Thoughts on “Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

A little while ago, in anticipation for Nintendo’s presentation at E3 this year, I wrote a post detailing what I was hoping for in regards to the new Zelda game, which was going to be the main showcase at said presentation. Now, since E3 has come to pass and I’ve learned a ton about the new game, I thought I’d run through the list I wrote and talk about whether my hopes were met or not.

So let’s jump right into it!

When the live stream of Nintendo’s presentation took place, I wasn’t at home, so I just watched the footage later in the day when it was uploaded to YouTube. The first thing I watched was the official trailer:

And you can probably guess that my reaction was an embarrassing combination of big stupid grins and weird squealing noises. It was so much to take in! Voice acting! The gorgeous aesthetic! The glorious music! Link in a suit of silver armor! The wide, open landscapes just waiting to be explored! The new mechanics like cooking and the Sheikah Slate! And so on and so forth and what have you!

Watching the gameplay footage afterward was possibly even more exciting. I was positively floored by everything I saw, and according to Nintendo, they only showed about one percent of the whole game at E3. ONE PERCENT! I fully expect that this game is going to take me months to finish, and I’m sure I’m going to be fully invested every step of the way.

To elaborate, here are the bullet points of what I was hoping for and details on whether I got it:

“A title. I’m really, really sick of calling it “Zelda Wii U.” I’d like to know the final title, whatever it may be. I enjoy my Wii U and my games for it, but let’s face it: “Wii U” is pretty much the dumbest console name ever.”

Thank goodness! No more “Zelda Wii U!” The newest game in the franchise is officially titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To be honest, my first thought about the title was something like: “. . . Really? That’s it? That’s the title for the new Zelda game? Breath of the Wild? What the heck does that even mean?”

As I examined the trailer more and watched the gameplay footage, though, the title grew on me pretty quickly. The game seems largely centered around the idea of exploring the wilderness of Hyrule. You fight for survival, you hunt and cook, you gather weapons and other useful items for yourself, and you have much more free reign on where you can go and when than in previous Zelda games. That’s incredibly exciting to me, and I think the title fits it perfectly!

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“A full trailer. I want to see the characters. I want to get an idea of the story. I want to see many, many more examples of what is going to make this game awesome and what is going to make it stand out in the Zelda series.”

Well, I definitely got a full trailer! I didn’t get exactly what I was hoping for here, though. You don’t really see any characters besides Link, and you just hear the voice of another, unknown character. As for the story, there are only vague hints about what it could be, particularly with that evil purple cloud thing at around the two-minute mark and the multi-legged guardian thingamawhatsits.

On the other hand, I did get many examples of what’s going to make this game awesome and how it’ll stand out! Everything from the hunting and gathering mechanics to little details like using different clothes for different weather environments to exploring the futuristic-looking shrines and giving your Sheikah Slate new abilities — it’s all so compelling even just to watch! Actually playing it, though? Man . . . I can hardly wait to experience that!

“Lots and lots of quality gameplay footage. I want to see this game in action. I don’t want to see TOO much for fear of spoilers, but I want to get a good idea of what it will feel like to play this game.”

Oh, yes. Heck yes. There were several videos — quite lengthy, too — that showcased the game in action, and I gobbled most of them up. To avoid spoilers, I didn’t watch one particular video in which the player journeyed outside the starting area. But my gosh, just watching all that gameplay in the first area of the game fascinated me. I can see myself spending hours and hours just exploring and messing around with the environment in various ways, let alone actually spending time trying to figure out how to progress the story!

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“A music sampling. This will hopefully come with the trailer, but I’d like to hear some of the music from the new game! The Zelda series is well-known for its excellent music, and I can’t wait to get an earful of yet another amazing soundtrack.”

Do I really need to elaborate on this one? The music in the trailer is fantastic. No idea if it’ll be like that in the game, since the music in the gameplay footage is pretty quiet and piano-based, but who knows?

“Reassurance. This is basically a summary of all of the above. After hopefully getting to see and hear all of this, I want to be reassured that the wait will, indeed, be worth it.”

The short answer: yes. I’ve been reassured. The wait will be more than worth it.

The long answer:

This game looks freaking incredible. Everything about it is utterly captivating. The visuals are stunning. The gameplay looks fun and fluid, and it appears to be keeping a great balance of familiar and innovative. It sounds great, both the soft piano music and the myriad of nature sounds.

But besides all of that, what makes me the most excited is this. I’ve seen just one percent of the whole game, and I’m already astounded by what I’ve seen. How many more amazing surprises will this game hold? We’ve only seen a small portion of the enormous game map. We haven’t seen any towns. We haven’t even had the tiniest glimpse of a dungeon!

Clearly, Nintendo is putting their time to good use with this game. It may have been frustrating having to deal with two delays, but after what I’ve seen, I’m completely willing to let that frustration slide. 2017 is quite a ways off still, but when Breath of the Wild is finally released, I’m sure we’re going to find that the wait was worth every second.

I’m pumped. This game is going to knock my socks off. I’m sure of it.

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I hope you’re as excited as I am! What are you most looking forward to about the game? Let me know in the comments!


NEXT TIME ON “OH, THE HUMANITY!”: I talk about Harry Potter and how it has inspired me and helped shape me into who I am today. Stay tuned!

The Next Adventure: Zelda at E3 2016

Depending on how long you’ve been reading my blog, you may or may not know that I’m a big fan of the Legend of Zelda series. Ever since I played The Minish Cap on my little Game Boy Advance when I was nine, I’ve been hooked on the sweeping, epic quests filled with monster bashing and puzzle solving that have been going strong ever since the original came out in 1986.

Naturally, when the next big installment in the series was first announced at E3 (that’s Electronic Entertainment Expo for you non-gamers who may be reading this) in 2014, I was pretty excited. Okay, really excited. I may or may not have let out a couple of squeals of joy.

That trailer, despite having a lot less information about the game than I was hoping for, was still more than enough to get me pumped. The new aesthetic style instantly appealed to me, and I relished the idea of more nonlinearity and an even bigger world to explore. At the time, 2015 seemed like a long wait. Luckily, later in 2014, Nintendo surprised everyone by showing some new footage from the game at the Game Awards — check it out!

Naturally, this only got me more excited. This was looking so good! I couldn’t wait to play it. 2015 wasn’t that much father away, was it?

Well, no, it wasn’t. But the problem was that the game got delayed to a 2016 release instead.

My first reaction was something like: Dangit! Why, Nintendo? Why must you make us wait longer? WHY?

My second reaction was a bit more reasonable: Well, I’m sure they have good reasons for it. They said they just need more time to develop ideas they’ve come up with as they’ve been working on it. I’m sure the wait will be worth it.

For a while after that, news about the new game was pretty much nonexistent . . . up until late April this year, when Nintendo announced that the new Zelda was being delayed a second time. To 2017. And it would be released on both Wii U and the new system, currently codenamed “NX,” which is also releasing in 2017.

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I have to admit that I was kind of ticked when I heard that. I still feel kind of conflicted about it. On one hand, they’re taking their time, so it (hopefully) means the game will be really, really good once it’s (finally) finished. On the other hand, according to my knowledge, every major Zelda game in the past has been delayed at least once, so I can’t help but wonder why Nintendo can’t seem to get an accurate idea of what timeframe they can finish a game in.

But hey, I’m far from an expert on how the video game industry works, so who am I to talk? All I can really do is just wait and see what they give us. And when they announced the most recent delay, they also announced that this year at E3, they’ll be focusing a lot on the new Zelda — in fact, it will be Nintendo’s only playable demo at the expo. That makes me happy, because it means (I hope) that we’ll be getting a LOT of new information about the game.

Here’s a a quick rundown of what I’m hoping for!

  • A title. I’m really, really sick of calling it “Zelda Wii U.” I’d like to know the final title, whatever it may be. I enjoy my Wii U and my games for it, but let’s face it: “Wii U” is pretty much the dumbest console name ever.
  • A full trailer. I want to see the characters. I want to get an idea of the story. I want to see many, many more examples of what is going to make this game awesome and what is going to make it stand out in the Zelda series.
  • Lots and lots of quality gameplay footage. I want to see this game in action. I don’t want to see TOO much for fear of spoilers, but I want to get a good idea of what it will feel like to play this game.
  • A music sampling. This will hopefully come with the trailer, but I’d like to hear some of the music from the new game! The Zelda series is well-known for its excellent music, and I can’t wait to get an earful of yet another amazing soundtrack.
  • Reassurance. This is basically a summary of all of the above. After hopefully getting to see and hear all of this, I want to be reassured that the wait will, indeed, be worth it.

That’s about it. Obviously, I’m not entitled to all of this just because I’m a Zelda fan, but at the same time, we’ve had two delays and very little news about the game ever since it was first announced. So, I think it’s about time we get the real scoop on what this game is going to be. Can’t wait!

Are you excited for the game? What do you hope E3 will bring? Leave a comment to let me know. And don’t forget that Nintendo will be streaming their press conference live from E3 on June 14th, 9 AM Pacific Time!

See you guys later! My next post will most likely be a review of the long-awaited Finding Dory. Stay tuned for that!

Memoirs of a Galaxy

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately about one of my favorite video games. Could you all please bear with me as I gush like a little kid about it?

. . .

Well, I guess I don’t need to ask you to bear with me. I mean, if you’re not interested in this topic, you have every right to not read it. So . . .

IT’S GUSHING TIME!!!

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NOSTALGIAAAAAAA

Well, then. This is it. Super Mario Galaxy. The first Mario game I ever played.

Okay, technically I had played Mario Kart Wii before I played this, but that doesn’t really count. By “Mario game,” I mean one of the mainline platformers. You know. Super Mario Bros. Super Mario World. Super Mario 64. All of those games.

Anyway. I remember about five years ago when I went to Wal-Mart with my dad, Christmas money in hand — just waiting to be spent on a brand-new Wii game. I stood in the game section trying to decide between 3 titles: Mario Kart Wii, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and Super Mario Galaxy. My dad was a great help in my ultimate decision. The conversation went something like this:

Dad: “Well, let’s do process of elimination. Why do you want the kart game?”
Me: “Well, I’ve played it with my friends before, and it’s really fun.”
Dad: “What about the LEGO game?”
Me: “I played the first two LEGO Star Wars games on the PS2 and I really liked them. This one is both games in one, with some updates.”
Dad: “Hmmm. Well, why don’t you get the game you haven’t played yet? I’ve actually heard some really good things about that one. It’s supposed to be really fun.”
Me (after thinking for a moment): “Okay, that’s probably the best way to go.”

My dad might read this later, so I think I’ll put this here: THANK YOU!!!

I brought the game home, slipped the disc carefully into my Wii, and launched the game. I was greeted by Mario joyfully shouting the title of the game, followed by the main screen that I put further up this post (*points upward*), which was accompanied by some absolutely gorgeous music that instantly grabbed my attention. Here, have a listen!

Eagerly, I started a file and began to play. Not even five minutes into the game, I already knew that I had found an absolute gem. I was hooked, and I would not be let go for weeks and weeks.

It wasn’t just that the game was fun to play, but that was definitely one of the biggest parts of it. I loved moving Mario around, doing triple jumps, shaking the Wii remote to spin, bouncing on enemies, and a myriad of other things. But what really grabbed me about the game was the atmosphere it exuded. Let me give you an example by describing the first few minutes of the game a bit.

You (Mario, that is) start out at this event called the Starbit Festival, on your way to Peach’s castle to receive a gift from her. There’s revelry in the air as you traverse down the road, passing little Toads as they say hello. It’s a beautiful, starry night — take a look!

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But then, when you reach the castle, all hell breaks loose. Bowser and his fleet of ships come along, attempting to kidnap the princess. They don’t just settle for the princess, though — they lift the whole castle into the air and shoot off into space, sending you flying off to who knows where, the princess’s call for help echoing in your ears.

When you wake up, all is quiet. You’re woken by a strange rabbit with stars on its ears, and you’re soon chasing after it on a small planetoid in a quiet, starry galaxy in some far-flung corner of the universe.

Sorry for the so-so picture quality here. It was the best screenshot of this part that I could find. Seriously.

Sorry for the so-so picture quality here. It was the best screenshot of this part that I could find. Seriously.

As you walk all around this thing, a soothing piece of music with prominent piano serenades you. Once you’ve caught the rabbit and its two friends, a coliseum-like structure appears on the planetoid. When you reach the top of it, you’re greeted by a stranger: a mysterious guardian of the galaxies who calls herself Rosalina.

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She’s the one who officially sends you on your quest to save Princess Peach. And you’re off! After the initial level that subtly walks you through how to play the game, you reach the Comet Observatory — Rosalina’s starship that requires Power Stars to get enough fuel to take you to the Center of the Universe, where Bowser is keeping Peach prisoner.

This is where the adventure really begins. One by one, you travel from galaxy to galaxy, completing challenges and collecting Power Stars in tons of different ways.

I can’t even begin to describe how incredible this game looks, sounds, and feels. It’s more than just a game. It’s an experience, and one that sticks with you long after you’ve beaten Bowser. I kid you not, sometimes I would stop playing and just listen to the music, or I would put the camera in first person mode and just stare at the starry backgrounds, also while listening to the music. Just drinking it all in. Super Mario Galaxy really is a beautiful game. I know that might sound weird to people who don’t play games, but it’s true. It’s breathtaking.

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Okay, I think you get the picture.

This game is positively bursting with creativity, atmosphere, and — yes — beauty. The amount of work that was put into the design and appearance of each galaxy is inspiring and gorgeous to look at. The game is a blast to play, and a true challenge at times. The soundtrack is phenomenal and unforgettable, with some truly knockout pieces throughout.

And . . . what’s my point, you ask?

Absolutely nothing. I just adore this game and wanted to gush about it. So there. :P

Anyway. If you have a Wii and you haven’t played this yet, GO GET IT AND PLAY IT. NOW. If you don’t have a Wii, GO BUY A WII AND BUY THIS GAME TOO. Then play it. Seriously.

Okay, fine, I understand that you’re busy. But really, if you ever find that you’d like to play a game you haven’t gotten around to yet, and this game is one you haven’t tried, PLEASE give it a shot. I think you’ll find it quite good.

Actually, that’s an understatement. This game is an absolute must-play. (Don’t forget the sequel, either! It’s just as good! Overall, though, I think I prefer the original for a few reasons, the main one of which is probably sheer nostalgia.)

Oh, quick fun fact: because I first played through this game during the winter, we almost always had this portable heater running in the basement while we were down there playing games. It gave off a particular smell, and to this day whenever I smell that heater, I instantly think of Super Mario Galaxy. Weird, I know.

That’s all. But before you go, have a couple more songs from the game.

Assuming you’re still reading this, see you in two weeks!