The Legend of Zelda: A Breath of Fresh Air
The winds have changed, as a breath of fresh air has swept through The Legend of Zelda franchise. Nintendo finally pulled back the curtain on their newest entry in the esteemed The Legend of Zelda franchise and it has been the recipient of thunderous applause and glowing praise in the week that has since passed. The Legend of Zelda franchise is steeped in rich history, and the newest entry, titled “Breath of the Wild” is sure to stand as a defining point for the franchise, one way, or another. There’s a lot to analyse based on the entrée we’ve been provided so far – so sit back, and relax as we dissect what we can expect of one of 2017’s biggest, and most important games.
We’ve seen more than 90minutes of gameplay from Breath of the Wild, and in that time we’ve seen Link take out countless Bokoblins, wander endless expanses and scale enormous landmarks. If I weren’t already sitting down, Nintendo would have knocked me right back on my rear when they then followed up all of this by informing us all that this was only 1% of the playable world that makes up Breath of the Wild. My heart nearly exploded through my chest at the sheer thought of so much content, but I’ve since worried… Is it too much? The Wii U, as much as I love it, isn’t a powerhouse, so how will such vast environments be differentiated, how will they feel lived in and how will they be populated? If Nintendo doesn’t nail this then watch players drop off in droves, because the last thing anyone wants in a massive open world is to see the same scenario on a loop.
Stamina is a big, big deal in Breath of the Wild. Everything Link does burns stamina, from sprinting in the fields to climbing up cliff faces or structures, and he’s not an everlasting tank of electrolytes either. He will tire, and there will be consequences for letting him tire, and this all links *pun intended* into another inclusion that will be just as pivotal – the cooking system. Link can scavenge food scraps or remains from enemies he’s defeated and you can consume these to restore both health and stamina, or elect to cook them for far greater benefits. With nearly endless combinations available, it’s interesting to imagine the sorts of things we’ll be cooking up, and how we’ll be using these concoctions in our travels.
We’ve seen a number of different games take advantage of what is a very logical concept – weapon degradation. Now Zelda is joining those ranks, and we’ve seen it in action. Link’s stock standard swords will pack some punch, though it will not last, so you’ll need to be picking up the weapons that defeated enemies drop and managing them to ensure you get the most from them. If well executed then I cannot complain about this inclusion, but I also can’t help but extend my mind further to weapon Link (presumably, perhaps inevitably) gets his hands on the fabled Master Sword. Does this mechanic hold true for the blade of legend, or does this feature go right out the window when Link obtains this mighty blade, contradicting everything put in place to that stage?
I’ve already spoken about climbing and how it fits into the stamina mechanic, but there’s much more that can be elicited from this climbing feature. Can Link swing his sword whilst climbing? Can he be shot down off walls? Why do we need this feature? Obviously, there’s much that Nintendo hasn’t said about the climbing mechanic, but it’s quite safe to assume that this will be the most vertical Zelda game we’ve ever played (if you ignore the obvious fact that Skyward Sword was set in the clouds).
Nintendo has presently revealed four Amiibo that connect with Breath of the Wild. The first is of course the Wolf Link Amiibo which released alongside this year’s Twilight Princess remaster, and the perks are immediate – you get a Wolf Link that will accompany you and assist in combat. The other three have not yet had any details specified, however we’ll see the iconic shot of Link drawing his bow, Link on horseback and one of a Guardian, the monster we saw in the very first Breath of the Wild trailer. There’re three different versions of Link and one enemy; what could each of them do? Obviously, Nintendo will answer this in time, but it gives us a lot to ponder.
There’s a lot to discuss based on the numerous ways with which you can play Breath of the Wild. Of course, players can use the Wii U gamepad, but what is most telling is the fact that if you choose you may also play with the Wii U’s Pro controller. There will be obvious advantages to the Wii U gamepad that the conventional controller simply cannot replicate; features that improve map interaction as well as menu navigation amongst others. There are also possible suggestions here relating to how the NX will function. Could the inclusion suggest that Nintendo’s next system is reverting back to the conventional controller setup? Or is this just Nintendo giving players more ways to play?
I’ve not even touched on everything that I want to ask Nintendo about Breath of the Wild, and yet I feel that with each answer they provide, I will only have further questions. Most Zelda games have stuck to a very clear formula and this is the first major deviation from it that we’ve seen, it leaves me champing at the bit to learn more, but has my head spinning with all the possibilities that could lay ahead of us. Nintendo… give me the game already!!!