Is The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Compelling Enough To Attract A New Generation Of Gamers?

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It’s been a while since Nintendo has really had something to shout about, and it certainly feels like an age since the publisher has had an up and coming IP that more than just its hardcore fanbase are eagerly anticipating, but Zelda is finally back, and this time it’s bringing a whole new set of bells and whistles. Indeed, from its beautiful art style to the breathtaking scale of its open world, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an entirely new look for the series.

This time around, Zelda is a true open world, swapping out large sandboxes for an enormous and entirely accessible game map. Breath of the Wild dwarfs previous iterations in the series, allowing unparalleled freedom of movement thanks to its fluid traversal mechanics and non-linear quest structure. From what we’ve seen so far, this is a return to the franchise’s roots and harps back to the original Zelda title in which gamers were very much granted the ability to explore and go anywhere right from the off.

Of course, the entire Zelda series has always been a constantly evolving beast and we’ve grown familiar to each iteration debuting innovative new gameplay features. That being said, the series has followed a fairly similar beat since the seminal title Ocarina of time, and sticking reasonably close to that tried and tested formula is something that gamers have become accustomed to ever since. Breath of the Wild though, is much bigger step in a new direction.

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Perhaps the move to a full open world probably wasn’t entirely surprising given that the genre is very much part of the zeitgeist of the times, yet the change does mean that Zelda is likely to be much more closely compared with other popular games than in days gone by. Indeed, despite Zelda’s entirely new face, the series has never looked so different and familiar at the same time.

Breath of the Wild seems to resemble a Skyrim of sorts; a Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with a distinctly Nintendo twang. Seeing Zelda on this scale is hugely exciting, but moving the series toward a direct comparison with other massively popular RPGs is a bold move, and potentially problematic, too.

Prior to E3, Shigeru Miamoto had made comments suggesting that the new Zelda title would adopt a more western style in its game design, and that’s certainly apparent based on Nintendo’s lengthy gameplay reveal during their Treehouse presentation. Breath of the Wild looks far more like a western role playing game than ever before, featuring different equippable items, weapons and apparel, as well as the ability to craft and cook a’la Fallout 4 or Skyrim.

While the game’s aesthetic and sound design still manages to retain that distinctly Zelda vibe, Breath of the Wild certainly seems to adopt a more mainstream flavour. We’re so used to seeing Zelda set its own trends by introducing innovative gameplay systems that don’t conform to the moulds of convention, so it’s rather odd to see Breath of the Wild emulate so many features seen in other popular titles.