The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

released on May 12, 2023

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

released on May 12, 2023

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The setting for Link’s adventure has been expanded to include the skies above the vast lands of Hyrule.


Also in series

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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This review contains spoilers

It’s rather impressive how the strengths and weaknesses of Breath of the Wild were flipped for Tears of the Kingdom. Where the former game was a refreshing open world dragged down by its underbaked immersive sim elements, the latter is a brilliant immersive sim parred with a disappointing open world. Put another way, with the re-use of Breath’s Hyrule, the joy of discovery that defines the best entries in the open world has been shifted to the mechanics and the new maps that Tears provides. One of these emotive redistributions works quite well (for the most part) and the other does not (for the most part), leading to a final product that sings quite well but sag in a few important places.

The core problem that needs to be solved when designing an immersive sim is that all of the wacky creative choices that the player needs to be more appealing than just taking the path of least resistance. Tools like magnetism and time freeze in Breath had limited applications in combat, and simply slapping enemies with your sword was just more efficient, even with the weapon degradation system attempting to force the player into more spontaneous play. In a single fell swoop, the new ability Fuse, which allows the player to attach any item to any weapon, provides a host of useful and whacky combat and exploration utility, while also giving purpose to the hoard of items and weapons that the player accrues of the course of playing these two games. Being able to enhance any weapon I find with whatever I choose makes the temporality of my weapons far less bothersome because I’ll always have something on hand to suit my needs, while still having the possibility open for creativity and experimentation. While the powers Ascend and Rewind allow for unique navigation options, the real showstopper of Tears is, of course, Ultrahand, which allows the assemblage of standard items and special Zonai tools into nearly whatever form the player desires. The building blocks of the system are easy and intuitive, allowing for both complex engineering and satisfying simple solution crafting. However, the game is far better at incentivizing using Ultrahand to solve simple problems in closed areas, such as the sky islands, the shrines, and the dungeons than it is at incentivizing that complex engineering. Tearsrequires the player to have intrinsic motivation to access its wilder possibilities outside of funny videos on twitter, which is mostly fine, but makes all the time I spent to get my Zonai batteries to max capacity feel like a waste, which brings us to the reason why the new open world ofTears falls so flat.

Of course, there’s a good degree of value in the opportunity to see how the people of Hyrule have progressed since the events of Breath, but the accompanying busy work of unlocking regions I’ve already explored is hardly appreciated. This wouldn’t be a large problem whatsoever weren’t for the lacking nature of the new open world zone in the form of The Depths. My initial discovery of the massive underground cavern lying below Hyrule was a rush of horror and awe (albeit a pale shadow of the experience of entering Elden Ring’s Caelid for the first time) but once you’ve seen one area of The Depths you’ve seen them all, with rare exception. However, this area has the materials that are needed to build Zonai devices from scratch and to mean upgraded battery, which means if you don’t want your time with the toys you build to be painfully short, you have to spend a painfully long time down under. I wanted to make use of the more open ended nature of the Ultrahand system, so after my time in The Depths I built a war machine that I’m decently proud of to fight Ganon, but could only be used for twenty seconds on a max level battery. Turns out, in the actual fight I didn’t have enough time for auto-build to assemble it and for it to take off, so I simply resorted to slapping him with a sword again. It was a sharp reminder of how the freedom of the mechanics conflicts with the freedom of the open world, making me wish that this was a more focused and condensed experience, that asked the player to use ultrahand and fuse to solve more specific problems.

Before I go, I will expend a few words on the narrative of Tears, which has some strikingly bold decisions but is ultimately let down by typical Nintendo cowardice, where status quo triumphs over progression everytime. I must ask, is there anyone on the planet who doesn't want Link to keep his awesome new arm, and if so, who is letting them near Nintendo’s development offices? A similar aversion to consequences manifests in Zelda’s arc, which sees her unfortunately sidelined once more but this time in a way that’s actually kind of interesting, until it’s reverted in tidy fashion in time for the credits. Even in a series with threadbare continuity, things must go back to the way things were. Now, thanks to my dopamine starved brain, this review is being published several months after I actually finished the game, but when I think about Tears of the Kingdom these days, two things come to mind; the all timer final boss fight and all the time I spent gathering apples at the same damn apple orchard from Breath of the Wild.

Enjoyed the 80-100 hrs I invested but kept the streak alive for unfinished Zelda games. Want to go back one day - probably my favorite Zelda out of the ones I’ve played.

i played this for like 355 hours before i beat it. i do love it, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. sure, the bigger story beats hit the emotions really well, but when you stop and think about it for more than five minutes you see the cracks. but the gameplay is great. it does feel crappy to want more from it, but alas.
i will say, the sound design in this game is chef’s kiss as is the music.

During your first playthrough it feels absolutely magical, like nothing youve played before. After completing it and letting it simmer on your thoughts youll start to see the faults and problems it has MUCH much clearer

Crazy to think this game underwhelmed me and it's still a masterpiece.

Una de las mejores experiencias que jamás he tenido, todo ha sido fascinante de principio a fin, absolutamente hermoso

Llevo 120 horas y planeo hacerlo al 100%, no me aburre el juego para nada tras todo este tiempo