The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Really Needs a Zora Mask

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Really Needs a Zora Mask

OPINION: Tingle dress-up time is great, but we need a faster way to travel through Hyrule's huge bodies of water.

One of the things I love most about Zelda games is – well, let's call it "mask culture."

Masks feature in many Legend of Zelda titles, both prominently and subtly. From the Helmasaur boss in A Link to the Past to the wretched Skull Kid in the eponymous Majora's Mask, you don't have to look very closely in Hyrule (or its various satellite worlds) to find someone who has a reason for covering up their face.

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I especially love how the beleaguered citizens of Lorule in A Link Between Worlds wear masks as part of a superstitious ritual to keep monsters at bay. It's an interesting way to recycle A Link to the Pasts' lore about the Dark World twisting the human form into monstrous shapes. The masks also give Lorule's people a desperate, cultish vibe that meshes well with the land's slow demise.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild likewise offers good times with masks, though you have to go a bit out of your way to find them. There is a travelling weirdo, Kilton, who sells you monster masks that let you mingle freely amongst Hyrule's beasts. These masks are fun as well as functional: It's just kind of bad-ass to go running around the realm wearing a Lynel mask and giving innocent villagers a shock.

Hey, nothing wakes you up like a shot of adrenaline. It's better than coffee. I'm doing that little kid in Hateno a favor by making him scream in bed-wetting fear.

The first DLC pack for Breath of the Wild lets you up your mask game with face-coverings based on Majora's mask (because the moon in Breath of the Wild isn't troublesome enough, I guess), Midna's helmet, and a Korok (Yahaha!).

That all sounds fun, but what I really want out of Breath of the Wild's DLC is the Zora mask.

When Link dons the Zora mask in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, he inherits the soul of the deceased guitarist Mikau. He becomes a Zora in turn, which lets him slice effortlessly through the water. He can even defend himself against threats using the sharp fins on his arms.

Flippin' your fins, you don't get too far~

While Breath of the Wild offers you all kinds of mounts capable of galloping across Hyrule's fields, exploring the realm's seas is agony. Link swims like a first-grader who's yet to earn his Duckling badge. Even swimming with a powered-up set of Zora armor is as much fun as watching a toddler go splish-splish across hip-deep water. Sure, Link can "dash" while he's submerged, but the burst of speed lasts for a second, eats up a lot of stamina, and requires significant recovery time before it can be used again.

The only time Breath of the Wild made me feel severe disappointment is when Link receives the Zora tunic and gains the ability to swim up waterfalls. He zips up the thundering cascade at top speed, then goes back to his tub-time splish-splashing when he lands again. Lame. Laaaaame.

Breath of the Wild runneth over with lakes, rivers, and oceans. I'd love the chance to swim through them with the same dolphin-speed I experienced in Majora's Mask. I'd especially love for Nintendo to work on DLC that lets us sink to the bottom of Hyrule's bays and explore the coral-covered worlds below.

(Maybe Nintendo should pass on building a water-based dungeon, though.)

It's been two months since Breath of the Wild entered our lives, and I haven't fallen out of love with the game a smidge. Regardless, I'm happy to point out its flaws, and tedious water-travel is a biggie.

I'm ready to leap out of the surf and cast a perfect silhouette against the sunset, Nintendo. Give us the mask. Free Zora Link.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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