The climbing in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is really, really good. Video creator and game documentarian Danny O’Dwyer committed an entire video to a brief history of climbing in video games and exactly how well Zelda achieves it.
A point that really hit home for me that I never qualified with words but felt as I played was voiced perfectly in the video. It’s that bit where O’Dwyer talks about climbing in games that don’t feature a mechanic for it, where you face a slope and work out the faults in geometry and game design in order to climb a surface that maybe wasn’t designed to be climbed at all.
There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from doing that, and it’s something that always made me feel like maybe I was getting away with something. Like I was pulling one on the devs as I figured out a way to own their playground that they never accounted for.
Climbing in Zelda is built around that ascension of geometry, and I get that same sense of accomplishment with every cliff I scale. Nintendo killed it in this game.