-by Dylan DiBona
I was recently watching a gaming podcast where the topic of Nintendo game reviews came up. They discussed if Nintendo gets an unfair bias from reviewers due to nostalgia. The most recent case is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild; a game with insane critical praise, gaining a 98 on Metacritic, just one point under the beloved Ocarina of Time. After playing and completing all 120 shrines, getting all memories and both endings, I don’t feel like Breath of the Wild is a 98.
Many gaming journalists are in the the industry thanks to Nintendo creating their love of gaming from an early age. It’s not to say that Nintendo was the only game company back in the day, I’m sure there are plenty of journalists out there who started because of Sonic and Knuckles.
But when it comes to the most influential games and mechanics, their often cited as product of Nintendo. Whether it be 3D camera control in Super Mario 64 or locking onto enemies from Ocarina of Time, Nintendo has undoubtedly created some staple mechanics seen in almost every game out there. It’s important to respect that history and give credit when due, because where would gaming be without those landmarks?
It happened again with Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. Critics and fans alike praised the breath of fresh air Nintendo gave to a seemingly repetitive series. But in hindsight, did Galaxy really revolutionize gaming? No. It’s really only fair to say it changed just Mario.
And that’s what gets me on Breath of the Wild; sure it’s new for Zelda but not gaming as a whole. This time Nintendo did the borrowing of ideas. The overworld towers remind me of Assassins Creed, the horse mechanics Red Dead Redemption, some scenery and tones from Shadow of the Colossus. And the stuff that does feel unique like the weapon durability- nobody likes that.
In my review I said Breath of the Wild was fantastic and I stick by that. The physics and elements are my biggest praise. I’ve seen people “cheat” puzzles by coming up with their own solutions which is unlike any other Zelda. I’m glad to see the game receive such love from fans on social media. I’m not trying to put a damper on anybody’s fun. I just want to make sure we’re analyzing this game, and other Nintendo products as video games and not Nintendo games. Keeping the lid closed will only allow skewed opinions which help absolutely nobody. It doesn’t help journalists keep their credibility, it doesn’t help consumers make smart opinions on their purchases and it doesn’t help Nintendo figure out what their next step towards improvement should be.
I love Nintendo probably more than the average guy, but I’m not afraid to call them out when they mess up. Federation Force, Star Fox Zero, New Super Mario Bros, etc. I’m also one of the first to praise them when it’s do. I don’t think Breath of the Wild is an industry changer, or a 98 on Metacritics. But I do think it’s a damn good game. Launching alongside the Switch may have also sealed it’s deal for fans; who doesn’t get excited for a Nintendo console launch?
I think when the smoke clears in a couple of months everybody will see that Breath of the Wild is a great game, just not as revolutionary as originally thought. And if they don’t, that’s great! That’s what’s so exciting and beautiful about opinions, nobody’s right or wrong.
So what do you guys think? Is Breath of the Wild a 10/10? Do Nintendo games get unfairly scored? Reply in the comments below! As always, thanks for reading.