The buzz and the excitement days before Breath of the Wild’s release was thrilling. When the first few review scores were released, the perfect scores the game was getting heightened the hype for the game. Mases and I felt the hype so strongly that we were compelled to release what became our first entry into the Hyrule Compendium. Months later we have found ourselves publishing our 50th entry into the series. Being such a milestone, we decided to go back and revisit our very first entry and see how things have changed or stayed the same.

We want to know what you think though. How has your opinion of the game changed the last couple of months? Has Breath of the Wild changed your opinions on any of the other games in the series? Let us know! If you enjoyed the video you can head on over to Zelda Dungeon Informer’s Youtube channel and subscribe for more!

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  • David García Abril

    No, the “Zelda cycle” isn’t in effect. Not really.

    As you mention, the “Zelda cycle” involves the previous game in the series being re-vindicated. But I think you underplay the importance of this element. It’s its most distinct element, actually. Otherwise it would be just a generic “hype cooldown” that almost every single major franchise has. And that just hasn’t happened. If you count “A Link Between Worlds” as the last game, its popularity never went down, at least not significantly. And if you count “Skyward Sword”, the consensus about its quality hasn’t changed for the better in the slightest. If anything, it’s gotten even worse after “Breath of the Wild” came out.

    You mention that you have a better appreciation for its story, but that’s the thing: the story of “Skyward Sword” was never underappreciated in the first place. It was almost unanimously acclaimed from day one, to the point that for a lot of people it’s the game’s only redeeming quality. The elements that people actually pointed out as flaws have not been vindicated at all (as I already said, some have gotten even worse), nor there are new strong elements people have found in 6 years.

    Plus, I don’t think the Ballad of the Champions DLC is going to fix the story of the game, since I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to be a mini-sequel of sorts. In other words, a different story from the main game. Because the story from the main game is over.

    • I agree with David except that I don’t really appreciate the SS story at all. Its complicated and has some glaring plot-holes.

      • Vados

        When people talk about how they love the story in SS, they talk about all of the character moments. Zelda plots always have plotholes and are generally rather simple. Skyward Sword however was the first Zelda game that had amazing cutscene direction and character development. Compare Navi’s farewell to that of Fi’s and you’ll know what I mean.

        • David García Abril

          I overall agree with you, but the Navi and Fi comparison is a VERY BAD example.

          Fi’s farewell was cheap and comes literally out of nowhere. The only thing going for it is the music. Period. Sure, Navi’s farewell wasn’t that great either, but at least it didn’t feel so forced and obviously emotionally manipulative.

          • Vados

            I dunno, I think it’s quite a fitting end for Link’s and Fi’s relationship. It’s not as cheesy as Midna’s end in TP and actually makes more sense. You simply witnessed Fi’s parting words with beautiful music and a bittersweet reference towards all of the games that are going to take place in the future of the timeline.
            I also don’t see how it comes out of nowhere. I thought it was pretty obvious that Fi is going to have to stay inside of the Master Sword in the end. It’s nowhere near as sudden as Navi’s or Midna’s ending.

    • Gooseph Fame

      People tend to avoid referring to the handhelds in these conversations. Maybe it’s because they are a completely different style or something. But no, we were mostly thinking about how botw had been affected by, and was affecting people’s opinions of skyward sword mostly.

      I do agree a lot of people liked the story initially. I think that’s why it got such good reviews, but now I think people are tending to focus more on the positives when talking about the game. Unless they absolutely hate motion controls.

      • David García Abril

        That’s mostly because handheld games in general are considered “lesser games” by default by most gamers, which is something that really pushes my buttons. But that’s another issue. (For clarity sake, I’m not saying you specifically do it, just that it’s the general consensus)

        And I’m honestly not seeing people focusing more about the positives of SS to be honest, outside of the story. Maybe a bit about the dungeons, but only marginally so. I mean, just look at Mark Brown’s Boss Keys video for a high profile example. Even though it’s positive when it comes to dungeons, he still jabs the game as a whole, and there is some crystal clear begrudge in the subtext anyway.

        And it’s not about the motion controls. Seriously, at this point saying that “People hate SS because of the motion controls” is like saying “People hate TWW because of the cartoony art style”. Yeah, there are people who do it, but it’s not the center of the conversation at all. Other elements like the patronizing handholding and the lack of explorable content are. And like I already said, those have gotten even more hate since BotW came out.

        • Vados

          I dunno, I see way more praise for Skyward Sword nowadays, compared to the few years after its release. It goes through the same phase Wind Waker did, with all of the people who played it as their first Zelda game having gotten older and more capable of actually forming a coherent statement on the game.

          I also think a huge amount of the Skyward Sword hate DID come from the motion controls. Literally everyone I’ve seen who hates on SS uses the argument of ”The motion controls just don’t work”. Heck, even people that are defending this game, like the Completionist, say that the controls don’t work, with hundreds of comments mentioning that they never had any issue with them. And looking at Mark Brown’s footage, he doesn’t seem to grasp that mechanic either. Whenever he takes a jab at that game he always shows footage of him, sucking against Technoblins, which is an enemy that is quite easy to deal with, if you stop waggling for a sec. And waggling is all he does in his footage.

          Now looking at BotW, I rarely see any praise towards the game anymore. Sure, people praise the design of the overworld, but EVERYTHING else in the game just gets hate. People hate the dungeons, the soundtrack, the bosses, the story, the characters, the mainquest, the weapon durability, the rain, most of the sidequests, the Koroks and almost every aspect about the combat.

          • David García Abril

            Oh, come on, things aren’t so bad with BotW now.

            Sure, the dungeons and bosses get a lot of (well deserved) flak, but people still love the shrines and the fact that you can break the puzzles (I don’t agree with this last one, but I’m aware that I’m in the minority).

            The soundtrack is far from hated. It’s just that some people prefer the old music style, but very few people think the music is bad on its own merits. At worst, they say it doesn’t have enough memorable tunes (which I kind of agree, but the ones that are memorable are among the bests in the series… which is something that also happened to SS, BTW, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree).

            The story and characters are just considered underdeveloped, but not in the sense of “they are poorly written” per se, but rather in a “I wish there was more of them” way. I mean, people are going wild with fan art and fan fiction with them for a reason. (Although I concede that the open world approach hurts their potential. In more ways than most people realize, I think).

            The sidequest is another one, but I think “hate” is too strong of a word. The rain is, at the end of the day, a nitpick at worst. Ditto the Korok seeds.

            The weapon durability is the only thing where I see true, unadulterated hate. Although outside of this particular aspect, combat was overall well received (even if that aspect takes a good chunk of it).

          • Gooseph Fame

            Combat was great I thought. Soundtrack too. I don’t think koroks are a nitpick though.

          • Vados

            Do they? Most comments I’ve seen really don’t like the Shrines. You usually see complaints like these:

            -They all look the same and feel very disconnected from the world.
            -20 nearly identical combat shrines
            -Way too many blessing shrines that sometimes don’t even have a shrine quest before them. (The one at Hebra Headspring and the Maritta Exchange ruins for example)
            -the cutscenes as well as the many loading screens are unnecessary baggage that drags down the pace of the game
            -A lot of duds.

            The soundtrack isn’t exactly hated, but it isn’t really liked that much either. I’ve seen more people saying that BotW has one of the weakest soundtracks of the entire franchise, than people saying that it’s great (talking from my own experience here…I actually love BotW’s soundtrack and I’m often told that it sucks, compared to most other Zelda games)

            Well underdeveloped story and characters does mean, that the story and characters aren’t great. I haven’t seen a single person that actually likes the ending of BotW for example. There are also a lot of complaints about the memories and how they often just tell you the exact same thing over and over again.
            Personally I liked the characters (and judging by tumblr, Prince Sidon is the best thing ever apparently v_v”), but again, I’ve seen more people disliking them. The champions especially get a lot of hate. And sadly Link devolved compared to Skyward Sword.

            Well most people I see just disregard the sidequests as fetchquests. Boring and unimportant. It’s the same kind of attitude that most Skyward Sword haters have against SS.

            Depends on which aspects you’re talking about. People liked the many different ways you can deal with combat encounters, but I’ve seen tons of complains concerning how broken the cooking and healing system is, or how ridiculously broken the flurry rush is. Or how a lot of enemies later on just become damage sponges.

            Personally I totally agree with you. I love Breath of the Wild and I don’t share many of the complaints I’ve listed. It’s just that I see way more negativity towards Breath of the Wild on the internet. Many people love it, but for every positive comment, I see 2 or 3 negative ones. It REALLY reminds me of the hate Skyward Sword and Majora’s Mask got after their release.

  • David García Abril

    Well, yeah, I agree with what you say, except that I just don’t see it as a major factor in conversations about SS. If it’s mentioned, it’s usually as something “to be taken out of the way” before starting to talk about more important issues.

    And about Mark Brown, yes, he enjoyed the dungeons and he was surprised, but again, you can clearly detect, both in the subtext and in his voice tone a clear begrudge. I mean, and the end of the video he puts on screen “Great dungeon design! Too bad the rest of the game, though”. Meaning that, albeit he recognizes that SS had good dungeons, that didn’t change his (negative) opinion about the game as a whole in any significant amount. And whatever small amount was mostly on an academic level, rather than on a personal level. Which is precisely part of the “Zelda cycle”.

    • Gooseph Fame

      We actually interviewed Mark on the site here and he told me this:

      “I was also surprised to see my favourite type of dungeon design – those nifty mechanical puzzles – make a comeback in Skyward Sword, which is a game I generally don’t enjoy. But replaying dungeons like Ancient Cistern, Sandship, and Sky Keep made me realize that there’s perhaps more to that game than I’ve given it credit for.”

      I do agree that he still obviously has the distaste for it, but I think he genuinely appreciates that aspect of the game beyond and academic level. Thats not the only time in the interview he brings up the dungeons in SS either. He genuinely seems to appreciate that aspect of the game.

      I do think the motion controls are a major factor when talking to some people. A conversation like ours can’t even be had! Some people I talk to about the game just saw something like “ew motion controls” and thats the end of it.

  • K2L

    Zelds Cycle or not, it IS a well-known fact that Zelda fans are just mentally unable to have a consistent opinion over the years. Really unfortunate.

    • David García Abril

      Actually, the “Zelda Cycle” is a very contested theory. And there is a very likely counter argument for it.

      Namely that it’s not that people change their minds as much as different people with different opinions expressing them at different times. Or in other words, the vast majority of people who said that BotW was a master piece when it first came out aren’t the same people who now say that it’s a very flawed game. It’s just that the former were the most vocal group a few months back, they started to fade away when they felt they didn’t have anything left to say, and now the latter are taking the opportunity to speak up louder and becoming the new vocal group. All of that coupled with some bandwagon effect, of course, but I don’t think it’s the core reason.

      However, even if everything I’ve said now wasn’t the case, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t aren’t entitle to change their minds, especially over the years. It happens all the time in every single art form.

      • Gooseph Fame

        An interesting thought too!

      • K2L

        I do find your reasoning likely. Nevertheless, it’s still unfortunate that the only games in the series that have had a consistent reputation are OOT (positive) and SS (negative), though.

        • David García Abril

          Well, OOT is a bit on a league of its own.

          It’s one of those games from Console Generation 5 that has “legendary status”, but also has tons of people who will go “OVERRATED” at the mere mention of it (other candidates are “Final Fantasy VII” and “Metal Gear Solid”).

          • Gooseph Fame

            perhaps BotW will be that equivalent to OoT in the long run?

          • David García Abril

            It’s hard to say. The late 90s was a very different time from the late 2010s (I’m old enough to remember. lol)

  • ThisGuyHatesOOT

    Another article about Breath of the Wild opinions? Welp, incoming people attempting to bash the game again. Seriously, the talks about BotW opinions need to end, especially since this fanbase traumatized poor Jim Sterling over a 7/10. Besides, the people who are bashing the living breath out of this game are possibly the same people who told Nintendo to rush the game.