Parents need to know that "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is an action role-playing game set in an open world. It stars Link, a noble knight who must journey to defeat an ancient and growing evil by fighting monsters and solving puzzles, helping strangers whenever he can along the way. Combat against monsters involves swords, axes, bows and arrows, and other medieval weapons, but enemies simply disappear when defeated and no blood is shown. Players also hunt animals, but their bodies disappear in puffs of smoke, leaving behind food items and materials for crafting. Some characters exhibit mild sexuality, including a two-story tall fairy woman with large, bouncy breasts covered only in leaves. Another character behaves as though drunk.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Like all "Zelda" games, "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" is set in the realm of Hyrule, a world filled with a mix of familiar animals, fantastical creatures, and populated by several intelligent races, chief among them the human/elf-like Hylians. Players once again take control of the timeless hero Link, who wakes up without any memories in the Temple of Time and gradually learns that his kingdom was destroyed long ago. Now it's up to him to journey on an epic quest to defeat the evil entity that brought ruin to his country and nearly killed him a century ago: Calamity Ganon. Unlike previous "Zelda" games, this one provides players an enormous open world to freely explore. There are dozens of hours of side activities that can be tackled in any order players wish, but Link's primary goal throughout is to recover his memories, grow in strength, and gather the forces necessary to confront and defeat Calamity Ganon.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Nintendo's iconic adventure series has finally taken its first steps into modern open-world play, and it's done so in a way few other franchises could muster. It's an absolutely huge game, providing players with a vibrant and colorful world that presents itself almost like a living painting. And over every hill, ridge, and mountain lies one or more new locations that you'll want to explore. Keeping track of everything would be nearly impossible were it not for Link's tablet-like Sheikah Slate, which lets you place pins in a map to denote areas of interests and allows you to capture photographs of everything encountered.
A lot of this is common to many open world games, but "Breath of the Wild" injects its own flavor via an upbeat atmosphere, quirky characters, and an all-ages sense of humor. More than that, it adds little details - many to do with survival - that other games haven't dared. All players need to guide them is common sense and a curiosity to seek and discover. Nintendo's designers have taken care of everything else. And in doing so they've created the first essential game for Nintendo Switch.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Educational value: 2 out of 5
Positive messages: 3 out of 5
Positive role models: 3 out of 5
Ease of play: 3 out of 5
Violence: 3 out of 5
Sex: 1 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 1 out of 5
Consumerism: 0 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U
Developer: Nintendo of America
Release date: March 3, 2017
Genre: Role Playing
ESRB rating: E10+ for fantasy violence, mild suggestive themes, use of alcohol
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