The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild: Exclusive Hands On Preview
Previewed By Steve Polak
Available: March 3
Recently we got to check out the brand new Nintendo Switch at a special event hosted by the big N. The Switch showed a lot of promise and while there were plenty of great games to have a go at one stood head and shoulder above all of the others.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild was available to play in a fixed time demo mode, which we may have revisited more than a couple times during the event.
The game featured the colourful cell shaded style of graphics that have really helped set the Zelda series apart and the visuals were detailed, the animation was superb and the expansive landscapes featured in the demo (which were apparently a mere fraction of the entire game world size wise) came together for an impressive experience.
Link begins in the demo in a cave and has to solve a few simple puzzles, open some crates and grab some basic clothing and head out into the open. From here we are treated to a breathtaking view of the wilderness, as Link stands atop a cliff and gazes upon the land below.
At this point in the demo it was hard not to get excited as the landscape was bristling with mountains, far away ruins and castles. Before long Link makes his way down to an old man sitting by a campfire.
One new element in this game that really helps it stand out from previous adventures is the way you can move with such freedom and the music and speech in the soundtrack elevate the game to a more adult and engaging level.
Hyrule looks amazing too, but the demo plonks you in the middle of a harsh world populated by aggressive Bokoblins, nasty creatures whom are more than happy to gang up on you.
Depending on how you go in the demo there was either a bow, a sword or an axe to battle the foes you encountered. If you were really unlucky and didn’t search in the right spots, you’d have to make do with a stick which is not very good at damaging Bokoblkins and even worse breaks after some vigorous use.
Targeting in either melee or missile modes was really easy and you could lock on foes and simply dispatch them while backpedalling to avoid incoming blows.
The controls in melee felt beautifully weighted and it was possible to take on a trio of enemies at the one time if you judiciously divided your attention and kept on the move. To help you when outnumbered at one point there were also exploding barrels which could be set off by a conveniently located campfire.
The freeform nature of the demo presents a good omen for the game’s future. Having spoken to some of the folks at Nintendo the design is really built around the premise that you can go where you want when you want and play what you want when it suits you. This sounds enticing, especially if you are a completist like me.
The demo also had a few other intriguing moments in store. Not only did you get to discover magically endowed talismans, amidst ruins, but there was a hang glider like device that made it possible to float down from cliffs and land in the valleys below. This device was given to use by a very strange old man, who would offer it up when prompted.
The preview build of the game for the most part ran very smoothly. Even when switched to hand held mode the game also ran well, although it did appear to slow down a little.
The lighting effects when running in either mode were superb, and while there was a some jaggedness when looking at some of the scenery, we must remember that the code as viewed wasn’t complete and so we should reserve judgement until we get see the final game.
Link and Hyrule for that matter have never looked that amazing and the overall takeaway having played the demo over a few sessions was a big dose of ‘more please’.
Breath Of The Wild is probably the most significant Zelda release to date and we think it has the potential to make the launch of the Switch. Also, don’t forget the game will also be coming to WiiU and insiders from Nintendo tell me the WiiU build is more impressive than you’d expect too.
The game will be here when the console is launched on the 3rd of March and we couldn't be any more excited about the prospect of getting our hands on it.
Also, if you haven't been lucky enough to see it yet, here is the superb trailer for the game as well. Enjoy!