The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom struggles with impossible expectations. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild represented a radical and successful reinvention of The Legend of Zelda – a series considered by many to be the pinnacle of game design. Despite its many changes to the Zelda formula, Breath of the Wild was a huge success, and its legacy has grown stronger over time.
Giving Breath of the Wild a direct sequel (a rarity in the Zelda canon) is a dangerous prospect. The resulting game lacks the hard-to-reconstruct, undeniable impact and innovation of the earlier games. Instead, it gives players the chance to revisit the world through an entirely new lens with new abilities to embark on a spectacular adventure, giving players a staggering amount of agency that they’ve been able to achieve almost every time. How to get gameplay examples.
Tears of the Kingdom takes place mostly on the ground in Breath of the Wild Hyrule, but it doesn’t feel like a retread. New traversal options that change how you explore the world combine with the passage of time to make this Hyrule different, like visiting the city you grew up in after many years away. You have a good idea of where things are, but when you get there they are different and exciting. That balance of novel and familiar on the ground is well executed, and the islands in the sky make for entirely new, substantial areas to explore. Figuring out how to jump from island to island in the sky is relentlessly thrilling, and exploring the caverns of Hyrule is dark and intimidating, making for powerful exploration options to suit your mood.
Link’s new abilities are one of the highlights of Tears of the Kingdom. Fuse, which lets you combine weapons, shields, items, and more, rewards experimentation and makes every single object in the game powerful — every rock on the ground, every plant you pick up, every zonai Technology-infused shield – has some value. This makes the act of collecting even more fun because you can ask yourself silly questions, like “What if I planted an acorn on a bladed staff?” and arrive at the answers.
Item degradation makes a return, which is a system I appreciate in that everything I pick up is something I’ll actually use. The quality-of-life improvements also make it much easier to manage your various equipment, and fuses mean you can collect and combine more weapons if you hate the idea of leaving things behind.
Soar, allowing Link to move through any ceiling within a certain distance, is impressive in its implementation and practicality. It’s one of those abilities that sometimes radically changes how you move through a familiar world. Remember, in a world that moves objects back in time, I often had to question whether something would work, only to find out that, yes, it does work in an absolutely delightful way.
The king of abilities, and clearly the king of Kingdom Tears, is Ultrahand. Simplified pitch It allows the link to connect objects. I was intimidated by the new mechanic when it was introduced, and the controls take some getting used to, but it didn’t take me long to become Hyrule’s number one assembly contractor and engineer, and I adore this title.
Combining objects to solve simple puzzles to create complex flying devices with a range of fans, rockets and batteries is a joy without making you spend too much time on any one project. Kingdom’s Tears recognizes what you’re trying to build in almost every instance, meaning that simple tasks like attaching a steering wheel to a four-tiered platform work with little fuss. But it also accounts for a lot more complex constructions, and I was often surprised by what I could quickly create and apply to puzzle solving.
Ultrahand is the rare mechanic that sneaks into your brain and makes you contemplate it outside of the game. The biggest compliment I can give is that I dreamed about Ultrahand, rotating the poles and connecting them to the boxes in my sleeping mind, the same way I saw the orange and blue circles in my dream when I first saw them. Portal was played. These are the tears of the most important achievement of the Kingdom.
The adventure is filled with other highlights as well. The story begins with an engaging conceit and only builds to an excellent conclusion. It also doesn’t repeat a big narrative issue from the first game: Where was Zelda the whole time? Thankfully, the story knows this is a sequel and acknowledges what happened before. You can visit characters and locations from the past to see how they’ve changed. The story doesn’t stray too far from the range of what we’ve come to expect from the Zelda plot, but I liked the twists and turns it took, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Structurally, Tears of the Kingdom is familiar to War with functionally similar acts. New Shrines that are fun to solve and rewarding fast-travel locations litter the map, and there are some traditional Zelda dungeons. The new dungeons are simplified but don’t sacrifice puzzle design while being easy to understand. The new dungeons also have great bosses. I appreciated that they are more varied and allow you to rely on recently learned specific abilities to claim victory.
Video game sequels often iterate on what came before them. It looks a little better, plays a little smoother, retains key mechanics and continues the story while introducing new ones. Tears of the Kingdom checks most of these boxes, but it’s simpler to get rid of the runes from the first game and give players new ones to use in exploring a familiar but undeniably new world. Almost every encounter, whether puzzle, traversal, or combat, must be rethought. It forces you to think in new ways. I didn’t get the same goosebumps as I did in the past, but I did experience a massive amount of new emotions from solving different puzzles and going back to one of my favorite video game locations. They say you can never go home again, but I loved returning to Hyrule with all the new equipment.