Monday, March 13, 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

Friday March 3rd, I eagerly awaited the release of the next Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch. It was tantalizing to be minutes away from playing this new piece of hardware and seeing just what it could do. But perhaps what I was looking forward to more was it’s big game, the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For years, the next Zelda game taunted fans, saying it would be released year after year but never actually appearing. It kept on getting delayed for five years, it seemed like never come, that we would eternally remain Zeldaless. But, alas, a release did final show up. March 3rd, 2017, simultaneously releasing on both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch. I couldn’t wait to play this game. But something made me suspicious. The reviews of the game came in and they were all nearly perfect. There were, 10/10, 5/5, five star ratings and the like. The game had a 98 out of 100 on Metacritic, a site that aggregated review scores. This was practically unheard of. On GameRankings, another site that aggregated review scores, it is listed as the best reviewed game of all time. So if the got all this good press, why was a skeptical? Why was I not convinced?
Well, to be honest, I didn’t believe it was possible. These reviews must be lost in the hype of a new Zelda and the next Nintendo console, that’s why it’s getting all these perfect reviews. I had seen footage of the game and it looked great, but I saw some flaws. In some areas the framerate would drop, some of the textures in the game didn’t look the great, there are huge areas that just look empty, I can see this game getting great reviews, but greatest game of all time? No way. I was not convinced. And then I played. And boy, was I wrong.
The game was amazing, now I could finally see what these reviewers were saying, I could final see what made this game so great. I finally understood why people so badly wanted to avoid spoilers. I now know why The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild desires the title of best reviewed game of all time.
Now, to be fair, I haven’t played that much of this game. Now by that I mean I’ve played about 5-10 hours, which, isn’t that much for this game. The world is huge! I’ve tried to explore as many areas as possible and I’ve only filled in like 5% of the map. Some People might find this daunting, but I never did. It feels like it’s just begging to be explored. That’s the magic of the this game, discovery.
Climb up a mountain and look around and see something you want to go to. Go explore and find some incredible discovery. That’s why people are so sensitive about spoilers! It’s not really about the story, although you really shouldn’t be spoiled on that either. The biggest spoilers in this game are that about the world. I don’t want anyone to tell me what’s behind the mountain, I want to discover it for myself. The joy of discovery is what drives me, not any other rewards.
The gameplay encourages this to. You have the perfect arsenal for discover from the very beginning of the game. You can climb almost any surface and then descend down it with the help of a paraglider. After a short time spend in the opening area the world opens about to you and you quite literally can go anywhere you want. The game clearly points out where you should go to advance the story, but you can ignore this. You could go explore every corner of the world before even completing a single quest. This freedom is almost unrivaled by any other game, and it’s, pun quite intended, breathtaking.
I could go on for pages about the game’s combat, the puzzles, the visuals, or the music, it’s all fantastic. I think you get the point though. I love this game, and I just want to play it more. It’s just a joy and I could recommend it enough. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is amazing!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Misconceptions About Video Games #1

This is for people who don’t really understand why someone can love video games so much. Hopefully this will inform you why people love this hobby by disproving some misconceptions about video games.

Misconception #1
Video Games aren’t the Same as TV and Books

You may be saying to yourself, “But video games are different than TV and books, they’re completely different!”. This is true, they aren’t the same. Games have a focus on interactivity and gameplay, while books and TV concentrate on the story and characters. That doesn’t mean that games can’t have stories and character Books tell a story with words, TV tells a story with video, and video games tell a story with gameplay.
Some people don’t realize that there are quite a lot of people who spend a lot of time thinking out complicated plotlines with various twists and turns along the way. Some of the greatest stories in video games can meet and surpass those of other mediums. Story is such a focus in some games, it’s the only reason you would play them. Take a game like Undertale for example. You might not know about this game if you aren’t into gaming, but the basic premise is that you a child who has fallen to a hole in landed in a world of monsters, some of the are good, others, not so much. Saying more would spoil the experience, and this is a game best played blind. This game will make you laugh. This game will you cry. This game may make you feel like you are the worst person on the planet. I would love to go into detail, but, you know, spoilers. So if you’re interested, go online and find it, the game is only ten bucks and I can almost guarantee you will find something in it to like. Maybe it’s the silliness of the world around you, maybe it’s the tear jerking moments, maybe it’s the fun characters, you’ll probably find something to love.
Video games are even in some ways better at telling at telling stories than other mediums due to their interactivity. With video games you can have the person who is experiencing the story have some influence over the world they are in. Think of any big, important choice that a character made in a movie. Now imagine you had to make that choice. Now a whole new way of storytelling just opened up. With player choice, you can make this branching story that will change each time it’s played though. With this choice, you can feel like these characters that had to make these decisions.
“Wow,”, you might be saying to yourself, “Video games really can tell a story like a book or movie! But if video games have these great stories, why haven’t I heard of them before?” And this is where we get to the sad truth. Sure, gamers know that video games a great outlet for storytelling, but the general public doesn’t know this. When people see video games, they don’t the story. They just see Mario jumping on turtles, someone stealing cars and running over pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto, little kids screaming and swearing at the top of their lungs as they get gunned down in Call of Duty. Now I’m not saying that these franchises can’t have great stories and characters, in know for a fact that some of them do. But that’s not my point. My point is that people don’t see the great stories, they just see the news stories about video games making you dumber, video games making you into a coldblooded killer, even when these stories aren’t true! (Trust me, I can prove it. I have facts, and not just alternative facts!:) ) Very few people know about what this hobby can truly do, many people don’t see video games as the art they can be. The world see the stories about how video games are the worst thing ever. They don’t see the Undertales, they don’t see the Xenoblade Chronicles, they don’t see the Fire Emblems. They just see the bad. So, next time, when you’re thinking about the next fictional world you want immerse yourself in, try looking at some video games and give one a shot. You might just find your new favorite story.