The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
In the first few moments of Breath of the Wild, Link cranks open a treasure chest to find a simple shirt and a pair of pants, both holding a slight incremental boost to Link's base statistics. For decades, The Legend of Zelda has comfortably resided in its own conventions, choosing to switch out art styles or unveil complicated split-timeline narratives instead of fundamentally reexamining its gameplay. That will change in March, as Nintendo welcomes their greatest franchise into a strange, wild, open world. You crawl out of a dirty tomb and behold a Hyrule in a state of wondrous ruin, spread out as far as the eye can see.
When I started playing, I noticed a distant waypoint on my mini-map. I ignored it and directed my newly awoken Link to an ominous skull-shaped cave. "Maybe don't go in there," a Nintendo rep warns, "there's a mini-boss who will kill you in two hits."
Per Zelda tradition, you start the game with three hearts. You will undoubtedly find a Master Sword and eventually kill some version of Ganon, but beyond that, I frankly have no idea of what to expect, and that's exciting. It's never easy for a classic to undergo a drastic overhaul, and yeah, on paper, a Zelda that blends elements from Diablo, Minecraft, and Dark Souls might sound like it's painting by the numbers. But at least for me, that cynicism faded as soon as I took in its mythic scope. I'm certainly not the only one that's been waiting for a Zelda game to thrill me the way Ocarina of Time did back in the day. There was a lot of good stuff at the Switch event, but nothing nearly as arresting as Breath of the Wild.