Tag Archives: Breath of the Wild

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year: Tolkien Reading Day!

Part of me regrets not spending every spare moment of the week on a Lord of the Rings marathon, but part of me feels that what I’ve been doing with my free time is just as appropriate.

It’s been hard to peel myself away from Breath of the Wild. Whenever I have a spare moment (and my husband isn’t playing it), I’ve been exploring the vast landscape and basically doing all I can to save the world one quest at a time. (Fortunately, the times when my husband is playing mean that my writing doesn’t completely suffer.)

However, such fantasy would never exist without Tolkien’s influence. I happened across a Newsweek article that said as much. (Check out “How J.R.R. Tolkien Redefined Fantasy Stories” here.) Tolkien didn’t invent fantasy, but his works defined the genre. It simply wouldn’t be what it is today without him. Which means that the game that I’m playing would be nothing like it is without him.

As usual, though, I’ll give pause to read my favorite passage (and likely more than that when it’s all said and done). There’s something so beautiful about the climax in The Return of the King, Book VI, in the last part of chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4. After everything that the characters have endured, this is the moment that changes Middle-earth forever. (And for anyone who’s read The Silmarillion, you know just how long this conflict with Sauron has been going on.)

The Fall of Sauron

One of the best parts : )

So here’s to this year’s Tolkien Reading Day, the anniversary of the Fall of Sauron, and Tolkien’s lasting influence on our world.

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Five Hours into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Or perhaps the more apt title is “love is letting your husband have first dibs on playing your favorite video game.”

In either case, the newest Legend of Zelda installment (and the newest Nintendo game console) are the newest additions to our household, and so far, we are enjoying both. It’s not what I was expecting.

Normally, I’m excited about any Zelda game. (Okay, for full disclosure, I really jumped on the bandwagon with Ocarina of Time. I played a little of Link to the Past before that, but even as an adult, I really struggle with top-down games. And platformers. 3D Zelda is more my pace.) As more news came out about this one, though, two things really worried me.

1. Voice Acting

In most games, it feels just fine. However, Zelda has always been more like a living fairy tale to me. Characters only communicate verbally through sighs, grunts, giggles, or in rare cases, babbling. The rest is text. There’s something charming about it. The series wouldn’t be the same if everyone actually spoke. And, as an introvert, I’m not entirely sure I want that many characters verbally talking at me since I love to start conversations with everybody.

2. Completely New Format

Ever since the groundbreaking Ocarina of Time, the games have all been fairly linear and followed a similar format. Sometimes you have options and there are plenty of sidequests, but for the most part, the story tells you where to go and what to do next. Breath of the Wild promised to be very different, with a more open world, some decidedly different dynamics, and — most daunting of all — it’s hard. Just in case I didn’t have enough trouble with those awful water temples…

By release day, I felt skeptical. Had they ruined my favorite game series?

The verdict so far: no.

Actually, far from it. The voice acting is minimal — restricted so far to a few cutscene-like moments. Otherwise, it’s the normal mix of sounds and text.

And in spite of the open world, there still is a path to follow. Sure, you could go do just about anything you wanted to, but you’re not completely left on your own to survive and figure it out. There’s even a new menu with different quests and what you’re supposed to do… something I wished there was long ago.

As for the difficulty, it’s a far more forgiving game than any of the others. Since I could fall off a cliff because I’m not used to climbing everything or could wander into a camp of moblins I’m not prepared for, the game seems to be constantly saving in the background and will respawn me not far from where I died. Even when I died five or six times trying to cross a river, the autosave was only steps from where I kept messing up, making it easy to try again. And again. And again.

And a fun side note: So far, my husband and I have had two very different experiences so far. I’ve encountered things he hasn’t seen (like keeses) and tried things he didn’t do (like hunting). So even when I do watch him play for a little while, I don’t feel like I’m cheating myself for later, and he doesn’t get bored watching me follow because there’s something new to see.

So even though I’m only five hours in (and waiting patiently for my next turn on), I like it. In spite of my fears, I think they may just have created the newest revolution in the Zelda series. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the game holds.

Do you play The Legend of Zelda games? What do you think of Breath of the Wild so far?


Some Thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Last week was E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). Most years, there’s something that catches my interest, and this year was no exception. I had heard rumors that there would be more information on the newest Legend of Zelda game, but I had some major concerns.

One of the things that separates Zelda from other games is the way that it feels like being inside of a book. And like in the pages of a book, the characters don’t (generally) speak aloud. They grunt, gasp, and giggle, but all of the dialogue is written, not spoken aloud.

More recently, some companions babble (specifically Fi and Midna) when giving the gamer direction. And there’s no forgetting Navi (from Ocarina of Time), who had three phrases that she repeated over and over again. (“Hey, listen!”) But that’s been the extent of it. Otherwise, I get to read the dialogue at my own pace: racing through when I’m ready to get to the next action sequence or slowly digesting the words when I want more time.

So when I heard that there was voice acting in the newest game and that the general formula was being changed, I got worried. Would they break my favorite game series?

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