Nintendo Finally Lets Us See Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild – E3 2016
Nintendo has finally graced us with some demonstrations of their chapter in the ongoing The Legend of Zelda saga.
The company held a special presentation today to introduce the world to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for Nintendo Wii U. (and eventually their next console, NX.)
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features a massive, open-world version of Hyrule. While there weren’t any story elements shown during today’s demo, what we have learned from the demo is that Hyrule is a kingdom in a state of decline. Link awakes from a state of suspended animation inside of an ancient shrine. A voice calls out to him to open his eyes, and calls him forth into the light.
“You are the light of Hyrule“
Link steps out and reaches the top of a high plateau and takes in his surroundings. It doesn’t take long to catch a glimpse of a dilapidated but familiar structure: the Temple of Time.
The world of Hyrule is absolutely gorgeous in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo has always been able to use their artistic talents to create elegant worlds, even without some of the technical marvels of other consoles.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an interesting mix of technology and nature.
Evidence of Hyrule’s advanced past can be found throughout the land. As Link departs his opening shrine, he is given a mysterious artifact that resembles an ancient take on our own modern tablet, the Sheikah Slate. This new gameplay mechanic will allow Link to download Runes, which provide him with an equivalent item that we are traditionally used to seeing.
Throughout Hyrule’s vast landscape are over 100 shrines, which will offer various challenges and rewards for those brave enough to tackle their mysteries. One shrine demo’d provided Link with a bomb rune, which was downloaded into the Sheikah Slate, suggesting that some items in the game have more of a technological element to them.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s world is huge and varied. During the demo, the player zoomed out on the Wii U Gamepad in order to give us a sample of the game’s map size. The area they allowed us to see was impressive, however that view was a small, tantalizing taste of the enormity of the world that awaits us.
That world will feature high mountain tops, low grassy valley’s, and a new dynamic weather system that will change the atmosphere of those areas that you explore. Enemies that you encounter may react differently during nighttime or rain conditions.
Link will also react to the weather found in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Different clothing items can be obtained, which will help shield you from the harsh conditions that he might encounter. Link will shiver in reaction to the frigid air that penetrates his exposed skin.
The idea of Hyrule being a living, breathing environment plays a large part in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Link’s latest adventure introduces us to an element of survival. Collecting hearts have traditionally been the method by which Link would heal himself after being damaged. While hearts are still a part of the new Zelda title, Link will now be able to find and collect food items, which he can consume as a way to replenish himself. We saw Link collect wild mushrooms, pick apples from trees, even challenge some brutish monsters for a succulent piece of meat grilling over an open flame. Collected food items can then be used as ingredients to create a tasty dish, which can have various status effects on Link.
That theme of survival also applies to weapons in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Link will be able to pick up a wide range of weapons from fallen foes. Link can use anything from a tree branch to a woodsman’s ax. Of course, swords will always play a role in Zelda, and Link will be able to collect those elegant blades as well. Weapons don’t last forever though. Link’s instruments of destruction will degrade and break after heavy use, so he will need to be on the lookout for new weapons throughout the adventure.
Link also demonstrated a new fighting technique, reminiscent of Witch Time from the Bayonetta series. If Link times a counterattack precisely, then he will slow down time for his enemy, allowing a quick barrage of attacks to be dealt.
Amiibo support is a natural for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Tapping in the Wolf Link Amiibo will bring that character into the new Zelda to act as a support. It’s a nice option to have as this is the first Zelda game in a long time that doesn’t have a companion character like Navi, from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
One rumor that has been flying around with intensity is that the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would feature an option to select Link’s gender, or perhaps provide an option to play as Linkle, from Hyrule Warriors.
Sadly, this rumor has been officially shot down. Legend of Zelda’s: Breath of the Wild’s Director, Eiji Aonuma told Gamespot, “We thought about it and decided that if we’re going to have a female protagonist it’s simpler to have Princess Zelda as the main character.” [I]f we have princess Zelda as the main character who fights, then what is Link going to do? Taking into account that, and also the idea of the balance of the Triforce, we thought it best to come back to this [original] makeup.”
While Nintendo is an extremely conservative company, as far as cultural issues are concerned, it’s clear that the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most ambitious and detailed entry into the Zelda series that we have yet seen. The little details and polish that normally graces a Zelda game, appear to be coming together nicely. Whether Nintendo will be able to parlay that into a compelling experience that doesn’t get lost in the expanse of a difficult open-world design, is a question that will have to wait to answer until the game is released.
However, what Nintendo showed off today looks stunning. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s rendition of Hyrule looks like the Hyrule we have always wanted to visit, ever since we embarked on our first Zelda adventure.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will arrive on Wii U and Nintendo’s secretive next console, the NX, sometime in 2017.
What did you think of Nintendo’s presentation of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Breath your brain thoughts into the comments section below.
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