Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a 'masterclass' in design
Critics praise Nintendo's 'masterclass' in open world design as a 'truly magical work of art'
Nintendo has finally launched its new all-in-one console, the Switch, and with it comes the highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Each entry into the iconic Nintendo franchise has a unique visual style and gameplay. Breath of the Wild is no exception. Its cel-shaded graphics are a departure from the intricately detailed world of its predecessor, while new survival mechanics require players to be more cautious when travelling around.
Being one of the first games to launch with the Switch, Breath of the Wild incorporates some of the console's new hardware features - players get haptic feedback through the Joy-Con controllers.
GameSpot gives Zelda's first Switch outing a full ten out of ten and says it is a "breathtaking masterpiece" that is a "truly magical work of art".
Players cross "vast plains" and gigantic mountains in the "massive" Hyrule, it adds, but will need to keep an eye on the weather, as extreme conditions can cause "familiar hero" Link to take damage.
Only a "few instances of frame rate drops" deter from what is a "consistently impressive world" that stimulates both a sense of bliss and excitement in the player, concludes the site.
Alphr, meanwhile, says: "Breath of the Wild is the toughest Zelda challenge yet", with brutal enemies and weapons that can deteriorate rapidly.
While it's not as difficult as the notorious Souls series, players will need to be cautious when scouring the land, it adds, while Link's ability to cook food and create elixirs make up for the hero's "shortcomings".
According to IGN,the game is a "masterclass" in open world design and has the potential to reinvent the 30-year-old franchise.
Players will invest hours "searching the far reaches of Hyrule" for the "fascinating moments" that are waiting to be uncovered, it adds.
Polygon says the narrative is "more or less perfect" for a Zelda game, successfully blending features familiar to those loyal to the series with new elements that "instill a real sense of mystery".
Players will be given most of the game's core tools "within the first hour or two", with the open world of Hyrule acting as a handy tutorial stage "without mindless compulsory tasks". And while it can seem "overwhelming" at first, gamers soon find the tools needed to make Hyrule their own, the site adds.
Even after 50 hours of gameplay time, The Verge was nowhere near finishing Breath of the Wild's "uniquely grand" world.
It felt the game seemed a little desolate at first, as players need to physically travel to towns and villages for them to appear on the world map. However, stumbling across a new location "truly feels like an act of discovery".
The Verge concludes that Breath of the Wild manages to take ideas from other games and make them feel "perfectly at home" in the iconic universe, arguably transforming it into "the best Zelda game" ever.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be found on Amazon for £59.99.