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Nintendo has scaled back the quantity of games shown at E3 2016, but has not scaled back of quality. Opting out of both a press conference and their recently implemented digital skit shows, they’ve decided to only do live streams on a handful of games. Today, they are focusing on two things: Pokemon Sun/Moon and the new Zelda for Wii U. Though first, Reggie gave a moment of silence to the terrible events that have happened in Orlando last week, especially since slain singer Christina Grimmie was supposed to join Nintendo at E3. After a trailer for now named The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, The Treehouse Live presentation actually started of with Pokemon Sun and Moon.
Many of the Pokemon conventions return in Sun and Moon, but some of the interface has been upgraded to allow the player to see stat changes during battles as well as seeing if a move will be effective/super effective/not very effective.
Some new Pokemon were unveiled as well: the honey badger-looking Yungoos, the woodpecker Pikipek and the grub Grubbin.
One new multiplayer mode shown off was the Battle Royale. This takes four trainers and have them all fight each other. Each trainer takes up to three Pokemon and take turns battling the other three however they’d like. The match ends when one trainer loses all their Pokemon, and the game tallies up the Pokemon each trainer defeats. This create a strategy since a player who might be behind may have to target other players so they’re KO count rack up before a trainer gets wiped of their party.
The Treehouse folks went back to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and played the beginning of the game. The game’s story, at least at first, looks very simple. Link wakes up in a pool of water and listens (because there’s voice acting!) to a voice telling him to go somewhere. From there, the player has the land of Hyrule to mess around in. The game is about scavenging and using Items found on the land, from food to weapons to shields, everything is stuff picked up on the spot and destructible. A lot of Zelda conventions are gone, like hearts in grass for example, for a more modern open world feel.
Much of the land is dynamic too. All the trees can be chopped down or blown up, rocks and such are effected by the physics engine and animals can be hunted and its meat can be cooked. That means weapons like axes have more than one use, as well as swords since one demo had Link damage a tree while in combat. The Hyrule in Breath of the Wild is gigantic too, with the demo only showcasing 1% of the over world and stating that it’s over twelve times larger than Twilight Princess’ lands.
Movement has been evolved in Breath of the Wild. Alongside running and horseback, Link can climb cliffs, glide with a glider and even go sledding on a shield (durability of the shield varies on your trip). You’ll need it to travel to the many shines equipped with smaller dungeons, and that’s on top of the longer, more traditional dungeons that are in other Zeldas.
There are other parts to the interface the player has as well. The stamina gauge that returns from Skyward Sword controls the amount of time Link can run, climb, glide and more. There’s also a sound bar that shows how much noise Link is making, so that you know if you’re sneaking up on enemies or horse to mount. Lastly, there’s a temp gauge that shows how warm or cold the area is, because Link will be cold or hot depending on what he’s wearing. Speaking of which, Link can change clothes to take advantage of the weather as well as defense, with things like suits of armor.
The first item Link gets is the Sheikah Slate. This stone tablet allows Link to access shrines, be used as binoculars, create spherical and cubic bombs and raise things with magnetic powers. One of the Treehouse demos has Link take the magnet and lift an axe in order to swing it around and attack enemies.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of other people, but in one of the demos, they did run into a Korok from Wind Waker. Koroks are evolved Kokori who changed form to adapt to the Great Sea, which hints that Breath of the Wild takes place before the flooding of Hyrule that makes the setting for Wind Waker and after Link is defeated in Ocarina of Time.
Breath of the Wild uses amiibo too. It’ll have its own line of figures, a Archer, Rider and the Guardian (which has flexible parts), and will be compatible with the Wolf Link amiibo that released with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. The Wolf Link figure adds Wolf Link as an assistant to the game, and will have three hearts (unless you transfer your Twilight Princess save data to it, then he’ll have the remaining hearts after you completed the Cave of Shadows).
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the same experience on Wii U and NX, and the Wii U version will support the Wii U Pro Controller.
We can see why Nintendo wanted to spend so much time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there’s a ton of new features in the game. A few tech issues I saw were that things don’t render until it’s a few yards away, it runs in 720p, and the frame rate wasn’t at the Nintendo-expected 60fps, heck it wasn’t even a locked 30. But otherwise, the anime artstyle helps keep it clean looking while not using a lot of power in order to do neat things like render all that grass.
In other Nintendo E3 news, Nintendo are releasing Daisy, Waluigi, Diddy Kong and a Glow-in-the-dark Boo amiibo figures for the Super Mario line on November 4th, as well as Super Mario versions of Rosalina, Wario and Donkey Kong. Also on November 4th, a new Mario Party releases on 3DS: Mario Party Star Rush. Paper Mario: Color Splash launches on October 7th.
Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon release on the 3DS family of systems on November 18th, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild releases simultaneously on Wii U and NX in 2017.