It’s hard to believe that Breath Of The Wild, the recently subtitled latest entry in the Zelda series has been kicking around since 2014. It’s been a long, patient wait, but Nintendo has finally dumped a comprehensive ton of information upon us at E3 this year, both by making the game playable at the show and by devoting over 6 hours of their E3 stream to the game. The company’s choice to pretty almost solely promote Zelda at the event shows both their confidence in the title as well as their real lack of anything else to show. It was probably a wise decision to keep that terrible thing they’re doing to Metroid behind closed doors for now.
So what do we know about the game now that we didn’t before? Quite a lot really. The demo Nintendo has available doesn’t show Link visiting any towns or interacting with other characters to speak of, but those things are promised to be included in the enormous open world Nintendo has created. Instead most of the time spent with Link today sees him exploring a fairly wild segment of the world as well as many of the shrines scattered around it. Shrines are kind of like light challenge areas that feature a small set of puzzles for Link to solve (not to be confused with full scale dungeons which we’re yet to see) and if there’s any indication based off what we saw today there’ll be a whole bunch of them to solve.
Combat in the game looks like it’s still the same one button affair we’ve always had in Zelda, but the game’s method for handling equipment is wildly different than anything we’ve ever seen from the series. Now Link’s weapons will decay (rather rapidly too) and throughout the day we were constantly watching players ditch their weapons in favor of whatever enemies were dropping. The game has some stealth elements added into it, with the addition of a small gauge by the mini map that displays how much sound the player is making as well as the ability to mark enemies, similar to what we’ve had in MGS or Far Cry.
Links health is still represented by hearts but he’ll no longer be picking them up to recover life. Instead the game introduces a complex food system that can allow you to gain small boosts to his health by eating scavenged morsels or to even go beyond maximum health by combining ingredients on a cook stove.
Link’s abilities also seem quite varied, even in this early section of the game. We’ve already seen the expected archery and bombs though this go around only arrows are finite, bombs are now unlimited but tied to a cooldown. We’ve also gotten a look at items that let Link toss around heavy objects, stop time for certain objects and devices, and create ice pillars from bodies of water. Some of these tools have gyroscopic aiming using the Wii U controller, but we’re told that the entire game can be played through with just a classic controller.
Some other quick notes from the gameplay shown:
- Armor is here as well to complement the new inventory system.
- You can climb on just about anything so long as you have enough Stamina or the surface is not flat.
- Some weapons have special move sets like the spiked bow which features a bonus melee attack option.
- Link can now take damage from the environment and will have to bundle up when in cold weather, etc.
- Speaking of cold weather, Link can use his shield like a snowboard.
- Enemies have a bit more connection to the world, they will become more aggressive when they’re in groups, but you can also catch them sleeping or resting away from their equipment.
Oh and I hope you held onto that Twilight Princess HD Amiibo, as scanning it into the game will summon a wolf companion that seems to give Link a serious advantage against the world. It was said that other Zelda Amiibos would summon partners as well but we don’t yet know if that goes all the way back to the Smash Bros line of toys.
It’s still a long ways away from release (which really says something regarding how polished the game already looks) but Zelda is easily the game we’ve now seen the most of at E3. Now the only question is whether or not you’ll be picking it up on the shiny new (and barely mentioned) NX. Word seems to be we’ll be seeing more of that console in September, likely at the Tokyo Game Show, so stay tuned to see what else is new for this very promising title.