Navigating Space in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the largest open world video games ever published on a Nintendo platform, with a map that is roughly over six miles wide and four miles tall. As such, a good navigational system is a necessity when it comes to traversing this vast world. Unlike most video games, Breath of the Wild does not have a linear progression, instead the player is encouraged to explore the world in any order they see fit.

Personally, I found the map and its many features to be incredibly helpful and easy to use over the course of my play through of the game. The basic map for the world is a simple topographic map that most players will be able to read with ease. As one might expect, the map has a zoom-in feature that should allow players to further analyze the topography of the area, allowing them to find the easiest route when traversing steep mountains or valleys. Several other minor features are also included on the map, such as the ability to view the time and temperature of the area on the left side, which are important details to keep in mind when exploring, as certain enemies are only active at certain times, and extreme temperatures can be harmful to the player.

Another important feature one can view on the full map is the “Hero’s Path.” By activating this feature, the player can view a detailed progression of their entire journey across the map, allowing them to see what are as they may have left unexplored. The numerous “deaths” the player has experienced is also recorded at the exact locations they took place in, serving as a reminder to the player to avoid potentially hazardous areas.


Arguably one of the most vital features the map offers is the option to place up to five way-points, letting the player mark their path of choice. By simply using the game’s camera feature, these way-points will glow as giant beacons of light on the map and will automatically disappear once the player has walked over them.

When roaming the world, the map shrinks into a tiny circle displayed on the lower right-hand corner of the screen, retaining the topography of the land as well as any major landmarks such as cities, stables or dungeons. Overall, this mini map retains a lot of its utility and allows the player to successfully navigate the surrounding areas without taking up an obnoxious amount of space on the television screen.

            What makes this map so intriguing to me when compared to other similar video game maps is that Breath of the Wild does not give you map for starting the game. The player must unlock small portions of the map as they explore, giving this game’s map a greater sense of value than most other games. It is a reward to the player for exploring the game on their own. The game encourages the player to get lost in the world at first, but then explore every last corner of it later on using the details and tools presented by the map. Moving through space in this game never felt like a chore to me and I believe that’s due in great part to the navigational features given to the players.