I know. I guess you can call me a slowpoke, for I'm just now getting around to reviewing this wonderful game. I've had a slew of reasons for holding off on this review; I guess my job had a lot to do with it, and on top of that, I really wanted to immerse myself in the experience before giving my opinion. A lot of what I'm going to say has probably already been said by many professional and user reviewers before me, but even still. This review will be divided into two parts--the first part will be about the game itself, with part two detailing what I've noticed as different between the Switch and Wii U editions of Breath of the Wild.

As an obligatory note, I feel it is my duty to say that especially during the review portion of this write-up, I may get into spoiler territory. You have been warned. With that out of the way, let's begin!

Breath of the Wild: A magnificent journey from beginning to end

In June of 2011, Nintendo unveiled the Wii U during their E3 presentation, and the hardware announcement was welcomed and eagerly anticipated, though everything from the design choices to the name baffled many.  However, the one thing a lot of people agreed with was that the Zelda-themed tech demo showed a lot of promise, and at that moment people began getting their hopes up about what the Wii U Zelda entry could be like.  Fast forward to 2014, roughly a year or so after development actually began, and we all finally got a taste of how it would look.  We were all breath taken by its welcoming atmosphere, in a trailer where we see Link outrunning what would be known as a Guardian before it ends with him firing an arrow at it.

And now, let's go back to the present.  Breath of the Wild has been out since the beginning of March, it's no longer a Wii U exclusive, and it's being hailed as not only one of the best Zelda games, but also one of the greatest games of all time. While I have learned to become skeptical of such hype, after spending so much time with it, I have to agree.

Brief story synopsis: The game takes place roughly 100 years after an event in Hyrule called the Great Calamity. A dark and raucously nasty version of Ganon took over Hyrule and turned nearly all of the land into an utter wasteland in his wake.  After falling in battle, Princess Zelda has Link taken to a cave where he's placed into a chamber called the Shrine of Resurrection, where he remains asleep for 100 years, so that he may rest and restore his power to take on Ganon once and for all upon awakening.  Right from the game's beginning, Link is thrust headfirst into a truly open world version of Hyrule.  My first hour of gameplay consisted of learning the game's core mechanics, and about these mini-dungeon type of areas known as Shrines, which all 120 of are vital for maxing out your heart and stamina meters.

After completing the initial area's four Shrines and earning my Paraglider, the game basically said: "Okay Jack, you're on your own at this point."

Literally, too.  Once you've finished that first part of the game, you're pretty much all set to go on your own.  Those first four Shrines are essential because in each one Link acquires Rune abilities.  These abilities give the gamer the primary tools of survival and are absolutely essential for exploration.  Cryonis gives Link the ability to make ice blocks appear from waterways such as rivers, waterfalls, and ponds. Magnesis allows Link to lift heavy metal objects with zero effort.  Stasis allows Link to freeze an object in time. And of course, bombs make things go kablooie.

The rest of the game is entirely in your hands at that point.  You could either continue the game's main story, which consists of taking down these gigantic mobile dungeons known as Divine Beasts, or you can go rogue, completing the game's many shrines and heading toward the final boss. Heck, you could go for the final boss right from the starting point if you really wanted to! I personally wouldn't recommend it, but you could.

Either way, the game offers the richest experience I've found in a Zelda game, in terms of what you can do along the journey.  Breath of the Wild offers a vast assortment of side quests to satisfy your craving for more than just main story quests.  A cooking system puts all of your assorted food items to use and offers variety in terms of the results.  I was able to put together many different concoctions along the way.  Some of these meals offer nothing more than additional heart refills, while others can add more temporary hearts to your meter.  Others offer resistance to heat, cold, and shock.

Oh yeah, I should probably take the time to note that if you're not expecting it, you will die. A LOT. The game's weapons break after being used a certain amount of times, and you may lose health depending on whether you're in a cold environment like a snowy mountain, or if you're in a piping hot desert region. Heck, Link can get zapped to death if he happens to have metal weapons or shields equipped during a lightning storm! It pays to keep tabs on your surroundings, the weather patterns, and your health.  Link can find assorted clothing items in his journey.  Some of these items are purely cosmetic and offer nothing more than making Link look how he does in classic games such as Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time, while others offer actual benefits like resistance to certain temperatures, improved climbing and even the ability to see how much HP an enemy has. These clothing items can be upgraded through Great Fairies in exchange for certain materials.

With the wide variety of assorted quests and things to do, it's impossible to not enjoy what Breath of the WIld has to offer. It truly is among the higher tier games I've ever played and for good reason. The story has some wishing for more, but with story DLC heading our way later this year, I'm not complaining much.  Besides, there's just so much to explore and see in this adventure. I strongly recommend it.

Differences Between Wii U and Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available for both the Wii U and the Switch. I have heard many say that there really isn't much of a difference between the two versions and they're mostly right.  However, the differences that are there are important enough that I feel like briefly discussing them.

To get it out of the way... in terms of content, nothing has changed between Wii U and the Switch.  Both versions are identical in terms of content.  All of the quests, shrines, maps, layouts, and weapons are present in both versions. So, if you have a Wii U, you wanna play Zelda but you don't feel like buying a Switch, you're not missing anything.

In terms of resolutions and other technical aspects, the Switch iteration is superior.  Both the Wii U version and Switch version (while in Handheld mode at least) play in 720p.  However, once the Switch is docked to the TV, the game runs in 900p resolution.  As someone who played the Wii U version first and had gotten used to it, the difference was huge; colors seemed to pop out a lot more and it was overall just very pretty to look at when the Switch was docked. I had heard complaints about the frame rates, but as of the latest patch on the Switch, I didn't notice any real frame rate issues. It ran at a consistent enough frame rate that I didn't notice any drops if any existed. The same cannot be said on the Wii U though, where the frame rate took a noticeable dip when there was a lot going on, especially during enemy group encounters and when hanging around in villages.

The only other difference I feel is important to know involves motion controls.  While either version can be played with each system's respective Pro Controller for the most part, during certain shrines (and when using motion control to aim, which is entirely optional) the player must use motion control to solve the puzzle. This entire process feels way more convenient on the Switch.  During my time with the Wii U version, whenever I was in an Apparatus shrine, in order to continue I had to put down the Pro Controller, pick up the GamePad, use that to solve the motion-based puzzle, complete the shrine, then put the GamePad back and resume my quest with the Pro Controller.  On the Switch, that whole process is done away with because whether you're using the Joycons or the Pro Controller, motion control is baked right into it so you never have to switch controllers. As a bonus, amiibo figures can be scanned into the game utilizing these controllers, so it's very convenient.

So, which version should you go with?  For the technical aspects and the convenience factor, I say the Switch version is the best bet.  The game looks and plays great on this new system, and it definitely highlights what this fun little machine is capable of doing. Does this mean the Wii U version is unplayable? Absolutely not! The Wii U iteration is still just as fantastic if that's your only option for playing Breath of the Wild and you don't feel like investing money, time, or effort into finding a Switch right now.

Either way, you're still playing what is without a doubt one of the greatest games to have come out in recent years. It'll put a smile on your face, and it's absolutely difficult to stop playing once you get started.