Nintendo sure did surprise us all last Friday. Not only did they win several awards [including Developer of the Year], they also had some new information to offer on three hotly anticipated games, ending off with never seen before gameplay from Zelda Wii U!
Check out the video and our analysis after the break!
This analysis is a tad different from previous ones which have taken place here, this is because it is a joint analysis by both me and Chris, both being very eager Zelda fans.
Suffice to say, I was absolutely giddy with fanboy joy when Aonuma and Miyamoto showcased the first gameplay of the next instalment of the Zelda franchise for Wii U. The very first few seconds instantly demonstrate how beautiful the game is looking at this stage. When Link climbs to the top of that one mountain, you also get to see how big the world really is… and there is probably much more than what meets the eye. One point I find very interesting is that some users from Reddit have noticed a similarity between this scene and a concept art from the original game.
Like all previous 3D iterations of Zelda, you can take a first-person perspective [we are currently unsure if you can move in first-person a-la Skyward Sword and Wind Waker HD], however this time, you can also use this view to set waypoints on your map, which can be accessed on the Wii U Gamepad. Talking about the Gamepad, we are then shown further on how vast the game world is thanks to the map, they even mention that the zoomed out section is only part of the map.
The Gamepad has several icons worth mentioning. Obviously the ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ buttons cause the map to zoom out but what do the other icons do? I think it is safe to assume that pressing the question mark could bring up a Legend of sorts [a key for the map], if so this could prove that there will be plenty of places to visit on the sideline such as shops, towns etc. The button above it could be a ‘centre on location’ button for when you scroll through the map, or it could possibly show a list of locations. The icon on the bottom right could bring up your inventory for easy item switching. One thing I find rather interesting is the bar at the top… there’s a clock. It is likely that this probably shows the current in-game time… though it doesn’t go up very quickly… in fact, the time didn’t progress at all in the footage. Personally, the UI on the Gamepad looks a bit empty to me, though we still have a year until the game is released so it is likely that will change as development progresses.
On the map on the Gamepad you’ll notice bodies of water that are shaded differently, one being a lighter blue and the other being darker. Obviously, that would mean deeper water. What caught my eye though was the islands off to the side in the deeper shaded blue. I’m wondering if there is going to be some sort of sailing mechanic in this game as well to get to the islands in the deeper water, that would definitely add to the adventurous feel that I think Nintendo is trying to go for with Zelda Wii U.
Enough about the map for now. Next, we see Link plummet from the tall mountain… luckily he has the Sail Cloth from Skyward Sword handy so he can slowly descend from tall heights, as well as change the direction of fall similar to the Deku Leaf from Wind Waker. The use of the Sail Cloth has caused some fans to speculate that the game may set soon after the events of Skyward Sword. This does actually make some sense seeing how the end of Skyward Sword produces the new land of Hyrule, untainted [for now] by evil, and the footage does show a very peaceful Hyrule.
Next, we see the return of Link’s majestic steed, Epona. Seeing how big the world is, we are sure that Epona will be very important when traversing the various environments. One cool new feature about horse riding is that the horse will generally go toward the destination on its own, avoiding any collisions with obstacles along the way. This allows you to do other things such as looking through your map or to just take in the sights. It is also easier to use weapons when horse riding.
When you run into enemies, a metallic sound will play when you hit them in the right spot with an arrow, a nice little signifier don’t you think? You can also jump straight off your horse to jump straight into combat, and when you have the bow equipped, the game will play in slow motion for a few seconds, allowing you to perform cool looking archery skills.
If you notice with the enemies, they all have life bars above their heads in this game. Miyamoto also said something about a dungeon being nearby, I wonder if as you get closer to a dungeon you’ll start to see more enemies around. Either way, what Nintendo is doing with the enemy design, with the metallic sound if you hit an enemy correctly to the life bar, is pretty cool. I hope Nintendo adds life bars to bosses as well.
If you notice, while Link is riding Epona through the field there will be a structure on the hill near the top left of the screen. The structure looks very similar to the Great Bridge of Hylia from Twilight Princess. Another thing that empathizes this is their is a body of water below the bridge. I really hope there are massive structures like the Bridge of Hylia, those would look beautiful in this elegant artstyle.
Nintendo put a lot of detail on the wild life as well…If you notice, near the end of the trailer Link is riding Epona and a group of wild horses react to Link and Epona as they get closer and start running along side Epona. One of the wild horses even bucks when Epona gets to close, I thought it was pretty cool to see because real horses act similar. If Nintendo allows you to mount one of those awesome steeds in the wild, I’d be cool with that.
Now, during the trailer I noticed an animal standing on one of the cliffs looking down at Link. The animal looked gold as well… I think it could be a golden wolf or a golden elk. Either way, both of those elegant creatures where present in Twilight Princess, one teaching you different moves, the other being a light spirit. I’m wondering if the light spirits will make a return in some fashion, if this is set right after Skyward Sword it would make sense to have the origins of the light spirits in this game.
Personally, I am pretty much in love with the game, even though very little was shown. I am mostly in love with the visuals of the game, they just look so beautiful, especially that sunset. In a interview with Famitsu, Aonuma revealed that inspiration for the art style came partly from Japanese animation, this instantly made me think of the amazing Studio Ghibli films, especially Princess Mononoke [personally one of my favourite films].
Though the game does look amazing so far, there are some slight issues which are rising for me… though these will probably subside once we see more of the game in action. My main issue is that fact that it doesn’t look like there is much going on in the overworld… almost like the Great Sea in Wind Waker. Sure there are trees, amazing structures and a few enemies, but other than that it seems almost too peaceful. I am hoping this is changed by the time of release, then again, maybe this was done on purpose for this video just to show of the vastness of the world and how beautiful it is.
Other than that, I am really happy with what they showed off and am really excited to hear more!
What did you think of the video? Are you excited? Do you have an concerns? Tell us in the comments below!