The Legend of Zelda E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

Link is back to his old self (meaning, he's in his teens) in a brand-new trailer for the next Legend of Zelda game for the GameCube. Read our impressions.

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Though last year's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was by all accounts a resounding success, the game's unusual graphical style left many wondering if Nintendo would ever revert back to the Zelda series' signature visuals. Consider the official answer "yes." As part of Nintendo's annual E3 press conference, it showed off a new trailer of the next (currently untitled) game in the Legend of Zelda series, which featured an older, more mature Link than the one found in The Wind Waker.

Witness the first trailer of the next Zelda game. Double-click on the video window for a full-screen view. Link, in this next Zelda game, incidentally looks a lot like how he does in the GameCube version of Namco's 2003 fighting game, Soul Calibur II.

The brief trailer, which is set to the same stirring operatic theme featured in the Arnold Schwarzenneger classic, Conan The Barbarian, begins with a few quick shots of different lands, times, and weather. Apparently this is Hyrule, the traditional setting of the Zelda series. Following that, there's a lot of footage of Link battling it out on horseback, a sequence interspersed with shots of a dark army rising up from on the horizon--it seems that Link will have quite a battle on his hands.

More brief snippets of on-foot combat revealed that Link will have many of his familiar moves. He can deflect opponents' projectiles with his shield and he can execute spinning and jumping slashes. And, just as in the last few Zelda offerings, a successful slash causes the screen to pause dramatically for a moment.

Link was finally shown squaring off against a towering, demonic opponent, armed with a huge morning star. (The balrog from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring immediately springs to mind here.) Between action scenes, the trailer flashed some brief slogans such as "blades will bleed," indicating the darker tone of this next installment in the series.

The graphical quality of this next Zelda is certainly impressive to behold, though naturally it isn't as stylistically distinctive as that of The Wind Waker. Still, longtime fans of the franchise will certainly be thrilled to see the series returning to its Nintendo 64 roots (as opposed to its 8-bit roots). We'll have more information on the game as soon as possible. For now, feast your eyes on the trailer.

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