Posted on April 20 2017 by Brandon Schmitz
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Since jumping into the third dimension with Ocarina of Time, the Zelda series has had a knack for populating its worlds with memorable characters. Some titles have stronger casts than others, but virtually every mainline 3D entry boasts at least one character who stands alongside my favorite gaming personalities. They’re the characters whose faces I immediately see whenever I think about their respective games. Whether it’s The Wind Waker’s Tetra, Groose from Skyward Sword, or my all-time favorite video game character, Midna, just about every Zelda game has its standouts.
With Breath of the Wild about a month and a half removed from its release, I’m curious as to which of its characters have made the greatest impact on you all. Admittedly, I can’t say that there’s any one NPC from Link’s latest adventure who left as much of an impression on me as, say, Ganondorf, Ghirahim, or Skyward Sword’s Zelda. However, even if Breath of the Wild doesn’t have one outright masterclass character, I’m tempted to say that it boasts a greater number of solidly endearing ones than any other game in the series.
The Champions are worthy spiritual successors to Ocarina of Time’s sages, thanks in no small part to the actors who brought them to life. The quality of the voice acting overall seems to have received mixed opinions, but I was thoroughly taken by the Champions’ performances. Sean Chiplock’s take on the Rito equivalent to Falco Lombardi made a lovable jerk out of Revali.
Meanwhile, Amelia Gotham as the shy Mipha was one of the highlights of the Zora arc — perhaps my favorite subplot of the game, given its refreshingly personal connection to Link himself. Joe Hernandez delivers the quintessential Goron with Daruk, who’s as tough as he is jolly. The dude’s like a buff Santa Clause or something, you know?
However, my favorite has got to be Elizabeth Maxwell’s turn as Urbosa. There’s a near-equal measure of playfulness, wisdom and fierceness to her performance that fulfills everything that I wanted out of the Gerudo people’s long-awaited return.
It’s just a shame that each of them receive relatively little screen time. Had Breath of the Wild involved Link actively working alongside his fellow Champions throughout the adventure, I think they could’ve reached Groose-tier status. As they are, though, the Champions are still memorable additions to the series’ collective cast. I mean, I’d pay a decent amount of change to play as them in Hyrule Warriors. That’s got to count for something, right?
Additionally, Zelda herself is one of the more compelling incarnations of the character. I have complicated feelings about the game’s memory system as a whole, but if it succeeded at one thing, then it was at showing different facets of Zelda. Some scenes show her outwardly burdened by her inability to awaken her sacred power, while others showcase her inquisitive side — her affinity for science and technology. Similarly to my thoughts on the Champions, I just wish that the game had allowed us to spend even more time with her — you know, to give those particularly dramatic memories more of an emotional gut punch.
Considering that Skyward Sword delivered three A+ characters in my book, Breath of the Wild feels like somewhat of a step down in that regard. Again, though, I’d argue that this latest entry offers a greater quantity of characters who, while not as impactful as some of the names I’ve dropped throughout this article, are still endearing in their own right.
Urbosa and Zelda edge out as my favorites of the bunch. Despite not being as active in the plot as I would’ve liked, they make use of seemingly every second of screen time they have.
Enough about my thoughts, though! Do you have a standout character or characters from Breath of the Wild? If so, who? Let us know in the comments below!