Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first Zelda game I finished. I put a couple hundred hours into it before I moved on. It's a great game from a technical standpoint, but man is it full of some game design decisions that really, really bring it down. But let's talk about what I loved:
Bow mechanics: Super solid. Fun to play, I like how I could collect arrows that missed their targets. I love games with great bow mechanics, it's super satisfying. Probably why I loved Tomb Raider and Horizon as much as I did.
Time of day affecting enemies: I liked how enemies appeared/interacted differently based on whether it was day or night. Made for a nice change of pace, and beating a guy's friends to death with his leg was pretty great.
Weapons/Amour actually visible/used by enemies. It was pretty neat coming across one of those giant trolls (Hinox?) that were sleeping and seeing a necklace full of different weapons and shields that you could steal from him while he slept. Also, cool that you could pick up weapons/shields the enemies used when they died. Nice touch.
Attention to detail: It's neat how many little things have been done that makes me think how neat it was they thought of that. Creating Tarrey town was a bit of fun I guess. A decent distraction. Too many little things to list. In fact, almost too many... which brings me to the things I didn't like
- Shrines: Terrible. Felt like an afterthought. Very quickly became a giant chore, and incredibly samey. I would have stopped bothering with them pretty quickly into the game if it wasn't the only way to increase health/stamina. And there's over 100 of them so be prepared to spend hours doing the same handful of types of shrines over and over and over...
- Weapon Durability - complete and total shit. There's nothing redeeming about that. Every weapon literally disposable despite its uniqueness and abilities, so if you come across something awesome? Don't get used to it, don't get attached. What's that? The fish people gave you two legendary tridents that shatter like glass after being used a couple dozen times? What's so legendary about that? Same goes for the bows or the hammers or whatever you get. They're nice weapons, but they're so fragile that they're not worth "repairing or restoring". by spending a fucking diamond to "restore them" and stick these fragile pieces of glass on the wall of your house because looking at them is about all they're worth.
- Korok seeds: Fuck you. Nothing like forcing players to crawl over every nook and cranny of the game and "solve" some of the most obvious puzzles ever for the privilege of carrying around more pieces of glass the games call weapons. I lost track of the number of time I had to put some fruit in some bowl-type thing because it was obvious it was going to give me a seed. Ohh and those item slots? They cost more seeds every time you buy one because who would want to carry around dozens of weapons and shields when they wear out so quickly?
- Guardians/Ganon Forms/Calamity Ganon - too weak vs Guardian Weapons/Master Sword. If you defeat all of the divine beasts before the fight Ganon is difficult to not beat on your very first try. In fact, I had a harder time with the Lynel I encountered in Hyrule castle than I did with Ganon himself. Then again, once you master parrying/redirecting guardian lasers the entire game is just easy mode as long as you have the right weapons/shields at your disposal.
- Hiding DLC behind Amiibo that might require using that Amiibo once a day for weeks, if not months to get all of the unique items that are locked away exclusively behind that Amiibo for no good reason. I know this isn't a Zelda-specific, but it still totally blows and is annoying as shit.
- The stasis/object launch mechanic. Too difficult to be accurate with it and too many instances that required a disturbing amount of precision.
- Story: What story? There's puddles on my street deeper than the story in this game. This also felt like a total afterthought, especially the whole picture location thing. Forgettable, boring, story.
-Cooking/Recipes - fuck memorizing recipes. Ain't nobody got time for that, especially when you go weeks between play sessions.
- Sparse world: Better get a horse because walking around is going to get you boring of the sparse terrain very quickly. You could probably make the map 20-30% smaller without detracting from the gameplay or experience at all.
- Rain: Need to get anywhere while it's raining? I hope it doesn't involve climbing. If so, you might as well just wait it out. You're not going anywhere. Also, the fact that you become an instant lightning rod for carrying metal weapons in your hand (but not on your person, that's fine) is also annoying.
- Blood moon: Thought you were purging the world of evil? lol jk all of those enemies you killed are now alive again - sometimes during the middle of a battle. I guess they had to come up with some way of replenishing all those weapons you're going through, and I mean, why put the effort into tracking the items across the world when you can just reset them when Link interacts with enough to start causing problems.
I could probably go on.
It does what it intends to do with a polish and refinement that is second to none, but how it forces you to play the way Nintendo wants you to play in an open world game? That doesn't do it for me. Like great, you can go take on Ganon as soon as you get off the plateau - speedrunners everywhere thank Nintendo. Try playing the game without feeling compelled to explore every nook and cranny in the world. Try to "collect" the best weapons and armor in the game so you can be so OP you can go anywhere on the map and stomp anything? Can't be done. You're just as capable of taking on a Lynel at the beginning of the game as you are at the end of it - the only real difference is maybe you discovered/bought some armor set or did enough shrines to take more hits.
The more I played it, the less I loved the game. Maybe it was the hype, but I kept expecting this to be one of the greatest games ever, and for me, it's very clearly nowhere close to that. I have incredibly high expectations. I was expecting it to be so addictive I couldn't put it down and would be bummed when I finally decided to face ganon because the game would be "over". Never happened. I felt more of that playing Golf Story. It has too many weaknesses and flaws to be placed in that tier for me. And many people here are literally saying it's the greatest game ever made, and I just scratch my head.
But that's just me though.