So yes, I love Breath of the Wild and believe it’s an essential game to own.
Buuuuuuut… it’s not perfect. Not by a long shot. Whilst Nintendo (and MonolithSoft) built a fantastic playground and the game is pitched wonderfully as an open-world survival RPG, the game does find itself lacking in certain places and mechanics which seem obvious to you and me, but aren’t actually there. At least, not yet.
The good news however is we live in an age of patches and updates – woo yay technology! And since its fair to say that Breath of the Wild is and will be getting some patches down the road, and an additional DLC offering later in the year, I thought I’d take time out of my day – at 3am, so hardly “out of my day” I suppose – to detail five things I think that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could implement that would, in fact, make this the -perfect- video game.
Oh, and of course, if you continue on from this point – some very, very small spoilers. Just small ones. Nothing major.
1. WEAPON REPAIR/UPGRADE SYSTEM.
This seems like the most obvious oversight of anything in Breath of the Wild. Sure, weapons are remarkably commonplace and farming additional weapons – particularly in Hyrule Castle – is not exactly high on the difficulty scale. But with completely randomised modifiers and a penchant for breaking as if they were made of twiglets, I can’t deny that the current system for weapons in this game could do with a radical overhaul.
My proposition comes actually from a system already in the game – the Great Fairies allow you to upgrade your armour with the parts you scavenge. So, I dunno, how about a secret and hidden Great Fairy (like a certain Horse Fairy) that specialises in weapons? In this, you can upgrade them from zero to four stars and in doing so improve their damage and durability, perhaps even at four stars becoming “unbreakable” – requiring the most exotic of parts from the very hardest of foes. You still have to earn these items. You still have to put in the work. But ultimately, for end-game purposes, Link can at the very least have something of a trusty blade that he can call his own, rather than the temporary relationship he enjoys with them now.
If we can’t have that – and I don’t understand why not (the system is already in the game, seriously) – then we at the very least need a proper repair system for these weapons. Getting a weapon with a fantastic modifier only seems to end up with it either on the wall of a house – more on that in a bit – or stuck in your bags, used in only the most essential of encounters such as all your other weapons having broken. Getting lucky once should be all you need here – not having to hope for a similar or same lucky drop every Blood Moon. The game already has blacksmiths dotted about the place – so why, oh why, on why-de-why-de-WHY can’t they bloody fix weapons?
The durability can always be modified in a future patch – and I’m guessing since this is the most common complaint from even the most outrageous 10/10 review, that’s probably one of the first things Nintendo will tinker with. But so much more can be done here. And should be done.
Sure, Link can buy a house. And sure, you can upgrade it to display three bows, swords and shields. But in a game with such a huge array of actual weapons and types, that there is no even rudimentary storage system in your house seems like quite the oversight.
Until you’re chugging along and finding more Koroks than you know what to do with, space for your gear is surprisingly limited. Which I understand, but if I find something pretty nice I’d like to be able to put it somewhere for safe keeping thanks. There is so much wasted space inside Link’s House it is unbearable, and under the stairs are a pile of boxes, empty boxes I presume, which I dunno… Link should be able to put stuff in?!
This is a simple Quality of Life addition. Most of us know trawling through an inventory full of stuff can be a pain in the arse at the best of times, so keeping things neat and tidy is part and parcel of the survival RPG experience. And there is a lot of stuff in this game. An awful lot of stuff. Link’s House feels like a throwaway thing, so little is done with it in the end that the cost of it doesn’t quite add up to the thing we end up getting. Simply letting us use those boxes – or make some chests perhaps – would be so very nice. I like to hoard things. It’s an open-world survival RPG. We’re encouraged to pick up everything we see that isn’t nailed down! So why can’t we put our favourite things somewhere nice and safe?
It’s basic stuff we get even in two-dimensional games like Terraria. Heck, Stardew Valley has them and that’s headed to the Switch! Seriously, why is this a thing we even have to ask for again?
3. EXOTIC STABLES.
I understand why the usual stables won’t take some of the more… ahem… exotic mounts we find. A bear is going to be a bit of a handful in a place full of horses, that’s just logic. A stalhorse – well, I don’t agree with the whole eating the other horses thing (I mean, for one, it doesn’t have a stomach since it’s a freaking skeleton!) but I understand the gut* reaction. There’s even an amazing one on a mountain. One I’m completely besotted with riding around on. It’s fantastic! But eh, okay, there’s this teensy little concern about an ancient curse or something. Hey, I rode it down a mountain and across open fields and Link seems perfectly fine so I think that’s just hyperbole myself…
So we can’t “stable” our faithful ‘exotic’ friends. At least, not in the current system. So I propose a challenge for those of us who want to keep and love and pet and hug and snuggle our faithful steeds that aren’t related to the equine species (or are but happen to be slightly on the dead side of things) – an Exotic Stables. Put it somewhere interesting and challenging and make it part of the fun in keeping our more strange and beautiful creatures to find a way of getting it to those stables safely. It adds a layer to the gameplay mechanics of the mounts, encourages people to have fun jumping on the backs of some of these animals, and ultimately lets us keep them warm and safe in a loving, friendly, understanding home when we’re off on foot scaling mountains or running around Hyrule Castle.
It’s a new gameplay addition, something fun to do and we all get to keep our friends and name them and love them and aww I just wuvs my blue fuzzylumpkins! See this Nintendo? My friend here has to stand out in the RAIN! In a thunderstorm. This is cruel and I, as a concerned Hylian, demand that we have somewhere to put our bestest buddies when this happens!
You don’t need to add customisation above naming them. Just somewhere. Somewhere we can park them. A new NPC perhaps with a love of the more… unusual beasts of this world. Can’t be any weirder than the Monster Shop guy, right?
(And if you make this NPC Tingle, there will be a riot, trust me!)
– * This pun was welcomed but completely unintentional.
4. FACTION/RACE REPUTATION.
To the credit of this game, its various races are wonderful. The Zora, Rito, Goron and Gerudo are wonderful to behold and sometimes you just hang around these towns and take in the ambience of it all. But eventually, at the end-game, they’re kind of forgotten about in all but a few side-quests. Nintendo created the most wonderful factions in this lovely world… and they do nothing much more with them aside the Divine Beasts thing.
This is dumb.
Perhaps the elders can keep giving Link some randomised quests? Reputation perhaps, where we gain more traction with our friends which opens up things like new shops, or expands the stock of the shops already there? I know this might mean a little more modification but eh, I wouldn’t mind having to talk with an NPC to see what they have ‘under the counter’, as it were. In this, we open up some more quests or perhaps a few additional boss encounters across the world. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy, nothing even difficult – but something that keeps us coming back to these towns for more than picking up some goat butter or cane sugar!
The land of Hyrule is phenomenal, but the towns should be as much a part of the world as anything else. Right now, they’re just places we go for the main storyline and a few additional sidequests. #MakeKakarikoGreatAgain or some such nonsense. Let us get stuck in, particularly post-game, with rebuilding the world around us. We’re the Chosen Hero. We’re running our backsides off doing stuff anyway. Let’s make friends and influence people.
I mean, isn’t that what heroes do? (Note that they could also add a darker tone to this… and Link could have the chance to betray everything and everyone! Now there’s something that’d be delightfully transgressive… mmm, Evil Link…)
5. MORE WORLD BOSS VARIETY (or: MOAR ZELDA ENEMIES PLZ!)
This is perhaps being petty now. But I’m not saying this to be horrible or anything; it’s more… I miss some of the classic Zelda baddies like Gohma, the Deku Baba, the ReDeads (yeah, never thought I’d be missing those sunsab****es), the Dodongo and so forth. The Talus and Lynel are fun fights, but there are just so many of them… so many… so many… too many, perhaps. It’s fine and all, but come on Nintendo, I know that you know that we know that you know that you can do better.
Did that make sense? Eh, whatever.
Point is this – a future patch could really shake things up by substituting some of the world boss spots we know about with some… ahem… old friends. This would be great for obvious reasons – more interesting encounters, more combat variety that challenges players and perhaps forces them to use particular weapon types on them (like Gohma – strong against blades, weak against ponty things like arrows and polearms). I mean, these are things you let Team Ninja put into Hyrule Warriors! HYRULE WARRIORS! Your damned spin-off has more identifiable Zelda baddies than the new game release called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
To quote a Ser RazörFist, “Meditate on that for a second.”
Not only does it make the world seem more varied – Dodongo for example could be limited, rightly, to Death Mountain where they belong – but it also makes it more Zelda-feeling. We get some variety and challenge (you could even have colour variations like all the other enemy types!). Nintendo get to pitch it even more as the definitive Zelda game. Everybody wins! Well, except maybe the ReDead. And the Gohma. And whatever else we take delight in killing once you add it.
I don’t think this is asking for the world. I just believe that really, underneath it all, Nintendo maybe skipped over the variety thing. I understand why – time constraints and all that – but the game is out now and selling really well we’re told. They can take a breather and start building on this fantastic land they crafted. Turn Hyrule into the finest in-game world that Nintendo has ever crafted.
Is that really so much to ask?