I finished the main quest of Zelda: BotW a couple days ago. It's the first open-world game I've played to completion, and it was definitely one of the best gaming experiences I've had in a while. I'm proud to say that I discovered all of the hard-to-find stuff on my own, and that I played almost all the way to the very end before consulting any guides, and that was to find one last shrine that ended up being in plain sight in a spot I'd detoured around before. I say proud because the game is just so huge and packed with stuff (except when it's not*) that it's hard to resist the urge to use a guide to make sure you don't miss anything.
For me, the game scratched a lot of itches that fit with my somewhat ADHD personality. For example: Got a lead on where to go next in the main quest. Cool. Here I g-- Hey, are those mushrooms over there? (Two minutes later) OK. Here I go now. Huh? What's that light on top of that mountain over there? Let me go climb it and check. (Ten minutes later). OK, NOW I can move on with-- Hey! A monster camp! (rinse and repeat). Basically, the game lets you get away with (and actually rewards you for) putting off the stuff you're supposed to do in order to take care of other distractions. And the best part is that you can do it guilt free, since the whole game itself is one big distraction anyway.
*There's quite a bit of open space in the game, but then again, that's true in the real world, too.
- Beautiful, believable world that feels lived in.
- The dynamic soundtrack is pretty genius. Minimal, yes, but appropriate.
- So much freedom to do whatever. They weren't kidding when they said it's a big chemistry set.
- The combo of climbing and paragliding is probably the most satisfying exploration mechanic ever. Shield surfing is OK too.
- Just when you think you've discovered all there is to find... Nope. There's another new thing.
- Starts to feel a bit monotonous once you stop finding so many new things.
- The story is just OK. Zelda was fine, but the other characters could have used a lot more development.
- Upgrading all your armor to the max makes you OPAF, although I guess maybe that's the point.
On that last bad point, the only reason I call it bad is that once I outfitted myself with all the best stuff, monster encounters, which at first felt like a real fight for Link's life, felt way too easy. I almost felt sorry for the monsters. Even the final showdown felt really easy. On the other hand, maybe that's the point. You start out with nothing, and then through time and effort get to the point where you're basically invincible.
*Minor spoilers below*
The best moment in the game for me was probably when I destroyed a guardian stalker for the first time. Guardian stalkers are those spider-like machines that walk around in certain areas of the game. One was featured in the trailer. They're terrifying early on in the game, because they're fast, this really creepy, frantic music starts playing whenever you get spotted by one, after which it will immediately start training its laser on you, and that laser that can kill you in one hit.
I killed my first one after getting a special weapon that can one-shot them. As it was getting ready to fire at me, I looked it right in the eye,
aimed, and fired. A cool, bass drum-heavy theme played, and it blew up. So satisfying.
I would recommend this game to anybody who's a fan of the Zelda series, Minecraft, or open-world games in general. I really do think it's one of the best games ever made, and I'm really excited for the DLC.