Open World Zelda Is What We Always Wanted

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Videos are out now for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Have you seen this one yet? Go ahead…I’ll wait

I’m not trying to place this too high or get too excited. However, when the NX comes out, this looks like the game to get Nintendo’s new cycle going strong (Reportedly, it’s coming out on the Wii U as well and was played on one in the demos). I have some other console related concerns (and on the industry as a whole) that I’ll save for another post. But right now, this game look pretty solid. Let’s chat about what we saw…


Link is back

Link awakes inside a chamber (They jokingly thought about mixing it up for change, but hey, if ain’t broke) with a new mysterious voice helping you acclimate to this new environment. The first thing that stood out to me and was commented in the play-through was the technology in the room. And no, we aren’t talking about the console. There’s a definite Samurai Jack vibe going on in that Resurrection Shrine that I didn’t know I wanted. Totally thought it was just going to some ancient magic, but we received instant confirmation that it is indeed technology. It will be curious to see how this plays out in the story, but for right now it’s contained to just using your Sheikah slate for opening doors and checking the map…speaking of maps…

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A Massive World

Take another look at the map display….yeah, Hyrule is back and taking up a ridiculous amount of space. Nintendo has stated that the open world in Breath of the Wild is 12 times bigger than Twilight Princess. That’s a pretty large departure from previous entries, but it’s a certainly welcome addition. Nintendo has also stated the gameplay shown so far, particularly in the Grand Plateau area only accounts for 1% of Hyrule. Heck, forget what I said about huge departure, this is an entirely different game altogether. We will have to wait and see how much can be explored from the onset, but the stage is definitely set for hours upon hours of play-ability.

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What’s The Story?

While we expect it to follow similar heroic threads from the previous games, there’s plenty here to suggest that we may be in new territory. For starters, you have free reign to go where you want. That intro in the gameplay video? Yeah, that’s actually your intro. You start right there and you are on your own to figure things out. That’s a far cry from Navi or Midna giving you directions. I’m sure the mysterious voice will eventually be identified and serve a similar role, but it’s definitely an open experience to start off. This version of Hyrule is in ruins; while we encounter a Old Man early on and see enemies, there isn’t much else going on. Plenty of buildings are in shambles, pieces of stone being reclaimed by the environment. Whatever happened here occurred a long time ago, but you must have been awoken (or possibly resurrected, if we are going off the room title you awake in) for a reason.

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Weapons break, Link can climb a lot of stuff, he gets tired, and you can even run around fairly naked (if you’re into that kind of thing). Items have stats now, so the light clothing you find in the first shrine have a defense stat. Other weapons have attacks stats and as I mentioned before, if they are not strong enough will eventually break. There’s slow mo action, called Flurry Rush, that allows you to complete multiple strikes on a enemy to great effect. In the trailer, we get a glimpse of gliding and towards the end, Link sports a suit of armor. The armor will surely play into the new stat system and possibly more combinations exist in the game. Epona makes a brief appearance although it’s not the only horse you can ride.  We see Link sneakily jump onto a wild horse and presumably you will be able to either tame or at least ride for a short period of time. Check out more of the gameplay videos for the multitude of abilities in the new game; there’s plenty of them to sift through.


Visually Impressive

Continuing a strong trend from the previous two entries, Breath of the Wild is rather…”breathtaking”…for lack of a better pun. The trailer and gameplay videos are showing off some visuals that haven’t been accomplished in a Zelda game before. The environments look rustic and lived in; plenty of ruins with age and dilapidation litter the landscape. That juxtaposition with the technology surrounding the shrines is used to great effect in these first glimpses. Another combo they have successfully pulled off is the combination of what feels like hand-drawn animation mixed with realistic 3D modeling and effects. It’s like a weird mix of Pixar’s recent visual accomplishments with a infusion of Japanese flair and styling. It is really quite impressive and I’m sure we haven’t seen the half of it.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t take much to get Zelda fans excited for a new entry. But then Nintendo does something like this and it’s certain to get new fans interest at time where they need it most. In the meantime, we will look forward to new updates and re-watching this new trailer a million times.

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