Nintendo might not be running a direct this year but from this one game they may have just won over most fans and E3.
The game and demo shown at this year’s Nintendo Treehouse was running on the current Wii U system but will also be ready in time for the NX launch next year. It was also reported that there will be no drastic difference between the two versions, this is understandable as the new title doesn’t use much of the Wii U’s specific interfaces. The only difference between using the Wii U GamePad and a Wii U Pro Controller is an additional screen that can be used to move the game’s display to the GamePad screen, beyond that the touch and movement orientation parts of the Wii U are not used.
The live demo, accompanied by creator Eiji Aonuma, featured the beginning of the game as Link wakes up alone and confused. Floating in some kind of pod Link is naked and wet at first as players are introduced to the new clothing mechanic that relates to the temperature within an area. Putting on the moth eaten rags he finds, Link leaves the first of over a hundred discoverable shrines into the enormous world of Hyrule. A sword is quickly found and in less than five minutes players are in the whole game, no starting village this time as Link is thrust into the open world immediately.
Weapons and shields now have stats and durability. Time is constantly passing in the game, with day and night sequences and weather affecting the open terrain. Health is still measured in hearts but now eating cooked or raw foods has replaced spawning hearts and potions. Cut down a tree, make a fire and cook up a storm to discover new recipes to improve your healing options. Food recipes and mixtures seem to have boosted effects to stats and stamina as well for a limited amount of time.
The sheer mass of exploration in Breath of the Wild is astounding, with the demonstration only representing 1% of the game. It has been reported that the entire map is over 12 times the size of the entire area of The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. To accompany this size Link now has various ways of getting around, being able to climb, swim and glide around the land. A brief glimpse in the new trailer has even teased taming wild horses to use as a mount as well. Link can now, finally, jump with the press of a button.
With enemy encounters and treasures to be found the vastness of the land should be no issue, but an amazing feature that sets Breath of the Wild apart from the rest. Enemy mobs now camp throughout the map and players have lots of choices on how they may approach these situations. Fire now has a burning system where the environment may be set alight to destroy or attack enemies. The environment actually plays a big part in gameplay now, as rolling a bomb or boulder down a hill onto a camp of enemies is a possible strategy. Creep up on mobs or just run in sword first, it’s up to you.
The exploration elements in The Legend of Zelda have previously lead to some of the best titles, like in Wind Waker an open map and extra content from the main quest line opened up the world and story immensely. This openness is intended to recapture the feeling from the first game in the series on the NES as players will find themselves lost in the world and encountering dangers and obstacles.
Not much of the story has been revealed as of yet and we may find out until the 2017 release. What we know is that we are Link, the Hero of Hyrule, once again and that there is an evil in this world. Simple enough, and the flow of the game seems to allow for an emerging story that allows players to explore and disengage from the story and become lost in the scenery. The game looks amazing and it’s a clear highlight of E3.
More on Nintendo at E3 is coming, all hosted on our E3 Hub, as the Treehouse streams continue.