After what seems like an eternity of waiting, Nintendo finally pulled back the curtain on its next Legend of Zelda title, newly christened Breath of the Wild, and it was certainly impressive. We already knew the game would feature a sprawling, open world, but few could imagine the sheer scale and variety of this new iteration of Hyrule. Likewise, Nintendo seems to be making an earnest attempt to shake up the series’ conventions with Breath of the Wild, introducing new mechanics, like upgradable armaments and foraging for resources, to the gameplay, truly setting it apart from previous Zelda titles. Now that the staff has had time to process all they’ve seen, what do they think of the new direction the series is heading in?
Breath of the Wild is what would happen if Metal Gear Solid 3 and V got together and had a baby with Skyward Sword— and believe me, that’s a good thing. I’m going to going to go a little more depth later with my hands-on impressions of the game, but during my time spending over three (three!) hours waiting to play Breath of the Wild, I watched quite a bit of the Treehouse devoted to it and was already impressed before I’d even touched a controller.
It’s very clear that Nintendo wanted to imbue this new Zelda game with the same sort of wonder that the original on NES garnered. That first Zelda was all about exploration, about making one’s way around the map under their own steam and figuring out how to get into each dungeon. As such, it remains arguably the least linear installment in franchise history.
At least, until Breath of the Wild launches. This Wii U swan song/NX debut title has just turned the hype up to eleven, as Link has never been more agile, crafty, and deadly than he is now. The footage does a good job of conveying how free this new game feels, and it’s something that I think will “breathe” (a pun!) fresh air into a series that has yet to feel stagnant. Sort of a “you never knew you always wanted it” scenario that will push Zelda in a brand new direction even though its current course was just fine. I can’t wait.
Wow. That’s really the best summation I can give in regards to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ll never forget the first time I played Ocarina of Time. There was something immediately daunting about it, but it was also a world I was more than eager to jump into and explore. That’s how I felt upon seeing BOTW’s version of Hyrule.
What amazed me the most about the Treehouse presentation is that Nintendo spent hours pulling back the curtain on the game and giving us new details, but they also did a magnificent job keeping so many details under wraps. Apparently, they even removed NPCs from each area to prevent fans from seeing storyline spoilers. That’s amazing, and something we see so infrequently.
I could gush about the game all day. Even the new Amiibo look great! For Nintendo, Breath of the Wild pretty much had to deliver, and I think it did so in spades. As Robert said, this looks like it’s going to make both a very nice finale for the Wii U and a promising start to the Nintendo NX. Well played, Nintendo. March can’t come soon enough.
I don’t think I’ve ever said “holy mother of god” as much as I did yesterday, because Breath of the Wild looks that incredible. The endless dynamics! The physics! The scale! The open-endedness! Even Naked Link excites me, and I never thought I’d type that.
This is precisely what I’ve wanted from Zelda over the past decade: to go back to its sense of adventure and grandeur. Personally, I felt Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were too bloated with padding and the like to deliver on that, and I couldn’t be happier with how Breath of the Wild is doing away with all that and doubling down on what made Zelda so enchanting in the first place. Detractors say the game isn’t doing much of anything new, but I’d argue that it seems to be doing everything right: not only is there something to do around every corner, but the practically endless possibilities surrounding weather, stamina, foraging, boss encounters, bombs, campfires, weapons, and player progression promise an absurdly deep experience. (By the way, I’d also argue that the magnet/time stasis mechanics come across as pretty dang new/compelling in themselves.)
And to think we’ve only scratched the surface of what the game has to offer. Nintendo’s commitment to reinvent Zelda conventions has already rendered Breath of the Wild my game of the show.
What I find most striking about Breath of the Wild is how empty it looks, and I mean that in the best way possible. We have seen many versions of Hyrule, but the state of the world in what we’ve seen so immediately ensnared me. Why is the world covered with ruins? What are all of these broken machines strewn across the wasteland? Why does it seem there are only a handful of people left in the world? Where did all of this advanced technology come from? Where did Link even come from?
These mysteries alone would be enough to hook me, but the fact that the answers are buried somewhere in this gorgeous, massive world just waiting to be explored makes everything better. But wait, that’s not all! On top of all of that is the fact that Nintendo has seemingly completely rewritten the Zelda rule-book with numerous elements from various survival, action RPG, and open world games. Thankfully, even with all of these factors being mixed in, BOTW still looks like it has a unique identity all its own.
The final element I want to touch on, though, is the obvious attention to detail Nintendo is showing. As strange as it sounds, I was immediately excited by how a camp of bokoblins sprung up and had to scramble for their weapons when startled by Link. And then there was how Link’s skin turned red when standing around in the cold. Altogether, it seems like Nintendo has made it their aim to make sure everything has a realistic place in the world, and will react naturally to all the other things in the world.
In short, based on what I’ve seen, I totally understand and forgive the game’s extremely long development cycle.
What did you think of the next Legend of Zelda game? Were you impressed by its scale and ambition, or did it fail to live up to your expectations? Share your thoughts in the comments!