I’m a lifelong Zelda fan–one of my earliest video game memories was pouring hours upon hours exploring the sprawling world of Link’s Awakening on my large, monochrome Game Boy system. Since then, I have extensively played every game, and I have set opinions about what the “best” Zelda games are. I was struggling to place Breath of the Wild on my list after my first playthrough. I knew it was high up there–it’s a great game. But now, in the middle of my second playthrough, it’s clear as day to me now. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game Nintendo has ever produced.
That’s a hard realization to come to! Zelda has some great games in its history–A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are all “best game of all time” contenders, but Breath of the Wild tops them all.
I poured 120 hours into my main Breath of the Wild save, finding all the shrines and memories, collecting 400+ Korok Seeds, completing dozens of side quests and fully upgrading as much of my gear as I could. I recently started a new save, and decided to use some constraints: I’m going to complete the game with only three hearts (A challenge I try to take on in basically every Zelda game, but is more punishing now than ever), and I am tackling the dungeons in the opposite order from my main save file.
I can’t believe how much fun I’m having! After all the hours I put into the game, I thought I had basically seen everything Hyrule had to offer. But now, taking the game in a different order, I’m forced to travel Hyrule in a different way. I don’t have all of my fancy climbing gear and abilities to help me navigate anymore! As a result, I’m running in to places that I never saw on my original playthrough, leading to new discoveries and Korok Seeds.
Even as someone who’s played this game a ton, I’m still getting that sense of discovery from this game. With games like Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker, that feeling of awe and wonder dissipates after the first playthrough, but in Breath of the Wild, it is absolutely endless. That’s why, as I was running around the Gerudo Desert, dying of heat, having an absolute blast, it came to me–this is the absolute best Zelda game.