The Legend of Zelda is one franchise that I will always become excited about when news of a brand new game arises; so of course you can imagine my excitement during E3 as Eiji Aonuma thankfully announced the beautifully presented upcoming Zelda game. I’m going to put aside my ecstatic thoughts of the reveal which includes the beautiful graphics, ideas of new puzzle development, new gameplay techniques and the futuristic items (yet that partly interlinks with my article today) and talk about how since a week after E3, what remains a massive concern and question to me is how will combat play in the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U?
Immediately as Aonuma exits the screen and allows the teaser to commence, we see the beautiful tranquil atmosphere cut off from the silence and instead become destructive with what appears to be a new mechanical enemy who has the ability to shoot laser bolts. From this we can tell that enemies presumably will be portrayed with more strength in this game as the environment crashes around (with who we presume is Link) as the grass blazes in fire and the stone walls crumble whilst the wooden panels of the bridges are scattered alongside the rising water – all of which appears to be a significantly increased power compared to what previous enemies of the precious games would have.
So with the possibility of more powerful enemies, you have to wonder how will Link fight back? The reason the teaser trailer was compelling was due to the different style of how Link attacked the enemy; we were promised different gameplay mechanics by Aonuma, but generally people presumed that these mechanics were based on the dungeons and puzzles, and not so much the combat ever since Skyward Sword was released which reinvented swordplay in the franchise.
Here the trailer focuses on primarily Links Bow and Arrow as the combat technique, with extreme closeups centring the focus of the viewers to his arrow. Will the bow play a major part in the game? Skyward Sword managed to tell the story of the creation of the Master Sword, perhaps the arrow will play a vital role in this game as the major weapon? At first Link pulls out two fire arrows which are usually introduced into the game at a later stage (so it’s interesting that this is the first weapon seen in the trailer) only for Link to then jump out in a cliché action movie style with Link using another arrow, this time seeming to be a brand new type of a mechanical arrow which suits the mechanical themed enemy.
So what about the sword then? Fret not, The Legend of Zelda hasn’t lost its most iconic weapon – the sword. Although it’s unclear whether or not the sword in the game is the same Master Sword which has been passed down in the generations of the Zelda cycle, there definitely is a sword in place. A very sharp eye is needed but during Links attack on the enemy, alongside Eponas back with the Carrier bag and the intriguing mechanical arrow, there is a visible scabbard underneath the notable items.
Now the ultimate question here is how will it play? What are the control mechanisms? The Wii U Gamepad is still seen to some as untouched potential where it still hasn’t proven itself outside of being a useless gimmick. For Nintendo to ditch the Gamepad as primary control would be harming their aspirations with the Gamepad. However during the whole generation of the Wii, Nintendo spent their time proving that motion controls were the future of gaming, with Skyward Sword proving that motion controls for games can truly work. Swordplay felt fluid as I swing my sword in certain directions to attack the enemies in certain styles, the Wii motion plus technologies allowed the game to fully mimic my sword movements; should we really give up the amazing features that Skyward Sword introduced to us? Windwaker HD and Hyrule Warriors both have Gamepad controls with Windwaker specifically not being upgraded to supporting motion plus controls (which would have required rewriting combat situations in the game to work), whilst Hyrule Warriors has the option for a Wii remote + Nunchuck control scheme. Despite not playing a demo of Hyrule Warriors yet, I’d imagine that being a slasher game, there isn’t too much motion controls with the wii remote and it isn’t as accurate as it was in Skyward Sword… Therefore with two Zelda themed games already released on the Wii U lacking motion controls, I’d only imagine that this new one would be Nintendos chance to re-introduce it to the players.
But then again maybe that’s why the Bow and arrow played a primary role in the trailer. Perhaps in this game there is less focus on swordplay and instead more arrow play on the GamePad which can use motion controls to aim the arrows! I honestly wish that the idea of control schemes were explored more in the actual presentation, but then again it is still early days and we have a long time until 2015 to look forward to learning more about what the game will offer.
What do you think? What type of control schemes would you want for the upcoming game? Leave a comment below and share your view!