7 Changes Breath of the Wild 2 Needs to Make
Several months have passed since Nintendo announced Breath of the Wild 2, and speculation about the sequel continues to mount. Breath of the Wild recently become the best selling Zelda title of all time; however, fans are beginning to question how Nintendo will push the limits of the series with its next installment. Although Eiji Aonuma and staff reignited the series by incorporating elements from modern open-world classics, the Zelda team still has room to grow. The physics engine and open-world layout are second-to-none; nevertheless, the development team can improve several mechanics. While we wait for more Zelda news from Nintendo, we have identified seven changes that we hope to see in the Breath of the Wild sequel. Enjoy!
1. Weapon & Shield Crafting
Cooking was one of the most unique mechanics in Breath of the Wild. Link could use almost any consumable item to cook meals and potions that replenished hearts, boosted stats, and reloaded stamina. While this system replaced bottles and potions, one glaring absence was the ability to craft bonuses for weapons and shields. Instead of incorporating a crafting system, Aonuma decided to utilize RNG. Certain enemies dropped weapons and shields with increased buffs, such as increased attack or defense and increased durability. This approach was unique and frustrating because players did not want to needlessly break weapons with stat bonuses.
Unbeknownst to many fans, crafting is not new to the Zelda series. Aonuma and crew toyed around with a watered-down version in Skyward Sword; however, our hope is that Breath of the Wild 2 allows players to craft bonuses into weapons and shields using a mechanic similar to cooking. Doing so would remove RNG elements that frustrate fans and give additional purpose to consumable items.
2. Better Rewards
The side quests and combat challenges in Breath of the Wild were exceptional, but the rewards for completing a fetch quest or taking down a camp of enemies left a lot to be desired. Most overworld treasure chests contained rupees or consumable items, such as arrows or gems. While Link could purchase goods from towns and stables with the rewards, the actual completion of quests and combat was more gratifying. Bottom line: Players deserve a better incentive to complete quests and defeat encampments of enemies.
While we do not have a perfect solution, our hope is that the BOTW sequel surprises us in a unique way, such as rewarding players with extra lore or insight into historical events. Fans are already dying to know about new areas and people in Hyrule, and the answer could be to use this information as a reward for side quests and combat challenges. Speaking of lore.
3. Lore Items
While the memories and accompanying cut-scenes were an ingenious method of storytelling in Breath of the Wild, they paled in comparison to the few diaries scattered across the world. Reading Zelda and King Rhoam’s diaries in the ruined Hyrule Castle added depth, personality, and understanding to these important characters. We learned how King Rhoam felt guilty about raising Zelda without a mother and how Zelda’s relationship with her father impacted the way that she treated Link. The sequel should take a page out of this book (pun-intended) and integrate more lore into the game.
The Dark Souls series accomplishes this feat in an elegant way. Instead of lengthy dialogue with an NPC or book, item descriptions tell most of the background story. This method affords players the option to either read the description or simply ignore it, and Breath of the Wild 2 could seamlessly incorporate this system with its Compendium sub-menu. Regardless of how Aonuma and company add lore to the sequel, we hope that the Zelda team finds a way to make it happen.
4. NPC Affinity Chart
Breath of the Wild harkened back to Majora’s Mask with its inclusion of NPCs. Instead of aimlessly scattering NPCs across the world, the Zelda team did an admirable job of using NPCs to add validity to different portions of Hyrule. Characters told stories about each other, expressed complex emotion, and even told secrets. Although BOTW’s NPCs were reminiscent of Majora’s Mask, there was one glaring omission: The Bombers Notebook. Instead of offering a sophisticated means of tracking NPCs, BOTW forced players to rely on memory alone.
While the Bomber’s Notebook was a creative solution in 2000, there is a better way to keep track of NPCs. Xenoblade Chronicles utilized an Affinity Chart system, which displayed NPC locations along with the relationship to other characters. A similar solution would not only help players keep track of characters but also provide additional outlets for side quests and narrative options.
Speaking of Xenoblade Chronicles. For those who have not played the game, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020 so be sure to check out this editorial.
5. Magic Meter
It has been nearly two decades since we last saw the magic meter in a Zelda title. Once a staple in Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and the Wind Waker, the magic meter originally functioned to provide a “consumable” aspect to special weapons, such as magic armor and fire arrows. The magic meter was soon replaced in favor of other mechanics, such as hidden sword skills in Twilight Princess and unique medals Skyward Sword. The irony is that early versions of Breath of the Wild intended to reintroduce the magic meter. While we may never know Aonuma’s intentions during the early stages of development, the magic meter was omitted in favor of other mechanics.
Breath of the Wild 2 needs to bring back the magic meter for a variety of reasons; however, the most important justification is that the magic meter could add a dose of realism for the elemental weapon class. Instead of element rods breaking after several uses, developers could use magic as the “consumable” component of this weapon class. Doing so would also open the possibility of crafting elemental arrows and swords. Fingers crossed.
6. Consumable Item Storage
The lack of a storage system in Breath of the Wild is awkward. There is no other way to explain it, and the game suffers from a slight identity crisis as a result. The most noticeable example is the number of arrows scattered across the world. The player can carry 999 of each arrow type at one time; however, the game seems to limit the number of arrows available in shops as the number of arrows on-hand increases. Nintendo even released a patch that limited arrow drops from Bokoblins and other enemies.
A simple solution is to limit the number of consumables that Link can carry while simultaneously integrating a storage system. Western RPGs, such as Skyrim and Diablo, feature a similar system that forces players to manage inventory levels. Instead of manipulating enemy drops and shop inventories, Breath of the Wild 2 needs an item storage system.
7. Underwater Exploration
Lake Hylia is an iconic staple of the Zelda franchise for many reasons, but the most notable reason is the depth that it added when the series transitioned to 3D. Plunging into the depths of the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time created a sense of wonder and exploration never before witness in a video game. Twilight Princess then expanded the depths of Lake Hylia in ways that were equally impressive and breathtaking. Upon first glance, players were initially hopeful that Breath of the Wild would feature a similar experience. Much to the chagrin, the watery depths of Hyrule were simply reserved as a “Game Over” screen for running out of stamina while swimming.
Whether by utilizing the Zora Armor or a cooking potion, Breath of the Wild’s sequel needs to reintroduce underwater exploration to the series. Doing so not only adds depth to the world but also creates opportunities for additional towns, species, and enemies.
Regardless of whether Nintendo needs our advice, fans of the Zelda franchise can be assured of one thing: Aonuma and Crew will likely “wow” us in unimaginable ways. The next Nintendo Direct will likely have more news about the Zelda sequel, and we cannot wait.
But we want to hear from you. What changes do you want to see in Breath of the Wild 2? Let us know in the comments section below or the social media links to the right. Subscribe to our newsletter on our Home page to stay on top of all the latest video game news and editorials. Cheers!