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Zelda: Breath of the Wild is already one of the best-reviewed games of all time

Nintendo’s first big release of 2017 may also be its best

Art from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shows Link standing on a rock overlooking Hyrule. Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released tomorrow for both the Nintendo Switch and the Wii U, but the reviews are in. It’s not only one of the best games of the year so far — Metacritic lists it as the fourth best-reviewed game ever at the time of this article’s publication.

According to Metacritic, the top five games are:

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) with a score of 99
  2. Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2 (PlayStation) with a score of 98
  3. Grand Theft Auto 4 (PlayStation 3) with a score of 98
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) with a score of 98
  5. SoulCalibur (Dreamcast) with a score of 98

There are still a few outlets that have yet to be tabulated by Metacritic, so the ranking may move up or down in the next few days, but Breath of the Wild already ranks among the best-reviewed games in the industry’s history, not just Nintendo’s.

The NeoGAF thread for the game is nearing rapturous anticipation, and user Dystify created this image to show off the game’s near-perfect ratings:

Yeah, it’s doing OK so far

“I guess, in the end, it’s not just that Breath of the Wild signals that Zelda has finally evolved and moved beyond the structure it’s leaned on for so long,” our own review stated. “It’s that the evolution in question has required Nintendo to finally treat its audience like intelligent people. That newfound respect has led to something big, and different, and exciting.”

While these reviews are impressive, it’s likely best not to put too much stock in Metacritic’s top games, at least when comparing them to each other. The top five best-reviewed games are all rated a 98 or 99, and the final ranking is influenced by Metacritic’s own proprietary system for weighing certain outlets and assigning numerical scores to reviews that use a letter or star grading scale.

The result is a system that isn’t exactly perfectly scientific, but it does prove that Breath of the Wild is almost universally well-received, at least critically.