It’s finally here. Nintendo fans have waited, gobbling up every piece of promotional material, watching every E3 stream, and scouring the internet for leaks. After years of this, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is actually here in our hands. Whether you get the game on Nintendo Switch or Wii U, you will be blown away by the many ways the game can surprise you. To help you in those first critical hours, we’ve put together this The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild beginner’s guide, full of tips for getting started in Nintendo’s massive game.
These tips are going to avoid spoilers completely, so feel safe reading them all. They are based on over 50 hours with the final game, which our review called on of the greatest games of all time. You will almost certainly love it, but the opening hours can be rough as you acclimate to the new formula that this game presents you with. So, here’s our tips for getting started in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
This is tip #1 for a reason. It is critical for a number of reasons that you should go slow in Breath of the Wild. This is for a number of reasons, including the fact that after the opening area you are able to go anywhere on the map. You won’t really want to do this though. Instead you’ll want to explore the area, maybe head toward the town described in the main quest, or just take a look at the zones around the Great Plateau, exploring, learning, and figuring out how this game will work.
It’s also important to just take your time and look around, appreciating everything that has went into this game. Breath of the Wild is a gorgeous experience in a number of ways. It is endlessly immersive, and features surprises around every corner. If you’re rushing through it, trying to take on Ganon as quickly as possible, you’re going to miss out. Besides, you’ll want to drink this whole game in and actually look back at key moments.
No, not the alphabet, and not “always be closing.” You’re not a salesman. Instead I have two tips for you to always keep in mind while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The first is: always be climbing. Climbing is a bit of a new mechanic in BotW, letting players literally get anywhere they want to go, as long as they climb effectively. But if you’ve played tons of Zelda games in the past, you’re kind of trained to see walls as walls and mountains as impenetrable things that you have to figure out some trick to get around. Not so with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Instead, if you run into a mountain you can just climb it. Run into a wall? Climb it. Want to see more of the surrounding area? You get the point. Still, it can’t be overemphasized just how big and important climbing is to the experience of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You need to learn how to do it well, how high you can climb for the stamina that you have, and what paths are best to take on mountains.
Next is to “always be cooking”. If you don’t know how to do this check out this guide, and this one that explains the better uses for cooking. Cooking is also new to the Zelda series, and it offers the best way for players to survive, even when they accidentally venture into tougher areas than they’re ready for. While adventuring around Hyrule you should be gathering up any item you see, as your ingredient inventory is limitless. Then whenever you run across a cooking pot you should stop and cook up anything and everything you have.
Mess around with this, combining items that might be beneficial to each other. Stack heart filling items with status stuff, always keeping in mind that Zelda’s cooking is based off of reality. Don’t go mixing everything, you need to think like an actual chef, putting items together that will work in a full meal.
Speaking of stamina, it’s a really important part of your character. It determines how far you can swim, how high you can climb, and how far you can glide. Still, after completing Shrines and visiting a Goddess statue you will be given the choice of whether to up your stamina gauge, or to get another heart container. Despite how important stamina is, my recommendation is to stick with hearts for a long time. I don’t want to give a reason, or a specific number, but choose hearts almost every time you can. I went with stamina one time before completing the game’s main mission, and that seemed to work well, but I could have went without the stamina boost a bit earlier. You can change your decisions later on, but at a cost, so just do what you think is best, which is likely to get more heart containers.
Once you escape the Great Plateau you are given the main quest for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You should follow this to start things off, as it gets you to a pretty safe and interesting area. Once you get there though, and start to get your bearings, you can quickly abandon the main quest and focus on side jobs or just exploring. Don’t go way too far, instead take your time and investigate anything interesting that you come across, especially Shrines.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath fo the Wild pioneers a lot of things for the open-world genre, but it’s also not afraid to borrow from its contemporaries. It does this in a number of ways, but the biggest is by having towers that you climb to pull in map data for the area. These are crucial to your exploration of Hyrule, and you should always go to them whenever you spot them and are near enough that it’s not a hassle. The map data is always helpful, giving you the lay of the land, and pointing you toward milestones. It also helps to be up so high, which you can then jump down from, using the paraglider to reach areas far from the tower. Before you do this though, you should scout around with your binoculars, tagging any Shrines or other spots you want to check out.
Breath of the Wild also adds in a lot more stealth abilities for Link. Stumbling across a group of Bokoblin usually results in immediate combat, but if you are quiet, careful, and slow you can usually swing some type of advantage your way. Either sneaking up for a first-strike, stealing their weapons so they have to fight you barehanded, or using some object in the environment to make fighting not even necessary. Remember your abilities here as well, sometimes you’ll find things you can manipulate or blow up.
Shortly after leaving the Great Plateau, Breath of the Wild will introduce you to horses. You can catch, tame, and ride these wild beasts, making travel faster and simpler. Here’s our guide on how to do that, in case you didn’t get to the tutorial. However, it is only helpful when you are in and travelling to an area that is accessible by horse. With climbing being so important to the Breath of the Wild experience, this is often not the case. Instead, fast traveling to completed Shrines is much faster, and then using the paraglider when possible will usually get you where you want to go. Still, you should have a good stable of reliable horses, so be sure to grab a couple of good ones and store them at the stables.
That’s it for now, but we’ll update this article with any other tips and tricks that we come up with for beginners of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions, or any tips of your own.