It was day one of Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse special and boy they did not disappoint! Although they only focused on two games, Pokémon Sun & Moon and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, they still managed to stream hours of content which gave us a wealth of information without spoiling anything. So without further ado, let’s begin the summarising! My body wasn’t ready!
Pokémon Sun & Moon
We only got an hour long segment for the Pokémon games, but we were treated to a sneak peak of the gorgeous gameplay. The first noticeable thing was the graphics. Oh my goodness, the graphics were beautiful! Shading was in all the right places, even the tree leaves looked superb. After walking around through the grass we bumped into some new and familiar Pokémon.
In the preview we first faced a Ledyba which confirms previous generations of Pokémon are going to appear in the Alola region. We also see the trainer stand by the Pokémons’ side, which is a really cute feature; it really unifies the bond between Pokémon and trainer.
The GUI has had a redesign which will probably personally take a little getting used to. The gauges have switched sides on the top screen and the options are dotted around the bottom screen. We were also told that you will be able to check your opponents stats during the battle to see how effective your attacks have been.
Other awesome features were a shadow effect that appeared when you were in a trainers line of sight; it gave this “narrowing in” effect which I think is very slick and very helpful too if you don’t fancy battling at that time. Pokémon sizes are going to be more accurate which I am really looking forward to. Blastoise are roughly about 5ft 3 so I can’t wait to see them be the same height or in fact smaller than some trainers! More on the trainers, they wear clothes suitable to the region giving a more realistic feel and they also wear a mysterious bracelet. They weren’t allowed to comment on the bracelet so it must be a pretty significant element to the gameplay! Trainers are fully customisable from race to clothing creating a more immersive experience for players. When a trainer wins a battle, their reaction and mannerisms will be completely unique due to the 3D animation.
Other notes we took away from the presentation:
- Masuda passed directing to Ohmori, taking a producing role instead
- Sun and Moon were chosen as titles to reflect a region teeming with life
- Solgaleo and Lunala play a unique role in the plot which will be a breath of fresh air for legendary Pokémon
- There are 4 islands and a man-made island; each island has its own guardian Pokémon
Last but not least, a new gameplay mode will be introduced called Battle Royal. It’s a 4 vs 4 free-for-all battle and the rules are simple. Pick 3 Pokémon, the first trainer to lose all 3 Pokémon loses and the player left with the most surviving Pokémon wins. You can pick any opponent to attack, which will really make you up your battle strategy!
More information is available on the Pokémon Sun & Moon website that wasn’t covered in the Treehouse. I was already pretty hyped about the new Pokémon series, but now it’s officially off the scale! I can only hope and pray that these games won’t be too short or too easy because that would be a pretty big waste of something that looks so beautiful and full of potential.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The new Zelda game was the main focus of the Nintendo Treehouse and there were many hours of gameplay. You would think 5 and half hours of different snippets of gameplay would spoil the entirety of the game, but we barely scratched the surface whilst receiving an abundance of information.
Let’s start with the name; I’m personally not a fan of it but who knows it could be a grower. Now that I got that out of the way I can talk about the trailer. It opens up with a mysterious voice… “Open your eyes”. Is this the beginning of English (or native language) voice overs for characters? We are then greeted with glorious visuals of the scenery we will be exploring. Let me tell you, the footage in the trailer is what you see in the gameplay and it is stunning. The art style was inspired by Japanese animation and gives off a gouache impression which is what they aimed for. The trailer then treats us to some game mechanics that were further explored in the demos.
So as stated above, the demos really showed off the mechanics of the game. They only demo’d in The Great Plateau; towns and villages were took out of the demo so the story wouldn’t be spoilt. But don’t think for a second that that limited the amount of detail they bestowed upon us.
Breaking all Zelda conventions, Link wakes up in a tub full of glowing blue liquid. You read that right. You discover he resides in some sort of Sheikah cave that is powered by Sheikah technology. Now, my over-reactive mind couldn’t help but jump to the conclusion that Link is either a) an alien or b) a clone purposely created by the Sheikah tribe to fulfil the prophecy of saving Hyrule from the grave danger known as Ganon. Back to the demo, Link gets out of the bath and he’s almost naked. You get to clothe Link, and throughout the game you develop a bustling wardrobe full of attire needed for survival.
You then receive a tabular device, known as the Sheikah Slate, which is vital to your navigation of the game. Not only is it your map, but with upgrades it can helps you perform tasks in the environment such as freeze items, build water walls, and magnetically move metal items.
Stepping out of the cave is when the fun really begins. Link can jump, I repeat, Link can now jump. Along with this new feature we find out that Link is quite the explorer and can climb and scale a LOT of the environment. However, the stamina gauge is back so make sure you keep an eye on that when running or climbing.
There was only a few characters you could interact with on the demo, but nonetheless, it showed what conversations within the game would be like. It now seems we get to have an input on conversations rather than being talked at. We also get a choice in what we say, albeit, only 2 options were shown at the time but at least it’s something.
You can pick up a lot of items such as sticks, apples, even enemies weapons after defeating them. This makes this new Zelda really live up to the open world feel we were promised way back at the first announcement. You can interact with the environment, e.g. chop down trees to make bridges and push boulders down hills to squish enemies. These aren’t on set paths either, if you cut a tree from the wrong angle it wont lay where you expected it to lay! It’s not limited to certain trees and boulders either, you can literally cut down any tree or push any boulder!
The weapons you collect may share the same name but this doesn’t necessarily mean they have the same abilities. Also, some weapons have a life span and will break after so many blows. Speaking of blows, if you are hurt don’t be expecting to cut the grass and be graced with hearts and rupees. Oh no, no you regain your life from food. Yes, that apple you just picked up? It replenishes some health. And if that wasn’t bad-ass enough, you can collect different kinds of meat, fruit and plants and use them as ingredients to cook up a meal. Ingredients have varying attributes, meaning certain combinations will create unique meals that aide you in your journey. For example, making a meal with a lot of spicy peppers will grant you with the ability to be extra warm for a certain amount minutes. This is extremely useful in colder climates. Other combinations/ingredients can grant you temporary hearts or give you a stamina boost or something of the like. Although the game is all about hunting and gathering items, the space you have in your inventory is limited so choose your items wisely.
There is a day and night system in place with beautiful animations to boot and there will also be weather attributes. Weather and climates can effect the player in various ways. Example, if you stay in the cold too long without the appropriate attire or food your health will begin to diminish. In colder climates, there is snow and you can use your shield as a sled – however, this does damage your shield and may render you shield-less if you use it too much.
There are these places called Shrines dotted all over the place, and there is said to be over 100 of them present within the game. Shrines are little puzzle places that grant you upgrades for your Sheikah Slate. These upgrades can be used outside in the open world, not just within the Shrine. There is no specific order to complete the Shrine challenges, just like there is no specific way to play or complete the game.
During all the demos, the players always ran into what is called a Guardian. These are enemies you don’t want to mess with. In the demos they mostly remained stationary and they were pretty terrifying as is. However, later on we were shown a snippet of a battle with a mobile Guardian where Link is versing it on horseback. The footage of that battle shifted my anxiety up a gear, I tell you now.
While exploring The Great Plateau you will notice that there is no masterpiece of a soundtrack playing in the background unlike the previous games. Instead we are graced with beautiful ambient sounds that make you feel like you’re really exploring an authentic nature-filled environment; I strongly welcome this change as it I think it brings a more immersive experience to the player.
Last but not least there are the Amiibos. We are being treat to 3 new Zelda Amiibos for Breath of the Wild.
- An Archer Link
- A Rider Link
- And a Guardian Amiibo (which will have bendable legs!)
The functionality of these 3 Amiibos weren’t clarified, but we were informed that the Wolf Link Amiibo from the Twilight Princess HD Remake can be used in the game.
The gameplay shows that Link doesn’t have a companion unlike the previous games i.e. Navi, Fi, Midna. Scanning the Wolf Link Amiibo will make the wolf a valuable partner within the game. Wolf Link can help hunt and track down food and will also attack enemies. If he strays too far you can whistle him back which is adorable! If Wold Link unfortunately dies, you will have to wait 24hrs before summoning him again.
That’s about all the information I could retain from Day One’s live stream. Nintendo are slowly uploading up snippets of the stream up on YouTube, so make sure you check them out. What I really love about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is that it still has classic Zelda elements but a new lease of life has been injected into them making it a new and exciting experience. Nintendo have really put the focus on vast open worlds it seems, and I really can’t wait to begin my new adventures in Alola and Hyrule.
Did you watch all of the stream? Are you a fellow passenger of the hype train? Or do think their demos lacked something? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch on Twitter!