By Shane Kelley
We all know the iconic nursery rhyme “Rain, Rain, Go Away” in which you want the rain to go away so ultimately you can go outside and play. This encompasses what most players can attest to as the love-hate relationship of the rain mechanic in Breath of the Wild. Though it may be a necessary evil to prevent access to certain areas early in the game, how will Nintendo handle this dynamic element in the sequel, especially with the downpour of comments made to Nintendo by its fans?
When we look at how polished and intricate Breath of the Wild is, we can see even down to the smaller details a lot of thought went into the environment. Rain, being part of the varying weather patterns we see in the game, is essentially both a natural occurrence in nature as well as a limitation of sorts for our Hylian traveler. Whether rain was added merely for looks (and the afterthought of the water making the rocks wet was included because a team member slipped on a wet rock in the past) or inclement weather was truly meant to restrict the player, we might not ever know. But with things like snow making the hero cold, the hot sun beating down on Link, and hot lava making him overheat, we can conclude that some thought went into intentionally slowing the player down.
We know that the rain is mainly used for both aesthetics and slowing down the player. But what other elements can be seen within the game after or during rain? With certain arrow types, such as the lightning arrows, we see that enemies near the target will be affected by the electricity due to the conductivity, while fire arrows will not work at all. Other interesting things that rain can assist or heighten for the player include the rain's minimizing noise while sneaking up on an enemy or creating a slicker environment, which makes shield surfing easier for a quick getaway. Rain can make puddles, allow plants to bloom, and bring about certain things more frequently. There certainly have been some interesting implementations in the game that make use of the falling rain.
While writing this, I thought of other ideas of what the player could possibly do in the game that would allow more interaction with rain and water. What if Link or Zelda had a musical instrument this time around and they could use this instrument to bring about rain or other weather patterns to assist in various puzzles? A variation of the Song of Storms, maybe? What if you had more realistic weather patterns, such as wind effects that could blow around useful objects, hail that can damage your armor or weapons, or maybe even full-on tornadoes or hurricanes that could cause chaos? Bringing back the Gale Boomerang would be a great way to calm the storms if needed. Maybe this would bring about resetting the enemies in a certain area, which could take the place of Breath of the Wild’s blood moon mechanic.
So, what do you think? Should Nintendo scale back on the precipitation or bring on the monsoon? I, for one, think that they could make it a bit more dynamic with random chance encounters with severe or unusual weather patterns. Whether you think the rain feature is hydrating or a washout, I don’t think Nintendo has any plans of removing it in the sequel. I do have one request, though, for Nintendo: please give Link the scarf from Hyrule Warriors to wear in the frozen tundra of Hyrule!
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