The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Without a shadow of a doubt The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the greatest action-adventure games we have ever played. Exclusively made for Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles it was released on the 3rd of March 2017. The addition of BOTW to the, over 19 game, Zelda franchise was a huge step up from previous instalments and really went above and beyond our expectations.
10,000 years prior to the events of BOTW, The Kingdom of Hyrule developed into an advanced civilisation. Creating four animal like mechanical devices aptly named ‘Divine Beasts’ and other powerful mechanical devices called ‘Guardians’. Four of the greatest warriors in Hyrule were chosen and given the title of Champion, their mission was to man the Divine Beasts and help the princess and her appointed knight defeat Calamity Ganon. They succeeded. Fast forward 9,900 years and Ganon’s return was imminent. The four Champions from Hyrules different races took charge of the Divine Beasts once again in the hopes of defeating Ganon once and for all but where unable to succeed in their mission. As Ganon took control of the Beasts and the Guardians, turning them against their creators, Link was seriously injured. Zelda escorted Link to safety and then sacrificed her freedom, using magic, in order to trap Ganon within the walls of Hyrule Castle. Another 100 years after this is where your story as the newly awakened Link begins. Having forgotten his past our hero sets off on a grand adventure across the entirety of Hyrule where he fights to bring order and freedom back to the Kingdom and it’s inhabitants with the help of four new champions.
Breath of the Wild is the most recent inclusion into the Zelda timeline, taking place after all other events from previous games.
Setting, Art Style and World Design:
Breath of the Wild is set in the vast and now dangerous landscapes of Hyrule Kingdom. Although there are cities still safe from Calamity Ganon the majority of land you will have to traverse is desolate and menacing. Ruins are found often as well as the constant threat of unideal encounters. Guardians roam free and travellers are scarce. Hyrule feels more treacherous and lonely than ever.
As dark as the new Hyrule may seem BOTW is an incredible looking game. With clear anime inspirations in the game/character design, vibrant and beautiful colour pallets and excellently executed Cel-Shading. Wherever you are within the amazing world of BOTW it’s damn near impossible not to stop and look in awe. Nintendo have done an outstanding job bringing Hyrule to life. Wether you’re looking over the cliffs at the edge of the world, the molten rocks and lava of Death Mountain or the vast deserts from the Gerudo Highlands, one thing this game is not short of is incredibly mesmerising, photo worthy destinations.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild easily features over 50 hours of unique, interesting and fun gameplay with many new gameplay elements previously unseen in the Zelda franchise. Some of these features are as follows.
The map is entirely traversable with Link being able to climb, swim, run and glide to any destination on the map with the ability to do so only being hindered by the inclusion of the stamina wheel. This is shown as one, or more, green circles above the players head and indicates how tired Link gets as he explores BOTW’s huge play area. If you swim to far out to sea, glide for to long or tackle a mountain to large for the players current stamina level then the green bar/circle will drain leaving the player unable to carry on their journey and falling or drowning to their death.
Elements of Nature:
Another gameplay mechanic previously unseen in the Zelda games are the different weather elements and how they affect the player. You will need to make sure that you have suitable clothing for all environments on the map and on your person, as depending on where you are you will either need to equip warmer or cooler clothing. Holding a metal sword in an area too hot will force it to overheat meaning your hands will get burnt and subsequently lower your health. Rocks become slippery when raining, meaning you can slide down and be unable to reach the top and if you’re wearing/holding anything metal during a thunder and lighting storm, lightning will be attracted to you and potentially send you to a very shocking demise. Whatever you do while exploring make sure you have the right equipment and clothing ready.
Cooking forces the player to scavenge and search Hyrule for ingredients, both good and bad, in order to cook them over the fireplace. Doing this is highly beneficial in making food and elixirs as, when mixed correctly, they can have many stat boosting effects. Cooking food increases the amount of hearts you will receive as well as being mixed with certain stat boosts such as a stamina increase where as elixirs will only give you an increase within a selected stat. By utilising this feature within the game, not only will you spend hours discovering new dishes and where to gather their ingredients, you will also make yourself a more deadly foe with boosts in areas such as: Stealth, Speed, Endurance, electricity and fire resistance, temperature and more.
The Sheikah Slate is arguably your most important tool. It features a map of Hyrule and also grants you access to the many Ancient Shrines, dungeon styled puzzles, and Shiekah Towers, which unlock areas of the map from a raised location. The Sheika Slate also grants you the power of 4 powerful runes. These tunes grant you the ability to freeze time, craft powerful bombs, freeze water and lift/move metal objects. All of which are useful throughout the entirety of your play through and also in completing the Ancient Shrine dungeons.
Throughout your travels you will come across a wide variety of animals with useful aspects. You can hunt for boar, rabbits, wolves, buffalo, goats, lizards, crabs, fish and many more. All of which are useful ingredients in cooking foods and elixirs. As well as this you will also encounter lots of mountable animals. In order to mount you will need to approach their back before jumping on top of them and attempting to calm them down before your stamina runs to low. Horses, deer and bears are some of the mountable animals as well as there being some rare/legendary beasts to encounter.
All in all The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild really does go above and beyond what you’d come to expect from a Zelda game. With all the previously mentioned new mechanics as well as features unmentioned, such as degradable weapons, an abundance of armours, upgrades and secret locations to discover, you will not be disappointed with the sheer vast of BOTW and will find yourself lost within the newly imagined world that is Hyrule.
Animal Crossing: New Horizon
Animal Crossing: New Horizon has been an absolute god send during recent times. While we’ve all been locked at home dreaming of what used to be, one lucky escape came in the form of a brand new Animal Crossing game. Released on March 20, 2020 Animal Crossing: New Horizon is the 11th release in the franchise and the only Animal Crossing releases since 2012.
Anyone familiar with the franchise will understand, for the most part, how to story plays out. Taking control of a customisable avatar the player moves to a deserted island (instead of a city this time) after purchasing space on it from Tom Nook. From there it is your objective to build up the island, planting trees and collecting crafting materials, collecting insects and fish, developing your home and encouraging new villagers to accompany you on your island. Once players advance far enough through the story and objectives you will be free to edit and create the image of your island however you see fit by moving NPC homes around, creating areas for certain features you’d like to include on your island and generally filling up empty space with furniture and decorations.
As it’s been 8 years since the last release of an Animal Crossing game it should come as no surprise that there are new features for players to enjoy.
- The graphics have had a dramatic upgrade boasting much more detailed environments and more beautiful scenery. Much more vibrant, it simply looks amazing.
- Crafting tools is now an essential must in island survival. Players will be forced to collect resources in order to craft new and better equipment in order to keep developing their island.
- AC:NH boasts a larger map with their own hemispheres. Depending on which one you choose your island will reflect a climate and weather closer to that you experience at home.
- Multiplayer is also an option. Allowing players onto your island or vice verse. Showing of what you/they have done with their island. Animal Crossing is much better with friends.
ACNH has a massive list of villagers for you to invite onto your island. With 391 to choose from you’re bound to find the perfect villagers to suit the style of your island all with their own unique personalities and styles. The animal types available to you are as follows:
- * Alligators
- * Anteaters
- * Bears
- * Birds
- * Bulls
- * Cats
- * Chickens
- * Cows
- * Cubs
- * Deers
- * Dogs
- * Ducks
- * Eagles
- * Elephants
- * Frogs
- * Goats
- * Gorillas
- * Hamsters
- * Hippos
- * Horses
- * Kangaroos
- * Koalas
- * Lions
- * Monkeys
- * Mice
- * Octopus
- * Ostriches
- * Penguins
- * Pigs
- * Rabbits
- * Rhinos
- * Sheep
- * Squirrels
- * Tigers
- * Wolves
So as you can see there are tens of different animals as well as hundreds of fun and interesting character personalities and styles to discover.
The developers are constantly adding new features to the game such as swimming/diving. Wether you want to explore other people’s islands, complete your museums insect, fossil, fish and fine art sections or just make your island a perfect piece of you, AC:NH gives you the freedom to do so with hundreds of hours of fun and interesting gameplay. Animal Crossing: New Horizon is a must have for anybody who owns a Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario: Odyssey
Super Mario: Odyssey is a platforming game. It was developed and published by Nintendo and was released exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 27, 2017. Mario made his first appearance within the Donkey Kong game in 1981 and next in 1983 along side his trusty green brother Luigi in Mario Bros. In 1985 Super Mario Bros was released as the centrepiece title for Nintendo’s NES. Mario is still cemented in Nintendo gaming history today and if you haven’t played the updated versions of this classic game, we strongly recommend you do!
Super Mario: Odyssey follows a similar format as I has done in the past. Mario (controlled by you) is forced into travelling across an array of different worlds. Collecting gold coins and special power moons hidden throughout the stages in order to stop his arch nemesis ‘Bowser’. Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and plans to forcibly marry her. Meaning it’s your job to ensure that doesn’t happen.
The Kingdoms seen within Odyssey are more similar to Super Mario 64. Set in a 3D environment as opposed to a 2D platform which enables you the freedom to move around and explore the beautiful and vast worlds that Nintendo have created. You can travel between each of the Kingdoms using your hat shaped ship ‘The Odyssey’ but not without clearing certain objectives and collecting the Power Moons hidden within each stage. These are important as without them, you won’t be able to power up your ship and therefore will not be able to travel to the other Kingdoms. Super Mario Odyssey also includes a sentient being aptly named ‘Cappy’ situated on Marios head. Using Cappy the player can attack enemies in a multitude of directions, use it as an extra platform for jumping and capture enemies around the map. “Capturing” allows Mario to take control of living beings and use their unique abilities.
A previously unseen feature in the world of Mario is character customisation. By collections gold coins as well as special kingdom coins, unique to each area, you are enabled to visit kingdom store and purchase new outfits and accessories giving both you and The Odyssey unique aesthetics.
Super Mario: Odyssey also has the option for a friend to join you along your journey. Using the cooperative play option it allows for you to control Mario and the other person in your party to take control of Cappy. Meaning they can independently attack and take control of enemies for you. Nintendo also released a mini-game of hide and seek called “Luigi’s Balloon World” as part of an update in February 2018. In Balloon World you are tasked with hiding a balloon somewhere in the Kingdom within the 30 second time limit. It is then up to other players to find your balloon. There is a leaderboard system in place and ranks players according to how many balloons they have found.
All in all Super Mario: Odyssey is a must have game for Nintendo Switch owners. Mario has been a staple in Nintendo’s gaming world since the very beginning and to this day continues to release great games updates to today’s industry standards. With easily over 40 hours of gameplay your library won’t be completed until Mario, Cappy and the Odyssey are safely installed into your collection!