Breath of the Wild is a flawed game.

Note that I didn’t call it bad, but merely flawed. I think Breath of the Wild (henceforth known as BotW) is an excellent game and it served to do something a longstanding franchise was in grave need of (Twilight Princess was…okay. Skyward Sword was just…not): Burning most of the series’ mainstay elements to the ground and starting fresh.
I’ve been playing a lot of Horizon Zero Dawn (henceforth known has HZD) lately, and I like to compare HZD and BotW to eachother because they both released around the same time and both occupy the same market (albeit on different consoles). And while I still think BotW is an excellent game and it was what Zelda needed, I also think that HZD opened my eyes on a couple of the more glaring flaws in BotW’s formula. (Maybe Nintendo will fix it for the next go around? One can hope…)
First, and the biggest in my eyes: The durability system sucks and should never have been implemented in the first place. I know, I know, the internet likes to tell people who echo this sentiment to “git gud”, but in BotW, it absolutely breaks the flow of the game when you have to stop everything and scavenge for weapons because everything in the game may as well be made out of glass.
The best example of this is shrines. There are definitely quite a few that require you interacting with something in there with your weapon, be it Stasis launching something, or shooting arrows at switches. All of these things degrade your weapons’ durability. So if you’re in a shrine where you need to Stasis launch an object with a heavy weapon and the only one you have breaks? You’ve gotta leave and come back when you find one. Fast travel thankfully makes that easier, but it still completely breaks the flow of the game until you’re able to come back with a proper weapon and hopefully get it this time.
There’s also the weapons you get that require a LOT of effort to get just to spit in your face: The Ancient Bow requires a Giant Ancient Core to craft. That said, the Ancient Bow has some pretty good durability but even it breaks, and giant cores are a bitch to acquire. I was trying to farm them for completing the Ancient Armor set and even through 3 blood moons there wasn’t enough Guardians because the drop rate is so ridiculously low. And you have to do this every time your Ancient Bow breaks. Ain’t that great?
And then there’s the Master Sword. The Master Sword. You’d think it’d be awesome, considering it’s been in every Zelda ever and oh so revered in every game it has graced…but no. Nintendo granted you apparent mercy in that the Master Sword never breaks…instead, it runs out of energy and goes on a 10 minute cooldown. While very nice in the sense that it’ll never leave you without a weapon, it feels like an insult that even the Master Sword is restricted by this silly mechanic even with all the work you have to do to get to it. Hell, in BotW the Master Sword is optional! Which is crazy to think about.
The people who’ll tell you to “git gud” in this respect will say to either use bombs or Magnesis, and the sad truth is neither of those do appreciable damage once you leave the Great Plateau. Yeah, try taking down a Lynel with bombs of whacking it with Magnesis, you’ll be there for years or die trying.
I get the reasoning behind durability: It was a means of regulating the open world mechanic, because once you leave the Plateau, BotW gets blown wide open. You can march right into Hyrule and smack down Ganon if you so please, or plunder the castle for powerful stuff if you want to risk it. Durability means you can’t just skip and hop into the proverbial Mordor and get godlike gear and have it carry you through the rest of the game. I get it.
But to me this is masking a huge flaw in the game rather than completely solving it. This could easily be fixed by, say, making it so items in Hyrule are “cursed” and cannot work outside the reaches of Central Hyrule. Or have some sort of progression system that locks out these weapons until you hit a certain point in developing Link’s abilities. There are plenty of things that can be done to kibosh the problem of getting endgame gear in the beginning, but the current durability system just ain’t it. Hell, even a compromise of making the durability system more like, say, Diablo II’s would be preferred where you can actually repair your items for a significantly lower cost than it would to just make another one.
The smaller issue is that of the narrative. The storytelling in BotW is light, almost too light. Some may like that, and it doesn’t bother me a lot, but playing HZD kinda reminded me how nice it is to have the story pushing you along and motivating you to keep going. BotW holds your hand on the Plateau and that’s about it. Oh, I guess you could go to Kakariko, but you don’t have to. The game doesn’t give you a compelling reason to.
BotW does give you story snippets in the form of recovering Link’s memory, but it almost feels akin to the tapes in Metal Gear Solid 5: It does provide narrative, but having it delivered in this way just hits different.
Whereas in HZD from the beginning: You’re an outcast unsure of your origins, and growing older you start to want answers, so you fight your way out of being an outcast only to get ambushed and now you want answers and you’re out for revenge. HZD lets you explore the world at your leisure, but it also has the narrative in the background keeping you going, keeping you motivated.
The only thing BotW gives you is a permanent quest in the background that says “Go toss Ganon’s shit”.
This is something I hope that will be adjusted a bit better in whatever BotW2 becomes. I appreciate games that kinda just let me be with myself and do things myself, but BotW I feel moves a little too far in that direction. Some narrative prodding never hurt anyone. Of course, you can swing too far in the opposite direction (hello, Borderlands 2. I know lots of people love that game to death but I personally think they took the criticism of the story in BL1 way, way too seriously), but I still hold out hope.
And please.
Please.

Throw out or massively rework the damn durability system such that it doesn’t completely break the flow of an otherwise mechanically excellent game.

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