The Legend of Zelda series has never really been known for its difficulty. The original and Zelda 2 on the NES were pretty tough to complete, but that’s pretty much it. And there’s been a disturbing trend with the latest entries, moving more toward easy difficulty and few challenges. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild changes this, and it does so in a fascinating way.
We all know by now that Breath of the Wild is a fully open world game. You can go anywhere and do anything, and there doesn’t seem to be anything restricting you from entering areas that you aren’t prepared for, even the final area of the game. What this means is that at any time you can wander into the wrong place and stumble across an enemy that is way beyond your ability.
This isn’t an artificial thing though, if you’re a fantastic Zelda player you might be able to take them down with minimal equipment and weak weapons. It will take a really long time, and there are tons of enemies who can one-shot kill you, even in areas where you feel fairly comfortable with the challenge. If you’re in some area you shouldn’t be though, wow. They will snipe you with an ice arrow, or slam you with their hammer, and you’re dead immediately.
This challenge is so wonderfully worked into the game that it’s worth this separate article discussing it, so for more broad thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild see my full write up preview right here.
Overall, I am fairly certain that I’ve died more in Breath of the Wild than I have in all the previous 3D Zelda games combined. The 2D games had some challenge to them, some similar to what we’re seeing in Breath of the Wild, but if my first few hours are anything to go by, it’s only going to get harder from here.
Which is a great thing, even if you don’t like difficult games. Breath of the Wild doesn’t really punish you that much for your deaths, simply resetting you to your previous, likely very close auto-save. It even returns the items you used in the battle that you lost. You also have ways of mitigating the challenge. Cooking is the main one, and once you get into this system it becomes an integral part of the Breath of the wild experience.
I don’t want to explain more cause I want people to experience this for themselves, but just know that if you’ve been turned off by the ease with which you were able to complete the last few Zelda games, Breath of the Wild will be a true delight.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hits Wii U and Nintendo Switch on March 3rd.