Preview: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
It’s hard to believe that I’m actually playing Breath of the Wild right now, and it is freaking me out a little bit. As fans, we have waited a LONG time for this game – originally scheduled to just be released on the Wii U, or so we thought – and to finally have it on the Nitnendo Switch is a dream come true. Let’s face it: it has been a LONG time since we have played a new Zelda title on a home console, with the latest few releases being remakes of older titles. Although I cannot get too in depth with my Breath of the Wild preview, I can talk about a few things…
This World Feels Alive
The creators of Zelda took a risk – although a safe risk I would say – when they begin unveiling details about the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The biggest change: Link was going to be dropped into a large open world, and as the player, you can go anywhere, whenever (for the most part). Gone are traditional Zelda ‘tutorials,’ gone are the linear dungeon completion storylines, and gone is traditional sword and shield, bow, and slingshot mechanics. Almost everything – outside of Links storyline – is new for Breath of the Wild, and for me, it all started with a large open world to explore.
Whether it is the wildlife, the Bokoblin camps, or a variety of other new additions, nothing feels out of place here, and everything feels fresh and new. There’s a darkness over the world to be sure, but it’s elegant and it’s beautiful.
What is truly wonderful about this open world, however, is that no two play styles will every be the same. How you get from A to B can vary drastically, and very few problems have only one solution. See that Bokoblin camp over there? Tackle it how you want: full out melee, stealthy bomb attack, or simply use the environment and what the creators have placed around you. It’s not the Zelda we probably all know and love, but it is new, and it is good.
The variety is what will excite most players. The likelihood of you and a friend completing sections of the game the exact same way are highly unlikely, and there is always exploration. Early on in Breath of the Wild, one of the Shrines will require you to venture into cold temperatures. Without something to keep you warm, you will eventually die. What was fascinating was how you could go about completing this section in a variety of ways – not spoiled here in detail – by either suiting up properly, eating something specific, or bringing fire with you. It’s a departure from the classic “get a specific item to move to a new area” gameplay we have come to expect from the series.
That’s gone, and it’s a welcome change. Perhaps in a world filled with games like Skyrim, and the soon to be released Horizon: Zero Dawn, this is what the creators HAD to do! Yes, I know this has been in development for a long time, but games of this magnitude have had a huge impact on what the latest Zelda adventure looks like.
I won’t shy away from being skeptical as I began my adventure. In Zelda games, I’m not use to weapons with different strengths, I’m not use to upgrading or changing my outfits. These elements are very new, and when a beloved franchise takes such a huge leap in a new direction, I wouldn’t blame any Zelda fan for having similar feelings. It’s not a Zelda game, but yet it is. It truly is an experience that can’t be written about easily, unless approached as a new IP. I will find a way, however, by March 2nd!
You’ve Seen What I can Share
Much of what I can actually talk about has been in all the game play demos to date, with a few minor exceptions. These more detailed thoughts will be saved for our full review early next week. As of today, we are very impressed, but have lots of journeying yet to do. Things could wow us further, or could disappoint. You’ll have to wait until March 2nd to find out.
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