After we saw the latest Legend of Zelda get pushed back from 2015 to 2016, then again from 2016 to 2017, I told myself I wouldn’t get excited during the preview of the newest Legend of Zelda. That promise lasted around five minutes after the opening segment of the game. The latest title, revealed as Breath of the Wild, has a lot in common with the very first Legend of Zelda. No long intros or tutorials in BoW; we don’t even know what is going on with Hyrule Castle. Link just gets his clothes, and gets out. Or maybe not. You could storm out of the chamber wearing almost nothing if you so choose. With this amount of freedom, BoW also has a lot in common with the numerous sandbox titles that gained popularity during the later half of the previous console generation. I don’t mean that Zelda is already outdated. Sandbox games still have plenty of untapped potential.
Though we only have a limited view of Breath of the Wild, the game may have more in common with it’s sandbox peers than its predecessors. Link, Ganon, and many of themes in the Zelda series are present, and Zelda isn’t looking for gritty realism (as we see when Link waves a leaf at a raft’s sail in order to move down the river). We’ve seen a few signature items, such as bombs, but the swords and bows are taken from enemies and the environment. The number of weapons that exist is as vast as the number of ways to tackle puzzles and combat. If there is one aspect in Breath of the Wild that Nintendo wants to make clear, it’s that players are free to choose how they tackle each problem in the game.
If weapons are found in the wild, what does that make of the iconic dungeon items? Nintendo is still holding a lot back, and all we know is that permanent items are found through Shekaih runes and spirit-orbs (its full purpose still left a mystery. The iconic versions of these items (e.g. hero’s bow, hookshot) may still exist, but this is something Nintendo is holding back from the audience for now.
Dungeons are another feature that have been held back during this reveal. Instead, we see shrines, which act as mini-dungeons, giving Link rewards such as bombs, a magnet, and spirit-orbs. Nintendo has also revealed that there are over 100 of these mini-dungeons peppering the world. Of course, with 100 plus dungeons, not all of the rewards will be as significant as the runes featured during the Treehouse, but with an eye towards exploration, this is all a part of the fun.
There is a lot to unpack in what we saw with the latest Zelda reveal, and a lot more to talk about in the future, still. For the time being, everything I have seen from the latest Zelda has me excited, and I truly buy Aonuma’s words when he stated he wished to take the series in a completely new direction.
While I still have mixed feelings on a Zelda dominating E3, I must admit that it appears Nintendo has another winner on its hands. Even for those less enamored by the franchise, it’s hard to deny the beauty of the new official E3 trailer. I’m even rather fond of the title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
With a minimal backstory at the start, it looks like players will by and large be left to their own devices. I think this new story direction is a very smart choice. It’ll certainly lead to some refreshing, non-linear gameplay. I’m also greatly intrigued about the role technology will play in this latest entry. In my opinion it’s a long overdue addition, and has the potential to make The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild something extra special.
After watching the trailer repeatedly and being swept up by the highly impressive aesthetics, I started viewing gameplay demonstrations from Eiji Aonuma and the Treehouse team. Despite the repeated promises of spoiler free experiences, I readily admit that I was torn. Spoilers are wildly subjective! Nevertheless, how can I report and write about a new game that I haven’t seen?
Based on my partial (though still incomplete) viewings, I can say that I’m impressed by Link’s range of movement – he can jump! Climbing is a significant element in this adventure, and I can already envision the risk/reward element of trying to scale the tallest peaks. It was refreshing, and comical, to see the Treehouse crew even fall into the occasional mishap.
Though much has been shown of the new Zelda, with more still to come, there’s still plenty we’ve yet to seen. Notably towns and NPC’s, certainly in an effort to hold back spoilers. I can appreciate that – I’d rather be surprised. Was the glimpse of the overwold enough to get you hyped? For most, I’m guessing the answer is yes. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is off to strong start.
March 2017 seems a long way off (and it is), but if it allows for more polish how can I really complain? The series is known for its high quality, and I doubt this latest entry will be the exception. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild seems poised to carve out a new direction for the franchise. What innovative features will we learn of next?