I continue to be amazed by this game. Not just from the weird little discoveries that seemingly exist throughout the world, but also by the ingenuity of the puzzles and set pieces. In completing the first Guardian Beast dungeon, I’ve been amazed at how well it came together. It’s one large, continuous, perfectly designed puzzle that is both challenging and then upon completion, obvious. Which is really the best type of puzzle.
It’s not difficult to make an easy or an incredibly obtuse puzzle. But neither of these is satisfying, and the latter is just grating. You can tell when a puzzle is obtuse, because when you learn the solution, you’re more frustrated than anything else (the old Police Quest games are seared into my brain with those moments. Who would inspect the tires before getting in a car!). And then there are challenging puzzles, where upon learning the solution, everything clicks into place, and you kick yourself for not figuring it out sooner. That sensation of how it feels after learning the solution, is how I judge puzzles, and by that measure BOTW is fantastic.
Of course, there are some Nintendo styled limitations that seem both arbitrary and antiquated (and maybe a little endearing). For example, you can only mark 100 places on your map, and with the map itself, it can be difficult to remember where you’ve been and where you haven’t. Cooking, while fun, is a grind (although I don’t know any games that have really gotten this right). And yet these are small complaints, and realizing how much detail went into this game, were probably intentional and debated thoroughly.