Finally, after years of anticipation, we finally got to see the new Legend of Zelda in motion during Nintendo’s “Treehouse: Live at E3” stream. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is itself a breath of fresh air for the series. In many ways it’s a huge departure from the 3D LoZ games that we’ve come to know and love, but in another more vital way, it’s a return to form. Nintendo wanted to recreate the novelty – the sense adventure and the unknown – that the very first Legend of Zelda brought to gamers everywhere nearly three decades ago. To that end, it looks like they’re making fantastic progress.
There’s so much we saw in the opening reveal trailer and throughout the demo footage that’s never been seen in a Zelda game before. When speaking about the game back in March, director Eiji Aonuma mentioned that Breath of the Wild would be a big change; like going from Japanese food to Western food. Having seen a few hours of gameplay for myself I can say that’s certainly true. It’s apparent that the team was inspired by the larger, open-world, Western RPGs that have done so well in recent years. There’s a much greater emphasis on exploration here, and Link has been dutifully equipped as an explorer. For the first time ever, Link can jump with the press of the button, and he can sprint. He can also climb on damn near anything – scaling huge cliff faces and shimmying up trees for apples.
I noticed right away that clothing and weapons have a more significant impact on Link’s capabilities. It seems that every weapon, whether it be a modest tree-branch of a hefty ax, now has an attack value assigned to it. Clothing and armor also have defensive values. This is something I’m particularly excited about, mainly because I just love getting new loot and new gear that improves my character’s stats in a game; it’s my favorite way to progress. It’s not completely clear at this point how large Link’s inventory will be, or how many armor sets we’ll discover as we explore the world and conquer dungeons, but as far as I’m concerned more means better, and I can’t wait to get decked out. I did notice during the demo that when Link reached an area with a colder climate, he couldn’t function properly unless wearing a thicker, warmer set of clothes that shielded him from the cold. Different colored tunics performed similar rolls in past LoZ games, so that’s not completely novel. The point is, several RPG elements have found their way into Breath of the Wild, and while that may put some fans off, I couldn’t be more excited.
It’s still a long ways off, and I’m really rather glad to report that the wait will be grueling. I was trying to keep my expectations very low because this franchise is quite precious to me. Thankfully I was completely caught off guard by the sheer beauty and spirit of adventure instilled in the reveal trailer, which captured the hearts of fans from it’s opening moments and in the final precious seconds focused in on the Master Sword, which lay aged and chipped in a misty glade. Those moments were very special – if you missed them, you can check out the reveal trailer for yourself right here: