As a teenager, I played the original Legend of Zelda game when it launched on the first Nintendo console (NES). Back then, us neighborhood kids had a blast playing that game for hours on end. Fast-forward to adulthood, it’s a joy watching my own kids play the various sequels: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and to some degree, Skyward Sword. Beyond watching my kids play, I didn’t really get into playing any of the Zelda sequels. That is, until I played Breath of the Wild..
Breath of the Wild
In 2017, I bought Breath of the Wild for my kids. They played it a LOT, and I enjoyed watching mostly, as time was limited and I never could get the hang of the new-fangled controllers with all the buttons and whatnot. Then in the Fall of 2019, I finally took the time to learn how to play BotW.
It took a few days to really get the hang of the 12-button controller. But once I did, the experience just blew me away. The immersive open world, the freedom to go anywhere and do anything, the monsters and treasure — I was completely hooked. Playing BotW made me feel that same wonder I felt way back in the day, exploring dungeons and fighting enemies on a heroic mission.
I’ve spent the past year and half playing BotW extensively, as in most of my free time is spent playing the game. I started with the “Normal” mode, spent probably 6 months learning, exploring, and solving the game. After defeating Ganon and all the side quests, shrines, and everything else, I started again playing “Master Mode”, which was much harder at first, getting used to the stronger enemies that regenerate their life if you don’t kill them fast enough. But after some time, I got the hang of Master Mode and solved it completely.
One the beautiful things about Zelda BotW is the endless playability. Even after solving the game, you can still travel the open-world map and have all sorts of bloody adventures. I played that first Master Mode BotW for nearly a year, but still haven’t been able to complete the Trial of the Sword, or the EX The Champions’ Ballad Divine Beasts. Those two aspects of the Master Mode are very, very challenging, to say the least.
Mapless Master Mode
Now in mid-2021, I’ve restarted the game (again) in Master Mode. This time, I am playing without the Map. Here is a potatograph of what that looks like:
Without the Map, finding things is more difficult, and it is easier to get “lost” and just enjoy exploring the open world. If you’re looking for a new way to “spin” the game, try it without unlocking any of the maps (i.e., don’t unlock any of the Towers). And for the truly hardcore, try playing through the entire game without warping. Nuts!
At this point, I have pretty much solved the Mapless Master Mode play-thru. But again I am stuck at the Trial of the Sword and the EX Divine Beasts. Fortunately, my bullet-time slow-motion skills and attacks are improving.
For example, to kill Lynels in the past, I would resort to brute-force carpet bombing and Urbosa’s Fury attacks. Effective if not very impressive strategy-wise. Now with improved bullet-time attacks like Perfect Dodge and Perfect Parry, defeating Lynel is more of an art form and enjoyable to play (and watch, I am told).
Breath of the Wild 2
So yeah, I love playing Breath of the Wild. And like other BotW fans, I am eagerly awaiting release of the next Zelda game, Breath of the Wild 2. They have yet to announce the official title of the new game, so just refer to it as BotW 2 for now.
You can read all sorts of opinions and rumors about BotW 2, but take them with a grain of rock salt. So far, Nintendo has been very secretive (as they usually are) with news about the new game. Lots of speculation out there, which may be one reason for keeping things under tight wraps.
So, while waiting for BotW 2, I continue squeezing every drop of playability out of the first BotW. Haven’t run out so far, but who knows how long it will last. Hopefully until BotW 2 is finally released in 2022. Nintendo if you are reading, please take your time and get it right. We know the next game will be even more epic than the first. So do that awesome game-making thing you do. Take as much time as you need. We’ll be here waiting, wandering around Hyrule and having a blast.
My Wishlist for BotW 2
Without further ado, here are my top ideas for the new Breath of the Wild game.
Don’t change the basics
First and foremost: don’t change the basics. Don’t change the controls. Don’t change/remove any existing runes. Don’t change the general gameplay mechanics and flow. That’s a huge part of the success of BotW, is how smoothly it plays once you have mastered the controls. Don’t make millions of fans re-learn everything from the ground up. Instead BUILD on what already is great with BotW.
Way more dungeons
More dungeons. Deep dungeons. Wide dungeons. With more treasure. More monsters. More adventure. Flesh out all of those ancient ruins and let us explore the utter depths of Hyrule. Not shrines. DUNGEONS.
More skyward adventures. Let there be cities in the sky. Like Skyward Sword. Or going to the Moon in Majora’s Mask. Let there be vertical upward-ness in BotW 2. Update: I wrote this long before the 2nd BotW-2 trailer was released. Very excited to see that sky islands/ruins and greater vertical play will be a part of the new game.
In BotW, Link can swim on the surface of water, but not dive down and explore beneath the waves. Hopefully BotW 2 will unlock Link’s swimming ability and let him dive deep and discover new underwater worlds. Like Great Bay Coast in Majora’s Mask, or Lakebed Temple in Twilight Princess.
Greater leveling up
In BotW, Link can get only so powerful before the game sort of taps out. For example, the Flameblade tops out at around 45 attack power. Likewise with bows and shields, and armor. Like when you first start the game with nothing but the shirt on your back. At that point, the monsters and weapons for the most part are all very low strength, and that makes that first part of the game very intense and exciting.
Then as you play and gain experience, the weapons increase in strength and so do the monsters. And that trend continues throughout most of the game. Until a certain point; at some point in the game, after many hours of playing, the weapons top out in strength and so do the monsters. So once you get leveled up enough to beat the gold bosses, there is nowhere left to go. The game stays at a maximum equilibrium and gets redundant. Enemies and weapons and armor should level up indefinitely, with new and stronger more numerous monsters getting unlocked as Link continues to gain experience. This would make the endless playability even more awesome and worthwhile.
No Gamepad tilting
In fact, it would best to just omit any 3d-tilting gamepad stuff entirely. It’s awkward, cumbersome and there is ZERO payoff. No reason to sit there for a half hour trying to get the stupid controller to do what you want. Just make it straight-up game play with no 3d/game tilting shenanigans. Seriously the gamepad required shrines literally are the WORST thing about BotW. And maybe the only worst thing. Everything else is amazing.
With BotW on both Wii U and Switch, there are these loading screens that happen between scenes (see photo, above). Like when you go into a shrine, the screen shows a simple loading message that displays basic game infos while you sit there and wait for the game to load. Sometimes it’s quick, usually though it takes too long and detracts from the game experience. Hopefully the next BotW will require less “loading”, or it will be faster with a more continuous gaming experience.
I’m not sure how much of a reality this would be with they way that BotW is played, but having an option for two or more people to play at the same time, would be incredible. This may be neither possible nor feasible nor necessary, but I thought it was a good idea and so am mentioning it here.
I mean, the rain and thunder and lightning is neat and all, but the rain can literally stop play at certain points in the game. I guess that makes it more realistic or whatever, but there should be some armor or rune or food or something that Link can use to temporarily overcome any rain-induced obstacles. Something.
Don’t just flesh out the current (and already massive) world map. But extend it. Let Link discover new ways to go outside of the map and explore new worlds. I know I’m getting greedy here, that’s why it’s called a “wish list”. More playable world please.
More hidden stuff
Hidden treasure, and better treasure. It’s kind of disappointing to fight a tribe of Bokoblins to unlock a treasure chest that contains an amber stone. There needs to be way more hidden stuff to find, all over the place. And not easy to find, make a lot of it super hard to find. Would greatly extend and improve the longevity of the game.
New and better weapons
New weapons, stronger weapons, and weapons that don’t always break after 20 hits or whatever. Sure, maybe some weapons will break, but there’s got to be more variety with the ones that can’t break. Like the Master Sword. It never breaks, only recharges. Other weapons should be able to do it too. Maybe there is a trial or shrine that unlocks unbreakable weapons runes or whatever.
In BotW, the monsters vary from place to place, but in general they are always the same. Yes they level up as the game progresses, but there is no real sense of randomness (except for maybe the bone monsters and Yiga clowns). Like in real life, the bad guys can be anywhere, hiding, chasing, running around in bands, etc. Make monsters appear in random locations, all through the game. Removing the predictability factor would make the game much more intense.
And more monsters, way more. Maybe even enemies that are halfway intelligent. Like the Uruk-hai in LotR; they can hunt their prey. Imagine trying to outsmart a band of “smart” Lizalfos that are hunting you throughout the game. Imagine multiple gangs of enemies stalking you. Like they can team up or whatever. And you have to outsmart them, pit them against one another. It would be epic.
Actual virtual death
In BotW, Link can “die” if he runs out of hearts or falls or freezes, etc. But there is no real penalty other than having to wait for the game to continue again where it left off. That’s nice and all, but there should be an option or way to make it more realistic and challenging. Like a stricter, more challenging “Master Mode”, where Link can actually die, and if/when he does, the game is over permanently. And you have to start all over again.
Or if that is too extreme, introduce disabilities like broken leg so Link walks/moves slower, until he heals somehow. Or maybe after freezing to death, Link’s vision or stamina is diminished for a time. And so forth. Make death scary again lol.
So many possibilities..
I recall reading somewhere that Zelda BotW 2 began as a bunch of ideas for DLC expansion stuff. As Nintendo was developing all the DLC content, they had “too many ideas” and decided it was time for a full-fledged BotW 2. I can understand this completely. There are SO many things that could be done, the mind boggles at the possibilities. Hopefully some of the ideas mentioned above will be a part of the much anticipated Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.