Disclaimer: This article was written by a member of the Hidden Triforce team. The information, opinions, and beliefs displayed in this article belong to that of the author and do not represent the Hidden Triforce as a whole. This article also contains character, location, and soundtrack-related spoilers.
So as we all know, the latest installment in our beloved series is now The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Having been just over one month since we all started our own adventures in Hyrule once again, there has been something constantly on my mind… the soundtrack. I have found myself humming the melodies to this gaming masterpiece since the first time I saw the trailer. I want to just talk about my own experience with the soundtrack and share some opinions.
From the moment Breath of the Wild let me see the open world that is now Hyrule, I was filled with glee. The piano chords lightly trickle in as the title of the game appears on screen and I was immediately immersed in the world. Breath of the Wild does this incredible thing with the soundtrack where it seamlessly blends in with the environment while also being memorable. Lead composer Manaka Kataoka is known for her compositions and arrangements in the Animal Crossing series and in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. This time, I believe she has outdone herself. Also Manaka has teamed with Yasuaki Iwata, who worked on the Mario Kart 8 soundtrack. Together this duo made one impressive soundtrack that is sure to leave a mark on the world.
Now then, there are many different ways to experience the music of Breath of the Wild, but I just want to touch up on the two main ways. You can listen to the music in game as you play, or you can listen to each track alone as an OST. I played through Breath of the Wild with Pro HUD so that I had to rely on sound for the entire game. It was a completely different experience than those who played with Standard HUD as those players had the mini-map, temperature gauge, abilities and such all on screen for them. Pro HUD only displays Link’s Hearts and that’s it! Everything else in game is either through sound or sight. When Link is cold you can hear him shivering as you run. When your Champion Abilities recharge you can hear “REVALI’S GALE IS NOW READY” but you don’t get any visual on how many times you can use the skill.
On the other hand, listening to the melodies of Breath of the Wild as an OST, you can hear all sorts of small details in the tracks that you normally wouldn’t hear in game. This being because there isn’t any ambiance added to the OST so you can hear the original work. It’s really a whole new experience and I say try both ways and see what you like! As you traverse the landscape in Breath of the Wild its almost easy to miss all the musical masterpieces that make up the game. Between defeating hordes of Bokoblins, climbing up mountains to collect Rushshrooms, or the task of blowing up that Decayed Guardian outside of the Ja Baij Shrine that made you cry, it’s understandable. Breath of the Wild has so many memorable tracks and I just want to share some of my favorites.
The Rito Village Theme
The Rito Village Theme was absolutely amazing to me. This was the first time we got to see the Rito tribe appear in a Zelda game since Wind Waker. The Rito Village has more call backs to Wind Waker in the main melody of the village theme, a completely new orchestration of the Dragon Roost Island theme. As soon as i heard the familiar notes my ears perked up. I was in awe at how simple, yet nostalgic it was to hear a song I had long forgotten. My favorite part of this tune is when you can hear what is either a ukulele or balalaika being played. A cool bonus about this melody is that after fulfilling certain requirements, you can even hear the Rito children chirping along to the melody, which I thought was a really nice touch!
Guardian Battle Theme
The Guardian Battle Theme was incredibly memorable. Every time it played I would be overwhelmed with anxiety as the ominous piano keys would introduce these killing machines. This theme then makes a change into a more meticulous song. The technological sounds manage to fit into the game effortlessly. This theme reminds me of something being mass produced on an assembly line. Fighting these enemies was something akin to torture for most of Breath of the Wild. Guardians often find you in open spaces and attempt to obliterate you with their laser-blast. This ability to always catch me off-guard was uncanny for such a large enemy! I will say that satisfaction for managing to take one down was well worth the struggle.
Kass was a traveling bard of sorts. He hops from place to place playing his accordion and singing the songs of each region to any who would lend an ear. Kass was a memorable side character, he was taught to play music by a Sheikah poet who lived in in Hyrule Castle before the Calamity. Every time I heard his iconic accordion, I knew I was in for a treat; not just for the Shrine rewards he would help me find, but for the song that he always plays! Just hearing the first note reminds me of France at sunset, which would always be when I found Kass coincidentally. I often wonder if he just sits waiting just to grace my ears with his melody!
Princess Mipha’s Theme
Princess Mipha’s Theme had to be on my list of memorable melodies for the fact that it tugs on my heartstrings. Every single time Mipha was mentioned in game, I would feel a heavy weight in my chest. Mipha’s theme is somewhat somber in its main melody, just like her backstory. Mipha was in love with Link and had created a suit of Zora Armor to give him. Before Mipha had the chance to give the armor to Link, she lost her life in battle. This is one of the saddest things that I’ve had to deal with in a Zelda game. It makes me feel miserable and forces me to atone for what happened to the Princess of the Zora. This melody was a perfect representation of Mipha and the plight of the Zora as a whole.
Hinox Battle Theme
The enemy Hinox has been making appearances in many of the birds-eye view Zelda games since A Link To The Past. The design of this enemy has changed here and there, but one thing remains: that eye of his. Seeing this nostalgic enemy again almost brought a tear to my eye (no pun intended). The theme that plays when you encounter these monstrosities is one for the books. The melody completely encaptures everything about Hinox. This theme says “Warning! Large, Oafish Brute is Near!” Between the heavy amounts of bass drum and that amazing trumpet that seems to play just as Hinox trys to sit on you, it was an absolute work of art.
These are some of my favorite melodies from Breath of the Wild. I struggled to pick what songs i really i wanted to talk about, so I decided to talk about the ones that left a mark on me during my play-through. I hope that you try to listen to the soundtrack both ways I described! Pro HUD really helps open your ears to the soundtrack during game-play, while listening to the music as an OST helps you pick up on the subtleties that you cant hear during the game in the melodies. What are some of your favorite songs and melodies from Breath of the Wild? Please feel free to comment below and tell me about your experiences with the game! Until next time!