Where do I even begin? The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U and NX finally has a name and it is: ‘Breath of the Wild‘. Reggie Fils-Aime started off the show very sombre and took a moment’s silence for YouTuber Christina Grimmie who was murdered last week and was supposed to attend Nintendo at E3.
Reggie then took a sharp right-turn and said how Nintendo is always expressed in different ways at E3, like last year we had Reggie, Miyamoto and Iwata as puppets to mark the announcement of Starfox Zero. This year there was less joking around and Nintendo got straight into the footage of The Legend of Zelda. It’s disappointing that we didn’t see anything from the NX at E3 but there’s no doubt we’ll hear plenty in the coming months. So what is there in the new Zelda game?
Well this is a new format for a Zelda game which could change the thinking of gameplay like the original did 30 years ago. Now the open world style is familiar to AAA titles like The Witcher, but this game incorporates a lot of physics and unlike other Zelda titles, let’s you play the game however you want. One of the more interesting aspects was that there are small instructions at the beginning, but besides that users don’t have much guidance which is quite interesting like in the original.
The kingdom is in ruins and the game begins with Link in a technological gene pool-like pod with a Sheikah design on the rocks. One of the interesting additions was the use of actual English when Link is told to open his eyes. It is The Legend of Zelda with a modern twist with technology being one of the main focuses this time. The trailer showed realistic creatures as well including ducks, deer and birds. Link has a Sheikah stone at the beginning which helps guide him after waking up and can also be used to access shrines as it will know that he is the hero who will bring light to the darkness in Hyrule.
One of the things to point out about this game is the graphics. It has a Skyward Sword but with a beautiful hand drawn Japanese animation look. It is just the prettiest game yet. There’s so much new but at the same time with the feel of an old Zelda title. Link can now climb as well on pretty much anything, there’s no waiting and there is still an energy meter that was in Skyward Sword. Whether this is beneficial at all is debatable. Link can also jump as well. There’s so much choice.
The game is so huge and we were really only treated to ‘The Great Plataeu’ which is just one of many areas in the game. Each area will also have different enemies and in the Plataeu we found many Bokoblins, Chu Chu’s ad Keese. This area has many mountains and beautiful meadows. There is also an old citadel which has not been used for a long time and is falling apart. Outside are ‘Guardians’ who were the crab-like creatures chasing Link and firing lasers but here they are no longer working. Although in the trailer it appears that they do come alive and so there may be a timelapse in events for Link, maybe a light/dark world crossover.
Now there is all this new stuff, especially how physics plays an important roll with the pushing of boulders, climbing and destroying objects (like setting grass on fire), it’s all just natural. On the other hand there’s still some tradition like Link waking up at the beginning. It shows many similarities to the original and that’s a great thing. Everything is buffed up with Link not requiring the powerglove thus far and you can combine objects and use fire better to blow up stuff.
There’s plenty of novelties/items like the magnet which picks up metal blocks to use on enemies and breaks, the ice block that link can climb on and use on water and the para-glider which you get after completing missions in the four shrines and receive it at the Shrine of Oman Au (Oman Au is the goddess of Hylian) and there are around 100 shrines. A new feature is an axe which Link can use to chop down trees to collect firewood but also to use to get through different areas like creating a bridge. In the trailer it appears Link has also mastered cooking, because you can set up a campfire and cook food such as apples and steaks. Certain foods when consumed can give extra hearts (like in The Binding of Isaac.) You have your bow and arrow with different arrows which is an age-old favourite however in the new game you can dive an swim for longer and also harvest ore from rocks with traditional or square bombs. Square bombs have better control and you can get ore such as topaz.
At the beginning of the game, in the Shrine of Resurrection where you start, you find chests which have old clothes in them that haven’t been worn before. Later on in the game you find more clothing and gearing up will be important due to the fact that the weather in the game changes randomly and you have to be prepared. On top of this it is colder at night as the world is a 24 hour clock and there are cold snowy areas as well. Having the wrong clothes can cause you to lose health. It is very realistic. However, you can also play the game in the nip. What adds even more realism to this is that Link’s breath can be seen in the colder areas.
Weapons are also interesting in this game as there is a weapons reel you can open up and have items such as Bokoblin clubs, the axe and rusty swords which break over time in a real-time mechanic. Link can now also rush at enemies when fighting and perform sweet backflips. There are items scattered around the world and the animation has shaved off elements, making it easier to find stuff in this vast landscape. When battling, Link can have perfect timing as the game slows down, enabling better hit on enemies. After battling you can take enemies weapons which helps with the real-time breaking.
Let’s have a roundup of what else there is in the game. There’s different areas that cover different elements like mountains, snowy areas, desert areas and volcanic areas. There’s a bit of everything in store. You can ride horses and shoot boars. Hopefully we will be able to ride Epona. There are lots of areas in the Plateau including the Temple of Time and Hopwell Pond. In the snowy areas you can surf on your shield. There’s lots of ways to experiment with the environment by creating puzzles and you can scope for waypoints on the map from a top-down perspective which really helps in getting around this vast world. The map also looks very technological.
Finally, if you buy the game on the Wii U. It is R to move the camera, L to move, start for the menu, select for the tablet and to attack with Y. Just thought that was a fun little bit of information!
The game is a seamless adventure of a lifetime and is breaking the boundaries of other Zelda titles that we know and love. There is no music constantly playing with really just piano which will definitely create emotions in all of us and I just can’t wait to play and be immersed. That sort of feeling matches this grand landscape that will clock in 100’s of hours of gameplay. There will be no two similar ways to play this game due to its size and will be breathtaking. This will be a Nintendo experience like no other that we haven’t really felt since the beginning of the Wii 10 years ago. Like its name: ‘Breath of the Wild‘ this landscape and all of its elements certainly feel alive. I was worried Nintendo could flop this year’s E3 but I couldn’t be more wrong. Oh yeah, what’s that sword?