Nintendo officially launches their latest console, the Nintendo Switch, on Friday, March 3rd along with the highly anticipated launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So while you will likely only get your hands on both the system and the game if you pre-ordered them early on, a relative few folks out there in the world have had them long enough to give earnest reviews of both. And depending on when you’re reading this, you can even watch Twitch streamers like King Gothalion, witwix, Tangent and others take an early crack at the game.
But if you want to know if The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is worth shelling out a substantial amount of rupees for the system and the game, or if you just want to see how it stacks up to beloved games in the franchise, you’re in luck! We’ve gathered up some early reviews to do just that. It’s currently sitting at a Metascore of 98 on Metacritic, which is just behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time‘s score of 99. High praise, indeed! The consensus seems to be that Breath of the Wild excels in its open-world design, its seemingly limitless opportunities for exploration, and a return to the franchise’s adventurous beginnings without all the hand-holding fairy trainers. One negative, at the moment, seems to be a technical limitation: the framerate struggles in certain areas of the vast world of Hyrule. A small price to pay for what is shaping up to be one of the best Zelda games of all time.
Here’s a look at some of the early reviews for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with many more superlative scores to be found here:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterclass in open-world design and a watershed game that reinvents a 30-year-old franchise. It presents a wonderful sandbox full of mystery, dangling dozens upon dozens of tantalizing things in front of you that just beg to be explored. I’ve had so many adventures in Breath of the Wild, and each one has a unique story behind what led me to them, making them stories on top of stories. And even after I’ve spent more than 50 hours searching the far reaches of Hyrule, I still manage to come across things I haven’t seen before. I’ll easily spend 50 to 100 more trying to track down its fascinating moments. – Jose Otero
Giant Bomb (5/5 Stars):
Every night, I sat on the couch and played until I genuinely couldn’t stay awake any longer. Every morning, I couldn’t get out of bed and turn on the Switch fast enough. Near the end, I found myself getting sad as I climbed the final towers and saw the map fill in. This Hyrule gave me such a profound sense of discovery, and I never wanted the mysteries to end … This sense of wonder is something that I haven’t felt so strongly since I played A Link to the Past when I was seven years old. Ocarina of Time was able to capture some of that same magic in my teenage years. Now that I’m in my thirties, I don’t think that I expected it to be possible for a game to make me feel like that again. I’ve been reviewing video games for twelve years now, and I’m used to describing games in a certain way. “This game controls well. This mechanic is innovative. The graphics are stunning. The skill tree feels limited.” That type of language doesn’t adequately convey how Breath of the Wild made me feel. Nintendo may have changed so many long-standing traditions of the Zelda franchise, but the spirit of discovery is as strong as it’s ever been no matter your age. I didn’t think I’d feel the Zelda magic this strongly ever again, but I couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong. – Dan Ryckert
I haven’t finished Breath of the Wild yet. It’s scale is unprecedented for a Zelda game, and it encourages you to move slowly. I want to honor that. And while I fear that the sheer breadth of the experience might ultimately push some players away, I’m relishing my time spent in this hushed, half-dead Hyrule. After thirty years of The Legend of Zelda, I’m delighted that the series has finally lost its way again. – Julie Muncy
I guess, in the end, it’s not just that Breath of the Wild signals that Zelda has finally evolved and moved beyond the structure it’s leaned on for so long. It’s that the evolution in question has required Nintendo to finally treat its audience like intelligent people. That newfound respect has led to something big, and different, and exciting. But in an open world full of big changes, Breath of the Wild also almost always feels like a Zelda game — and establishes itself as the first current, vital-feeling Zelda in almost 20 years. – Arthur Gies