GameXplain has posted a zoomed-in version of last night’s gameplay footage of Zelda U, which premiered during The Game Awards. When watching the gameplay in fullscreen, there are some very interesting details that weren’t immediately apparent when viewing the footage in its original form.
The first thing that instantly jumps out is the lushness of the world. It’s vibrant and filled with color, as opposed to the look of Twilight Princess, which was very muddled. The terrain of the map is very impressive and not only shows off the vastness of the world, but also the vertical nature of the newest Zelda’s Hyrule, filled with cliffs and large towers that appear off in the distance.
Speaking of the vastness of the world, this image of the map, displayed on the GamePad, shows just how large this iteration of Hyrule is. Link can go into first person mode from any location, “mark” that location by looking around using gyroscope controls, and the location will appear on the map. You’re also given the ability to zoom in and out while viewing the world map, with the time of day/night appearing on the top of the GamePad. As you can see in the video, the time is currently marked at 19:00, which would be 7pm, just as the sun is setting as shown in the footage.
One of the most intriguing things shown in the HUD is the return of the Magic Meter. The Magic Meter has been absent since The Wind Waker (over 10 years!), so its return would be a pleasant and welcome surprise. There also appears to be instructions on how to control Epona on the bottom right part of the screen, but as it is in Japanese (aside from the word “go” next to the A button), it’s difficult to truly decipher what it’s saying or referring to. As Epona now requires very little control from the player, avoiding trees and obstacles on her own, it may be instructions on how to combat enemies while riding on horseback, or it could refer to both.
There are several aspects of Link’s character design which also become much clearer while watching this full-screen version. First of all, Link is wearing a cloak while riding Epona, which is the same garb he wore during the E3 trailer. The cloak does not appear in later footage on horseback, so could it be an equipable accessory of some sort? We also get a better look at Link’s shield, which shares similarities to the initial shield that Link started off with in Skyward Sword. Both share the same approximate size, shape, and material, but they differ completely in their exterior design.
While it is mentioned that there are edible apples growing on trees, insects, and wildlife present throughout the overworld, the first time we can actually catch a visible glimpse of this is near the end of the gameplay footage, with several wild horses roaming about. It definitely helps make this vibrant and colorful world feel alive, as well as show us that Epona isn’t the only horse in town!
One thing that is apparent in this new gameplay footage is that the Zelda team has achieved the look and feel of the Japanese animation-inspired world that Eiji Aonuma was striving for. It has a magical feel to it, similar to something out of a Hayao Miyazaki film. While this was only a small glimpse of what looks to be Link’s biggest adventure yet, there are a lot of little snippets that give fans a hint of what to expect in the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U, which is still slated for a 2015 release.