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At E3 2016, I had a chance to play the first 15 minutes of Nintendo’s upcoming adventure game The Legend of Zelda: The Wild Breath, and it was even more epic than I had imagined. A sprawling open world, the most gorgeous graphics I’ve ever seen for a Wii U, and fascinating new gameplay are only the beginning. This is Zelda like we’ve never seen before, yet at the same time stays true to this beloved franchise. Here are my early impressions of this 2017 title:

Zelda_E3_2.jpgThe game opened up with Link awakening in a temple, after sleeping for a full century. A voice beckoned me, perhaps it was Zelda (or perhaps not), telling me that once again I was needed. I noticed immediately the incredible graphics that resembled a painting in motion, and new gameplay features such as the ability to jump (the first time since Zelda 2.)

Upon exiting the shrine, I got my first look at the new Hyrule–and wow is it vast. Approaching a rocky cliff, I had a chance to peer out into the distance and see mountains in the foreground, dense forests, and a few villages/settlements off in the distance. A old man called me over to a sloped path and that’s when I grabbed my first two items: a tree branch and a cooked apple. In this new adventure, as I found out, you’ll be able to possess a large range of weapons–from the branch, to a wood cutter’s axe, to clubs and bow and arrows you can steal from enemies. There’s also a brand new cooking mechanic that replaces the need to cut grass and break pots for hearts, now hearts are obtained through mixing ingredients and cooking yourself a meal. Meals also can provide you with resistances to extreme cold and hot weather, which would other drain Link’s hearts rapidly without the resistance buffs.

Zelda_E3_3.jpgMy colleague Melanie from Best Buy’s Branche-toi blog got to play another demo, and in her’s she was able to invade an enemy camp and take out some troll-like enemies with melee weapons and a shield for protection. She was also given a chance to tap the Wolf Link amiibo to the Wii U GamePad, which brings the wolf into the game to help you take down enemies or hunt for items.

While our playthroughs were short (15 minutes for me, 20 minutes for Melanie), it was enough to make me extremely excited for this game–even more so than I was coming into this. The game looks beautiful, and we were told the huge area we explored was only roughly 1% of the entire map (wow!)  After the hands-on session, we had the opportunity to check out three exclusive amiibo, including Archer Link, Rider Link, and the massive tentacled Guardian.

Without an official date, Nintendo told us that The Legend of Zelda: The Wild Breath will come out in spring 2017, and as we knew before, it will also be coming to Nintendo’s new console, currently using the codename NX.

Excited for The Legend of Zelda: The Wild Breath? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Check out Best Buy’s coverage of E3 2016 for more great articles, links to preorder games and more