The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Impressions at E3 2016

Nintendo has offered a first look at the immense open world of the Wii U version for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild during E3 2016. During Nintendo’s Treehouse Live at E3, Reggie Fils-Aime has revealed the official title and a new gameplay trailer for the upcoming Legend of Zelda for Wii U/NX: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Breath of the Wild takes inspiration from the groundbreaking freedom and open world dynamics that originated in the Legend of Zelda for NES. The 8-bit classic was non-linear, giving players the choice of open exploration and the ability to enter a handful of dungeons from the very beginning of the game. There is an uncanny resemblance in Breath of the Wild, as the first character that Link meets is an unnamed Old Man who helps Link begin his journey from how to eat food, and eventually sending him off in his first trial.

Breath of the Wild offers a promising new take on the series with two demos; one that allows players to simply explore and discover the open world environment while experimenting with new gameplay features, and the second that shows you the game’s introduction. Link has been asleep for 100 years with little to no memory of who he was. Calamity Ganon has taken over Hyrule Castle with the Temple of Time left in ruins. Take note that the Great Plateau, the map, though seemingly vast, is actually less than 1% of the entire game. Due to the vastness, Link can use his Sheikah Slate, a new major tool that presumably functions as both a map and a guide, to teleport from areas that he has previously opened.

Additionally, there is a new dynamic where Link can use Runes, or special items, to help him on his journey. For example, the first rune Link receives is the Magnesis, where like a magnet, Link can move big metallic pieces of the environment to clear obstacles. In the E3 trailer shown during the Nintendo Treehouse, you can see Link molding other aspects of the environment, for example, turning water into ice.

This title takes a departure from the Legend of Zelda series in that there is the absence of hearts and Link has to feed himself to refill health or gain a temporary stamina boost. As Link explores the environment, he can forage, fish and consume them raw or cook them for a stronger effect. Being next to a campfire allows Link to easily flow through time, from morning, afternoon or evening. Weapons have to be found or collected from defeated enemies. It is also worth noting that weapons can now break. Additionally in the first demo, there are scattered treasure chests to be opened; some that open when all of the Bokoblins are defeated, and others that are inaccessible without using Magnesis to bridge the gap with a plank.

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild breaks boundaries for the franchise and for games as a whole,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “Where you go, how you get there, the order in which you do it, and the items, weapons and approaches used to solve puzzles and defeat enemies are all up to you.”

Other extras to the interface include a temperature meter, where Link can get too hot or too cold, therefore affecting his health and ability to function, and a sound meter. Paying attention to how much noise Link makes can affect his ability to successfully sneak up behind enemies. Another new move, in addition to Link being able to jump, is the ability to crouch by clicking in onto the joystick. Crouching allows Link to sneak up behind enemies. Link can climb structures from trees, buildings, mountains and more.

The Legend of Zelda will also feature new amiibo from two versions of Link: Archer and Rider, as well as the Guardian. The Guardian was previously revealed during the 2014 E3 presentation and will be the first amiibo with flexible parts. The Wolf Link amiibo, previously launched alongside Twilight Princess HD, will also be compatible with Breath of the Wild. Once tapped in, Wolf Link becomes a companion that will attack enemies on his own until his health runs out. Expect the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to launch simultaneously on Wii U and their upcoming console, NX early 2017.

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