I’m not sure if you noticed this, but Andre’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild Analysis is long. Like really long. So long that it’s probably hard for some of you to even sit down and watch it all in one sitting!
But we’re here to help by making it all just a bit more manageable and breaking up the analysis into multiple parts. In this except, we look at the game’s physics, weather patterns, using stealth on enemies, the Koroks, and more! Take it away Andre.
Now what makes most of those runes possible–as well as much else about Breath of the Wild, is the game’s spiffy new physics engine…as in, it’s everywhere It introduces subtles and gameplay possibilities that Zelda fans have never had to think about before, such as how trees can now be used to solve puzzles. Whether it’s cutting one down and floating it down river to use as platform, or carefully chopping down another so that it falls across a gap, creating a bridge. But even then, the tree isn’t fully stable, so you’ll have to be careful that Link’s weight doesn’t cause it to roll away from underneath you.
Oh, and if you screw up entirely, you might be out of luck–at least until those trees grow back, which Nintendo assured us they would at E3–they just didn’t specify how long that might take. Although we did notice that there might be a way to cheat the system, since the tree here came back immediately after Link got a South African online slots game at Casinoslots SA. I guess Link always has been one to manipulate time to his advantage. Another example of the physics shows up with the boulders you’ll occasionally find–often placed preciously on a ledge right over an enemy camp–but before you push it off , you’ll want to take into account how the terrain will affect the boulder’s path. And yeah, it’ll affect the round bombs too.
And it’s not just terrain you’ll have to take into account, but wind too. Now we haven’t seen too many examples of this yet, but there is an area of the Plateau that features a strong gust blowing at all times. And not only does it affect the foliage, like the grass here, but even the fire, AND its smoke too. And it’s not just for looks, as it’ll even affect Link, blowing a bomb right out of his hands!
Yeah, the wind here kind of…blows. Then we have fire physics. Now although you’ll find several throughout the Plateau, you can also make your own wherever you want…as long as you have firewood and flint. Just drop the flint and strike it metal object, like a sword, to create a spark, and as long as some wood’s nearby, it’ll ignite! And that fire can spread onto nearby wooden things like sticks, bows, or even barrels, although they’ll take slightly longer to catch on fire. And if you’re carrying fire around with you, you can ignite bushes or grass too–though it tends to fizzle out quickly…unless you’re in an area with a lot of dry grass such as in that same windy area.
The conditions are perfect for the fire to spread, amounting in a mini wild forest fire. Which can be especially useful if you want to get some hang time with your glider You can even use the physics to create some rudimentary simple machines. For instance, as the guys over at Nintendo Sphere discovered, if you use position a plank over an object-like a chest– to use as a pivot, then place something on one side, like Link, and then drop a heavy object on the other, you just created yourself a catapult that can launch Link sky high.
Pretty impressive right? And we’re just scratching the surface of things you can do with the physics–we’re sure there will be many more crazy things you can do in the game–whether or not the developers intended for it. The physics really add yet another “wild” element to the game which makes it feel more real than ever before. And something else that helps make the world feel alive is the varying climate and weather patterns. Now in the E3 demo, we only really got a taste of the former, with falling snow found in the higher mountain elevations.
And as part of the game’s attention to realism, the temperature not only drops the higher up you go, but it’ll drop even further at night. In fact, temperature plays a rather large role in the game, as reflected in the fact it gets its own on-screen gauge–which visibly catches on fire if Link’s on fire, or freezes over when Link’s frozen Now there are a few ways to combat the cold–but the most effective method is to, of course, wear warm clothing. And articles that are especially cold resistant are marked on the inventory screen . But Beyond clothing, some food, such as the Spicy Elixir, will temporarily increase Link’s resistance to cold environments, which in this case, is for 9:50. But failing that, Link can also make a fire, which will keep him warm as long as he stays close.
Now climates are one thing, but weather’s another. What’s sunny one moment might be rainy the next. Now again, we didn’t see any examples of this in the E3 demo, but the trailer does show at least one example, with a scene of the Temple of Time on a dark and stormy night.
It’s then followed by this scene of the nearby forest, where lightning strikes a tree and starts a fire–which seems like it may be another hazard Link may have to watch out for. And in another scene, we can see lightning strike a structure here, that it possibly destroys. Now in both instances, the lightning appears to be striking taller objects, much like it does in real life. And like in real-life, the time of day changes too. Yeah, that really is the best transition I could think of–hey, I’ve been working on this for months, cut me some slack! Now granted, day & night cycles are nothing new for Zelda, but Breath of the Wild features one of the longest ones yet, clocking in at 24-minutes in total.
Which is to say that for every 1 minute of real-time, 1 hour passes in Zelda. And for the first time, the game displays the exact time digitally in the lower-right corner–albeit in 5 minute increments. But interestingly, that clock disappears when you enter a Shrine–buuut don’t let that fool you, because time still continues to pass at the exact same rate, yep we measured it.
So Shrines are basically the casinos of Hyrule–in that they’re windowless and you have no time how much time has passed until you step back outside. And in case you did lose track of time, don’t worry, because you can always just stop at a campfire to fast forward time to either morning, noon, or night And in case you were wondering what a full day looked like, the Japanese website for Breath of the Wild actually revealed a full 24 minute video of the entire Day / Night cycle which we’ve sped up here. And it provides a wonderful look at how things change over the course of the day, such as the color of the sky, shadows that move with the sun’s position, mist that comes and goes–and even the clouds can be see changing directions with the wind. That’s attention to detail But this video has a couple of other interesting things about it. For one, shortly after night falls, what appears to be a meteorite flies in and crashes into the ground, kicking up quite a lot of dirt in the process.
And in a neat touch, you can even see it reflected in the water as it comes crashing in. But it seems this isn’t just for show, because a beacon of light shines at the impact point, suggesting there’s something there for Link to collect-perhaps some kind of valuable material. But interestingly, it seems Link may have a limited time, because that beacon disappears just a little over 5 and a half minutes later…so is it on a set time limit? Or does its disappearance perhaps correlate with the rising sun, which happens moments later?
Regardless, we wonder if the meteorite might possibly hint at a slightly greater celestial theme to the game. After all, those circle and line patterns we’ve talked about before also somewhat resemble constellation drawings. And going off that potentially wild idea, let’s look at the outside of the Shrines–where the base appears to be more earth-like in appearance, whereas we can see the constellation-like line pattern at the top, closer to the stars. And could the towers perhaps have been built as a way to get closer to star-filled sky, kind of like the biblical Tower of Babel? And speaking of celestial themes–did you notice the moon here? Or rather, how it’s only a partial moon–waxing crescent to be specific.
Well, we know the moon won’t always appear that way based on this scene in the trailer which appears to show one closer to a 3/4 moon–which means the moon phases from Wind Waker are back. Now back then, it affected various events, such as the location of the Ghost Ship–so we think it might have an effect on the gameplay this time too–we’re just not sure what. Okay, so clearly the world feels alive–again, tying into the “wildness” of it all.
And something else that helps with this is that it’s actually teeming with life, whether its the vast foliage, or all kinds of wildlife. You’ll find Squirrels squirreling up and down trees, fish in lakes, Boars and Deer in forests, and all kinds of birds. You’ll often find them flying around high in the sky in a V-Formation, which is a neat touch.