Yesterday at the annual E3 Gaming Convention in Los Angeles, Nintendo unveiled the newest entry in its award winning Zelda franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (announcement/media here), and I had the opportunity to take the two show floor demos for a spin — and let's just say that I did not walk away disappointed.
The booth which was closed off to public view was setup to mimic locations and enemies in Hyrule, or the demo at least, as they are not yet pulling back the curtain fully on the game, or its many enemies, locations, weapons, or characters. The booth was setup with 140 stations for people to play the game, which consisted of a 15 minute “Exploration” demo, and a 35 minute “Story” demo that was a bit more linear than the exploration demo.
The first demo I tried was the “Exploration” demo, which as the name implies had Link exploring one section of the entire game, which according to Nintendo was 1% the total size of the game map, and let me tell you… that is A LOT! According to Nintendo this game is going to be around 12-15x larger than Twilight Princess, which is a lot. The demo lasted about 15 minutes and I found myself just wandering around, chopping down trees, or picking up fruit or mushrooms to use as food, or battling some of the enemies strewn about the map. Most of the time I caught myself just staring off into the distance wondering what was out there, the game is that huge…
The second demo I tried was the “Story” demo, which was much more linear than the previous demo, and had you waking up from you 100yr sleep by a mysterious voice. Once you awoke, this voice told you to go out into the world and save Hyrule. She presents you with a Sheika Slate, which is an iPad like device that allows you to open passage to the over 100 shrines (mini-dungeons) located throughout Hyrule. It also allows you to generate bombs, and will have other features that Nintendo has not yet announced.
The game is a huge departure from the series, as it’s the first time that the game is open world, which means you can go anywhere you want at any point in the game, although the Sheikah Slate will still guide you and let you know where you should be going next, you are still free to go wherever you want, so long as you can get there with the equipment you have.
There are many theories floating around the show as to when exactly this game takes place, as we find out very early on that the Link character in this game has been asleep for 100 years, which leads many to wonder which Link this is? Personally, I think it’s the link from Ocarina of time, because one of the first ruins you come across is the Temple of Time, and its architecture is almost identical to the Temple of Time from Ocarina, but I have heard others say that it could be the link from Zelda II on the NES.
While the demos I played with were just a small fraction of what we will see in the final game, there are enough changes to make it feel fresh and new, and entry into the series that will become an instant classic when it is released next year. Stay tuned to Gaming Age for more info on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and everything else we got to see at E3.