he Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a confirmed as a Nintendo Switch launch title and we're finally able to buy both Zelda and the Nintendo Switch in the UK. Here we look at the Zelda: Breath of the Wild release date, trailers, gameplay, price and UK availability. See also: Nintendo Switch review.
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What DLC will be available?
Nintendo has confirmed that Breath of the Wild will be the first ever Zelda game in history to get downloadable content (DLC).
Now that the game is on sale in the UK, users are able to buy the Expansion Pass priced at £17.99 from the eShop, bagging them two sets of downloadable content which will be released later this year on both platforms.
However, three new treasure chests will appear in the game’s Great Plateau area once ordered – one of which contains a Nintendo Switch logo shirt that Link can wear with the other two containing 'useful items'.
Summer 2017 DLC
The first DLC for Breath of the Wild will arrive 'summer 2017' and includes a 'Cave of Trials' challenge, a new hard mode and a new feature for the in-game map. Here's a full breakdown of what you get:
Trial of the Sword: In this challenge (previously known as “Cave of Trials”) enemies will appear one after another in series of around 45 rooms. Link starts without any armour or weapons and if you win all battles, the power of the Master Sword will be awakened so will always be in its glowing powered-up state while usable.
Hard Mode: Here 'ranks' of enemies in the game are increased (i.e. Red Bokoblins change to Blue), and you may even encounter higher-ranking enemies you won’t find through normal play. Enemies will also slowly recover health in battle and will spot Link easier. In addition, floating planks held aloft by balloons around Hyrule bring more enemies and treasure when reached.
Hero's Path Mode: The new map feature (above) we heard about previously allows you to see where you've been for the last 200 hours of gameplay. It will work retrospectively and help you see where you have yet to explore.
Korok Mask: By finding and equipping the new Korok Mask, players will have a much easier time finding Korok as the mask will shake when a Korok is hidden somewhere nearby.
Travel Medallion: A new treasure chest somewhere in the game world contains the Travel Medallion (below). This means you can create a temporary travel point (one at a time) on the map where they are currently standing.
New Equipment: Eight new pieces of equipment inspired by previous characters and games in the series will be added to the game. Once discovered by the player, they will yield equipment themed after fan-favourite games and characters such as Midna, Tingle, Phantom and Majora's Mask.
Winter 2017 DLC
The second DLC pack will launch 'winter 2017', so around Christmas time, bringing "new challenges that will let players enjoy a new dungeon and a new original story".
"The world of Hyrule, which we created for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so large and vibrant that we wanted to offer more for players to experience within it," said Nintendo developer Eiji Aonuma, the long-time producer of the series. "With this new Expansion Pass, we hope that fans will play, explore and enjoy the game even more."
You might also like: The most anticipated games of 2017
The Legend of Zelda UK release date: 3 March 2017
After months of speculation that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would miss the launch of the Nintendo Switch on 3 March 2017, Nintendo confirmed that it would be a Switch launch title, and is now on sale in the UK.
Breath of the Wild also had a simultaneous Wii U release, so fans can buy it for either console.
Also see: NES Classic review
How much does Zelda Breath of the Wild cost in the UK?
There are several order options for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the UK.
First up, Breath of the Wild is a Switch launch title, and that is the preferred platform for fans looking to play it in full HD on the new Nintendo console. You can order it from Amazon for £48, though Game and Zavvi are both offering it for closer to the full £60.
Read next: Our most anticipated Nintendo Switch games
There's also a Special Edition version of the game for European players. This includes the game, a soundtrack CD, and a Master Sword figurine. Amazon and Zavvi were taking orders at a price of £89.99, but it has now sold out.
What are the gameplay features?
This next instalment of The Legend of Zelda series is the eighteenth main title that Nintendo has released for the franchise. It's among the only Zelda games to have HD graphics (the remakes of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda; Twilight Princess for Wii U are the only other HD titles so far), and features an open world, an exciting development that we can't wait to experience for ourselves.
The Legend of Zelda designer Eiji Aonuma has explained that the developers decided to go for an open world game to give the players more freedom rather than defining exactly where the player must go, and where they must enter and exit dungeons, for example.
Players are able to explore the open world on foot or by riding on a horse, who is capable of allowing Link to get a better aim at enemies thanks to its artificial intelligence that'll steer while you're otherwise occupied.
Above you can watch The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild trailer from E3 2016, which is amazingly just 1 percent of the game! This is one you'll pick up and won't put down for a very long time.
We also know that Breath of the Wild has Amiibo functionality. It's compatible with the existing 30th Anniversary and Wolf Link Amiibo, but will also launch with a range of five new figures: Archer Link, Rider Link, Zelda, the Guardian, and a Bokoblin.
What is the difference between Breath of the Wild on Switch and Wii U?
For a while it was unclear what the differences are between Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo's two consoles, the Wii U and Switch. It launched on both at the same time.
However, we know have some details as Nintendo told IGN that the game will play at 900p on the new Switch (in TV mode, 720p in Handheld mode), while Wii U players will only get 720p.
The firm also said the Switch version offers "higher-quality environmental sounds" adding that the sounds of footsteps, water, grass and the like will be "more realistic and enhance the game's Open-Air feel."
Otherwise it's case of smaller differences like on-screen icons and that the Wii U version will take up a considerably smaller amount of space at 3GB (the Switch is 13.4GB - though the cartridge version doesn't need to install anything). Both will run at 30fps but some have noted that the Wii U struggled to hit that figure during E3 demos.
Sadly, the Switch version of Breath of the Wild does not support the HD Rumble feature (advanced vibration feedback) because the game wasn't made exclusively for the new console.
"The problem is that the purpose of the Switch version was to provide exactly the same experience as on Wii U, and vice versa. If we had started to adapt the game to the Switch features, it would not have been the same game. So, beyond the graphic differences, we did not really explore the specifics of the new console," said series producer Eiji Aonuma to Gameblog.
It's no surprise that Zelda is a big game and that it requires 13.4GB of free space on the Nintendo Switch - more than 40 percent of the console's storage before you even take into account the operating system. However, this is only an issue if you're buying a digital copy of the game - if you buy a physical edition, it will play from the cartridge with no need to install anything.
See also: Nintendo Switch vs Wii U review
In a surprise move shortly after the launch of Breath of the Wild, Nintendo released a series of three short making-of documentaries to YouTube highlighting some of the different aspects of creating the most ambitious Zelda game to date. Each video is roughly ten minutes long, and breaks down a different element of the process: the beginning of the project, the story and characters, and the open world design.
The videos show off some of the early prototypes for the game, as well as loads of concept art we haven't seen before. We've embedded all three videos right here, so watch them now to find out just how Nintendo's biggest and best game in years came to be:
Podcast discussion: Games at E3