Day 2 of the show floor experience for E3 2016 has ended, but coverage for the expo has not, and will most likely not end anytime soon. Earlier today, I took a second gander at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with about an approximated 90 minutes of demo play. Following up from the last night’s first demo impressions, let’s take a look at the second demo, the more story-oriented one.
The second demo is the start of the game, beginning with a voice awakening Link from a hundred year slumber; Link is bathed in water in a stone basin tub. The water recedes, and Link rises, in cloth shorts, and grabs treasure from the nearby room, which contains a set of clothes. After getting out of the room, Link runs to the edge of a cliff, revealing a cutscene panorama showing just how grandiose Hyrule is: volcanoes in the distance, snowy tundra, and bodies of water.
Breath of the Wild begins its relatively quiet tale with little sense of direction, with the first cue being an old man walking to a fire nearby. After completely ignoring and giving him the silent treatment, and hoarding his apples, the game sets off, beginning the exploration at the Isolated Plateau. The story guidance is minimal, and the demo had me attempt (or explore) to reach a destination, activating a Resurrection Tower, and claiming a treasure from a Sheikah elder to obtain a sailcloth, within fifteen minutes that the demo allotted.
With lots of exploration and playing around, I did just that, and for that part, I stuck with what little script I had and did just that. The game had me participate in a mini-trial puzzle to get the sailcloth, and that was the end of fifteen minutes, with meager food consumed. This demo was the one where the Nintendo booth representative wanted us to focus on the story a bit more; the first one was free exploration based on what we had seen (or not seen) in the Treehouse streams.
What readers need to note here is that I didn’t yet watch the entire Treehouse stream for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Because I was at the show, I was only able to watch the first forty-five minutes before I had to head out to network. The mechanics that were shown on stream were relatively unknown from once I left. The end result of playing the demo twice (four different runs) is that none of the demos I did had the same result.
Hyrule is immense here, as I mentioned last night. My demos had me playing around cooking in the Great Plateau, pushing brazen exploration into the tundra and drowning in small ponds, raising the Resurrection Towers and completing the trial, and exploring the wilderness. The size of the world map, especially from that cliffside shot, is incredible.
Combat took some time to get used to, as enemies are sometimes a bit out of reach in defeating. Puzzles were tricky but not difficult, (the maze with all the laser statues was pretty fun, admittedly!), and the collecting added a whole new level of customization and survival elements.
I think, easily, that the biggest problem this game has is that it probably won’t be a fit for everyone. From the previous Legend of Zelda titles, save for the original, there has always been a sense of structure. This game takes a hands-off, quieter story to force the player to learn the mechanics for themselves in this new incarnation of Hyrule. From new weapons and equipment, to the removal of some key traditional elements such as hearts and rolling around, this is a whole new ballgame, and for those who are looking for a bit of an extra challenge, it’s the one we’ve finally been waiting for. Who’s ready to get it on the NX when it comes out?