Impressions: HD Experience (Zelda HD)


Although Zelda wasn’t playable at E3, the interactive HD experience was just what I needed to know that Wii U could cut the mustard graphically. It was basically just a looping video, but by pushing the touch screen buttons you could change the camera angle, change the lighting from dark to light, and change the from the television screen to the Wii U tablet. Just seeing video of the environments crumbling around Link with detail never before seen in a Zelda title gets me excited for what’s to come.

I have a feeling that what was shown at E3 will never make it into a Zelda title proper, but if Nintendo can pull off environments with as as much detail as what was shown at E3 for an entire epic all-new Zelda experience, sign me up.

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.


  1. excited at detail never seen before in a Zelda title?

    better keep that quiet or you’ll upset the “gameplay > graphics 4 eva” greek chorus that lives on this website…. from whom i hear that games don’t actually get better or more entertaining through graphics.

    it does look good though.

  2. @deepthought Just because we prefer gameplay over graphics doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about the graphics themselves. o_o…

    It does look great as a thing to come though.

  3. looks amazing!

    Although I think that gameplay comes before graphics in as far as what actually makes a game fun and worth playing- I believe that games do get better and more entertaining if they feature better graphics.

    Don’t get me wrong- a bad game with good graphics is still a bad game. And there are tons of great games with limited graphics (minecraft, anyone?). But a good game can be made so much more immersive and captivating with richer, more detailed, higher resolution graphics. Granted this isn’t always the case, and for some games, part of their charm comes from less advanced graphics (minecraft, again).

    A great game like Zelda only stands to gain from this. A big part of the Zelda experience is the mood conveyed by environments and the subleties of storytelling, both of which can be enhanced immeasurably by the Wii U’s graphical capabilities. Not to mention the fact that more powerful hardware means the potential for more onscreen enemies and more complex and realistic animations and behavior, which could possibly mean that large battles could be something us zelda fans might see in the future (fingers crossed). Whether some people will admit it or not, a more powerful system has more possibilities when it comes to gameplay simply because the system is capable of doing more at once. This can affect a game’s story in a very real way. Imagine for instance, a whole complex battle section of a planned game being cut out because the system on which it is developed for lacks the power to support that.

    I understand the argument for gameplay over graphics and I, for the most part agree with that its the case is most situations (much like how a movie’s script and performances are more central to it’s overall quality than it’s cinematography- at least in some cases), but I think that to go so far as to claim graphics have nothing to do with how entertaining a game can be is a little silly and ignores the fact that many people are turned off by bad graphics. And by “good graphics” I don’t mean high-res textures or high-polygon counts. There can be very detailed graphics that are just as much of a turn off if the art style wasn’t planned well, and I would consider that “bad graphics”. Conversely, there are some 2D sprite based games whose simple graphics form the very identity of the game itself- like Cave Story- i would consider those “good graphics”.

    All in all, graphics do matter to many gamers. For a lot of us it translates to deeper experiences especially with regards to games whose hooks are story and immersion. Things like high resolution and more complex 3D modeling, surfacing, and texturing are just tools, that when used right can augment that experience immensely. And I think the overwhelming sense of excitement that most Nintendo fans had in reaction to the HD Zelda demo shown at E3 is proof of that.

  4. “looping video”

    It wasnt a video.

  5. It did look amazing. I have to agree with you, though, Eugene… this probably will never see the light of day as a full game. It seems too much like Twilight Princess for Nintendo to make it. They usually like to do something different with the Zelda titles. I kind of think of it like I do the Zelda video from Spaceworld 2000: looks great and shows off what the new platform is capable of, but that’s it.

  6. I loved, loved, loved that moment when the giant spider’s shadow scuried across the outside of the huge windows…barely visible, just enough to make your skin crawl. That’s good stuff. 🙂

  7. @deepthought

    Much like how some of us assume that graphix-whores don’t care about gameplay at all, you could very much assume that we don’t think graphics games at all.

    Fact is, the Nintendo Wii wasn’t made for graphics, and its lack of graphics “preventing” it from doing anything was complete bull. Just because it couldn’t handle amazing graphics (which is a strange argument to make, considering that it’s supposed to be at least half as better as a Gamecube, and the Gamecube provided beautiful graphics), doesn’t mean gameplay had to be awful for it – which apparently some developers thought (though it does prevent porting to go over smoothly… most devs had to realize you had to build a game from the ground up just to make a version for the Wii, otherwise you get a crappy port like the Dead Rising port).

    Gameplay > Graphics.
    Any. Day.

    That’s not to say graphics don’t help.
    The graphics in Dead Space was perfect (though more props should go to its sound department)… the graphics in… let’s say… Call of Duty? Eh.
    Gears of War was okay in gameplay, but at least its graphics made the place look far more dramatic (camera shaking, debris, etc) – adding to the feel.
    But Call of Duty? … … I could still enjoy Goldeneye over that.

    Gameplay > Graphics.
    Graphics though, helps gameplay.

    Make a damn beautiful graphical game and give it the worst controls in the world: And it’s the same trash as a damn ugly game with horrible controls.

  8. -Edit: *”we don’t think graphics HELP games at all”
    Darnit this place needs some edit options…

  9. Gameplay/graphics debate aside, Nintendo is in for a world of hurt when they get a taste of just what all it takes to create HD games using high geometry, multipass shaders, dynamic lighting, and a horde of other graphic technologies they’ve never actually used (not to mention this alien notion of “online multiplayer”). Their profits are going to plummet drastically because of severely increased development costs. You can’t be profitable selling HD shovelware the way they’ve been profitable with low-end shovelware, which means they are going to have to adjust their entire business model in turn potentially alienating a good portion of the “new audiences” they have worked so hard to acquire over the last few years. This is going to be a VERY risky transition for Nintendo and it will, by default, put them in third place behind Microsoft and Sony. WiiU may not even make it to market before we see the first glimpses of the fourth generation Playstation or third generation XBox, leaving Nintendo still a full hardware generation behind; this is exactly why their stock value is starting a slow downward spiral. Nintendo needs to get off their high horse and take their competitors seriously on all fronts, and that includes Sony’s Playstation Vita and Apple’s iPad. The point I’m attempting to make, I guess, is that Nintendo will have to prove that it’s about gameplay and game design to the average consumer, because as far as the tech itself is concerned, everyone is a dangerously equal playing field now. I’m hoping that such an environment will lead to some seriously innovative, creative and distinctly original gaming experiences not just from Nintendo but the industry as a whole.

  10. @Kale
    Er… Nintendo’s fine with graphics.
    They know it takes a lot of effort, and they’re looking forward to it.

    The reason why their stocks dropped (which it dropped for the Wii as well) was due to how little to no information on the actual console was revealed in e3 (all that was focused on was the controller), which btw: Even Satoru Iwata was against.
    Look up several impressions: You’ll notice that several watchers were confused as to what the WiiU was offering. Heck! None of the games shown were even on the WiiU! (the demos, however, WERE on WiiU)

    If you even look up several interviews, you’ll even hear several of Nintendo’s reps say that the WiiU isn’t even finished! They’re still working on it.
    Everything out right now is just AN IDEA.

    …THAT’S why a lot of people pulled out on the stocks. Because there’s little to no foundation of what the WiiU will be. It’s an IDEA and that’s ALL.

    Seriously, just because Nintendo didn’t want to battle in the HD generation – it doesn’t mean they’re incapable or ignorant of it. Look up Nintendo’s history and you’d realize why they didn’t compete in that generation for graphics: Gamecube was better in hardware and graphical capabilities than the PS2 and even on par on several specs with the Xbox, had Nintendo titles = and it STILL lost that generation. Graphics shmaffix, games shmames, what won that generation was marketing – and Nintendo won in this generation because of marketing.

    You CAN complain about their online though… though that has more to do with their philosophy in gaming (trying to support local more than anything else… for the sake of family friendliness) than anything else.

    And btw: The iPad isn’t competing with the Wii U.
    And the Vita is actually making sure Playstation LOSES the handheld generation as well.

    First off, the Wii U Pad isn’t a tablet PC… it’s a streaming device.
    So unless Apple TV comes out, it doesn’t have a direct competitor just yet.
    So the iPad? Not against the Wii U Pad… the Wii U Pad adds an extra dimension to gaming, not the system itself. The iPad IS the system. Two completely different worlds.

    Second off, the Vita is releasing WAY BELOW the actual cost of the system (not just in design, but add in manufacturing, production, and marketing…), they did this with the PS3 too – and they lost A LOT of money with the PS3. They’re literally lowering the price that low just because they’re in a hurry to compete and beat the 3DS (Sony’s tactic is to get every consumer the console so that they pay it off with the software… which would be a great tactic, IF IT WINS. If it doesn’t win? … well, they get screwed).

    If anything, Sony needs to get off ITS high horse.
    It’s practically 100% confident that it can beat the 3DS. And that confidence is going to get it killed.
    Nintendo is taking its pace. It’s not overpowering its system like SEGA used to always do. And it’s not releasing a new product every time it needs to compete like Sony.
    Nintendo’s releasing its products the same amount of years apart in the same pattern it always has (5-6 years distance between consoles), and it’s not even boosting its tech to the highest it can.

    It’s not that it can’t either: The tech is giving is 5-6 years old (it’s AT LEAST as powerful as a PS3 and 360.. meaning if it’s better, it should be a year ahead)… if Nintendo wanted, it can sign some contracts and get a console running 1 year old, which would practically be 100x better than anything we have right now in the home console department.
    But it doesn’t. Why? It’s trying to make itself affordable to the public.
    It CAN go beyond those limits, but it doesn’t.
    So when the PS4 comes out with a harddrive and engine far beyond the WiiU?? : They’ll be far more affordable than a PS4, sell more units, and stay alive.
    Nintendo had to switch to this tactic ever since the Gamecube lost. The Gamecube losing was the proof in the pudding that Nintendo going on high-end tech =/= sales.

  11. EDIT: *”The tech IT’S giving is 5-6 years old”
    darnit this place needs an edit button…

    And to be more clear, what I’m referring to: everyone refers to 360 and PS3 as 7-year old techs compared to today’s tech. WiiU, if better, would be AT LEAST tech that’s 6-years old, maybe 5.

    Sadly, not every spec for the WiiU has been released. We know little to nothing about it other than the controller.

  12. i just like seeing the arguments change. It’s that little bit of hypocrisy in the infendo ranks that has always bugged me.

    Nintendo fans have hung their hat on gameplay- as if more powerful systems were wastelands of unplayable games. as if picking something that looked better was in itself shallow. as if any game ever made you choose between gameplay and graphics. as if that was the choice gamers faced this generation.

    (I love how often COD comes up in this debate. people actually compare goldeneye to current day cod, as if the comparison is even close.)

    but now Nintendo fans can get somewhat excited about graphics again- and suddenly graphics are important to immersion. So let’s get started with my version of a walk though infendo history!

  13. here we see the change (and how jack is a fan and not a hater, despite the current thought)

    Attilio: ““Graphics don’t matter at all and you cannot argue that.” But this gets roundly disputed. (Also, the HD era wasn’t here yet? Then I was living in the future! How cool is that?)

    Go back further though…
    The article is premised on the idea that what this kid enjoyed, the shallow delights of graphics- now called “immersion”- is somehow not as sophisticated as the author’s tastes. Really?! We’re talking about video games people. And since when are the author’s tastes’s the objective standard of entertainment? I loved Evil Dead: Regeneration and was into it straight through the end, despite it’s mediocre controls. It was still a great game. To me. And that doesn’t make me shallow. Because it’s a freaking video game.

    ECC: “i feel that all the games i have played on my 360 are shallow.”
    XCWArrior: “this generation is all about being shallow” (where the measure of shallowness is the length of time you spend with one game and buying games because “graphics are awesome”)
    Droop4: “He dissed off the game not because he didnt liked it, or because it was cel-shaded. But just because its not HD… That’s just sad!” Really? sad? Because now we’re calling that “immersion.”
    deepthought: “it’s such a myth that wii is working in some other more sophisticated realm than other consoles.” because i like noting my consistency.
    Jack: “Unleashed is great topically, but dig deeper and it’s definitely of a God of War copy with a Star Wars skin” Because Nintendo never repeats gameplay. Even in sequals.
    EJamer: “Let them enjoy those games while they can… and hope that they realize there is more to gaming than graphics eventually.”

    ALSO where’s Run Line 10 nowadays? That guy was cool.

  14. And check out:
    zatara: “what do you think the zelda would look like on the 360? pretty much the same, right?” I love this comment because I was posting with that name at the time. Someone else was posting (idiotic) comments as deepthought so I used “zatara” until someone else started posting stupid things with that name too. BUT… now we know what a Zelda might look like on the 360. And we’re excited. Much more excited than many ever admitted they would be.

    Also see:
    Yes, good enough graphics are good enough. By why not ask for more? Well because it was still a bit of heresy to criticize the Church of Nintendo back then. So we make economic excuses for lackluster hardware, and gameplay excuses to distract from graphics. Although Blake does say that isn’t a correct description of the article, I still disagree. Elmer’s comment bears me out a bit.

  15. Also great:
    Someone sees immersion in graphics! Guess who that is? (yeah it’s me)

    Partial rebuttal:
    Because I believe in full disclosure. Also, the comment on it with my tag probably isn’t mine… I don’t recall capitalizing my name ever.

    Basically I love how Nintendo fans had the direct line to truth and quality in gaming! But now, graphics aren’t shallow. They’re immersion. And important!

    That’s fine…

    I do love that the conversation has come around to what I’ve been saying for years. But let’s just not forget where we’ve been.

  16. @deepthought
    Come on throw me a bone! All of those linked articles were written before my time with Infendo!

  17. all of that def pre-dates you.

    but the infendo crowd that once called graphics shallow doesn’t get to all of a sudden rewrite history and don’t get to change their preferences now that they don’t feel the need to make excuses for the Wii U’s power.

    i’d like to keep them honest. simply put, this site has a history of dumping on other people’s preferences for graphics. and i’ve always said this was an apologists way of feeling better about the wii, and not a real preference. And I believe this change in attitude towards graphics shows me to be correct.

  18. Why don’t we just shut up and enjoy games? Do we seriously have to argue about which is best? I love zelda games, regardless. You may not, that doesn’t matter! Just enjoy what you like, jeez… Anywho! I’m excited for the Zelda OOT 3ds this Sun! Yay a game for my 3ds! 😀 (just beat Link’s Awakening on 3ds, still love that game.. hate the ending 🙂 )

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