Well, on the subject of Breath of the Wild: The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
Yeah, it certainly had its problems, and I can't say it was my favourite Zelda, but I think it's a remarkable game all the same and definitely worth a place amongst the best games of the year. In the grand scheme of things, BotW probably doesn't do anything that hasn't been done before in video games, as an open world game with survival elements, main quests and side quests, a little bit of RPGness, some crafting and puzzle-solving and all that good stuff. What it does do, that sets it well apart from most other games, is combining all that stuff into one and then giving it that ol' Nintendo polish. It's pretty cool.
I once saw BotW described as an unusually 'analogue' game, which I thought was pretty solid. It's a real simulation of a world; not an ultra high-fidelity looker, but a world where if you think something should work, it probably does. It's Far Cry 2 made by Nintendo, with a little bit of Metal Gear Solid V thrown in for good measure; a game built upon a thousand interwoven systems governing how everything should work behind the scenes. It's a game where you walk up to a boat moored at the shore, and instead of hitting a context-sensitive INTERACT button to get it moving, you cut the rope with your sword and then pull out your Korok leaf to blow wind onto the sail. A game where you might not have fire arrows in your quiver, but if you have a few moments you can cut down a tree to make firewood, dump a piece of flint on the wood, hit the flint with your sword to start a fire, then nock an arrow, dip the tip of the arrow in the fire, and bamzo, you've just made a fire arrow. A game where they needed to give you two different types of bombs, because the round ones will roll down hills and you need a square one if you want it to stay where you put it.
In some ways I enjoyed the fervor around Breath of the Wild more than I enjoyed actually playing it. The enormous internet outpouring of surprise and delight whenever someone discovered that "OMG, if you do this and then this the craziest thing happens!". I don't personally have the creativity or patience necessary to think up or execute some of the ridiculous things I saw people doing in the game, but I loved watching them do it. True to form, Nintendo made the Nintendo-est open world I think there's every been, where there's always something interesting to find or something fun to play with. I played the game for about 90 hours and there's still loads of stuff out there I haven't seen, and I don't think people will ever exhaust the possibilities of what you can do with all the rune powers.
And speaking of that world, what a nice place it was! Remember the whole goofy adventure you had to go on to get into the Gerudo village, where everyone is a seven-foot tall Amazon goddess with a six-pack chiseled from marble and thighs for days, and they won't let you in until you disguise yourself as a pretty girl? Remember the first time you decided to brave Death Mountain and literally burst into flame? Remember Eventide Island, when a simple trip to a mysterious island suddenly turned your Zelda into one of them there Dark Soulses? This game felt like a grand adventure in a way very few games do; few Zelda games, even. My unguided trip through BotW's Hyrule was so much more memorable to me than, say, being led by the nose through the Hyrule of Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword. The perverse joy that comes from knowing the game wants you do go one way and then deliberately going in the opposite direction is here in spades.
Although, come to think of it, Breath of the Wild never actually tells you to go here. The game doesn't really do waypoints, as such. Quest design is always a matter of "Go north until you reach ____ geographical marker, then head east", which is a really nice change from the 'follow the glowing dot' design of almost every other game in our current era. Can't let the player get lost, because then they won't meet the next challenge designed to make them want to buy a lootbox, right? Breath of the Wild delights in getting you lost, because that's when you're going to find all the cool stuff. And, on a personal note, that sense of lostness was amplified for me because I decided BotW was going to be the first game I played in full Japanese after I started learning the language late last year. It was a trial by fire of sorts, but it's something I'll probably never forget. The feeling of triumph when I finally solved a cheeky little riddle was at the very least doubled by my self-imposed handicap
But onto the complaints, of which there are plenty. Chief among them, for me, would be the absence of so many classic Zelda tropes I loved in the past. While the 120 Shrines might provide more dungeoning than ever before by volume, the quintessential Zelda thing of spending an hour or two working your way through one single dungeon, meeting an ever-increasing challenge as the designers take a given gameplay theme as far as it can go, is gone. I'd hoped the Divine Beasts might provide something like this, but they were like half an hour long at best, and all four were the same thing; manipulating a big machine to alter the level layout was a neat idea, but not one that needed to be repeated four times. Breath of the Wild dips its toe into a huge number of different ideas, but never dives all the way in.
Next up would be the much-derided weapon degradation system. I didn't hate this as much as some people did, but I do think it needed a lot of reworking. As a way of pushing the player out of their comfort zone, never letting them get attached to one gameplay style and sticking with it for dozens of hours, it certainly worked, but it also introduced a lot of silly problems. It completely devalues the idea of loot, for one. You simply don't get excited about opening a treasure chest; partly because you're inevitably going to have to close it again because your inventory will always be full and you'll have to dump your least valuable weapon to pick up a new one, but also because even the greatest weapon in the game can only be used for a limited time before it disintegrates. Oh, an ancient glowing light axe that does 60 damage. Great. Can't wait to take out two mini-Guardians with it and then throw it away. It changes the paradigm of Zelda from "Hit everything with your sword, yaaay!" to "There's a Bokoblin base over there, but if I go and kill everyone in it I'm probably going to break all my weapons and not get enough back for it to be worth it, so I'm not going to bother", and I can't imagine that's what Nintendo intended.
Then there are the little annoyances, like the fact that you can't climb when it's raining. So much of this game is climbing, and it rains really often, and it's just a pain. You know if you go away it'll be hours before you find yourself back at that cliff you want to climb again, and you know it doesn't take that long for the rain to pass, so more often than not you just stand there like a doofus waiting for the rain to stop. I know Nintendo probably didn't want to just give you some ability like climbing spikes that would essentially 'turn off' that element of the game, but I think they should have done something. There are a lot of pretty drab fetchquests, there's a disappointing lack of enemy variety (with most new areas simply having the same enemies in different colours), the framerate was pretty poor at launch, and the English voice acting was surprisingly bad.
No individual problem is enough to spoil the game, but taken together they do lend a certain feeling of not-quite-there-ness. The kind of thing that makes you hope that Nintendo's next 3D Zelda will take the framework of Breath of the Wild and take it in a different direction. Not all the way back to Skyward Sword territory, but maybe a nice middle ground between your more traditional Ocarina style and the BotW design. Keep the open feel, but replace Shrines and Divine Beasts with real Zelda dungeons. Keep the survival elements, but tweak the weapon degradation values (or maybe dump that element altogether). Keep all the different outfits, and then add even MORE different outfits because Link Dress Up was the best part of the game.
I think the unique feel of every Zelda game is one of the series' biggest strengths. Each one of these games is different in its own way, each one has its own list of pros and cons, and Breath of the Wild is no different. But it is also, without a doubt, the biggest shakeup Nintendo's made for the series since Ocarina of Time first popped out into that third dimension, and I think it's pretty admirable just how successful they were. It takes some serious guts to throw a spanner in the works of one of your biggest cash cows, and some serious skill to actually pull it off, so it's lucky for us that the Nintendo of 2017 seems to have both of those.
EDIT - Added a few gifs of the game's best character to spice up an otherwise plain wall of text.