Sunday, June 19, 2016

My thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The new Zelda game trailer has come out, and I, a long time Zelda fan, give you my two cents for free.

The Legend of Zelda series is getting a new family member: TLZ: The Breath of the Wild. The trailer left me with some positive impressions, namely because I see elements that are hallmarks of the Zelda series. Among them are the following:

The medieval feel. Zelda started with the notion of castles, swords, and princess saving back in 1986 in Japan. I was introduced to the series with A Link to the Past, which featured full armored knight guards in a medieval like castle. Now, in this new game, Link himself gets to wear armor at some point in the game. I love it.

The expansive world. In the trailer you notice such a huge world ready to explore. I think it will give the player a sense of looking into uncharted territories, and not feel as though he or she is forced or guided by the game play. Miyamoto himself was inspired to create the Zelda world while looking at a garden, and imagining the notion of exploration of a vast world (correct me if I'm wrong, I remember reading this from an interview of his a long time ago). So the sense of exploration was the point since the beginning, and to me, as a Link to the Past kid, is that is the most memorable feature of the series.

The notion of waking up. During the trailer, you hear a voice telling Link to wake up. The notion of waking into an adventure echoes in past Zelda games. In a Link to the Past, that is actually how the game begins; Link is woken up with Zelda calling telepathically. In the Adventure of Link, Zelda is the one who needs to be waken up. In Link's Awakening, all characters are members of a dream within the Wind Fish (who is a symbol of the game creator, in my opinion). This metaphor can also extend to the gamer, who himself or herself is Link, and dreams up the world with the help of the game.

The master sword hidden deep in the forest looking as though it hasn't been touched for hundreds of years. At the end of the trailer, you see the Master Sword covered in vines as though it's been there for ages. That is exactly the impression you get when, in a Link to the Past, you walk up to the stone that holds the sword amid animals and nature. It is epic.

I'm glad that these elements are present in the game. I think many games abandon their classic touch as they evolve in the series, but Zelda has managed to hold true to its traditions (I am not acknowledging the Zelda CD-i, which Miyamoto had no part in). I have a feeling that this is thanks to Miyamoto, who in the Hyrule Historia states that his role in the series has been of guardian, "making sure gameplay doesn't suffer." He must've been breathing down the necks of the game designers to make sure that they don't lose the touch that is unique to the Zelda series.