Warning: Breath of the Wild spoilers ahead!

It’s been over two weeks since Breath of the Wild’s release. At this point, many of us have at least gotten a feel for the game, if not completed the quest outright. With two dungeons, 24 shrines and about thirty hours clocked into my adventure, I have had my fair share of surprises. The game is relentless in its efforts to provide the player with something new at seemingly every other turn.

Some of these surprises are elements that, going in, I was somewhat apprehensive about, but ended up being refreshing shakeups to the Zelda formula — things that I didn’t even know I wanted. Others, meanwhile, are things that I had hoped Nintendo would incorporate, despite being unsure as to whether it would.

One of my favorite aspects of Twilight Princess’ setting is how fleshed out the relationship among Hyrule’s races feels. For instance, we see the cooperation between the Gorons and the citizens of Kakariko Village firsthand once the conflict with Darbus is resolved. Likewise, we see healthy relations between Lanayru’s Hylians and the Zora. There are even two Goron merchants in Castle Town! Additions such as those go a long way toward making the world feel organic and lived in.

I didn’t know how Breath of the Wild was going to handle this element of Hyrule, but was thrilled to see it demonstrate a similar care for world-building as Twilight Princess. I won’t go into spoilers, but of the three tribes that I’ve visited so far, each one has a distinct relationship with the rest of Hyrule. More so than that of almost any other Zelda game, Breath of the Wild’s world feels like a real place populated by people who have their own, individual problems.

What aspect of Breath of the Wild has pleasantly surprised you the most, though? Is there something that you didn’t think that you’d like but ended up loving? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Tri

    I very much enjoyed the dungeon aspects of the divine beasts. The dungeon contained puzzles but it was also a puzzle in and of itself. Probably my favorite was Naboris with the rotating parts. Really made me think. Loved it!

  • tabascoman

    This may seem weird , but it was crenel hills

  • My most surprising aspect of the game so far is how much I love the labyrinth shrine quests. I have gotten more fun out of those labyrinths than even the Devine Beasts. Just running around aimlessly then finding a chest at the end of a hall, or finding a strong weapon feels so rewarding to me. Whenever I hear that a person just jumped over the top of it to find the shrine, I tell them how much fun they missed out on.

    • I did that for two of them. I don’t have the nerves to go around in tight corridors and getting spooked by enemies. ^^;;

    • Avantasiadevil

      :p I climbed the walls of those labyrinths and so done it on an other way. The freedom of choice is strong in this game

  • Valwin Mediaz

    How barebones the puzzles are

    • Ixbran
      • Valwin Mediaz

        here is a blind fanboy

        • Ixbran
        • TheGreatCthulhu

          All I’ve seen you do is complain about everything. What exactly is the problem you have with this game?

          I have a theory that you wanted this game to be a certain way, and are now pissed that it isn’t. Care to prove me wrong?

          • Ixbran

            Just feed them to your Ignore Dragon and let them throw their tantrums. We don’t need to see toxic people like them, and since ZI wont deal with them this is the next best thing.

    • I kinda agree. They’re all physics based and can be easily worked around without actually doing what the puzzle wants you to do, except for the godawful motion control ones.

      Really I only really like the puzzles that used the time freezing rune, everything else felt like it was either overused or a demo reel of the types of physics in the game.

      • Valwin Mediaz

        man i hate them so lame hell most of the time i jsut cheat also some motion control ones can be also cheated .

        • Yeah, like I said they’re not all bad but so many of them feel so focused on the runes and the physics engine that it just gets repetitive. I mean at the very least I wish there was some variety in the themes of the shrines but they all look the same. :/

          • Valwin Mediaz

            i seen like 5 shrines that are the same they have that 1 on 1 fight thing

          • Yeah those are the test of strength shrines. There’s minor, modest, and major. I think most of them are actually major test of strengths, but it really gets repetitive because it’s always the same fight just different difficulty levels. I wish there was maybe different types of guardians in some of them like a major test that has a room full of three stationary laser shooting guardians or something.

            I don’t know I just wish there was more variety.

  • Shaun Hall

    Among the plethora of emotions you feel on any given session, it both feels like a classic Zelda at times and something completely unique. I’ve spent well over 20 hours and have only opened 1/4 of the map. I love simply stopping in a mountain side and talking in the view.

  • Ixbran

    I am loving the character of Prince Sidon, precious baby who believes in you and always happy to give ya a smile

    http://i.imgur.com/Ui4h4uC.png
    Source: http://actualrenegadepearl.tumblr.com/post/158296700389/

    I am so glad I headed in the direction of Zora’s Domain first while playing my BF’s brothers Wii U copy. I saved Mipha and have since been f’ing around, dont want to progress the story too far, i’ll play seriously once I get the Switch version. but man am I loving this game and how the races are represented.

    The Zora are apparently a long lived race, many of the adults in Zoras Domain remember playing with Link when they were children. It’s so cute seeing all these adults getting all excited seeing Link again.

    “I’m a guard who must protect Zoras domain, i’ve spent my hole life training for this and I wont be distracted by any-OH MY GOSH LINK?! Oh Man, Link, LIIINK, you remember me!? We used to go swimming all the time when I was little! OH OH OH Lets go swimming later like when I was a ki-I mean … I’m a serous guard ho must stand guard now. Swim time later tho, k?”

    All the adults in Zoras Domain are basically kids in adult bodies when they see Link and its precious!

    The Gerudo are vastly expanded in this game in terms of culture, and even have their own in-game language, which is awesome. We haven’t seen the Gerudo in a mainstream Zelda game since the Gerudo Pirates in MM, so it is wonderful seeing them make as big a comeback as they have here. I like how the game does a decent job balancing the Gerudo’s Warriors pride, but also their girlish natures and lack of info on how to interact with men. Half the Gerudo seem to have a “we dont need men.” while the other half is like “Oh I cant wait to find my one true love, its going to be so romantic, I hope hes everything I dream of..” theres this one woman who is practicing in front of a dummy, talking about how shes a good cook, and she loves making riceballs, and says “Theyre almost as good as my Varousques … no, wait, should I use the term ‘Grandmother’ instead?” It was so precious! She finds you eves dropping and she claims shes practicing for a job interview as a chef in a restaurant. Again, the gerudo are both hard core, and precious babies who need protected, love them, please Nintendo don’t you ever exclude them from another game ever again!

  • Vados

    Paya’s birthmark

  • Josiane Tremblay

    Characters. A lot of them are awesome or very endearing. I also love how all the cultures look so much more developed that they used to. The humor and how the classic Zelda charm was conserved.

  • CrimsonMoonMist

    The incredibly organic-feeling overworld.
    It really takes me back to mountain-hiking as a young kid with my family
    and makes it so I don’t even care when I don’t discover anything because just traversing the terrain in itself is enjoyable and nostalgic.

  • TheMiddleClassTaxSlave

    (Potential Spoilers)

    With this game… a lot of enjoyable surprises…
    Seeing the Temple of time, and other hyrule landmarks .. in ruins… 20 year nostalgia in the making… pretty amazing. Well done Nintendo. Though I will say, as an animal lover, stinks to not have Epona. Should of put the horse into resurrection shrine with Link. Feels odd using other horses…

    • Ixbran

      If you have Link’s SSB4 amiibo you can get her.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pgoviPsRQ0

      Unlike other Horses, if she is ‘killed’ in battle she will just re-spawn inside the Stables (or so I’ve herd, i’ve been to scared to test this, don’t wanna risk losing her.), allowing you to take her out again when ever. She has max Bond with you instantly, and has very high balanced stats though none are fully maxed out. If you use the SSB4 Link amiibo on the plateau she wont appear, since itd be impossible to get her off the plateau to get her to a stable. As long as your not there, your first usage of her will cause her to spawn.

      • Tri

        Even if a horse dies, you can just visit the horse fountain and pay a few rupees to have the fairy there revive them. No worries! 🙂

        • Ixbran

          Thats true, but if I remember correctly I need to have max bond with the horse in order to bring them back. So if you lose a horse too soon, they’re gone for good.

          • Tri

            Huh. Didn’t know that. Although I might counter that it’s very easy to get max bond: feed your horse a ton of apples and they’ll love you forever. LOL

          • Michael Philliber

            i just ride around and spam L, takes 5 mins tops

          • Hylian Terrier

            Me too. I actually think it takes less than that, but I always ride around a little longer just in case.

      • TheMiddleClassTaxSlave

        Thanks. Unfortunately I don’t buy amiibos. I looked online to find that specific one… an well, I’m certainly not paying $60 to use her. Thanks for the info though.

        • Ixbran

          thats fine, they recently restocked Link and Zelda though, i’m sure if you look you’ll find Link at a local GameStop or Walmart. I was able to find Ganondorf at a Walmart recently, which was nice, and found a re-stock of Zelda at a Toys’R’Us during my vacation to Rhode Island.

          just keep your eyes peeled next time your at GameStop, Walmart, or Best Buy. you just might find him.

        • Ixbran

          thats fine, they recently restocked Link and Zelda though, i’m sure if you look you’ll find Link at a local GameStop or Walmart. I was able to find Ganondorf at a Walmart recently, which was nice, and found a re-stock of Zelda at a Toys’R’Us during my vacation to Rhode Island.

          Just keep your eyes peeled next time your at GameStop, Walmart, or Best Buy, you just might find him.

          Also, if you use the SSB4 amiibos for Zelda and Ganondorf, you get the chance at getting these beauties:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76d526695ebd368f5beafa13892ca208e96192411ce80afc597f136525a04060.png

        • Ixbran

          that’s fine, they recently restocked Link and Zelda though, i’m sure if you look you’ll find Link at a local GameStop or Walmart. I was able to find Ganondorf at a Walmart recently, which was nice, and found a re-stock of Zelda at a Toys-R-Us during my vacation to Rhode Island.

          Just keep your eyes peeled next time your at GameStop, Walmart, Toys-R-Us or Best Buy, you just might find him.

          Also, if you can find the SSB4 amiibos for Zelda and Ganondorf, grab ’em soon as you can! Using them nets you the chance at getting these beauties:
          http://68.media.tumblr.com/013bda2a0a52eef10aeebea3e07d3b5b/tumblr_on4rzpgmkV1sjh5bfo1_1280.png

  • Reillyington86

    No hand holding at all…how it should always be.

    • Dylan

      there was handholding sorta. while it does drop you into the world the old man does give you tips and tricks to do some basic thigns, other then that its pretty much, do whatever the heck you please after the plateu.

      • Pan Naan

        But it wasn’t handholding. It, for example, didn’t REQUIRE you to teleport to the Great Plateau tower. Obviously the shrines were mandatory but otherwise there was no handholding at all.

        • Dylan

          hence the sorta part. the GP is just the tutorial aera but ti was done in a really nice drop you intot he world kind of way.

  • JoJo

    …the whole thing…

  • pedrobrvs

    1 – The sidequests. If you told me I’d be buying a house or helping to build a village from the ground up in a Zelda, I`d call you crazy. When I first reached that house on Hateno village I was like “no way”

    2 – The final dungeon. Even though it doesn’t behave like a dungeon at all, it might be my favorite rendition of the Hyrule Castle as of yet. It felt like an actual (ruined) castle rather than just corridors and puzzle gauntlets decorated as castles.

    3 – The music. Specially the easter egg snippets from past games (Epona`s song, the Temple of Time). The way the motifs we`ve seen in trailers were incorporated on the final game definitely surprised me.

  • pieman600

    Honestly just all of the characters (Zora, Goron, Gerudo, Rito). I’ve never been as sad when a character was dead than when the Champions’ spirits talked to you after beating the divine beats. I was legit almost in tears after Mipha.

    • Pato Arostegui

      I completely agree with you. I cried hahaha several times and the music was so perfect that it made it even worse hahaha. I haven’t feel a lot for Zelda characters before but this is on a whole new level.

  • Ixbran

    I much prefer the SidonxLink ship my self, hes so helpful and encouraging of everything Link does, it’s adorable <3

    https://twitter.com/farisaki/status/843584456380354560

  • richa

    Gerudo Link and Sidon

  • Dylan

    the chas and voice acting, some of the proformaces add little layers to them. just everything I have seen thus far!!

  • Fox

    Definitely the combat. I’m certain there are people here who will defend Zelda combat to the death, but to me it has always been boring at best and tedious at worst. Don’t get me wrong: boss fights are almost always fantastic. But the random enemies you encounter in the wild? Not so much.The amount of weapons and movies and systems and options we have to play with in BotW make combat much more interesting, and the incredible A.I. and animation work put into the game make combat a *joy.*

    Though, of course, the inverse of this praise is the obvious condemnation of the boss fights, seeing as how this is the one Zelda game where bosses are not fun, interesting, or even remotely compelling to fight. Oh well, c’est la vie.

    • Nick

      completely agree

  • TheGreatCthulhu

    The sheer options and freedom you’re given.

  • TheDrTelos

    THE HIDDEN STORY.

    Zelda has always spoonfed you the story. I had to go searching high and low for those memories because I CARED about the lore. I wanted to know what the story was. That is what really made those 12 cutscenes mean all the more to me.

  • Marandahir

    Eventide Isle.

  • Michael Bassta

    Biggest surprise for me was the luminous armour. I mean, definitely link entering Gerudo town was a surprise too, but that luminous armour was completely unexpected. Surprised me for sure

  • magmor27

    I’ve already beaten the main quest and got all the dungeons done, and for me, the highlights had to be either shrines, voice acting, or hunting down the memories

  • Pan Naan

    The most disappointing aspect of it is the blood moon. They could’ve done so much with it but they went the lazy route. For example, maybe you couldn’t skip time during it and unique / stronger monsters appear. Surviving the whole night would be a minigame of sorts, because there’s a chance for good loot. Terraria handled blood moon really well and I wish Nintendo would’ve taken inspiration from it.

    • Pan Naan

      The worst thing is that the moon doesn’t even stay red for the night. Yeah, it’s realistic, but since this is a game they could’ve made it a little bit more meaningful.

    • Liv

      I like how this debate is about what you liked about the game but people like you gotta jump to being negative. Internet is a fun place!

  • Liv

    To be honest, I was really surprised by the deep physics engine and how it lets you do way more than you expect. As a well-versed Zelda player I keep playing by “game logic” rules, but then the game surprises me in the amount of ways I can solve a problem and how realistically it works.

  • memu

    The Naydra fight on Mt. Lanayru was one of the most epic things in that game. Not to mention Link’s cross-dressing extravaganza, the whole Yiga Clan (especially Master Kohga), the simple fact that you can walk right up to things to buy them, how well the paraglider and climbing compliment each other. The game is really just one big pleasant surprise.

  • For me, it’s definitely that all of our major cutscenes are actually in the past.
    I thought that was a pretty lovely move.

    That being said – I’m honestly a little disappointed with the quantity of story we got in this. I know it’s got to be hard to figure out a good way to place that all throughout a game as open and non-linear as this, though!

  • lol@u

    For a game that doesnt show any story element other than flashback cutscenes, they did a really good job conveying what happened 100 years ago.

  • Clint Block

    Tarrey Town

  • There’s quite a bit, but when I needed electric chu jelly to upgrade some armor, and I didn’t have enough, so I dropped a bunch of normal chu jelly on the ground, swiped my thunder blade over them, and turned them into electric chu jelly. But it’s lots of little things – things born from going “I wonder…”

    There’s also a video I saw on Twitter of someone who got sick of doing a puzzle based around an electrical connection, so they just dropped all their metal equipment on the floor and then used Magnesis to create the connection needed to open the door.

  • Hylian Terrier

    I love that there’s so much to do! I’ve been playing just about every day since March 3rd, and I’ve only done half the Divine Beasts. I just keep getting distracted or I decide to do a Shrine. With any other Zelda game I’d have pretty much beaten it a this point after its release with how many hours I’ve put into BotW so far. There’s that much more to do. It is so easy to kill time with this game. This is one of the very few games that I’ve ever played where I don’t notice time passing. What feels like a half hour is really an hour and a half.

  • How the game goes out of its way to justify Link being male. Oh and I like the different costumes you can find.

    • Ixbran
      • Well yeah, but I was more referring to the gerudo plot and the shipping with Zelda, as the first would be impossible if Link wasn’t a guy or even if you could pick his gender, and the second would still work but would require a severe change to its structure.

        All that said…I really don’t see what makes Sidon “gay” I’m not saying this to disparage you from your shipping, but I didn’t get that impression. I took Sidon to be a happy go lucky and a bit naïve, young, prince, and that’s it. Though, on second thought I’ve seen far weirded, less substantiated, ships before, so whatever. I guess I’m just salty that people are fawning over Sidon when clearly Ravali is the best champion.

        • Ixbran

          I am going to respectfully disagree on Revali, but aside from that, I simply adore Sidon. Hes always so encouraging of you, defends you from Grandpa Manta Head, fights Ruta alongside you, and is the first one to welcome Link back once he is victorious. Srsly, I’ve never loved a Zelda side character more than I love Sidon. Theres also the fact that I am a gay male with a thing for tall men, as well as a Teratophile (google is your friend) so to me hes perfect shipping material for Link, him and Kass.
          https://twitter.com/nonixnil/status/840926906774110209

          • Actually I’m neutral on HW, and I agree with you that there’s not many important male characters in Zelda.

  • Tyler Woodman

    The freedom mostly. Problems didnt have just one answer, and some could be done in a way that would otherwise look like cheating or cheesing (who needs metal boxes when you can use your metal gear. Or maybe throw a box mid air, stasis it, and jump across that way (even though that way is probably overcomplicated))

    The one and only downfall i had was bosses were underwhelming. Even the last boss. Then again im a dark souls player, its not fair to expect. The last level was amazing though

  • Aimee MacPherson

    So far, I have to say Prince Sidon (I never thought I would love a zora more than Ruto/Rutela) and the shrines are surprisingly fun and addicting!