*Nintendo/Zelda Fanboi mode activate*
In a totally unbiased and utmost factual fashion, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the best game announcement to happen to E3 in forever. Single-handedly, it will keep E3 afloat for another 6 years.
More importantly, after that E3 reveal, I think this may be the most worthy successor to the original The Legend of Zelda out of all of the Zelda titles.
In case you were in a coma or something yesterday and haven’t seen the trailer (or want to have it on constant replay like I do), go ahead and watch the video below to catch up.
Amazing right? Life changing stuff. Having seen it 382 times, I feel like a better person already.
So we don’t need to go into detail and review screenshots or discuss graphics or whatever - it’s HD, it’s good.
Ok, we can dig into it a little. The game design seems to be a mix of Windwaker and Skyward Sword, with Link not looking chibi, but definitely taking from the cel shaded minimalist style. Colors are slightly muted but isn’t washed out. I dig it (of course I would).
The world itself is changed from previous titles, apparently taking place in a future setting where the Kingdom of Hyrule once was, as opposed to is. It’s also modernized in some way with the introduction of technology instead of just swords and sorcery.
As for gameplay, Link can jump on command now. He also climbs things, like rocks and trees. Weapons can be found around and will degrade/break, but combat seems to be a familiar affair with a lock-on/strafe system.
I watched a good 30 minutes of the Nintendo live stream, but actually stopped in order to stop from seeing too much - I really want to discover all of these things myself and be surprised - but I kept listening in order to pick up whatever tidbits were mentioned.
What I found the most interesting was how the game harkens back to it’s origin in format.
Ever since Link to the Past, we’ve been gifted these wonderfully crafted stories. Link wakes up, we are introduced to his familiar surroundings, and then something prompts his departure for the world at large. Each story is beautifully crafted, and we are led through the collection of temples and weapons and tools and villages, all introduced in accordance with the story’s progression.
If you’ll recall the original The Legend of Zelda, there was no story laid out for you at the start of the game. You were a guy in green, in the middle of a sandy tile, and you went into a hole where an old guy gave you a warning and a sword. Then you walked around and tried not to die. Sometimes you found other holes to go into - sometimes it was something nice or other people, sometimes it was the entrance to a dungeon.
What really caught my attention during the Nintendo Treehouse reveal was this:
“I know a lot of people are going to be really excited about how you're dropped into this world and there's minimal backstory”
“You’ll be able to learn these back stories…. little by little on your own pace. It’s not the game that’s telling you, but you can kind of explore and find out on your own.”
You could have told someone the same thing back in 1986 and it would hold true. This is a gigantic shift; something we haven’t seen in 25 years.
While we call it open world and it will give you an experience similar to many games that share that description in the last decade, this is something that Nintendo laid the foundation for in 1986.
When the WiiU launched, I said that I would buy the console when the new Zelda game came out. Unfortunately, as that never came to pass, neither did my console purchase. As fanboi as I am, I knew the limitations of the Nintendo eco system, and it seems that I was right on the money as there wasn't a single game that could sell me the system - until now.
So - finally, I get to buy my new Nintendo console. Unfortunately that system will (probably) be the NX instead of the WiiU.
And finally, we get a premier, console based Zelda title. What's more, we get more than a continuation of the series, but we even get a true successor to the original The Legend of Zelda.
*Slight update to my list of "Best games to come out in 2016" - this game is no longer on it.