- Albert Camus
After having had the blissful opportunity to peer however briefly into the window of a new Zelda experience, the above quote - which speaks about anticipation - struck me as a perfect truth. What I saw was beautiful and expansive, and it awoke my imagination from its slumber. Even now I am longing to head out into the wild with nothing but a hardened ax, some home-spun clothes, and mountains in the distance. But it appears that I will need to wait until next year to do so. But, with patience, the apple will eventually fall into your hand.
Overall, my impression of the game is highly, highly favorable. The pastoral art style is akin to that of Skyward Sword, which I highly enjoyed, and the updated graphics and vast landscapes simply add to the enchanting nature of it all. The survival aspect to the game will be a radical change in the erstwhile formula, and that, along with customizable weapons and outfits, will be intensely interesting to watch with a historical lens. In addition, the continuation of the stamina bar and the introduction of both climbing and jumping mechanics excites me to no end; there were so many places in previous Zelda titles that I longed to explore, but found myself trapped within the narrow confines of a pathway or temple passage. But, this game promises complete and perfect accessibility, which may prove as wonderful as it is rare. As I was watching the several hours of game play that has been uploaded thus far, I got strong reminders of my journeys across Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time, and this sense of adventure is something I have missed greatly in past titles.
While certain things like health bars and voice acting (by far the most out-there, for me) are minor, I am not quite sure how to feel about them; they lend a mainstream RPG feel to the atmosphere of the game, which isn't what Zelda has always been about. The subtle way in which enemies would act or change fighting style based on their health is apparently going to become much more overt. Concerning my bigger hang-ups, I am not sold on the technological aspects of the game that have been shown to us; while magic has always been present, and technology has become more and more prominent in recent games (think back to Wind Waker, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword), there has always been favor shown toward magic and the inexplicable. If this truly is the first Zelda title to place technology at the fore, I am highly skeptical of it. The last thing I want is a game that borders on science fiction. That isn't in the spirit of The Legend of Zelda.
The biggest potential issue I can foresee, though, is tied into the biggest strength of the game: the open, non-linear world. While this is liberating, exciting, and adventure-friendly, it also means that plot (by nature a linear storytelling device) may be put on the back-burner. I absolutely do not want that to happen, as in the first two titles in the series. Plot has been hugely important in recent games, and has opened up new histories and myths in each age of the Zelda world. A non-linear world hints at more episodic storytelling (or perhaps the story will continue the same for everyone, but in different locations), which is by nature more fragmented and less cohesive. Yet, by this same token, it may allow the developers to introduce vast amounts of lore passively, through the environment, villagers (and other NPCs), and built constructs. I hope they take the opportunity to create a rich in-game world that pulses with cultural life, so that we can start to fill in the gaps within our current knowledge of the series.
Finally, I am also going to open a thread in the forum about this new game, so that people can discuss what they think of it. Hope to see you there!