The wait has been long over and the review scores are in. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the highest-rated games ever created. Nintendo has found themselves back on top after a few years of poor decisions and poor games like Mario Party 10, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, and Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash. It’s refreshing to see such a company go back to their former glory and put such care into a big game, especially considering that it was also a launch title for the Nintendo Switch.
However, I don’t care how critically acclaimed a particular game is; that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V, and Skyrim all have their fair share of issues, and Breath of the Wild is no exception. After people have been playing it for almost two months, there have been a lot of complaints, with some saying that the game is much more praised than it really deserves.
While we’re not here to take a stance on that, it’s worth noting that we’ve noticed many of these issues with Breath of the Wild. While they don’t detract from how excellent the game is, they’re shocking problems nonetheless. Whether you love the game or not, you have to admit how annoying some of these things are.
Here are 15 major issues with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
15. Weapon Breaking
We’ll begin with the most obvious complaint. When Nintendo revealed information about Breath of the Wild, it was clear they were breaking a lot of Zelda conventions. In this case, every weapon you receive in the game will break after so much use. While this is a nice gameplay point, as it encourages you to become familiar with more weapons, it does raise a few problems throughout.
Perhaps, most notable, at the beginning of the game, none of your weapons last very long. Because of this, players have found themselves scrambling for new weapons almost all the time. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking the weapon-breaking itself. The problem is that many of the weapons break much too quickly. If you find a powerful club, you’ll probably only use it to kill one, maybe two Moblins. From then on, you’ll have to use something else. Even the Master Sword, while it does recharge when it breaks, doesn’t last all that long. This becomes more painful as you begin using strong weapons like the Edge of Duality only to figure out that it won’t be long before you part with them.
14. Enemy Variety
At the beginning of the game, this probably isn’t something you’ll notice. You’ll be faced with Bokoblins, Moblins, Guardians, and Octoroks. Pretty diverse, don’t you think? However, as you progress through the game, you’ll notice that there aren’t a lot of different enemies. Yeah, you’ll encounter Lizalfos, and skeletal versions of each monster, but that’s about it. Because of this, when you invade some kind of enemy camp, expect to fight familiar faces all the time. Nintendo changes this up a little bit by giving stronger variants of each enemy different colors, but not much is done outside of that.
Again, this isn’t a huge issue at the start of the game, but for a world as massive as Hyrule, that’s way too few enemies to fight. The world itself is so distinct in every corner that one would think that different foes should be scattered in it. Yet, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the Hebra Mountains or the Gerudo Desert. Get used to seeing a lot of the same monsters. Even the bosses themselves don’t have a lot of variety (but we’ll get to them later). At least you’ll end up with many monster parts.
13. Overworld Bosses
Let me begin this entry by stating many of the overworld bosses are excellently designed and compliment Breath of the Wild’s world very well. However, once I got past the beauty of seeing a larger-than-life creature staggering toward me, I noticed a few problems with this. The first is that there aren’t many different bosses to fight. There are Hinoxes, Stalnoxes, Taluses, and Moldugas (Lynels, if you count them as bosses). There isn’t much discovery in this aspect of the game once you’ve fought these three creatures.
The second issue is that they’re not particularly difficult. While it’s quite challenging to fight them while you’re still gathering equipment, once you get a hang of the game, you’re not going to have any trouble. With the use of Urbosa’s Fury, you can even kill a Hinox with one charged-up swing of a powerful blade. Taluses are pushovers once you get some Bomb Arrows. Stalnoxes are just skeletal versions of Hinoxes. Even the vicious Moldugas go out very easily as long as you know how they function. There’s little challenge to be had with the bosses, which is strange considering how difficult many of the enemies are in the game.
12. Dungeon Bosses
The dungeons in Breath of the Wild were a beautiful change of pace. Taking down a Divine Beast’s defenses before boarding it gave me memories of Shadow of the Colossus. And while the dungeons themselves weren’t aesthetically impressive, the way they were designed was interesting and kept my brain working.
When I entered my first dungeon, it was quite exciting. I was also quite scared of the boss I knew I would have to fight. However, I was overwhelmingly disappointed to figure out how each of the dungeon bosses worked. First off, they are all very similar in design and can only be told apart by the different weapons they use. Secondly, they’re very easy to fight, arguably easier than many of the overworld bosses. I had much more trouble taking down a Lynel than I did any of the sub Ganons. If you’re at all prepared for combat, then you won’t have any trouble taking down the dungeon bosses. That’s not to say that it didn’t require some quick thinking on my part at times; it’s just that once you know what to do, there’s little to no challenge (a trend that I would see repeated).
11. The Story
The premise of Breath of the Wild is magnificent. After Calamity Ganon conquered Hyrule, Zelda had Link put to sleep for 100 years. When he awoke, he had no memories of what happened, meaning that it was up to the player to restore Link’s mind and save Hyrule. While this is great for what it is, the execution of this story could’ve been a bit better.
The biggest problem is that there was little to no progression in the present day. Everything that you do in the main story all relates to the past. After hearing about many of Link’s exploits with the Champions, it makes me wonder if the story would’ve been better had it been set 100 years in the past. It had some cute moments, but because nothing was developing in the current timeline, it didn’t have the same impact.
Huge spoiler warning for the end of the game. Another thing that really bugged me was how Zelda was helping Link the entire time. After 100 years, she still remained the same age, which really bothered me. Don’t you think that she should’ve been dead? How cool would that twist have been? But nope. She’s alive and still young.
10. Voice Acting
Nintendo made it a point when marketing Breath of the Wild that it was the first Zelda game with proper voice acting. Many of us were excited at this prospect, and it wasn’t bad by any means. Yet, it didn’t live up to the expectations of a game as big as this one. When you play the game, you’ll notice right off the bat that voice acting doesn’t play a part unless you’re going through a cutscene for the main story or memories. Sometimes, characters will audibly talk in-game, but those moments are few and far between.
This would be excusable if the voice acting was top notch, but it’s not the best. It’s not the worst I’ve ever heard, but it suffers from a few problems. Mipha is difficult to understand, Zelda has an accent for some reason, etc. What was more jarring was the fact that Nintendo didn’t take the time to lip-sync the characters for other translations. Unless you’re playing the Japanese version, the words and the mouths aren’t going to match up. It definitely breaks the immersion when watching the cutscenes.
9. Armor Sets
One thing that I and many others really enjoy about Breath of the Wild is all of the different armor you can get. Some outfits, you can buy for a pretty penny at clothing stores, but others, you have to scour the entire world to find. Once you acquire the entire set of armor, then you get some kind of bonus like making you climb faster or giving you protection against the heat. It gives players incentive to explore every nook and cranny to find shrines and secret shops.
The downside to this is that many armors in the game are quite useless — including many of the coolest-looking sets. The Dark Link set, for example, has really bad stats. It makes you move faster at night, but that’s the only benefit you get. You can’t even upgrade it to make it better. The Tunic of the Wild set isn’t particularly impressive either, and that’s a shame considering everything you have to do to acquire it. Many pieces of clothing that you have to buy are also ridiculously overpriced. Want the Ancient Armor? Be prepared to grind countless Guardians and fork over thousands of Rupees. Not all armors fall victim to this, but many of them do.
8. Quest Rewards
As with most open world games, Breath of the Wild has many side quests littered in its vast world. No matter what town or stable you find yourself in, somebody wants or needs something that only you can accomplish for them. Some quests will have you finding ingredients so that someone can make a special dinner, and others will send you off to take a picture of a rare creature or monster.
The quests themselves aren’t horrible. As a matter of fact, some of them are quite clever as they require you to have a working knowledge of Hyrule and how the game functions. The problem comes after you complete the quest. Most times, you’ll receive a reward that isn’t worth the time or the Rupees you spent doing the quest in the first place. Take the Tarrytown quest, for example. You have to spend at least 3,000 Rupees, go to three different towns to talk to people, and hand over at least 100 bundles of wood. It takes hours to complete, and what’s your reward? Three diamonds that can be sold for 500 Rupees each. Many other quests will only give you ingredients for food or a few Rupees.
7. Korok Seed Hunting
When you start the game, you might notice many little puzzles or out-of-place objects hidden throughout Hyrule. As you investigate, you’ll come into contact with little critters called Koroks, who will then give you Korok Seeds as a reward for finding them. Later on, you discover that the Seeds are used to expand your inventory for weapons, shields, and bows. This gives you incentive to find more of them, but you’ll be taken aback when you realize that there are 900 in the entire game.
You can imagine how long it would take someone to try and find all of them. And this is not an easy undertaking, as there is no way to effectively track Korok Seeds in the game. You can find the Shrines with the Shrine detector, but there’s nothing like that to help you find Koroks. This becomes more frustrating as it takes over 400 Korok Seeds to fully increase your inventory. From there, if you decide to find all of the Seeds, you’re not going to get anything for it. Hestu will just reward you with a golden pile of crap.
6. Fetch Quests
I understand that when playing an open world game, there will be no small amount of fetch quests. I personally don’t mind them either, but in Breath of the Wild, there are moments when they’re taken to a whole new level. Many of the fetch quests in the game are hard, and not in the fun way. Some of them can get so annoyingly frustrating that I’ve spent an hour trying to complete them.
How does this work exactly? Well, some people require that you carry a heavy object a far distance, like the block of ice in the Gerudo Desert. While this would be fine by itself, you’re almost always bombarded with vicious monsters as you try to complete the quiz on a ticking clock. In the Akkala Region, there was a quest where you had to carry a blue flame from one mountain to another, and the road to get there is one of the most difficult paths you can travel — full of Moblins and even a Guardian. Because holding such items negates your ability to sprint, you can imagine that the frustration quickly builds. It’s almost never a fun thing to do. If it’s your cup of tea, then good on you.
5. Gyro Puzzles
In Breath of the Wild, the fast travel system is relegated to little structures called Shrines. In order to use them as teleport points, you must find and tag them. In order to get the Spirit Orbs used for increasing your hearts and stamina, you must go in and complete the puzzle within. Despite the fact that there are 120 Shrines in the game, the majority of them are quite inventive and take some quick thinking on the part of the player. Some of them even require quests to be completed beforehand. Then there are the gyro puzzles.
Some Shrines, as you’ll discover, will require that you tilt the right JoyCon to move a ball, block, or some other kind of apparatus. What makes them difficult is how frustrating the Gyro controls can be in this game. It often puts a huge stopper for those trying to complete all of the Shrines. The gyro puzzles seem heavily unfair at times and require a huge amount of patience in order to complete. If you can manage to figure out the gyro controls and utilize them effectively, then you likely won’t have a problem with them. If not, then be prepared to quit the game.
4. The Great Fairies
Like all other Zelda games, Breath of the Wild has multiple Great Fairies that you can find across Hyrule. At first glance, they’re quite useful. Once you find one, you pay a few Rupees to activate them. From then on, they’ll enhance your armor. While this is fine for what it is, the Great Fairies aren’t nearly as useful as you might expect. There are five Fairies in the game, and three of them only upgrade your armor. One of them does something different by reviving any of your fallen horses. This doesn’t give much incentive to find and activate all the Fairies.
The other big problem with the Great Fairies is that, as you find more, you’ll have to pay more Rupees. Considering that they all essentially do the same thing, this isn’t a worthy investment. What makes the blow worse is that the last Fairy you find will charge you a whopping 10,000 Rupees to activate! That’s not even remotely worth it. Yet, those of us completionists won’t be able to resist forking over the cash so that all of the Fairies are activated.
3. The Inventory
Breath of the Wild is the first Zelda game to give you the ability to collect just about everything. Monsters drop parts, animals drop meat, fruit and vegetables exist just about anywhere you can look. Because of this, your inventory gets quite massive at times. It won’t be long before you have five pages of ingredients and three pages of armor to search through. While it’s nice to be able to carry so many things, this presents a problem for those who are much further into the game.
The inventory is a chore to slog through. I can’t tell you how many times I was looking for a particular ingredient and spent a good five minutes just trying to find it in all the chaos. There isn’t any way to organize the inventory either, so everything will be placed as it’s collected. This gets even more painful as you collect armor. Unless you decide to acquire entire sets at one time, all of your armor will be scattered and out of order, making it a chore just to switch from one set to another. Here’s hoping that Nintendo fixes this when they release the DLC.
2. The Rain
This is another huge complaint that I’ve noticed with Breath of the Wild. The rain is quite annoying. While I’ll be the first to say that I appreciate the realism of rain making it difficult to climb and lightning striking anything metal, it puts a huge stopper in gameplay. If you’re trying to get to a high point, and it begins to rain, you’ll have to wait a while for it to go away first. If you’re in an open field and the storms roll in, you’ll have to put away all of your equipment (especially considering that all of the good weapons, shields, and bows are made of some kind of metal).
There is a way around this. You could complete every quest in Gerudo Town in order to get the Thunder Helm, but that takes an incredibly long time to do. And that only solves the problem of lightning. As far as climbing goes, there isn’t anything you can do other than toughing it out. To make matters worse, the game actually uses the rain to force you to walk a particular segment in the main story. The weather is beautifully realistic but frustrating and inconvenient as well.
1. Calamity Ganon
When you begin Breath of the Wild and start to meet the King of Hyrule, the first quest you are given is titled “Destroy Ganon.” From then on, you look in the distance to see Hyrule Castle covered in Ganon’s dark magic. Because the castle is placed in the center, you see it almost all of the time, watching it taunt you as you prepare one final assault to save Hyrule. As you conquer all of the Divine Beasts, they each shoot lasers at the castle, ready to help you whenever you decide to fight. Because everything you do is preparation for Ganon, the conflict becomes very personal. Considering how punishing the game’s enemies are as well, you’re prepared for a powerful fight, too.
After you desperately crawl your way through Hyrule Castle, you’ll go to the Sanctum where Calamity Ganon will fight you. This spider-like form of the villain whips out powerful weapons. You’ve got the Master Sword in hand ready to fight, only to find that Ganon isn’t hard at all. If you’re prepared in the slightest to fight a boss, you won’t have any trouble defeating Ganon. What’s worse is that Ganon has two forms, and his second form is much easier than the first. All that work and all of the deaths you had led up to an anticlimactic boss fight that didn’t test your skills in any way, shape, or form. That, in my eyes, is the biggest problem with Breath of the Wild.