You will be hard pressed to find somebody who dislikes Nintendo’s latest offering. Link’s most recent adventure, which has been enjoyed by millions for a little over a month now, has seen both fans and critics raving relentlessly about its humongous scope and mostly flawless execution of gameplay. It is this aforementioned humongous scope however that often creates a plethora of problems within many games, as it frequently overloads players with content that can rarely be completed. For this reason, Breath of the Wild’s most wonderful accomplishment is that it doesn’t fall into this trap, and instead delivers the perfect experience for those looking to 100% complete the entire adventure.
On a personal note, I invested almost 100 hours into completing all 76 side quests, which includes conquering all 120 shrines, and fully upgrading the most advanced armour sets to provide Link the sturdiest defence possible. Every step of the way, Breath of the Wild never fought against me, and instead encouraged me to continue in my endeavour. The small details packed into its stunning design supports players such as myself, who have no intention of putting down the controller in a hurry after defeating Calamity Ganon, and instead wish to experience every facet of enjoyment that the lush and varied landscape of Hyrule has to offer.
Many acclaimed RPG series, such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, offer countless varieties of challenges to players. Unfortunately, choosing to overcome one of the said challenges will often block another from ever being accessed, preventing the often desired achievement of 100% completion. Being in the knowledge that the completion of a specific side quest will permanently ban you from accessing another, for example, isn’t always a pleasant reality. Whilst it may provide weight to your decisions, sometimes said weight serves to contribute little more than stress and eventual frustration upon experiencing the realisation that your completion percentage will never rise above 96%. Breath of the Wild achieves the perfect balance of offering almost limitless choice in how you approach your own unique adventure, but without imposing any of the anxiety inducing decision permeance that certain other RPGs do. You can feel free to tackle side quests in any order that you may desire, with no resulting consequences about your decisions. On that same note, you can feel free to chop down trees and burn grass to your heart’s content, because it will all respawn to a flawless state upon you leaving the area. Finally, should you acquire irreplaceable equipment (such as the Master Sword or Champion’s Tunic), you will be prevented from selling or dropping it. This means that anything falling into the category of rare can be replaced (assuming you have enough rupees and materials in your inventory).
On one occasion during my adventure, I completed a shrine quest prior to speaking with the character that provides it to you. Regardless, upon locating and exchanging dialogue with them afterwards, the quest became unlocked and immediately marked as completed within the game’s menu. This experience further cements the fact that Breath of the Wild will not prevent you from achieving 100% completion simply for approaching its challenges in an unconventional order.
During your progression through Breath of the Wild’s extensive completion checklist, you will gradually unlock indicators of the number of side quests and shrine quests you have yet to complete, and an overall completion percentage on your map. Korok seeds that have been discovered also appear on said map, along with a treasure chest icon next to any shrine that has been explored from top to bottom. All the while throughout your journey alongside Link, it consistently feels like Breath of the Wild legitimately desires you to experience all that it has to offer, and it is more than prepared to help you accomplish that along the way by providing its content in organised, digestible morsels. It is something that other RPGs should take note of, and it should most certainly become the standard for all games moving forward. If a player shows respect towards a game by investing countless hours immersing themselves in its world, it is only fair that the game respects the player in return by allowing them to experience every slice of content it has to offer. Breath of the Wild understands this in full, and it is one of the many reasons why it has raised the bar tremendously for open world games.