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The Game Awards 2014 revealed quite a few blockbuster premiers for gamers the world around. The big takeaway from the event was the revelation of gameplay for several highly anticipated games due out in 2015, one of which is the Wii U exclusive, The Legend of Zelda.
The video starts pretty tame and actually stays that way. The highlight of the video isn't necessarily that there's a ton of action and lots of big explosions happening, it's mostly about the quality of the gameplay mechanics. You see, there are a lot of subtleties present in the video that are talked about and talked over within the short span that it runs.
We learn that the world is absolutely massive and that it takes quite a while to traverse the open-world map. The zoom-out on the GamePad revealed that this upcoming Legend of Zelda could have a world comparable to the likes of Elder Scrolls games, and we also learn that there are various ways to travel about, including gliding, riding horses and running on foot.
The big thing is that there's an active ecosystem present in the upcoming game, so players will do more than just kill things, climb things and jump off things. For instance, it's mentioned that there are edible apples that grow from certain trees. Players can stop and eat the apples to help replenish life; a nice little alternative to the traditional method of finding floating hearts.
We also get introduced to the automated horse running. Players can set a cruise speed for Epona and then attack and fight from horseback, it's really nifty. We get to see how Link can rotate his body and attack from different angles. This adds a whole new way to fight and attack from Epona. In addition to this, players are also capable of firing Link's bow from the back of Epona – all while moving. The automated running enables players to aim, focus and shoot at targets while moving at moderate speeds.
We get to see how Epona will auto-navigate through certain obstacles, as Eiji Aonuma points out how real horses aren't stupid and run into trees while out in the wild. It's true, I've never seen a wild horse run at top speed and smack face-first into a tree. Although, I'm sure there is a video of such an event on YouTube.
One of the more neat events showcased in the video is Link's ability to dismount Epona while shooting the bow and arrow. This is a really cool feature that's almost identical to Batman's ability to eject out of the Batmobile and land an attack on an enemy; it's all player controlled.
When Link dismounts we get a sleek slow-motion look at the aiming and shooting process, making it convenient to target and attack enemies while in the air. Basically, that cinematic video from this past year's E3 was actually representative of what you'll actually be able to do in the game itself, which is pretty cool.
The Legend of Zelda is due out exclusively for the Wii U in 2015. However, Miyamoto's Star Fox will be launching before Zelda, so look for that sometime in the earlier half of 2015.