I’m going to have to be that guy that nominates Breath of the Wild.
When I started to play BotW, in June, I was very nervous. I’d watched some of Permadeath so I knew roughly what to expect. I’d read the articles about the game’s size, scope, freedom… And it made me anxious! I’ve never really played open world games before! And I do not do well when I’m presented with a blank canvas. I tend to freeze up, I choke. It’s something I’m trying to work on this year, including with some D&D sessions, but it often affects my play.
So while I was having a good time on the Great Plateau, I was also still nervous. The game was great, beautiful, but I didn’t feel enraptured like I had expected too. My nerves were getting in the way, there was a little voice telling me this wasn’t the game for me.
All of that changed as soon as I got the paraglider. I lept from the edge of the plateau, and landed directly on the road that leads to Kakariko village. As I fell, I saw the landscape open up around me. I landed, and immediately had to hide from a Moblin, the biggest enemy I’d seen thus far. I fought one, and I won. I started to run along the road, then stopped. I could see a ruin off to my left, so I went that way instead.
As I started to run around again, unconstrained by the feeling of tutorialising, a big stupid grin slowly crept over my face. Now I got it! Now I got how big the world is. Now I got what it meant to be free to explore. It all clicked into place, slowly but surely, as the game opened up to me. That’s probably the single best feeling I’ve had from games in a long time.