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Everything about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- Wii U vs Switch, Special Editions, and Analyses

We have a handy summation of everything you need to know about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U.

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world Zelda game from Nintendo, and it's huge. Quite huge.

Breath of the Wild has been in development for years, and it shows: The game's centerpiece is a living, breathing overworld packed with friends, foes, settlements, shrines, mountains, and dungeons. It's arguably the most ambitious Zelda game since 1998's Ocarina of Time for the N64.

We got our first really good look at Breath of the Wild at E3 2016. Information about the game has been pouring in since then, and we've done our best to document what's new and what's familiar.

When is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Coming Out? What system is it on?

Breath of the Wild is available for the Switch and the Wii U on March 3, 2017. It's Nintendo's last game for the beleaguered Wii U.

How does the Switch version of Breath of the Wild differ from the Wii U version?

Both versions of the game have identical content, but there are small visual differences. Breath of the Wild for the Wii U renders at 720p, whereas the Switch version renders at 900p when the game runs on the television (it's presumed the Switch game runs at 720p when the system is in handheld / tablet mode). The Switch version also features richer environmental sounds. Both games run at 30 FPS.

What's in the Zelda: Breath of the Wild "Special Edition" and "Master Edition" I'm hearing about?

The Master Edition of Breath of the Wild is packed with goodies. Aside from the (Switch) game, you also get a Master Sword statue, Sheikah Slate carrying case for your Switch, the game itself, a CD soundtrack, a Sheikah eye collector coin, a map, and a box to hold all your swag in. Price tag: $129.99 USD.

The Special Edition of Breath of the Wild contains the same content as the Master Edition, but it doesn't have the Master Sword statue. It costs $99.99 USD.

How does Breath of the Wild differ from other Zelda games?

There's no helper character -- Breath of the Wild's producer, Eiji Aonuma, said he wants players to take their own path through Breath of the Wild. As a consequence, there are no "helper" characters: No Fi, Navi, or King of the Red Lions.

There are many "shrines" as well as traditional Zelda-style dungeons -- You'll find over 100 shrines in Breath of the Wild. Shrines offer challenges in combat and puzzle solving, and if you're successful you net a Spirit Orb that can be traded for useful items. There are also bigger, more ambitious dungeons to explore, so don't worry Zelda traditionalists.

There's a vast, open world -- Breath of the Wild features a huge open world that's inspired by Skyrim, but also calls back to the very first Zelda game since it lets players go where they please (though if they're ill-equipped to handle danger, that's their lookout).

Link can have more than one horse -- Though Link's travelled by horse for a while now, he's usually limited to one steed. In Breath of the Wild, he can keep stables full of wild horses that he can tame and ride. Beware though: Unlike Epona, they're not invincible.

Weapons can be picked up off enemies, and wear down -- Wind Waker lets Link use foes' weapons, but Link must pick up swords, axes, clubs, bows, etc from Breath of the Wild's bad guys to survive. These weapons can wear down, however, and lower-quality weapons run down more quickly than higher-quality fare.

Link can craft potions and food; hearts aren't found in the wild -- If Link is feeling under the weather in Breath of the Wild, he needs to scarf down food and potions he cooks / brews himself from meat and ingredients he forages. You won't find hearts in tall grass as per usual. Potions can also add handy effects like an increase in "sneak" power that makes it easier to creep up on foes and wild horses.

Link can jump on command -- 3D Zelda games have long employed an auto-jump feature, but that's not the case with Breath of the Wild. Link can jump on his own power.

Link can climb cliffs -- Link can also scale cliffs in Breath of the Wild. His grip lasts as long as his stamina meter, which can be increased.

Many of the tools Link uses on his adventure are "downloaded" to his Sheikah Slate -- Link's most important item in Breath of the Wild is his Sheikah Slate, a tablet-like object that forms important tools to assist the hero.

Breath of the Wild is compatible with Amiibo -- Several new Amiibo related to Breath of the Wild are coming on March 3, and they all interact with the game itself. Established Zelda Amiibo can be used in the game, too. Of particular note is the Wolf Link Amiibo, which lets Wolf Link partner up with Link in Breath of the Wild.

News, features and opinions about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- Impressions Galore
We got one heck of an info dump for the new Legend of Zelda game on June 14. Nadia outlines what was shown in the demo, and offers her impressions.

Breath of the Wild Looks Stunning
Nintendo shows off new footage of the newest Zelda.

The Latest Breath of the Wild Trailer is One of Nintendo's Best
The Breath of the Wild trailer shown at the Nintendo Switch presentation reminds us character development is not an afterthought in the Zelda series.

Breath of the Wild Wasn't a Reality on Switch Until Spring of Last Year
Nintendo worked hard to bring the new Legend of Zelda to Nintendo Switch.

Breath of the Wild Coming to Switch on March 3
Nintendo offers up a release date for the upcoming Legend of Zelda.

Breath of the Wild is the Last Wii U Game from Nintendo
That's all, folks. It's time to sunset Nintendo's last generation.

Breath of the Wild Info: How Shrines Differ from Dungeons and More
An extensive Game Informer article reveals tons of new info about Breath of the Wild. We've sorted and collected the cool stuff.

New Interview Has Fans Worried Zelda: Breath of the Wild Doesn't Contain Traditional Dungeons
But even though Eiji Aonuma prefers to talk about Breath of the Wild's new "Shrines," dungeons have been mentioned in past presentations.

Nintendo Switch Launch Line-up Includes Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch
Nintendo outlines the games you can play in the Nintendo Switch's first few months.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild May Be a Switch Launch Title After All [Report]
Rumors fly back-and-forth about whether or not Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a Switch launch title.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Brings Borrowing Full Circle
Don't call it "stealing." Great ideas never die, they just bounce around from game to game.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Takes Best of E3 in 2016 Game Critics Awards
The votes had been tallied and the winners stand revealed.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Appears to Borrow From Skyward Sword in All the Best Ways
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword isn't a widely loved Zelda game, but it has a lot of elements worth re-visiting.

Breath of the Wild's Backstory Revealed
It's amazing what a dedicated fandom can do (Also, it's dangerous to go alone! Take this spoiler warning).

Opinion: The Switch's Success Doesn't Hinge on Zelda Being Available at Launch
Nintendo is reportedly pushing hard to get Breath of the Wild ready for launch, but they arguably have bigger fish to fry.

Nintendo Releases Super Bowl Commercial for the Switch
Nintendo's first-ever Super Bowl ad aims to make you a believer. Believer.

Aonuma Outlines One Reason for Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Delays: A Lack of Compliments
According to an interview with Eiji Aonuma, a bit of praise goes a long way in the world of game development.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Switch

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About the Author
Nadia Oxford avatar

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer, USgamer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.