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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – E3 2016 Hands-on Preview

This is a new kind of Zelda...

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It’s been a long time coming for Nintendo fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting the next entry of The Legend of Zelda series. The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, now finally titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, challenges a lot of the traditions and unspoken rules of the series by borrowing elements from great western role-playing games. Food and drinks that replenish hearts, traversing the landscape by climbing almost anything, and the ability to finally jump manually are just some of what makes this new Zelda game very unique.

I spent a good amount of time playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at Nintendo’s booth at E3 2016. I was given two separate demos to play through, both of which showcased a lot of what was new in the game. The most significant aspect of Breath of the Wild that stood out to me was its presentation.

Roaming the plains of Hyrule wasn’t filled with melodic themes or familiar tunes, but rather ambient sounds from various animals, enemies, and weather effects. Looking far into the distance and seeing the great mountains and forest of Hyrule gave me a strong sense of wonder and amazement. Breath of the Wild isn’t just a pretty game, it’s really beautiful to look at.

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Combat feels less restrictive than previous Zelda games. The ability to manually jump doesn’t just make moving around easier, it helps with attacking and defending against enemies too. One demo I played let me explore the environment and fight any enemies I found lurking around.

There is a small element of stealth that can be used to sneak up on enemies for either dealing more damage with attacks, or avoiding combat all together. Defeating enemies drops items you can gather, including weapons and shields you find on different enemies. Fighting can cause most weapons to diminish in durability and eventually break, but it doesn’t end up being a struggle to find another weapon to fight with.

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Other neat additions include hunting wild boar for items and even a small element of cooking to better some of the items you obtain. After I gathered some mushrooms and meat from hunting boars, I tossed them into a pot over a new fire to cook, which boosted them up to give more hearts when used. This is something you see more in Western role-playing games than in Zelda, where looting for different equipment is a major part of the journey.

There are no series traditional rupees or heart icons to find when you destroy things or defeat enemies, but it doesn’t feel like a big loss with their absence. It definitely is a mature change for Zelda as a series, and one I feel may stick around for other Zelda games after the release Breath of the Wild.

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For a first impression of the next big Zelda game, Breath of the Wild definitely made a big impact on everyone. There is more to be unveiled by Nintendo in the coming months, possibly at the next Nintendo Direct presentation when the company finally talks about their next console, the Nintendo NX.

If there was one major takeaway I had during my time playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it was how much of an effort Nintendo is making to have this new entry stand out from the rest of the series. I’m looking forward to discovering more about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when it releases in 2017.

Are you excited to see more of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Think we’ll hear something incredible about Link’s new adventure in Hyrule? Leave us a comment down below and tell us how you feel about it!!!

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Jakejames Lugo Senior Editor
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