A few Breath of the Wild shortcomings

1/ The obvious: The dungeons

Not counting Hyrule Castle here – Actually Hyrule Castle was much more like something we should have expected for the other four main dungeons aka the divine beasts.

True, it was an interesting mechanic to control the divine beasts, even if the 3D map was confusing. It also was reminiscent of that one particular Skyward Sword dungeon.

However, four times the same concept for the four main dungeons is cheap. The Zelda series was often praised for its dungeons design, if not mainly for the dungeons design, and seeing BOTW offering here is its the biggest shortcoming. More than that, it was certainly the only moment in the game were I was disappointed: Once entering my second dungeon, I understood the mechanic will be the same for the last two ones too.

But not only the inside of the divine beast could easily been improved by, for example, having the champion skill temporary rented to Link and allow some puzzle around it, but the way to get to the divine beast is also very straight forward. It's usually get to the main village, talk to the new champion, meet at the divine beast, play some action minigame to open the teleporter – and that's it.

In most previous Zelda game, you had to do much more questing in the differents villages to be able to find your way to the dungeon. A shame such a travel to Zora's domain only end up in some hand-holded surfing minigame (althought the part in the Lynel den was a good one), while surely the game engine could have allowed for several ways to enter Vah Ruta (but why can't we dive in this game too?).

Also : The final battle. While Hyrule Castle is good, the final battle felt rushed.

2/ The replay value

One thing BOTW experience rely on in the feeling of exploration and discovery. While some landscapes still blow my mind even after 200 hours, I now know every point of interest. And that feeling of discovery is never going to be replicated again. Thus, restarting a new game will never offer an equal experience. It's an unavoidable curse that necessary goes along the game best aspect.

Even the announced DLC and hard mode wouldn't eventually make up for it. With all the had work done on this Hyrule map, it's hard to ask for more, but maybe a DLC involving changes equivalent to AlttP/ALBW Light to Darworld and Hyrule to Lorule may have offered a closer experience.

Finally, what about randomized areas? The Lost Woods and the infamous Thyphlo Ruins are in my opinion the worst areas in the game. Randomizing a 3D world area is not an easy thing, but resetting those areas as well as maybe one labyrinth would have been an awesome cherry on top of the cake. This idea thought, works best in my mind for bloody moon than for new saves.

Also: The music. It is also a curse due to the design choices. The music had to keep it discrete, however, I miss the grand overworld themes, and the rare cutscenes doesn't add much to it.
Some good village musics, but why the Gerudo village doesn't include the Ocarina of Time theme just like the Zoras?

3/ The Sidequests

One thing I probably forgot all about are the sidequests – I remember there were 76 of them including 4 receipes ones from the same kid in Kakariko, and a bunch of others only doubling the sanctuary "achievements".

Way before the release of BOTW, people largely discussed the sidequesting in different games. Most open-worlds on other systems had dulls objectives, often mocked over the internet.

BOTW was pretty much anticipated on this subject, and what is result?
Well actually the game is doing pretty good, not having the same amount of dull work. However, I don't think it has comparable content to, for example, Xenoblade Chronicles X, who also had 4 or 5 types of auto-generated sidequests once you completed the game.

It is also worth noticing that finding all the sidequests is a chore, as nothing in the game points you toward them or at least helps you locating the remaining ones. Once you completed 70 of them, where do you go to find the last ones? Maybe it would have been interesting here to implement more NPCs like Kass or the painter who gives you clear hints and are easy to spot.

On the topic of quantity, maybe using the blood moon mechanic again to give more action-oriented sidequests, with maybe some cool weapons or star fragments as a reward. This may be a way to give the players a reason to go back to those little moblins camps (once again, using XCX as an example, by spawning a particularly tuff ennemy like the tyrants).

4/ Bestiary and inventory

Finally a quick thought on the bestiary, the inventory and resources problems.

First the bestiary. While Hyrule is huge, the bestiary doesn't feels like equally huge. The dragons and Lynels are great, and one can wish for more of those. The Hinox and Talus are cool too, but at some point, the 5 or 6 types of special enemies (counting Moldugas and Wizzrobes) amount is a bit low. Later in the game, you find yourself discovering new areas, but unfortunately, that's yet another Hinox that is camping around.

The undesirable side effect here is that at some point, you stocks too much of some regular monster drops, breaking some of the game balance here.
That's here another of my cons (as well of a pro, weirdly): The game manage very well to keep your inventory balanced for the good part -let's say until you clear the second or third dungeons-.
Unfortunately, that balance finally breaks once you grasped every of the games mechanics (like the cooking) and that you managed to get enough stones to be able to upgrade your favorite gear, and sell the rest of them.

Secondly and finally, the outfit/weather system.
While most of it is great, with the added effect when you get a complete set, I particularly don't like the weather and temperature related perks. Heat and fire are different types, really game? It feels like it was a wall to the exploration, reminiscent of the blue/red tunic you will get in past games. Except this time you can completly bypass it with some receipes... Gear allowing a better grasp on wet walls would probably have been more usefull.

In any case the game of course is great, I'm anticipating the DLC and even hope that this Hyrule, who required a tremendous amount of work, will even get more content after the first two packs already announced, and not be abandoned like Mira was after XCX.
The next mainline, "open-air" game will maybe be out for... the holidays 2020, and we have seen there is definitely ways to improve the series again!


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