The countdown has begun for the new game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I could not be more excited. Now, before I start ripping through the actual gameplay I saw, let’s tackle some of the bigger picture stuff first. The game is being developed and published by Nintendo and is set to release in 2017. No specific date has been set, but I assume that we’ll hear more about it later this year when Nintendo gives out more information on their new system. The Nintendo NX should be covered more toward the end of this year, and the new Zelda game will be available for both the NX and Wii U. So, now that we’ve covered some of the basics, who’s ready to jump into some gameplay features?
Zelda: Breath of the Wild is taking its own awesome twist on the Zelda series. It’s an open world environment, comes with a minimap, fast travel, the ability to scale building and mountains, and all kinds of puzzles. As far as storyline goes, or where it lands in the Zelda timeline, people are doing their research and hypothesizing so I’ll leave that to the professionals. I see this game as a mash-up between classic Zelda games, Skyrim, and Minecraft. For starters, you no longer gain health back by collecting hearts. This game has a brand new hunting system, so you have to wake up early, grab your bow, and bring back a boar before the sun goes down. Actually, you can just shoot one in passing, loot its body, and cook it up in a matter of minutes, but why not make a day out of it! You can also gather ingredients and throw them in a cooking pot. If it comes out delicious, you’ve learned a recipe. If it comes out poorly, you’re left with a failed experiment. The game also offers a full day/night cycle. Every second in real time is equivalent to one in-game minute. Rest assured (pun incoming), if you ever find yourself out in the dark, you can sleep at a campfire until morning. See what I did there?
Another huge part of every Zelda game is the combat system, and I think they did a fantastic job with what I’ve seen so far. You can have several different melee weapons (eight at a time I believe), bows and arrows, and magical weapons. I’ve seen three different arrow bundles, but there may be more. I know for a fact they have standard, fire, and ice arrows. You can also make a standard arrow into a fire arrow. Draw the bowstring back, walk up to a fire, wait for the arrow to light, and you’re good to go. Weapons can also be lit on fire, and enemies won’t hesitate to come at you with a burning club. When engaging in melee combat, you can perform a counter attack if you dodge an enemy at the perfect time. You also have to make sure you jump in the right direction, otherwise you’re just propelling yourself straight into an oncoming sword to the forehead. You can also throw a weapon at an enemy. If it hits, it a guaranteed critical attack that does double the regular weapon damage. I’ve also seen a fire rod used, and it’s awesome. It’s a magical weapon that allows you to summon large fireballs that roll around and light the world on fire. Upon charging up the attack enough, you use all of your stamina to shoot multiple fireballs out of the rod in a large circle. You have to be careful though. If the rod comes into contact with something when your swinging it, it breaks immediately.
The last huge addition to the game is the Sheikah Slate. This is Link’s bread and butter to surviving throughout the game. It gives him access to a large map of the area, as well as his minimap. Link can use this information to plan his next attack, figure out where to explore, and even fast travel. The slate also gives him new abilities, one of which is a magnetic grab. He can use this grab to manipulate almost any object in the game and place it wherever he wants. Is there a gap that’s just a little too big to jump? Well, let’s just throw a tree trunk across it and we’ll be on our way. The slate also has a scope that allows you to identify and mark enemies from a distance. This shows their location, their HP, and makes sneaking around much easier. Mobility is also pretty huge in an open world game, so Link has a couple of ways to get around. If you’re on top of a mountain and you want a quick way down, you have a few options. You could jump, but that’s probably a last resort tactic. You can ride on your shield by jumping up (yeah, you can jump now too) and pressing the A button to coast down the side of the hill. It looks awesome, but it does damage the shield quite a bit. You can also use a paraglider to fly around the world. For ground travel, you will forever and always have the beloved Epona.
So that’s a basic overview of the things you can expect to see in the upcoming Zelda game! I think it looks amazing and I might have to go out and by an NX just so I have a console to play it on. Be sure to keep checking in often as we update the site when new information is released. Until then, ready your ocarinas and dust off those shields, there’s a big world out there and it needs a hero!