Breath of the Wild Review (SpoilerFree)

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Rexis here!

There’s something I haven’t said in awhile. Its been four months since I’ve written anything. FOUR MONTHS! I’ve been riding this crazy train of a Trump presidency coupled with the release of “The Vampire Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis,” and more recently, “Breath of the Wild.” So to recap, I hope the rest of the world isn’t really judging all Americans based on Trump. I’ve been reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles pretty much all of my life. And this new Zelda game may be my favorite game ever.

I’m not sure where to begin when it comes to reviewing “Breath of the Wild.” Most of what needs to be said has been said and my opinion is just another nodding agreement in an ocean of praise. I haven’t been so absorbed by a Zelda title since “Ocarina of Time.” The game just refuses to let me down. From the moment I turn it on and pick a direction to travel until the moment I turn it off, I feel like I’m accomplishing something. There’s always something to do despite how massive the world is, and it is pretty massive. To keep this post from rambling for far too long, I’ll only talk about a few of my favorite aspects of the game.

My absolute favorite thing about this game has to be Princess Zelda. I know her English voice actor has been getting a lot of negative comments, but I loved her. I thought she did great! I can’t dive into Zelda’s storyline too much without getting into major spoiler territory, so I won’t, but I will say that I love, above all, how humanized she is. This is in stark contrast to “Twilight Princess” Zelda, not that I didn’t like her as well, but she was more of a royal warrior compared to BotW’s… Well… You’ll see.

I mentioned there is always something to do and that was no exaggeration. I love to explore in an open game world and BotW let’s me do just that. I find myself setting off to do some sort of side quest, but inevitably wandering off track to look at the next “shiny thing” I see in the distance. I’ve come across many hidden areas by complete chance and its only furthered my desire to explore further. I’ll admit, I’ve looked online for solutions or locations a couple of times, but only because this game does not hold your hand. There is no map marker telling you exactly where to go (looking at you “Skyrim”). You really have to rely on your wits and problem solving abilities. I applaud this. I never feel like I’m just doing fetch quests (even though some of them really are just that).

Hyrule is huge. The size of the world is unprecedented in any Zelda game. Each area on the map is unlocked by syncing with towers, much like “Assassin’s Creed.” The locations on the map feature pretty much all of the famous locations the series is known for and lots of Easter eggs. Traversing the terrain requires stamina and Link can climb pretty much any surface. you can go literally anywhere you can see and there are no load times (aside from entering a shrine or fast traveling). You’ll recall previous Zelda game blocking certain areas until you acquire certain items (like the hook shot). Those days are gone. Everything you need is given to you in the opening area/tutorial. You do not receive a new weapon/item in every dungeon. There is nothing stopping you from going to the farthest corners of the map right from the beginning (other than the terrible beasties roaming the land, of course).

I could go on and on about BotW because there is so very much to love. This game feels like a natural progression for the series and stands as a culmination of 30 years of Zelda experience.

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The Legend of Zelda – All The Links

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Rexis here!

Hello internet! This being one of my favorite franchises, its easy to come up with stuff to write about Zelda. As a bonus, I get to learn new information about a series of games I adore. Information like exactly how many different Links there are. I mean, we’ve all seen the official timelines, but do you know how many games are direct sequels featuring the same character of Link? Well, I did some reading on zeldawiki.org and I have a number. So how many Links are there?Are you ready? Queue drum roll….

Eleven.

Yes. There are eleven different Links across 18 canon releases. Let’s go over them, shall we?

1

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Skyward Sword comes first chronologically with the very first Link.

2

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Minish Cap adds a second Link.

3

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Four Swords adds a third. (Four thirds? The four sword is weird.)

4

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Ocarina of Time adds the fourth and probably most notable Link because his actions divide the timeline into three different possible scenarios. The Link in Majora’s Mask is the same and follows the Child Timeline (when Link is returned to his youth and there is no conflict with Ganon.)

5

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The child timeline provides us with Link number five in Twilight Princess.

6

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Link number six once more wields the Four Sword in Four Swords Adventure (a different title than the original Four Swords) and caps off the child timeline.

7

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In the fallen hero timeline, Link dies at the end of Ocarina of Time and we see Link number seven some years later gracing A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, and Link’s Awakening. This version is notable because he is in so many different games.

8

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In A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes, we have Link number eight.

9

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And this is where we find the NES titles, the original Legend of Zelda and Link’s Adventure feature Link number 9. But we aren’t done yet.

10

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The Adult TimeLine involves the future of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, after Ganon is sealed in the sacred realm and Link is returned to his youth, except now we see what happens to Hyrule with no Link. I’ll skip some exposition here because this isn’t a history lesson, but the world is flooded and we have Windwaker and Phantom Hourglass giving us Link number ten.

11

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Finally, Link number 11 is in Spirit Tracks. He’s a descendent to the Link from Windwaker to some extent as opposed to a direct sequel.

?

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Number 12? I don’t know. All we know about Link from Breath of the Wild is that he wakes up in a resurrection chamber. I have some ideas about this, but that’s a post for another day….

Rex’s Top Five Zelda Games of All Time

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Rexis here!

How sick am I of social media outlets pushing this topic on me and asking me to vote for my favorite Zelda game?! Sick enough to clarify it on my own blog, that is! Seriously, how many deciding votes do me need to finally declare OoT and/or ALttP the overall winner? These are always the two that come out on top and I think it has a lot to do with the years they were released. More on that later perhaps. For now, let’s jump right into this.

5 Ocarina of Time

That’s right! Sitting at the number five spot on my list is the game that brought link into the 3D world for the first time. I vividly remember buying the gold edition of this game the day it released and saying goodbye to what little social life I had when I was 14. I was lost in a massive (for its time) Hyrule full of new dangers and puzzles. I was a Zelda fan already, but I was blown away by this game. This is the game that solidified my love for the franchise. (A love built on entry 1 – you’ll see. Don’t skip ahead.)

4  A Link Between Worlds

I feel like this game may have slipped under a lot of people’s radars and its really a shame. I enjoyed the ever loving crap out of this one. It broke from Zelda tradition by incorporating an item/weapon rental system and allowed you to complete the dungeons in any order, harkening back to the first Zelda title on NES. This would prove to be a test for the upcoming Breath of the Wild. People don’t want linearity in their adventure games, and while I’ve had no problem with it in the past, this title proves Zelda can be versatile.

3 Windwaker

If you know anything about me at all, and I would think some of my regular readers do, I love me some pirates. Anything and everything pirate related (looking at you Black Flag <3) so Windwaker immediately gets points for having them. When it first came out, I picked it up as I do with most Zelda games, but I wasn’t fond of the cell shading. As the years have gone by I have fallen in love with the style. Not to mention I always find something new in this one whenever I play through it because I’ve never reached 100% on a single play through.

2 Twilight Princess

This game was a sleeper hit for me. I know I’ve played it before, but I picked it up on HD for the Wolf Link Amiibo. How could I not? If I can get a wolf pet in Breath of the Wild, shut up and take my money. Playing through it now, I realize how much I LOVE this game. It is my absolute favorite of the console titles and 3D titles for good reason. Not to mention Zelda is so awesome in this game. If you haven’t played this one, for whatever reason, do it!

1 Link’s Awakening

You read that right. This little gem originally released for Game Boy is my all-time, hand down, no regrets, favorite Zelda game. And it doesn’t even have Zelda in it! I used to play a lot of Game Boy. A lot. So much. And it was usually this game. I know it like the back of my hand. Then they released it in color and it got better. Currently, I play it on my 3DS from time to time. Its the only Zelda title I can just sit and play through without feeling like it repetitive. I never get tired of it.

So that’s it. My top five Zelda games. Now shut up social media sites. I will not vote again!

Zelda / Sheik Gender Controversy

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Rexis here!

Hello internet and welcome to… Plugged-in Players. Kudos if you got that reference. Do you remember 1998? Were you alive then? When Ocarina of Time came out, it was something of a “big deal.” Phrases like “most anticipated game of all time” were being thrown around all willy-nilly. And rightfully so. Despite the complaints about Z-targeting and repetitive sword play that permeate today’s reviews, Ocarina was a great game!

One of the most memorable additions to the franchise, in my opinion, was the introduction of Sheik as a character. Throughout the game, you were never sure of his purpose. He would show up, teach you a song, say something wise, and then vanish before Link could approach him. He represented a power we were working to understand and possibly emulate. He was a mentor. He provided encouragement. He showed that Link was not alone in his conquest to save Zelda and Hyrule.

Then the reveal came. Sheik had been Zelda in hiding all along. Apparently, during the seven years Link was unconscious in the Temple of Time, Zelda was training to be totally BA. So how is it that 17 years later the internet could be so obsessed with what Sheik was packing below the belt?

Theorists are as fascinated with Sheik’s crotchial-region as that double-rainbow guy is with that, you know, double rainbow. (Outdated meme reference? So what? It’s MY blog.) So why all the confusion over something as simple as a woman dressing in drag to hide from a deranged demi-god? I’ll bet no one questioned what was under Mulan’s… uh, typical Chinese crotch armor (does it have a name)?

Being the guy that I am, I started the old Google screen and found a few interesting theories as to why people think Sheik is actually male. The first one I want to debunk requires you to understand the term canonical, as in canon, as in an official part of the franchise. Zelda’s magical transformation in Smash Brother’s Brawl is non-canonical. It is not an official part of Sheik lore. The second debunk is the magic issue. In Ocarina of Time, when Sheik reveals his true identity, Link looks away, there’s a flash, and Zelda is standing there. The flash is caused by what looks and sounds like a deku nut. If Link were frozen in place she would have had plenty of time to change her clothes. The last reasoning I will touch on comes from the idea that transformation is common place in the franchise. Link become a bunny, wolf, deku sapling, goron, and zora to name a few, however, in all cases he is still male. So why is it that Zelda’s transformation should come with a sex change? (Sexist gamers lashing out? Women can’t be awesome in games?)

Theories (and sexist agendas) aside, I’d like to think that no one who worked on Sheik’s design was ever worried about her alleged gender swapping ability. Most likely, they were no more concerned about what was beneath the costume than Stan Lee was about the Thing’s… thing. Luckily for us, we no longer have to debate this issue because Nintendo has finally put the sword to it.

“The definitive answer is that Sheik is a woman – simply Zelda in a different outfit.” – Bill Trinen, Nintendo Senior Product Marketing Manager

Keep gaming, keep learning, and stay plugged in.

Zelda Items and Zombie Survival – A Brief Walking Dead Respite

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Rexis here!

Do you have zombie fever yet? The Walking Dead is more than half-way through its fifth season (so intense!) and I have been enjoying this ride since the beginning. Seriously, the only reason I have cable is to watch the show legally and as soon as it airs. I guess this makes me a fan. I’m also a fan of Zelda, if you haven’t realized that by now. So I got to thinking, what weapons and items from the Zelda universe would be most useful in a zombie apocalypse? Let’s touch on a few items from the game and examine their usefulness, shall we?

The series staple is the Master Sword. This seems like a good place to start, but would the Master Sword hold up well against zombies? Assuming the sword is completely powered up and we have access to the sword beam, it could be relatively useful for handling one off zombies at range. Close up and surrounded by a group, you’re as good as dead. The Master Sword is a double-edged longsword. (according to the Zelda wikia and who am I to argue?). This means ist an “effective, and versatile weapon capable of deadly thrusts, slices, and cuts” (wikipedia). That means it is effective against people, not zombies. Cut, slice, and thrust at a zombie and you’ve accomplished very little. What you are looking for is more of a chopping action. Bones gotta be cleaved, man! My verdict is that the master sword is too heavy and useless in the apocalypse.

What about Link’s trusty bow? Assuming you are an effective archer, the bow is extremely useful. Headshots are the key to putting down zombies and the piercing of an arrow is exactly what you need. The silence also plays an important role as you wouldn’t want to attract more walking corpses. Link’s bow comes equipped with a few special arrows, including ice, fire, silver, and light. Light and silver arrows are known to destroy Ganon and his forces, but that’s not who we are fighting. They’d be as effective as a plain arrow. Ice arrows could freeze zombies where they stand, but they would thaw quickly as enemies in the games do. You might be thinking fire arrows are a good idea, but I’d ask “what’s worse than a charging group of zombies?” The answer, a charging group of zombies that are on fire. With this weapon, stick to plain old arrows (especially if you can get the Hawkeye) and conserve your magic meter. You’ll need it for…

The magic cape. Since the ice and fire rods would be useless, the magic cape that allows you to be invisible would be a handy, dandy item for getting in and out of sticky situations. Zombies in The Walking Dead can smell, so it’s safe to assume our zombies can too. Don’t get too close and the magic cape will keep them from noticing you as you slip in and out of abandoned buildings on supply runs. If you do find yourself stuck and out of magic, you could always rely on the…

Pegasus Boots. These boots had Link zipping across the map, easily outrunning some of his fastest enemies. Zombies tend to be walkers so you should be able to escape fairly quickly with these strapped on. They would certainly be a better option that the iron boots. If they are hard to acquire, perhaps try to get your hands on the bunny hood (Majora’s Mask) and you’ll find enough pep in your step to escape.

Another Zelda mainstay is the hook shot. You might think this is a useful item, until you realize that no one painted any white targets for you to hook onto. Shooting enemies could bring them closer, so that’s out along with the Deku Mask. There’s no flowers to shoot yourself out of. And, honestly, would you want to be a small tree with no real means of defense in this chaotic world? The Zora Mask would benefit you if you found yourself near a large body of water, assuming there are no floating corpses waiting to latch onto you. Even the Goron Mask has its downsides. What happens when you roll into a tree and you’re left recovering? The last thing you want in the apocalypse is to spend any time “recovering.”

It would seem that a lot of items in the Zelda universe are not suited for the eventual zombie outbreak. This makes sense as Link has never really had to contend with zombies. (Gibdos and redeads don’t count.) There is one item Link receives across the ages that I believe could be the most beneficial. It doesn’t use magic. It doesn’t require killing anything. And you don’t need any skill or proficiency to use it. I’m talking about the Stone Mask. This allows Link to move through the world unnoticed, as plain as a stone. I don’t think zombies would be interested in a stone.

Are there any items you think could be useful that I might have missed?