Game Rant goes hands-on with two demos for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, experiencing an early portion of the final game and a staggering free roam section.
Sitting down to play the new Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an overwhelming experience. Even though the E3 2016 hands-on demo only offers about 1 to 2% of the full game world, there is so much to do in Nintendo’s new game that it’s hard to decide where to start. Where past Zelda games have been very focused in terms of a logical progression between dungeons and temples, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is pure freedom, and so far it looks incredible.
For our hands-on E3 2016 demo, Nintendo offered up two separate separate experiences. One was a 20-minute free roaming portion wherein the player could explore any part of the playable area they like. Some can choose to collect resources, a new feature for Zelda on the Wii U, while others can partake of the new Zelda combat, which has a ton more options than in past games. Some even chose to completely skip the exploration and simply cook food the entire demo, and that’s perfectly viable.
It’s that freedom that should prove the most enticing element to Legend of Zelda fans. The ability to skip straight to the final boss without experiencing any of the story is obviously going to be the biggest headline from the demo, but the exploration and freedom should not go unnoticed. What struck me as the most impressive feat in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Fire is that this game will favor play sessions of any length.
In past Zelda entries there was a typical form to a play session. Depending on how much time a player had they would load up the game and partake of one or a handful of dungeons/temples. But considering how time consuming some of those dungeons can be, there was little room for the quick, time-killing play session.
Now, however, Zelda can support play sessions of any duration. Players can pick up the game and do a little exploring, complete one of the 100 Shrine trials (mini dungeons that have some basic puzzle solving elements), or build up their inventory for a later dungeon run. Past Zelda games have had no problem keeping gamers occupied but this new game looks to expand that even further, offering the potential for hundreds of hours of gameplay.
But while the new Legend of Zelda shows promise in its gameplay, the E3 2016 demo was not without its question marks. Visually, the art design is stunning but it’s hard to say the game doesn’t look dated. This is clearly a game built for the Wii U; there is even an in-game item called the Sheikah Stone that basically looks like a Wii U game pad.
Perhaps the NX version will have greater visual fidelity, but when you’re surrounded by games that are pushing game graphics to new heights, it’s worth mentioning when a game isn’t as sharp. Then again Nintendo has never been known for graphically intensive games; they favor gameplay over all else. And in that regard Legend of Zelda: Breath of Fire is a major contender for E3 2016 Game of the Show.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will release in 2017 for Nintendo Wii U and NX.