GAMINGBOLT’S GAME OF THE YEAR- THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
Developed By: Nintendo | Available On: Switch, Wii U | Read Our Review
In a year that was as saturated with generation-defining experiences as this one was, it should have been hard for any game, no matter how great, to stand head and shoulders above its competitors- but that is exactly what The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does. It’s that good. This is game design perfection, a shining example of emergent gameplay done right, an open world experience like no other.
Breath of the Wild has radically re-invented the franchise’s formula in a way no Zelda game has ever done before, shedding so many things that, a year or so ago, it would have been hard to imagine a Zelda game without. Gone are the traditional dungeons, gone the linear story-focused approach. This is Zelda in a post-Skyrim world, a game that embraces the potential of player-made experiences rather than scripted ones, and it’s all the better for it. And in spite of such a major overhaul, this is still a true Zelda experience at its core.
In Breath of the Wild, strings of interlinked mechanics all expertly weave a marvellous web. Thanks to its weapons deterioration mechanics, combat is always a challenge, so that even encounters against the simplest enemies are thrilling. Thanks to its beautiful visual aesthetic and impeccable world design, exploration provides countless hours of pure, unadulterated fun, so that around every corner is something new to see, around every bend something magical to discover. Thanks to its ingenious physics systems, the simple act of interacting with anything and everything you see in Hyrule can lead to moments that will make you gasp, moments that will leave your jaw hanging wide open.
Does Breath of the Wild have flaws? Of course it does! There are some who would argue, not without merit, that its story and storytelling leave a lot to be desired, while Zelda purists would point out that the lack of traditional dungeons and memorable boss fights, both hallmarks of the franchise, does the game no favours. But once you spend over a hundred hours traipsing, climbing, shield-boarding and paragliding across every corner of Hyrule and realize that there is still so much in this game that can still surprise you, you realize that, in the grand scheme of things, such flaws don’t count for much. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an unabashed masterpiece, and not only is it the best game of 2017, it is also one of the best games to have ever been created.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.