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Playing Zelda on Nintendo Switch: Big world, small screen


The Nintendo Switch gets a solo masterpiece with Breath of the Wild, and its quiet grandeur feels like a Miyazaki film.
We’ve played Link’s latest adventure on the Switch, and it’s big. Real big.
I’ve played Zelda games on the Nintendo 3DS, and DS and Game Boy Advance. I’ve played Zelda games on the GameCube, Wii and Wii U. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild arrives as an unusual launch game for the Nintendo Switch , because the Switch isn’t exactly a pure handheld or TV console. It’s a tweener. As I played Breath of the Wild, I realized that changed the way I approach the game, too.
I’ve only played about five hours so far (which is all I’m allowed to talk about, anyway), but it’s already gotten better at every step.
Breath of the Wild is a huge game, an open-world game. It feels oddly wide open compared with other Zelda experiences. I wake up, I wander around…and where do I go next? The landscape feels imposing, and I realize quickly I can go almost anywhere in it. Link can climb huge cliffs. Stamina becomes the major factor in how high you can climb, or how far you can swim.
Wandering becomes a theme.
The game also starts with a supreme sense of loneliness. It’s me and nature. The sounds of Breath of the Wild come through strongly: birds and breezes, soft rustlings. I’m not great with open-world games and my sense of purpose.

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