I think BotW lived up to the hype. While the critical acclaim, franchise record sales, and continuous talk about the game almost 3 years since it released speak for themselves, I can say, from my 100+ hours playing the game, that the game was/is a game changer. While its not the first open world game nor the one with the most original elements, its an open world game that really made discovery and adventure the heart of the game, With the concept of "open air," it allowed Link (and, in extension, the player) to explore the world of Hyrule in ways you probably could not have imagined back in previous Zelda games or in previous open world games. With other open world games, despite their acclaim, you could see there were some elements that held them back from being truly open world (i.e., the game giving you too many markers on a map, some areas you are restricted in going to beyond one way, etc.).
With the use of the hang-glider and the ability to climb walls, trees, etc., it allowed you to feel that you can get over almost any obstacle and discover areas and able to share it with others. No one can have the same story from their experience playing the game. I remember discovering the Lost Woods and the Master Sword for the first time as well as discovering places like Eventide Island or creating Tarrey Town through various quests. I also remember finding a dragon out of nowhere and finding my first 3* horse. Lots of great memories.
Last edited by Kai_Mao - on 07 January 2020
Of course, there are some issues and the game is not perfect. However, it creates an incredible template for future games. All in all, its an incredible game with a lot of leg room to get even better, which can be hard to believe. It shows why Zelda is an iconic franchise and it brought the Nintendo Switch to the forefront. Without BotW, would we see the Switch the way we do now?