The open-world genre has always been a perplexing beast as most titles struggle to find a harmonic balance between the interminable desire for seamless quality and quantity. Most popularized examples simply litter their sandboxes with menial tasks for the sole purpose of longevity, while others have a profound sense of world-building that never appropriately warrants the use of open-world fundamentals. The Legend of Zelda series has always embraced the essential nuts and bolts of the open-world genre, but its explorative world has always felt dissociated from the core innards of the experience. The latest entry in the three-decade long running franchise is said to rethink the conventions of the Zelda series, offering new implementation of player freedom. Breath of the Wild is not only a reinvigorating surge of pulsating energy into the Zelda series, but a masterful reinvention of the open-world genre as a whole, incorporating elements of fundamental realism and meaningful progression that were simply not present in the examples of yesteryear. With a core thematic imprint of discovery, Breath of the Wild’s sense of unadulterated curiosity and exploration is second to none; every minute detail serves a resound purpose and each structured piece of this exceptional puzzle seamlessly blends with the overarching world. Breath of the Wild is simply the most cohesive title in the series and an impeccable example of the aforementioned harmonic balance in the open-world genre. An embodiment of the imperative first steps of a console generation, while simultaneously striking a notable chord as a renowned swan song, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece in every meaning of the word.
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Since I never wrote a review for the first act of Broken Age, let me share my thoughts on act one before diving head first into act two. Broken Age: Act 1 is a phenomenal work of art that is endearing, clever, humorous, challenging, and absolutely gorgeous. Broken Age has one of the most vibrantly beautiful art styles I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing, something ripped straight from a children’s storybook, catering to an underused pastel design. The writing and characters were done wonderfully thanks to director Tim Schafer’s immaculate work and the fantastic performances given by Elijah Wood and Masasa Moyo. The story is a well-rounded coming-of-age adventure, learning about independence, responsibility, and one’s ultimate place in the overarching world. It’s extremely well-written and its respectful, never forceful, approach to comedy is a welcomed touch. The puzzles are most definitely challenging at times, but never too unapproachable and/or unachievable. They require a delicate slice of patience and will incept a rewarding “ah ha” feeling of discovery. On top of the well written story, act one is wrapped up in one of the most tantalizing and brilliant cliffhangers that I have ever experienced regardless of its medium of entertainment. To sum it all up, I absolutely loved act one of Broken Age as it was clever, refreshing, and most importantly, it revitalized a dying genre. The cliffhanger was brilliantly written and inserted at such a riveting moment that I couldn’t help but want more. It was one of my favourite games of 2014 and its successor crawled its way onto my anticipated games of 2015 list. So does Act two live up to the insurmountable expectations that were gloriously left by its predecessor? Unfortunately, Act two can’t even hold a candle to its older brother.
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