The agony and the ecstasy of waiting to play The Legend of

first_img <> 1/10Nintendo employees wrangle the Zelda faithful. 1/10Life-size Link takes aim. 1/10Almost there! 1/10Three hours away from a precious few minutes with Zelda. 1/10Even the president of the Nintendo of America needs to eat. 1/10Was the Zelda booth at E3 a sneak peak at Nintendo’s theme park plans? 1/10Zelda amiibos, now with moving parts! 1/10These folks didn’t have to wait in line. 1/10Famous goblins, bokoblins. 1/10Gorgeous Zelda artwork, did you expect anything less? Two things stick out in my mind when recalling playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the upcoming Wii U/NX entry in Nintendo’s flagship series and the first game I ever played at an E3. One, it’s shaping up to be an amazing game pumping the franchise full of much needed life and scope. Two, waiting to play it felt like a Zelda dungeon in and of itself. Smashing these thoughts together is the only way for me to honestly talk about my experience with the game.The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild confirmed for me that from now on only weird Japanese game auteurs are allowed to make the open-world games Ubisoft has boiled down into soulless product. Like Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain, Breath of the Wild adds creative flourishes and personality to otherwise standard stealth, exploration, and combat mechanics. Use a variety of tactics to tag and take down outposts full of famous Zelda enemy Orcs, Moblins. Club about to break? Chuck it at a foe Hotline Miami-style. Carrying a torch? Burn everything to the ground.If only I had thought of some better tactics. As soon as the show floor doors opened at noon I made my way to the Nintendo booth, and yet I still found myself in the middle of a ridiculously long line. I heard someone say it was the longest line they ever saw at E3. I don’t have any others to compare it to, so I guess everything else will seem relatively better. If you weren’t in line by 1:30 you weren’t going to play. That’s how unending it was.Speaking of unending, the world itself in Breath of the Wild is vast and organic, not made of prefab environmental parts. You can climb almost anything with the overdue jump button, although the stamina gauge from Skyward Sword limits you somewhat. Also from Skyward Sword are the Twilight Princess-meets-Wind Waker graphics (now in beautiful HD) as well as an emphasis on overworld puzzles and gear. Surviving in the wild doesn’t just mean carrying the right shield but also stealing enemy food or wearing a warm coat in the snow. It’s all set to moving, Miyazaki-esque music.Listening to that music helped me stay excited as the wait stretched on. I began paying attention to absurd little moments happening around me. Nintendo’s own employees were constantly baffled by how long the line was. At one point the line intersected with the line of Nintendo employees, including President Reggie Fils-Aime, getting lunch.So we were all just standing in two different lines for a while. A nearby booth for The Last Guardian lets visitors grope a giant projection of the catbird creature. At least Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma waved at us when he wasn’t talking about the game and its plot on Nintendo’s livestream.What little plot I noticed in the game involved a pig-shaped cloud of evil named Calamity Ganon and a nude Link awakening from a 100-year coma (again like Metal Gear). The gamepad is now the Sheikah Slate, a tablet Link uses for plotting his adventure and a surprisingly technological device for a Zelda item. Voice acting is new to Zelda, but the only voice I heard was the mysterious woman (Zelda herself?) heard in the trailer, guiding this new hero.center_img I didn’t get to play a dungeon, but I did play one of the over 100 little dungeon-style shrines scattered in the overworld with single puzzles to complete. There were also over 100 demo stations, but that didn’t seem to speed the line along. After three hours of waiting, and catching a glimpse at an amiibo-enabled Wolf Link companion, our group finally handed in our literal golden tickets and entered the Zelda wonderland for a brief trailer and access to the game. After a 30-45 minute demo, I took in the sights of the faux forest, picked up my swag, checked out the life-size statues, and really started processing how fun the game felt to play and poke at. It must really have been good since the wait didn’t poison the experience for me.I walked away from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild extremely hopeful. But after the ordeal of getting to play it in the first place, I was also happy just to walk away. Maybe it’s for the best this is the only thing Nintendo is showing at E3 2016. It was pretty wild.last_img read more