Literally before I started typing this I let out a huge sigh, not one for effect or setting some sort of tone for this article, no I am just exasperated by fanboys and haters as of late. This all started last week with people hopping on Metacritic to down vote the user score of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild because they felt the critical and user scores of this game were too high. Also note, most of these “bad reviews” of the game came from people who didn’t even play the game, which most of them freely admit. Then of course you have Zelda fanboys giving the game 10 out of 10 reviews even though they probably haven’t played enough of the game to give it an actual score. This is one of the main reasons why we have not yet posted a review score to the game because we were not gifted a Switch or a copy of the game early. Even though I’ve tossed in many, many hours in this game I’m not quite ready to put a review together.
So this leads me to controversial critic Jim Sterling. Yesterday his review of BoTW went up on his site the jimquisition.com and one would think he gave the game a 0 out of 10. When I saw the explosion on Twitter this morning I did think he killed the game in his review, but then, unlike the people killing him on Twitter, I read his review.
The long and the short of it is that he gave the game a 7 out of 10, which is a very good score, especially from Jim. He’s the Dark Souls of reviewers, tough but fair. I didn’t just look at the score mind you, I read through the review and you know what, he brings up so very good points about this game.
For one, the rendering of enemies at a distance. Jim relates to trying to raid an enemy base but didn’t realize just how dangerous it was because at the distance he was at he couldn’t see all the enemies. For me something similar happened when I was just gliding off of a tower to head to a shrine I had spotted. As I was getting closer to the ground I happened to land in the middle of a Bokoblin hunting party. I was surrounded by four of them on horse back. It was a pain in the ass and I died. It would have been nice to have actually seen them during my scouting of the area but the game couldn’t render them.
Also his criticisms of the weapons’ durability is sound. I think my biggest complaint of this game is that basically your weapons are seemingly made of glass. Even the stronger ones don’t seem to last as long as they should. Honestly I don’t mind the weapons breaking, it did do what I think Nintendo was going for and that was to get players to use a wide variety of weapons, but the weapons could have been more durable.
I do take umbrage with his feelings about the stamina meter. Though I’m not a huge fan of “stamina” meters in games I found this one to be manageable. Yes it would run down while running, climbing, gliding, and swimming, but would only run down during battle when you used a charged attack. So you could hack and slash until your heart is content. Unlike say a game both Jim and I loved, Nioh. In Nioh you stamina would lower during battle and when you exhausted it you’d be completely vulnerable. There were ways to avoid this in the game, but at least your stamina doesn’t run down in battles. Like I said I found it manageable and only a few times did it annoy me. Usually I made sure to have enough elixirs and meals to give me a stamina boost.
However, I do completely agree with his complaints about slipping. From time to time that would be something you’d have to deal with and rain making climbing difficult makes sense, but it rains way too much in this game and if there is some high place you need to climb but it’s raining, Jim says it best “Just wait, wait, wait until the game decides you can play it again.”
In the end Jim is just a reviewer, and I don’t mean that with any slight at all, but his opinion on this game will not effect your enjoyment of the game and Zelda is a big enough franchise that one 7 out of 10 review in a sea of 10 our 10’s will not effect sales one bit. I’m pretty sure most of the people who want this game have bought it by now, and those who have not will still probably buy the game when they have an opportunity.
What I’m saying here is, if you have a problem with a 7 out of 10 score of a game you love you might be taking the game too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Zelda franchise. I have owned every incarnation of this franchise on home console and have spent many, many hours playing them. Also, I consider this to be the best of the franchise, but I don’t hate or fault Jim for his opinion on this game. In fact what I’m saying here, is that it is okay to disagree with Jim on his score, but to try and take down his site (which took forever to load for me because of this) or bombard his Twitter with hate is just childish. If you truly disagree with Jim why not open an intelligent discussion with him and express why you disagree with him. He may concede to your points (probably not so don’t hold your breath) or offer up more evidence as to why he dislikes certain aspects of this game. Either way you’re not changing his mind and he’s probably not changing yours, just be an adult about it. One review won’t end the world.