Monday, April 1, 2019

The Top 10 Breaths in Breath of the Wild

Posted by 4LornTri4ce at 2:47AM:

It has come to my attention that the collection of slack-jawed ignoramuses known as the human race are even more incompetent than I first suspected. I've scoured the internet for articles on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and found them on all manner of inane subject matter. Reviews, walkthroughs, retrospectives, confirmation that the cartridge works…all sorts of completely useless information! I trudged through this morass of infantile garbage and found not one, not one post that bothered to talk about what's really important.

Why is no talking about the BREATHS in Breath of the Wild?!

Seriously, what is WITH you herd of glue-munchers?! Am I the problem here? (Hint: I'm not). Have I wandered into some parallel dimension where free lobotomies are given out at birth?! Anyone with two sub-atomic particles clattering together in the vacuum behind their eyes should realize what an essential part of the gaming experience this is. Fortunately for all you addle-pated internet bottom feeders, I am benevolent as I am eloquent. I have therefore taken it upon myself to rank the most notable instances of breathing in Breath of the Wild. I know you cretins will never understand how blessed you are to be enriched by my wisdom, but feel free to thank me anyway. You ungrateful swine.

10. Low Stamina Breaths

Link performs a large number of breath-inducing activities in Breath of the Wild, all of them so insultingly perfunctory they didn't make this list. Breaths after eating are understated and unimpressive, breaths from heatstroke have you hang your stupid mouth open in one position, and breaths after diving haven't improved since Ocarina of Time in 1998. Don't get me started on breaths from damage, which often don't even have the decency to time their mouth flaps correctly. Of all these animations the least likely to induce aneurysms is the low stamina breathing, which conveys something approximating a humanoid figure gasping for oxygen. It's the bottom of the list though, because I'm not the kind of drool-stained degenerate who can't even tell the difference between clavicular and diaphragmatic breathing. If you're one such moron I encourage you to either get the hell off my blog or read a fucking book.

9. Bolson Mid-Construction Breaths

Further proving the bottom of this list is the absolute dregs, we have the noises Bolson construction workers make when building for your house. Let me make one thing clear: Vocal exclamations aren't breathing. I want to vomit whenever my more stupid commenters try to claim Link's "HYAH" should be counted as breathing of all things. And rest assured, I died a little inside allowing such exclamatory noises on the list. However, these sounds are obviously meant to be abstractions for physical exertion, which fall more comfortably under a reasonable human being's definition of breathing. Furthermore, the noises in question make an appearance in the Tarrey Town Wedding Theme, a bone thrown to us starving fans of breathing-based music. It of course isn’t even in the same league as classics like Mines of Narshe, but even this minuscule song cameo makes it superior to the auditory train-wreck they play on the radio these days.

8. Molduga Vulnerable Breath

The main advantage of putting giant monsters in your video game is the ability to put more detail into their breathing animations. Despite this obvious strength, far too many howling monkeys play acting as game designers waste their animation budget on pointless drivel like extra attacks and movement. The sand-burrowing Molduga is treated with similar negligence, most of the time. Yet it seems one bulb lit up in the oppressively dark abyss that was the animator's train of thought, because they did make a concession to the correct allocation of resources. When the Molduga is unearthed from the sands and made vulnerable, they gave it an actual breathing animation. There's a rise and fall of its massive stomach and a slight inhale and exhale on its gaping maw. The lack of sound effect makes this a putrid display for true breathing connoisseurs, but it's still above the dumpster fire I've come to expect.

7. Cold Air Breaths

Despite making the list, I don't want to disillusion anyone by implying Nintendo has actually done something special here. It merely must be said that they did their due diligence for once instead of spending their days chewing on stuffed Pikmin dolls and shitting themselves. As much as it disgusts me that I must congratulate visual breath effects on characters in cold climates, gaming has set this bar so horrifically low that it's actually uncommon. Although did you know, they included the breath effect for Link, NPCs and horses…but not monsters? I mean really, are we expected to believe that bokoblins don't BREATHE? Nintendo I know you're listening, and this level of incompetence is physically sickening. Keep this up, and it may only be several more titles before you've lost my support!

6. Zelda Subdued Ceremony Memory Breath

A trend you'll notice as we approach the higher rankings on this list (that is, the least terrible) is that they're almost all from cutscenes. This is because when the entire focus of the game is on the voice and animation of a character, the developers are no longer allowed to skate by crapping out the bare minimum. Such is the case for this scene here, where Zelda gives a weary sigh that looks almost like something an actual human would do. It's too small a moment to carry it higher, but I'll begrudgingly admit the animation and even the voice acting carry the motion through passably enough. Though word to the ignorant, no doubt most of you, do be sure to watch these scenes subbed. Everyone knows that Japanese breathing sounds strictly superior.

5. Hinox Sleeping Breath

I find this entry to be a polarizing one. The gentle ebb and flow of this cyclopean boss inhaling hits the deeper register of lung capacity while remaining soft and steady, which is a balance action schlock such as this rarely bothers with. The breathing also features somewhat passable animation, with proper distension of the stomach and movement of the lips. That said, the noisy rumblings that accompany the Hinox as it breathes appear dangerously close to a snore. And don’t let xLinkBreathmastr1995x stir shit up in the comments again, any idiot who’s spent two hours looking into polysomnography knows that snoring and breathing are completely different things.

4. Revali Champion's Ballad Memory Breaths

It is at this point that I shall no doubt need to educate some of you on the distinction between breathing and panting. Since if I don't, I suspect you carrion-guzzling vultures will descend upon me for perceived inconsistencies. But if any of you bumbling birdbrains would bother to THINK for once in your lives you'd realize that panting is a subset of breathing, not a separate category! The purpose of panting is oxygenation, same as breathing. Unlike exclamations which are a subset of speech, and snoring which is different in ways so obvious that I'm NOT GOING OVER THEM AGAIN.

Provided your brains are actually capable of processing that new information, we can focus on the scene itself. Revali's panting (aka BREATHING) actually has significance within the story. The entire intent of this scene is to show Revali at his lowest, that for all his arrogance he must put in notable time and effort just to appear effortless. Of course it was the only case of breath-based character development in the Champion's Ballad, because the subhuman Neanderthals at Nintendo are allergic to doing something right twice. But being the kind and thoughtful soul that I am, it only seemed fair to give the game the meagre credit it's due.

3. Zelda Blades of the Yiga Memory Breaths

Blades of the Yiga is a 45 second cutscene with no words, and audio almost entirely restricted to breathing. This breathing manages to cover a wide range of emotions from fatigue to fear to surprise to relief. They even animated the lip flaps in such a way to somewhat accurately portray the breathing in question. You may be wondering how the famously incompetent Legend of Zelda team managed to execute breathing that wasn't terrible for once. Well I hope you're ready to choke on humble pie you heathens, because that was all me.

That's right, unlike you boot-slurping ass-kissers I decided to actually improve the world through the means of criticism. Back in 2016 before pre-production on Breath of the Wild had started, I wrote a cutting and frankly brilliant critique of the Zelda team's subpar handling of breathing in past titles. I was sure to let Eiji Anouma personally know what I thought about his mother's drinking habits, which was no doubt the firm talking-to he needed to get his head set straight. They played dumb by responding to my email with offers of Chinese Designer Handbags For Cheap, but I know they're just trying to avoid paying me consulting fees. That's right Nintendo, I'm calling you out! I'm not so petty to pursue this in court, but let's just say I'd consider it. I've sent you my PayPal information.

2. Zelda Despair Memory Breaths

Though the Blades of the Yiga memory features more of a breathing-focus, this scene maintains its wide range while also hitting at a more pivotal moment. The opening panting as they flee Hyrule Castle is fine, but the main attraction is the pained breaths between sobs as Zelda confronts her failures. Though any idiot should realize that breathing is best when selling an emotional climax, this is one of the few occasions where Nintendo got off their lazy asses and bothered to do it. Now I anticipate some might have reservations of my classifying these mid-sob inhalations as breaths. "But 4LornTri4ce, surely no one would be so STUPID", you must be thinking. Alas dear reader, I've witnessed such stupidity first-hand.

Someone once even tried to convince me that breathing mid-sob should be counted the same way as snoring, can you believe it?! I told him that if that's the kind of mangled misinformation that leaks out of his disgusting buck-toothed mouth, then he'd best stop polluting the world with his garbage and just try and crawl back inside the gaping, bloated genitals that spawned him. And then HE got mad at ME! Isn't it funny how sometimes supposedly "correct" people get angry and defensive when confronted with cold hard logic, while other purportedly "incorrect" people stay aloof and above it all? A bit telling, if you ask me.

Anyway, I suppose this entry doesn't suck too much. I guess.

1. Great Fairy Upgrade Breath

Anyone with a functioning frontal lobe could’ve predicted this would be high on the list. Breathing with practical purpose to gameplay is rare enough, let alone those that are given their own cutscene viewed dozens of times. The motions of the breath are competent as well, allowing proper time to show a full inhalation and release. The great fairies have large detailed models to properly appreciate the drawback of their heads and the rising and falling of their chest. And the rush of colorful particle effects and whistling sounds sell the cool breeze as any good breath animation should.

Some would leave it there, but this breath isn’t just a pretty face (exhaling). Truly, it is the mechanical significance that brings it to the forefront of the list. This breath directly assists the player in bettering themselves, an almost literal metaphor for breathing new life into someone. Moments like these bring me back to the first time I really noticed in-game breathing, when I got really excited over Flurrie’s blowing ability in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. My friends said I was getting excited for different reasons, but they just didn’t understand.

Breathing is an action our brains don't notice by design, yet essential to our very existence. This simple, understated action can convey so much emotion and character in such a small way. Breathing is life, the connecting thread that binds us all, the undercurrent of each action a human being takes every waking moment of their lives! When I see a breath like this, I am reminded of all that is good and beautiful in the world, and I wonder how anyone could possibly be discontent with a single second they spend on this earth.

Wait a minute, I just noticed that her lips don't form the proper O-shape during the exhale. Never mind, this breath is shit and so is anyone who likes it.

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! This is great!

    I just finished reading through your Oblivion series. I haven't had this much fun since Rutskarn!T for doing what you do.

    Do you think we'll get another update on Shush again someday? I wanna know what happens next!