Zelda Breath of the Wild

 
 
Flee
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Game's alright so far, but:

- weapon degradation is a horrible mechanic.
- menu management and swapping stuff is awful (which doesn't help since you've got all the cooking and whatnot to do)
- fighting monsters already feels like a chore 3 hours in because they'll just respawn, you won't get anything good from them anyways, and you'll just break your weapons doing so
- stamina runs out way too quickly (I imagine this well get better later on but it's still a pain)
- exploration so far doesn't feel like it's been terribly rewarding
- abilities have felt underwhelming outside of the dedicated shrines

That said, the game looks good and the tech is pretty solid. Nowhere near a GOAT game though. Early impressions are a 7, maybe 8 out of 10.


 
Verbatim
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- weapon degradation is a horrible mechanic.
In general, yes, but BotW is one game where I'm actually perfectly okay with it. The abundance of weapons and high emphasis placed on resource management does a great job of teaching the player not to become too attached to his weapons anyway. They're just tools. Grab them when you see them, don't be afraid to use them, but save your best ones for when it really counts. The fact that the game practically hands you two or three weapons for every one that you break (if you understand how to play) makes the speed at which weapons break a total non-issue for me.

The only thing I would add, maybe, is a cookable potion that has the effect of repairing your shit. Having absolutely no option but to let your weapons eventually break is not how I would've designed it, for sure, but it's still not a huge deal if you ask me.

Dark Souls handles weapon degradation FAR worse, in my opinion, because of its utter lack of presence in the game beyond being an arbitrary tax on your souls every once in awhile, to where it may as well not even be a mechanic at all. Majora's Mask also played with it once, and it was handled pretty stupidly there, too. Yet BotW somehow found a way for me to appreciate it.
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- menu management and swapping stuff is awful (which doesn't help since you've got all the cooking and whatnot to do)
It's literally fine. Perfect, I might even say. I wouldn't change anything about it. Maybe you'll get used to it later, but I found it extremely fast, intuitive, and very natural.
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- fighting monsters already feels like a chore 3 hours in because they'll just respawn, you won't get anything good from them anyways, and you'll just break your weapons doing so
The push-pull mental debate between attacking an enemy encampment headlong or preserving your weapon's durability is one of the more thrilling aspects of the game, imo, especially knowing you don't even have to fight them directly. You can use a variety of techniques to pick off the enemies as stealthily and as efficiently possible, which I find incredibly fun.

Choosing not to invade a camp at all is, of course, a valid choice as well, especially if you don't think it'll be worth the spoils.

The only problem is that the chests can't be opened unless you've taken out all the enemies, which, in my opinion, if you manage to make it over to the chest without alerting a single monster, you should be rewarded for that.
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- stamina runs out way too quickly (I imagine this well get better later on but it's still a pain)
It does get better, but it's also not really a problem anyway if you're using it efficiently (ie. sprinting in short bursts rather than letting it drain, not climbing things that are obviously too high for you, and cooking stamina-boosting elixirs). Plenty of options are given before you can sprint as long as you need.
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- exploration so far doesn't feel like it's been terribly rewarding
I don't disagree, but at the same time, BotW is a game about atmosphere and appreciating the journey. I find the game's exploration rewarding in and of itself (mainly because of how beautiful everything is). Finding things is just a bonus.
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- abilities have felt underwhelming outside of the dedicated shrines
I can kinda understand feeling this way, but at the same time, I don't really know what you want. They do the job, I don't really need anything too fancy personally. A hookshot or a wind baton (to control rain) would've been nice, I suppose.

Where are you, critical path-wise?
Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 05:27:29 PM by Verbatim


 
 
Flee
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The degradation just doesn't make much sense and simply isn't very fun. You say there's a high emphasis placed on resource management but also that there's such an abundance of weapons that you'll never run out, which kind of defeats the entire point of having to manage your weapons. All you can really do is save your best kit for the strongest enemies when they could've done so much better. It's not as if the degradation forces you to be clever or inventive either since the combat mechanics are relatively shallow (not bad at all, just not very deep) and you don't get a drastic gameplay difference depending on the weapon you're holding. There's just so many ways they could've done it better, imo. Add some RPG elements to using weapons so that you "level up" with a certain type when you use them to become more proficient at them. This would incentivize fighting enemies and using different combat styles. Instead of just saving your weapons with higher damage per hit for stronger enemies, make the effects of weapons more pronounced and have you change them around mid-fight or something. The current degradation just feels pointless and like a chore while nothing of value is added. Lots of missed opportunities.

Menu management really isn't that good. Being unable to drop things directly is a pain (yeah you can throw them but it's not as fast for multiples). You don't have an option to automatically swap weapons when one breaks. Having to hold everything before cooking is a mess, especially at lower levels when you want to make one or two item dishes. Sideways scrolling instead of a wheel as a quick menu is a poor choice... I mean, it's not horrible. But there's definitely lots of room for improvement.

Not wanting to engage in fights is pretty problematic for a game like this. I'm only a few hours in and already decided to avoid several fights. Unless I just sit back and use my abilities to take them out, all I'll be doing is breaking my weapons and potentially take damage I have to heal away for what? A few goblin horns to add to my collection of dozens and a wooden club or two, with maybe something slightly above average from a chest. Just doesn't seem worth it more often than not. Something like an exp or proficiency mechanic would be a much better incentive.

And yeah, the exploration is fun but the world sometimes seems strangely empty. I know I'm not too far along yet but veering off the path hasn't been all that interesting. Other than some shinres I have yet to find any side quests, good loot, additions to the story and stuff like that. Just not terribly impressed so far but maybe it'll get better.

It just feels like abilities aren't very integrated into normal play or combat. You either use them to solve puzzles exclusively, to open a fight with a bomb or to just take them out with abilities by smacking them with heavy stuff. There's unfortunately not much else. Stasis arrows or projectiles in midair. Magnetise a weapon out of an enemy's hands. Hookshot someone and pull them into you for a combo or pull yourself towards a platform to get away from danger. Fuck it, statis yourself while running in place to build up Sonic style momentum and speed ahead or up, or slow down your bow so that you can fire off a bunch of arrows which float in the air until they all release together. Throw a weapon into an enemy's face, stasis it as he falls back, run up to him, snatch it again from the air and combo into another hit. You can even make it so that you need to get a combo of successful and undamaged hits going before you can this kind of stuff so that it's not too OP. There's so much more they could've done to further integrate abilities into combat / normal gameplay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm liking the game. This is just the stuff I wish was better. The game looks beautiful, plays pretty well (although 30fps is such a disgrace for the title), is filled with lots of content in a nice open and fully accessible world, has great physics, solid combat and so on. But damn, it just feels like it could have been so much more.


 
 
Flee
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I'm not that far into the game yet. Maybe around 5 hours in. I made it to Kakariko village and am doing the quest to fully restore my slate. But most of what I've done has just been exploring and running to whatever seems interesting rather than following the quest markers. I opened up a handful of the towers and already cleared a bunch of shrines.


Deleted | Mythic Inconceivable!
 
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I'm not that far into the game yet. Maybe around 5 hours in. I made it to Kakariko village and am doing the quest to fully restore my slate. But most of what I've done has just been exploring and running to whatever seems interesting rather than following the quest markers. I opened up a handful of the towers and already cleared a bunch of shrines.

My suggestion:
Explore first. Activate all of the towers and do whatever shrines you find allong the way, then once the map is done , systematically go about doing everything else.


 
Verbatim
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The degradation just doesn't make much sense and simply isn't very fun. You say there's a high emphasis placed on resource management but also that there's such an abundance of weapons that you'll never run out, which kind of defeats the entire point of having to manage your weapons. All you can really do is save your best kit for the strongest enemies when they could've done so much better. It's not as if the degradation forces you to be clever or inventive either since the combat mechanics are relatively shallow (not bad at all, just not very deep) and you don't get a drastic gameplay difference depending on the weapon you're holding. There's just so many ways they could've done it better, imo. Add some RPG elements to using weapons so that you "level up" with a certain type when you use them to become more proficient at them. This would incentivize fighting enemies and using different combat styles. Instead of just saving your weapons with higher damage per hit for stronger enemies, make the effects of weapons more pronounced and have you change them around mid-fight or something. The current degradation just feels pointless and like a chore while nothing of value is added. Lots of missed opportunities.
I wouldn't say it defeats the point, because while everything I said is true, if you happen to be in a situation where all your good weapons are broken, it can still be a pain in the ass (in the fun and engaging way) to recover from that.

I don't really see a big difference between a weapon level-up system and simply finding stronger weapons as you progress throughout the game (and I won't break the illusion of what the game considers "progression" for you just yet). The former method is decidedly un-Zelda-like, and while it's not a bad suggestion, I don't know if it's a necessary change or something that would even change the gameplay all that much.

Instead of getting stronger weapons by finding them, you're getting stronger weapons by using them. Effectively, they're the same thing, but you're saying that the latter would incentivize you to fight enemies more than the former. I'm not sure I understand why. I suppose it's merely a matter of preference.

I also believe the three basic weapon types have enough differences between them to warrant having preferences (spears have range, claymores knock down and have a powerful spin attack, boomerangs are sick, elemental rods are sick, bombs have potential clever uses in combat, arrows open up a whole WORLD in terms of combat, etc), and some of them indeed have special advantages against certain enemy types, so not having X-weapon when it would be nice to have one forces you to come up with an alternative solution, or, if you only have one in poor condition, encourages you to make those last strikes count.

You also have limited space in your inventory, so if you wanna have any utility non-combat weapons (like torches, axes for woodcutting, sledgehammers for mining and crate smashing, etc), you'll have to make some room for these, too. Not to mention, certain weapons have elemental properties that provide extra warmth for cold regions or vice versa. Once you progress more, weapons will also start having stat bonuses, as well (strength boosts, increased durability, shooting two arrows for the cost of one, and more) to make finding them perhaps a bit more exciting for you.

The only thing I sort of agree with is that the combat can seem a bit "shallow" (I'd call it simple), but Zelda has never really been about deep combat systems anyway. As much I'd love to play a Zelda game with a Souls-like combat system, I also respect that Nintendo would rather keep things safe and accessible.
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Menu management really isn't that good. Being unable to drop things directly is a pain (yeah you can throw them but it's not as fast for multiples). You don't have an option to automatically swap weapons when one breaks. Having to hold everything before cooking is a mess, especially at lower levels when you want to make one or two item dishes. Sideways scrolling instead of a wheel as a quick menu is a poor choice... I mean, it's not horrible. But there's definitely lots of room for improvement.
Direct dropping would've been nice, I suppose, but I don't recall it ever being an issue for me.

Everything else you mentioned, I consider to be good. The sideways wheel is sick and intuitive. I like having to carry food while cooking. When a weapon breaks, I enjoy having to manually choose what I'm equipping next. I even wish they took it a step further, and made it so that the gameplay doesn't freeze as you're switching weapons (and, say, make it so you cannot equip weapons while pausing) to heighten the tension further.

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Not wanting to engage in fights is pretty problematic for a game like this. I'm only a few hours in and already decided to avoid several fights. Unless I just sit back and use my abilities to take them out, all I'll be doing is breaking my weapons and potentially take damage I have to heal away for what? A few goblin horns to add to my collection of dozens and a wooden club or two, with maybe something slightly above average from a chest. Just doesn't seem worth it more often than not. Something like an exp or proficiency mechanic would be a much better incentive.
Is it problematic though? If I'm at a point where the enemies are no longer providing me with useful spoils, and fighting them is a waste of time and resources, I typically take that as a sign to make some actual progression. It's not problematic for you in Pokémon to progress beyond Viridian Forest when your party is too strong for all the Caterpie, right? I know it's two different games, but I think the principle still applies.
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And yeah, the exploration is fun but the world sometimes seems strangely empty. I know I'm not too far along yet but veering off the path hasn't been all that interesting. Other than some shinres I have yet to find any side quests, good loot, additions to the story and stuff like that. Just not terribly impressed so far but maybe it'll get better.
I'll allow the game to speak for itself on this one.
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It just feels like abilities aren't very integrated into normal play or combat. You either use them to solve puzzles exclusively, to open a fight with a bomb or to just take them out with abilities by smacking them with heavy stuff. There's unfortunately not much else. Stasis arrows or projectiles in midair. Magnetise a weapon out of an enemy's hands. Hookshot someone and pull them into you for a combo or pull yourself towards a platform to get away from danger. Fuck it, statis yourself while running in place to build up Sonic style momentum and speed ahead or up, or slow down your bow so that you can fire off a bunch of arrows which float in the air until they all release together. Throw a weapon into an enemy's face, stasis it as he falls back, run up to him, snatch it again from the air and combo into another hit. You can even make it so that you need to get a combo of successful and undamaged hits going before you can this kind of stuff so that it's not too OP. There's so much more they could've done to further integrate abilities into combat / normal gameplay.
None of these are bad ideas. A lot of them wouldn't work for a variety of reasons (using Magnesis to disarm monsters seems OP), but I do agree that more could have been done on this front. Still happy with what we got, though, and I wouldn't underestimate the creative things people have been able to do with what we've been given. Speedrunners in particular found out you could launch yourself great distances by latching onto a Stasis'd tree trunk after chopping it down with an axe and whacking it a bunch of times in the desired direction (as of a couple weeks ago, it's possible to beat the game in less than 30 minute by doing this).
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Don't get me wrong, I'm liking the game. This is just the stuff I wish was better. The game looks beautiful, plays pretty well (although 30fps is such a disgrace for the title), is filled with lots of content in a nice open and fully accessible world, has great physics, solid combat and so on. But damn, it just feels like it could have been so much more.
I'm glad you're having a good time overall. I have sexual relations with the game on a nightly basis, so I'm romantically obligated to come to its defense.
Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 08:01:40 PM by Verbatim