As I watch my friend play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’m thoroughly enjoying watching him hunt for animals and cook. Little did I know, it’s tedious things like this turning fans away. Maybe it’s the fact I’m growing up and enjoying cooking myself, but damn watching Link find ingredients and prepare food for 30 minutes was almost therapeutic. There’s a long list of possible recipes to cook! When everything is said and done and you’ve collected your keep, you build your fire and make food for Link to heal and power up.
Cooking is only a small aspect of The Legend of Zelda‘s incorporated survival mechanics: it’s a full-fledged process to live, whether you like it or not. In the hour and a half I’ve seen of footage, it’s been about about collecting items for survival (sans the 20 minutes he collected a spirit orb from the flower Trial). The hunting process isn’t a piece of cake, either. On the corner of your screen, a meter tells how much noise Link is making. For capturing items, you must sneak through the grass or else your prey will run away. It’s a meticulous and carefully crafted task.
You have to be cautious of how you consume goods. Weapon durability remains a big issue for many, especially if you expected to keep all your weapons like previous games. When you defeat enemies, like a Lizalfos, you can pick up their previous held weapons, but overuse and time will eventually cause these weapons to break. Not to mention, some of these weapons aren’t even repairable and disintegrate with the wind. It’s a long process to get the weapon only to lose it in a few shots, and people don’t want to spend significant amounts of time rebuilding if it takes away from story and sidequests. I’m sure the Master Sword is going to be fine, but until that point I understand the frustration of others.
I have no plans of playing the entirety of Breath of the Wild, and I’m also not going to pretend I’m a big fan or played all the games. For what it’s worth, as a newcomer viewing this series on the outside, I appreciate the survival elements and find them innovative. It brings a different dynamic when playing the game, where you have to think about what weapons you choose to use on certain enemies. It brings variety in battle, and you’re not dependent on any single weapon. I really enjoy survival games, like Terraria and Minecraft, and Breath of the Wild makes the player conscious of its surroundings and in a way makes everything feel more organic. I feel accomplished when I build things and I feel closer to the game environment. Of course, that’s not what everyone wants in an action-adventure game and I get it. The survival aspect does get tiresome, but for me it doesn’t ruin the game, only elevates it.