I was incredibly fortunate this past week to be able to attend the recent Nintendo Switch preview event held right here in Melbourne with our very own Luke. From the get-go it was clear we both had the same one main objective: to get our hands on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Breath of the Wild area was set up with multiple Switch stations all displaying the game to play, some with different controller options available to use. I was lucky and got a Switch which was utilising the Pro Controller (an absolute delight to use I might add).
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be Links latest and possibly greatest adventure yet, which will actually span two console generations as well, releasing on both the Nintendo Switch and Wii U on March 3rd. Breath of the Wild is a more laid back, open world adventure which finds Link tackling many things he’s never done before.
“I promptly found the lad some pants and emerged into a stunning and breathtaking open expansive world. The design and game rendering on show was simply amazing and I took the time to do a slow motion 360 camera-pan around Link.”
Upon starting the demo one thing was very clear to me: 20 minutes was not going to be anywhere near long enough for me to spend with this game! To say “wow” would seem like an understatement, but it truly was my first and greatly repeated word for at least 3 minutes of play. Breath of the Wild is visually stunning. This is clearly a game built for the Switch console and while it can run on its predecessor, it will definitely be a Switch purchase for me. Displaying at approximately 900p and 30fps when docked and 720p and locked 30fps when in hand-held mode, it looks every bit the launch day jewel Zelda fans will covet.
Awakening Link from his slumber in the demo I promptly found the lad some pants and emerged into a stunning and breathtaking open expansive world. The design and game rendering on show was simply amazing and I took the time to do a slow motion 360 camera-pan around Link, taking in all of this vast alluring new world. (something I highly suggest you take the time to do). Sight-seeing done, I headed off to start my objective which was to explore as much of this open map as I could in the time available to me. The first weapon I picked up was a tree branch; not too exciting, right? But better than nothing when it comes to the need to defend oneself. This thankfully was quickly replaced by a sword which was a lot of fun to use and extremely efficient in combat.
“I would have liked to see a more “danger, danger Will Robinson” type scenario, warning the player that their stamina was about to deplete and Link was going to sleep with the fishes”
Walking around this new open expansive world I took it upon myself and Links digital form to climb every mountain or tree and ford every stream. While this allowed me some wonderful discoveries such as apples, acorns and bird eggs, it also sadly lead to an untimely demise as Link suddenly and rather abruptly without warning ran out of stamina, causing him to drown.
This was somewhat disappointing and I would have liked to see a more “danger, danger Will Robinson” type scenario, warning the player their stamina was about to deplete and Link was going to sleep with the fishes. That said, it’s not a massive issue and soon forgotten with your almost instantaneous re-spawning right where you left off. I’m not 100% sure if this is a feature or if I was simply lucky enough to hit a checkpoint right before my unfortunate fish-nap, but its something which will become clearer as it releases.
Although I was using the Pro Controller, it should be noted Breath of the Wild can be played with the Joy-Con individually in each hand, instead of in the Joy-Con Grip. This will offer up a completely different feel and style of game-play, even though the buttons remain the same and kind of has me wishing they kept the motion dynamics for combat with the controllers from Skyward Sword. Another thing was, I was completely shocked by how crisp and bright Breath of the Wild looked in hand-held mode. Whilst I wasn’t able to test it myself, I did manage to glimpse over at Luke’s un-docked Switch and was thoroughly impressed. Sadly my time with Link was over and done with all too quickly and I was left wanting to start again just to play some more.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild will be available for the Switch in a standard as well as a Limited Edition (which fans have already been keenly snapping up) and on Wii U. Nintendo have also just confirmed a stand-alone non-game version of the limited edition will be available exclusively in March on Nintendo Australia’s eBay store. This edition will be aimed more for those fans who might perhaps be getting the Wii U version or for those who sadly missed out on the limited edition on launch day.
In the end, while Nintendo may have put all their mushrooms in one basket here, this may not be a bad thing. Yes, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could certainly still disappoint, but the small slice from the start of the game I was able to play during the demo makes this feel increasingly unlikely. It could very well be the kicker Nintendo needs to help sky rocket the Switch’s launch sales; either way, March 3rd can’t come soon enough.