyable.

I'm not going to talk too long about the good aspects of the game, I agree that it nails the feeling of exploration, the ambience, I think the progression works really well too, which surprised me because you get all required abilities in the intro, and I actually like the weapon durability (even if I'd probably like it better if weapons lasted maybe 1,5 times longer).

To me, there really is a problem with rewarding the player for exploring. Because the game makes exploring feel good by itself, it feels like it neglects to reward it properly, which frustrate me. Sure, there almost always is something to discover around the corner, but 90% of the time, it's a shrine or a korok. Which isn't necessarily bad, except when you have to do a whole quest to find it.

The fountain shrines come to mind, for example. How I experienced them was immensly frustrating. I found the Strength one without knowing how you were supposed to get scales first. Relatively long after that, I scaled Mount Lyanaru, freed the dragon, and simultaneously figured out how to get scales. It felt really good! The game taught this naturally, and now I just had to look for the red dragon. But the reward for finding a fountain, getting a scale and going back to it is just… One spirit orb, and breaking few weapons in a frankly boring fight that you've already done multiple times.

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The game does this all the time, honestly. It does a good job at making you want to explore the world and the game systems, but doing so doesn't really give you anything. Maybe it's enough for some people, but it just frustrated me. The thing is, doing a puzzle or fight sometimes gives you something good, or at least something permanent, like a piece of armor, or maybe the shrine is the first you find in an area, so getting the fast travel is valuable, but most of the time it's just "yay, you got a spirit orb and a flameblade, how nice".

My other non-nipicky complaint, is the combat as the whole. I fell like the game just doesn't want you to engage in combat. I'm not even talking about using things like boulders to fight with (because when combats are actually hard, they just don't do enough damage anymore). It's not because of weapon durability either. It's just that when you come across a monster camp, you have absolutely no reason to clear it. The chest in it is 99% certain to be a useless weapon or special arrows, so it's just not worth spending time for. As for Lynels, they are really boring. They do hit hard, and you have to pay attention, even if the attacks aren't that difficult to dodge, but the fights are just too long, I think. It doesn't help that by the time that fights get theorically difficult, in practice you have completely dumb and OP full-healing food that make you a damage sponge. And, if you didn't really upgrade link that much by that time, the fights will be long, boring and challenging. So, even when you do engage with the combat system, it's either boringly challenging or chalengingly boring.

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There are things I could nitpick about that made some moments frustrating, but they really aren't relevant individually, so I'll just say that some things seem like they were made to be annoying (One example is needing two dragon horn shards to upgrade the hero tunic, but the dragon immediately storms off after the first arrow. Like, I'm able to get one shard, why does the game have to make me do this simple but time consuming process again?)

So, yeah, these are my thoughts. Did you have similar experiences, or do you disagree? These types of post have probably been done thousands of times before, but I didn't really see these specific points show up, so I made them show up myself.


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