There’s always a danger in these open world games that exploration is not, or is barely, rewarding. Grand Theft Auto V has this issue with the mountainous areas. All too often I’d scale a mountain, get a nice view, and then find there’s nothing else to do other than trek back down. Worst of all was when you lose/trash your vehicle somehow on a peak, there’s not another vehicle around for miles and no way of getting a taxi back to civilisation… ugh. Yes, I’m saying GTA needs to have paragliders.
When we ended our playthrough yesterday, we had just set foot in Kakariko Village. Our second Breath of the Wild play session saw us explore Kakariko Village thoroughly, climb to the top of a nearby mountain peak, and paraglide all the way to another village some distance away.
Let’s start with Kakariko, and the villages more generally. Both of them are fairly small but densely populated with shops and residences. There are residents walking around, who are active in the day and sleep at night, a bit like Skyloft in Skyward Sword. The world is seamless so you can go inside and outside without any loading, which is an impressive touch. In Kakariko, you get some main story info. The story so far is minimal – more a general setup than anything too involving – exactly how I like my Zelda games.
After exploring some of Kakariko Village, I scaled the heights of surrounding hills. My exploration brought me to the top of an enormous peak, which is always a good thing in this game as it lets you survey your surroundings and mark shrines and towers on your map. It also feels great to paraglide off to your next destination – from a big peak like the one I was on, I was able to glide practically all the way to yet another village. This next village, I should say, feels just as alive and interesting as Kakariko. I went into residences, checking out all the details and accepting sidequests from characters there. The sidequests, admittedly, don’t appear to be anything spectacular, but the characters are expressive and fun.
The towns feel alive in a way that reminds me of Okami, which were probably my favourite part of that game, so this is also a big plus. Both the unpopulated expanses and the populated towns and villages have something to offer. I am loving the amount of time and effort that has gone into designing every, single aspect of this gaming experience – especially the travel. Nothing feels like a fetch quest with a paraglider.