The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Impressions

Jonathan Jagmin

First revealed briefly in 2014, the latest console installment of the Zelda franchise titled Breath of the Wild, has finally been fully unveiled to the public.  Fans have waited with intense eagerness and speculation as to the game’s details has been running rampant.  While there is undoubtedtly more to discover, this first trailer for the game reveals substantially more than we knew beforehand.

The first and most obvious thing to note about the footage we’ve seen is the absolutely colossal world on display.  Grasslands forests, deserts, mountains, tropics and arctic environments are all on display, and each appears to be massive.  The world is a sea of rolling hills, craggy peaks, rivers, lakes, cliffs and ruins.  Judging by what little we’ve seen, I would say the world in Breath of the Wild could be as larger or larger than what we’ve already seen on the Wii U in Xenoblade Chronicles X, which featured a world larger than Skyrim, Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 combined.

The next most obvious conclusion to draw is the sheer amount of gameplay variety and activities that can be engaged in.  The game appears to follow a core concept of wilderness survival and exploration, and Link’s displayed tools and abilities definitely seem to flow naturally into this concept.

In the trailer we see Link soaring over a vast forest, utilizing a glider-like device which harkens back to the Deku Leaf from Wind Waker.  Not only does Link ride horses once again, but he appears to be capable of capturing and taming them.  Does this indicate a possible mortality or feeding system for his mounts?  A possible breeding system?  Link is also shown scaling massive cliffs, climbing trees and the walls of a giant temple or ruin of sorts.  Clearly, vertical exploration will be a key component of this game, certainly indicating a future importance for the classic Hookshot item.

Another intriguing element of the game is what appears to be multifaceted usage of Link’s various tools.  We can see obviously, an axe and spear have been added to his collection of items, and can be used for combat in substitution of his sword.  However, what is interesting is that Link is shown using the same axe to chop down trees, and diving into a lake with the spear in hand.  Could this be a hint at a new option for spear-fishing in the game?  Link’s classic bow item is always a great tool for puzzle-solving and long-range combat.  However it’s also shown here to have its uses in hunting boar, and presumably other wild game as well, such as the elk and birds shown in the trailer.

We also get a few glimpses of other new activities and options available to Link, such as setting wildfires, cooking food (presumably meat obtained from hunting), and using traps to foil his enemies like rolling boulders downhill or shooting down beehives to confuse and panic enemy monsters.  Link also appears to carry a book or stone tablet item of some sort which allows his to manipulate the world around him, or conjure items out of thin air.  And my God, can we talk about Link wearing sets of armor in the game?  I think this definitely indicates an element of strategy, where being practically nude is advantageous for swimming and fishing, wearing the basic tunic is best for exploration and traversal, and the armor is ideal for combat.

Finally, the trailer closes on an epic shot of the Master Sword, lying at rest in the forest.  Based on the setting and dilapidated appearance of the sword, my guess is that this game will take place after A Link to the Past, and quite some time after at that.  I’m hoping the aged condition of the sword means Link won’t actually be using it in the game, and maybe simply viewing the weapon as a holy relic of sorts instead.

Regardless of speculation and missing information, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is clearly a game to keep our eyes on.  March 2017 is the projected release date, and it can’t come soon enough!

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