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

While waiting for the convention floor to open up many people had nothing to do but sit and watch Nintendo’s Treehouse Presentation on Twitch; that’s when most people got their first glimpse at what was already known to be the only Nintendo game at E3 this year.  I’ll be honest what I saw during the play though online left me very underwhelmed.  There was major pop-up and very visible drawing of the scenery, art that looked kind of just blah, and very little to actually see around.  I’m glad to say that what I saw during the online demo could be chopped up to a fluke and bad bandwidth/buffering as the E3 demo that I played was much MUCH better than what I saw just a few hours before.

Nintendo decided to do things differently this year and put all of it’s resources, and considerable show floor space, towards one big title.  They even went so far as to wall off the entire area.  Their thought behind this approach was to highlight a game that will possibly be an NX launch title and to give you the feel of expansiveness that the open world of Hyrule offered.  By limiting the number of people that were allowed at a time they were able to leave a very beautiful area wide open for those inside to explore and allow players to play the demo without feeling claustrophobic.

A panoramic of the Zelda booth in middle of the day (not seen the line stretching as far as the eye can see)
The typical E3 shoulder to shoulder grind
The typical E3 shoulder to shoulder grind

The game itself played extremely well and the graphics were actually a lot more polished than the poor quality stream video led on (a mixture of the Skyward Sword modeling and Windwaker cell shading).  Link can now jump, climb, and swim as far as his stamina gauge will get him, and appears to have a vast array of weapons and armor/clothing to acquire.  You can now replenish your health by eating food; food you can actually craft in game.  You can cut down trees with the help of an axe.  You can also use Amiibos to add content to the game as well.  As of this time the only confirmed Amiibo that works with the game is the Twilight Princess that comes with the remastered Twilight Princess game, but others may be added (I grilled the guys but they would only confirm the current one); this will give you a wolf Link to fight by your side.

Things to look out for are still there as well, this is by no means a perfect game:

  • Adding the Amiibo felt very clunky and cumbersome
  • The screen for the Wii Gamepad was not used at all, which could just be because of the demo
  • The crafting was weird because you have to choose your items from your inventory and then add it to a skillet to cook at your “save point” campfire

Zelda timeline wise it’s really hard to place this one.  You awake after a 100 year sleep and the “Calamity Ganon” has ravaged the kingdom.  Given what we know of the Zelda history (from the official timeline), it seems like this might take place in the alternate Gannon wins timeline after Ocarina of Time.  Nintendo would not confirm anything though.  There were no rupees to be found at all, and seeing as civilization has been brought to its knees you can see why.  The temple of time is destroyed and decayed, why helps place this a little bit more as well.

Zelda timeline
The official Zelda Timeline

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be out in 2017, hopefully in time for it to be an NX launch title.


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