The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Wii U (9/10)

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Zelda games had been in a bit of a rut lately (as in 2015 lately). Sure the games were good, but they followed the exact same formula that they have had since Ocarina of Time. Go to a dungeon, gain a new power, use that power to defeat the boss, and on to the next dungeon.

Breath of the Wild breaks the formula by going completely open-world and giving you most of your powers in the first few hours of the game. Instead of focusing on the next big task, you are free to take your time and explore the world.

While it’s not the most densely populated game world, there are tons of little tasks to accomplish. Unlike other openworld games, these aren’t simply collectable items floating here and there. You have to be observant (korok seeds, photos, chests) and you have to be able to use your wits and abilities (shrine quests, towers). At its core, the gameplay is good old-fashioned puzzle solving. The shrines are the best part of the game. They offer plenty of challenge and its always a nice sense of accomplishment to complete one. There’s also a bit of crafting (the bane of modern gaming) in its cooking system. My daughter spent most of her hours in the game cooking various stews and skewers. I blame her Tik-Tok attention span.

All this puts you on the path to building your strength, stamina, and inventory size—all things you need to fight off the monsters and, eventually, Calamity Ganon. If there is any flaw to the game it’s the uninteresting story. It gets the job done, but it’s as shallow as the Toh Yahsa swamp. I’m sure idiot Zoomers have spent hours “shipping” the various Hyrulian species characters together in their fanfic notebooks, but me, an aging Gen-X’er have no patience for this drivel.

In the end, although I probably ranked some of the older games higher, this is probably the best Zelda game in the series. It has much more replayability, more to do, and more to discover. As I type this, Tears of the Kingdom is tearing up the charts. Maybe someday I will get to that one, but I am holding out for the Wii U port. It’s the way the game was meant to be played.

Bayonetta on Nintendo Wii U (6/10)

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The WiiU is not known for much other than being a failure. The whole two screen thing doesn’t make any sense. Bayonetta is the first game I have played through on the system and is one of the few WiiU titles that was held in high regard. This game is part of a two pack that includes the sequel as well. I have only played part one.

Bayonetta is a spazzy game for spazzy people. After playing Devil May Cry 4 I was pretty sure I disliked this style of fighting game. There’s just way too much going on and it feels like button mashing after a while. I was ready to give up and then things sort of clicked with me about five chapters in to the game. I came to accept that exploration is meaningless, the story in nonsense, and you only move around the world as a means of getting to the next fight. Your goal is to keep replaying old levels in an attempt to perfect your scores and gain more money. By approaching it like a casual arcade game, there is some fun to be had.

But eventually, tedium begins to take hold again in the last third of the game. It becomes an endless repetition of the same types of fights, and just when you think you’ve beaten the final boss, there’s another larger creature waiting. Worst of all, the game will not save your progress mid-level so, after that intense battle, you can’t stop and take a break lest you have to do it again. No wonder to demographic for this style of games is Mountain Dew chugging tweakers.

And a final note about the story: It’s a confusing mess probably written by a mentally-challenged manga fan.