In recent years, players of Zelda titles have noticed the latest games have become increasingly easy. This isn’t a new trend with video games, it’s something that has happened in a broad spectrum among the gaming industry, but especially in games aimed at a broader audience with varied skill levels. While this is nice for new players to a game, it frequently ends up being too much of a cakewalk for the older audience looking for a game that will present puzzling and enjoyable gameplay. The latest Zelda title, however, is looking like it’s going to give even expert gamers a bit of a rocky ride.
Nintendo’s E3 trailer for Breath of the Wild was gorgeous, showing off much of the world and enemies. The subsequent gameplay features that followed were an enjoyable display of the game in action, but there was something in particular that seemed to happen quite a bit. No matter who was playing, the Game Over screen seemed to come up more often than one would suspect. Whether it was from falling from tall heights, getting shot with an arrow or even caught up in an explosion, there was a myriad of ways players were seen losing all their hearts. Enemies weren’t holding back their punches, even in the latest footage from the Game Awards where an enemy was shown dealing a whopping seven hearts of damage to Link, something rarely seen from even boss enemies in previous titles.
Of the most recent Zelda titles, Skyward Sword was considered one of the more difficult due to the motion controls often being a little hard to use rather than the game supplying an actual challenge itself. Breath of the Wild seems to be almost aiming for the older fanbase who wants a harder and perhaps more realistic style of game. Is this a good approach for Breath of the Wild to take? Of course, Breath of the Wild has already interested fans unfamiliar with the series due to these drastic changes. Adding more difficulty, plus the fact that it’s a far more open world Zelda, puts it more on par with games like the Elder Scrolls series in the best of ways.
Most gamers have already speculated that due to Breath of the Wild’s open world nature the game will be longer than the average Zelda title, but upping the difficulty overall will make it a more strategic game. Getting hit in most Zelda games was easy to brush off and keep going, but this game is showing off that even the most basic enemy is a threat especially early on in the game. Even with the added benefit of certain food items allowing Link to gain extra temporary hearts doesn’t seem to help much when they’re wiped out in one hit from an enemy. The only thing we haven’t seen much of is just how useful the briefly shown armor in the game really is. It seems likely that Link by himself will be a punching bag unless he’s properly equipped.
This difficulty increase is most certainly welcome to the Zelda franchise and may possibly one of the more celebrated aspects to long-time followers of the series, especially when in most previous Zelda games, the real difficulty came from the master or hero quests. While these challenging modes were fun, they were also only obtainable after the initial game was beaten. Now players will get a worthy challenge right out the door that will really put their skills to the test. Breath of the Wild is shaping up to be the much-needed reboot the Zelda series was aiming for, a brand new adventure with the challenge and charm of the original game.