2017 Game of the Year Candidates – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Although it’s only June, so many great games have already come out this year. On every single console, at least one Game of the Year candidate has seen a release. For Sony’s Playstation 4, it’s Horizon Zero Dawn. Xbox One has Halo Wars 2. On the Nintendo Switch, however, it seems to be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Since its release, Breath of the Wild has been the apple of many a critic’s eye. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the case for and against this one.

NOTE: This is part one of a series that will occur over the next few months.

2017 Game of the Year Candidates – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Case For

From all technical aspects, Breath of the Wild is the complete package and an absolute masterpiece. First of all, the game sticks to its roots, but stays out of its comfort zone. Now, this is a delicate balance that is frustratingly hard to strike. But Nintendo makes it look so, so easy here. By sticking to the formula just enough, Nintendo allows Breath of the Wild an amazing amount of breathing room. And really, that’s where this title succeeds the most.

Is this a Zelda game? Yes, absolutely. Would you know it was a Zelda game by its design style? Well, maybe not. And that’s not exactly a bad thing. Innovation is key in the gaming industry, and that’s exactly what Breath of the Wild excels at. For the first time, we’re getting an open-world Zelda title that truly feels next-gen. Dungeons can be completed in any order at all, or you could just sprint to the final boss. Sure, you might not stand a chance, but that option is still there. In this game, there’s nothing you can‘t do. The game is graphically impressive as well, especially for Nintendo. Everything seems to be working in Breath of the Wild‘s favor, but what are the cons?

The Case Against

Nearly every con that this game has is a personal preference with certain people. Overall, the game is great but there are a few things that will bug gamers. First off, weapon durability systems are just…not fun. And that’s what games are all about. Secondly, the enemy design is bland, to say the least. This title is enormous, and yet there are only three or four actual enemy types. The rest are just re-colors of the same enemies. Honestly, those are the two biggest things that are “wrong” with Breath of the Wild. Everything else across every review seems to be personal taste.

Will It Win?

With all things considered, what chance does this title have to win Game of the Year? Well, that chance is probably pretty high. Right now, some reviewers are calling it one of the best games ever made. Even on Metacritic, a website known for being somewhat cynical, the title scores rave reviews. At the end of the day, there’s only one real reason that Breath of the Wild can’t win the ultimate prize at year’s end. Super Mario Odyssey might just be that good. But really, that’s for another time. Currently, nothing is standing in the way of Link’s newest adventure. We’re only halfway through 2017, but this one could be pretty clear-cut by year’s end. 

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