On the subject of cynicism in the background of this release:
Again, I will be interested in the perspective a year or more from now. Right now is too early for me to make judgements on either side, but I can guarantee it will fall somewhere in between the extremes.
It’s not a perfect game, but it is weird in a way that I don’t know how to feel about yet– which is a good thing?… Most of my complaints are not new, and were a problem for me in botw too, like how ugly a lot of the weapons look on link’s back.
It really is an extension on botw, it is feeling a lot like replaying botw but with more sandbox toys and music. There’s also been more than a couple moments now where I thought they’d go a certain direction with something, and they didn’t, and it was disappointing.
It sometimes feels less thoughtful than botw was, and in many ways more cluttered… So I think the minimalist beauty is something that will remain unique to botw.
Breath of the Wild felt like Nintendo doing good at a time where a lot was on the line, and then they did it again with mario, but it wasn’t long before they were back to their old ways. In some ways this was a lazy job on their part, but in other ways it was kind of whacky and experimental. So I’m holding back on snap judgements, and just along for the ride.
The things they did do to give this game its own identity and tone, like the aesthetic of Zonai Sky Temples, the Underground, etc is wonderful, but I find traversing the Hyrule overworld to be a bummer by comparison! I think most people will, and aren’t realizing it. The underworld is an extremely addicting crawl.
Also the Majora’s Mask comparisons were apt at first but have become overstated to the point where I guess some people were taking it really literally, meanwhile missing details like the way Link wakes up in an area very similar to the underground transition between Hyrule and Termina’s clock tower depths in Majora’s Mask.
The Main thing about Zelda is that you were never supposed to think about it too hard– it’s always been an rpg for babies. It’s not as bad or hand-holdey as SkySword or TwiPri, so we’re doing OK at least.
Similar to SkySword, I could see this game, having been in development for six years, similarly having an identity crisis. They gave us plenty of mechanics and toys, but we still have yet to see emotionally and tonally what it will deliver as a cohesive whole work of art. I have a hunch that it will be less holistic than botw was, just by the fact that it’s botw with more shit tacked on.