There is quite a lot to climb through when it comes to all the new features the latest installment in the Legend of Zelda series has introduced, or at least just what we were shown. Breath of the Wild seems to be breathing new life into the Zelda series by not only changing the way we play a Zelda game, but how we see a Zelda game. While it is very easy to just ramble on about the immense open world that Breath of the Wild presents to players, the gameplay segments showed off a few other key features that deserve some attention as well. From the new weapon system to full voice acting (!?), there is definitely more to Breath of the Wild than meets the eye.
Weapons & Runes
One of the most important changes that Breath of the Wind seems to be introducing is that Link’s weapons will break over time. Instead of being stuck with the same sword and bow and arrow, there will be a constant need to find new methods of fighting. This plays all too well into the game’s big focus on exploration and ingenuity. This keeps the players moving and constantly searching, eyes wide open. This also allows for players to keep changing and experimenting with play styles, keeping gameplay fresh and interesting. This doesn’t seem like it will be much of a problem either, as it looks like you will be able to find weapons faster than you can destroy them.
Speaking of weapons, runes were also introduced through the use of the Sheikah Slate. Runes grant Link special abilities and weapons such as bombs. This seem to allow Link to manipulate the world around him in different ways adding to the idea that every player’s adventure will be different. Players can use runes to explore and experience the world in different ways.
Travel was one of the most important features to me seeing how vast this world is panning out to be. I didn’t want to be stuck trekking along on foot or horseback the entire time (there are only so many places you can take Epona). I was really glad to see that there are more ways to travel such as paragliding and rock climbing. I was jumping with joy when I saw footage of Link actually being able to jump — a first for the series — along with shield surfing. This makes me wonder if there are other methods of travel we haven’t been shown yet. With such a huge world to explore and never enough time to explore it, I’m just glad to see there are a variety of methods to getting around quickly. Though, I’m sure I won’t mind taking a quiet stroll in the fields just taking in the beautiful environments.
Weather and the Environment
One of the more interesting new features is how environmental variables such as weather and temperature can now affect Link. As shown during the gameplay segments, when traveling through the colder mountain region, Link will actually show signs of being cold when not properly equipped for the weather. Link’s health will also begin to decrease. Playing into this is another small but important change to the Zelda franchise: health will now be restored through food. While this might seem like a simple cosmetic change, the biggest different between hearts and food is that food can provide Link with temporary boosts. This is something that Legend of Zelda fans have never had to worry about and will surely have to think about carefully before setting off into unknown territory. This is a new layer of depth that is helping redefine the Zelda franchise. It really plays into this the idea of adventure as players will now have to think about the elements before they head out on the next quest.
Shrines are yet another new feature added into the game, acting as mini-dungeons, granting Link a new rune and a chance to learn how to use it. They are not necessary to visit or complete but instead are added to a long list of distractions to give the player a break from the main story’s plot. What I like about them is that it breaks from the long tradition of getting a new weapon and using it at a specific dungeon. Now, you have to go out of your way to get these upgrades which could drastically change how you get through the game. Runes and shrines are accessories, add-ons for the player to divulge into. There’s nothing wrong with this. It takes away the feeling like it’s a need to do it — that it is a chore. There is no fun in that. Shrines on the other hand, can be done freely whenever the player wants to.
Now, there were a lot more features that were shown off in the gameplay footage, but I personally found these in particular to be the most interesting — they really do tie into the idea of creating and living out your own adventure. I feel that these changes are steps in the right direction. They are digging into the series’ potential while staying true to the core idea of adventure. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is truly breathing in new life to the Zelda franchise and I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
What stood out to you from the gameplay footage? Do you like these new changes? We want to know, so leave your comments in the section below!