Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo started off the their Treehouse presentation with a long awaited debut gameplay trailer and title release of the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. According to Reggie Filsaime, CEO of Nintendo of America, their immersion scientists have been hard at work to make Hyrule not only vast and teeming with life but as well as breaking many of Zelda’s previous paradigms. The changes made for the franchise were so massive that Nintendo had to assign a full day discussing the game. Both Aonuma and Miyamoto-san described the development process as a throwback to what made the original Legend of Zelda great as well using the available technology to enhance and expand on what they wanted for the original game. While many (such as myself) groaned at the delayment for the game for “polishing”, my fears that the game would crumble under it’s own hype were quickly washed away. Luckily for you readers out there I won’t force you to sit through 6 hours of information as I have neatly complied my notes for your perusal.

#1. Breath of the Wild will have voice over.

While technically the game has had voice over since the Ocarina of Time with all the grunts and “HYAAAAAAH!”'s in every 3D title entry, this is the first time a major character will be fully voiced not counting the mysterious narrator from Hyrule Warriors as she never had an active role in the game aside from exposition. Only time will tell what role the mysterious voice will have.

#2 His name is Link

This is the first time the hero is actually referred to as “Link” in-game. Link has always simply been referred to the “Hero of Time”, “Hero of Winds.”,” Hero of Seasons/Ages”, etc. Miyamoto has long stated that the reason he choose the default name as Link was so both the player and hero were analogous to the connection to the characters and worlds of the games. Even though the default name for the hero may have always been “Link”, the player always had the option to insert his/her own name.

#3 It’s a massive open world even when compared to other open world games

For instance, Bethesda doesn’t mess around when it comes to it’s worlds; even sacrificing graphic fidelity in order to give the player a huge immersive adventure to sandbox in and Hyrule still manages to dwarf these worlds. When we were told that Zelda WiiU was going to be an “open world adventure,” I was quite skeptical of the scope of the game. After all everyone says, “It will be the largest [insert game here] ever!" and then you finish exploring everything within a few short hours. While Skyward sword was relatively the largest Zelda game at that time, Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule is jaw dropping. How large is it exactly? Large enough that you could combine every world Link had adventures in into one and it still would make more than 5 percent of the landscape.

#4 No tutorial level/prologue!

Anyone who's played Skyward Sword will of course tell you that they loved every bit it, until you remind them of the 5 hour long tutorial that was designed for someone who never turned on a TV let alone a video game. The game simply starts off in a cave with a mysterious voice telling you to get your sleepy ass up and outside. After you’ve finished picking your jaw off the floor from the view of Hyrule, you see a stick on the floor and you pick it up. How did you know how to pick up the stick, you ask? Instead of condescendingly being told how sleeping in must of giving you brain damage by a nearby villager for not knowing how to use your hands, the item is simply marked with “A” under its display. Then a brief description of the item and concise follow-up on how to use said item. The best part being that you aren’t constantly reminded of what that item is every time you pick it up unlike some of the previous Zelda titles.

#5 Little to no exposition

Aside from abusing Deus Ex Machina, overuse of exposition in narrations is prevalent with most Japanese games, which lead to the atrocity of a tutorial level Skyward Sword inflicted on the masses. While Nintendo came in and gave full notice that all story elements and details for the Breath of the Wild would be removed for the E3 presentation, we were given details on how the story would be presented. Aonuma-san stated that the dev team wanted to present story of Hyrule and its crisis through context in the world itself and the individual characters that reside in it. Meaning that if you want to know more about the lore of the game you’d better start exploring.

#6 Better Exploration

We’ve all played those games where we were promised amazing levels of immersion in exploration simply to be cockblocked by a fence/bush because the developers forgot all about the ability to clamber/ jump over objects that are just over waist high. Well not here! Link now has the ability to independently jump and climb anywhere and everywhere. Trees? Check. That annoying boulder? Check. Gates? Double check. Don’t feel like going into that encampment through the front door? You can simply flank and climb over the fence and rain bokoblin death from above. A tactic the both the Nintendo Of America employees and I love to employ. The Stamina makes a return (Captain America is the only hero that is allowed to have unlimited stamina) as you sprint and climb.

#7 There is a crafting/cooking system.

Well, maybe not crafting but there is a cooking system that puts all that exploration and hoarding instinct to use in-game. In previous Zelda titles, if you started running low on health all you had to do was mow the lawns for a bit and your efforts would promptly be rewarded. Not in Breath of the Wild. While food items are plentiful in Hyrule, they usually restore a measly half a heart. That is, unless you combine your items in order to make a better recovery item such as seared steak or potions. While you can make a decent recovery item just by adding fire and whatever the hell you have on you. The more complex the recipe the better the benefits. Usually, giving you buffs like cold/heat/damage resistance, strength increase or stamina recovery along with greater heart recovery. Sometimes your endeavors will end in a bust and you end up with something that looks like it could kill you but probably won’t.

You can check out the trailer below:

Know something about Breath of the Wild that we don't? Let us know in the comments below.

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