My entire day was dominated by Nintendo’s Treehouse Live show. I could have tuned in to various live streams to see other games, many of which weren’t at the press conferences, but all I wanted to do was watch the new Zelda. And it was worth it, because although I think the reveal of Resident Evil VII might have been my biggest surprise moment this year, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is absolutely the game I’m most looking forward to.
Reggie Fils-Aime kicked off the show with a new trailer. It had some voice acting in it, which is cool, but it’s unclear just how much will be in the game itself. Next we get a real taste of what the game will be like. Link is seen wielding multiple kinds of weapons, wearing several different pieces of armor, and interacting with the environment in ways he never has before. For example, at one point, he rolls a massive boulder onto some unsuspecting monsters. It’s really nice to see Zelda pushing things forward again.
Unfortunately, the show then cuts to almost an hour of Pokemon Sun and Moon. Now, I love Pokemon and will probably get one of these two games on the day of release, but Pokemon is Pokemon. At this point, everyone knows what to expect from that series. While there were a few new things that they showed, such as a four player battle mode, it ultimately was an hour of Nintendo saying, “yup, it’s still Pokemon.”
But then it got back to Zelda, and stayed there all day. The really crazy thing to me was that the entire day, they continued to run new footage of the game. There was no revisiting past scenarios for people who tuned in late, it was a constant barrage of new areas and new shrines. That’s a good thing too, because it really shows how open this new game will be.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features an entirely new weapon system. In the past, you got your sword, and you stuck with it until you got the Master Sword. Usually there would be one upgrade past that, but basically, you stuck with just a couple swords the entire game. Now, Link starts out with literally nothing. He finds weapons in chests or defeated enemies and uses them until they break. As a result, combat forces you to constantly be scavenging weapons off of your fallen foes so that you don’t run out. This seems really cool right now, hopefully when I actually get to play the game it won’t get stale.
One of the other big things they showed was the idea of shrines, which are basically mini dungeons. According to the Treehouse, there are over 100 of these shrines as well as some full sized dungeons. Throughout the live stream, every shrine they entered gave Link a new ability, such as being able to manipulate the environment with a magnet like ability or to create pillars of ice in the water. I’m pretty sure that not every shrine will have a new ability, just because that would be a lot of abilities, so I’m very curious what else will be given as rewards for completing them.
There’s also a new hunting and cooking system that reminded me a lot of Monster Hunter. Throughout the game, you’ll be gathering fruits and veggies and hunting wild animals. You can eat the plants or meats to regain some health, or you can cook them to make food that give more health and have added effects. One example they showed was a dish made using hot peppers that granted Link resistance to cold weather, which would otherwise be sapping health from him.
Overall, I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen from Breath of the Wild. It’s very much a brand new experience for the series, and yet, it’s unmistakably still a Zelda game. While I am a little disappointed that some of the leaks we heard about before didn’t end up coming true, it’s hard to be too mad when they game looks this good.