How Master Mode is a reminder on why Breath of the Wild got 97 on Metacritic
If you are like me, you have probably already spent north of 100 hours on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At that point the game is still enjoyable, but it seemed to have lost a lot of the charm that it had when playing it in its earliest hours. In comes the Master Mode and it is quite likely that starting it, will make the magic suddenly reappear before you.
Getting out of the resurrection bath, I quickly noticed how much danger the presence of an enemy is now to Link. The weapons that you get early on barely affect enemies at all, especially with them now regenerating their health. As your weapons break, you are forced to be creative right from the start. It was an intense experience for me just trying to run around enemies as much as possible, while picking up everything that was lying around like arrows, food and clubs. Any single encounter was dangerous, as one hit by the enemy could already mean your death.
The wonderful thing about the game is, is that the autosave feature would always mean you restart right before the encounter, giving you another shot at it instantly. The game rarely, if ever, feels cheap; any of your deaths is your fault and the autosaves help you get better at the current fight.
Taking this in, an aspect on why the magic to the game has returned is because you are once again in danger. At over 20 hearts with decked out armor, you will be able to survive most hits and with fairies and Mipha’s Grace to give you a backup, you will probably start being less careful and the world loses a lot of the danger it once held. Now, back at the start of the game with very little equipment to spare and every fight now being much more risky than before, you will remember the sense of adventure this game brought to you.
This is especially true thanks to the weapon durability and the very limited weapon space right at the start of the game. An enemy encounter may just be economically unfeasable, since you could lose more of your weapons in the fight than gain back from it. This forces you to once again be inventive with your abilities and the environment.
A big strength of the game early on was being able to defeat enemies by hurling trees or boulders at them. This became obsolete in the later stages of the game, since simply fighting enemies was much more effective. Therefore, the environmental strategies are once again a big part of the game. I oftentimes tried to fight a pack of Bokoblins by kiting and throwing bombs at them in a way that they would be blown into the water. This killed them cost effectively and gave me a great sense of accomplishment, with the feeling of having just outsmarted the game. Check out the YouTube video here to see what I mean here more precisely.
When you are at your 100th shrine, the reward you gain from is the same as your first shrine; a single orb. At that point, you probably already have north of 20 hearts. It should be rather easy to imagine that the difference between 3 and 4 hearts is much more significant than the difference between 20 and 21 hearts. After all, the former is a 33% increase in the total amount vs the 5% increase in the latter. What I am trying to say here is that solving a shrine puzzle feels much more rewarding again.
This follows through to the chests and other items you collect on your journey. You have very little stuff at the start of the game, while you are probably decked out on stuff later on. Any treasure chests you may find late in the game probably contains an item that is worse than the stuff you already have on you. However, near the start of the game, every treasure chests you open has something cool in it, be it a gem, a weapon or something else entirely.
This next point applies more to the repeat playthrough rather than the master mode. A new savefile means that you get to do everything over, but you may just play the game completely differently and follow an alternative path that you could set for yourself. This makes the game still feel fresh, as your experience may just be quite a bit different on your second playthrough.
The game is fantastic with your first 50 hours of play, since it will always feel rewarding, be it either through a smart way to defeat an opponent or a cool item you find, and that is precisely the reason the game is one of the best reviewed games of all time. The game allows you to do the freedom to do what you want to do and this is where it is best at.
If you force yourself to do anything, you are playing this game wrong and this why some reviewers have voiced large concerns over the game being repetitive, but this is true for pretty much any game that takes over 50 hours to beat and forcing yourself to play through the entirety of it in just a couple of days will drain anyone’s stamina.
Overall I’m really glad I started to play the master mode, especially as it reminded me on what I enjoyed so much about the game in the first place. I’m definitely looking forward to see what more this game has in stock for me from this point onwards. The second expansion pack is coming up later this year too, at which point I will consider reviewing the game with its DLC. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and make sure to let me know in the comments below. Maybe even start a topic on our forums and let us know what you think of it and what you want to see improved. We could really use your feedback here!
All in all, take care I hope to see you around!
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