Everything you need to know about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

A truly outstanding continuation that manages to lift the bar even higher nto the clouds.

What are your expectations for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s sequel? More diverse foes? improved dungeons? Unexpectedly innovative ideas? Or do you just want to explore more of Hyrule? Fortunately, you don’t have to choose just one because Nintendo responded to each answer with a confident yet laid-back “Sure thing.” The elements that made Breath of the Wild one of the best video games ever aren’t necessarily revolutionized in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, but it also isn’t a sequel that is just more of the same.

With inventive new elements like vehicle building, insane weapon creation, and a rebuilt Hyrule map with a dizzying amount of complexity, this sandbox is bigger, richer, and somehow even more ambitious, further fleshing out the exhilarating adventure that made the original so engrossing. Tears of the Kingdom has inexplicably made Breath of the Wild feel like a first draft even though it felt far from incomplete in the first place.

A small warning regarding spoilers is in order before we go too far into Hyrule. Tears offers an excellent tale, but I won’t give anything away because there is much more to these games than just the story. The enchantment you experience the first time you see one of BotW’s dragons flying above is also there here, and the last thing I’d want to do is take away any of the several instances in which my jaw really dropped from you. Nevertheless, I will discuss a few significant aspects of Tears that are presented quite early on because of how essential they are to the overall success of the game.

As much of the enchantment as I can will be preserved, but If you’ve already made up your mind to play Tears (like millions of other people), you should definitely just do it now rather than waiting to tell me about it.

In addition, you’ll probably need to have played BotW to really comprehend most of what I’ll be talking about here – not to mention that you’re missing out if you skip it because it’s a fantastic game. When you understand what came before it, Tears appears more wiser and more broad, yet many of the well-known fundamentals shine just as brilliantly.

I don’t have time to go into things like being able to glide as far as your expandable stamina will allow you to go or the idea of shrines acting as self-contained puzzle chambers you can solve to improve your abilities because there is so much new information to cover.

Because of how similar these two games are, I can confidently guarantee that anyone who liked BotW would likely love Tears. The basic layout is pretty well known: you begin in a skillfully designed tutorial where you pick up the basics and acquire a fresh set of potent skills, then go into the wide world with a primary quest marker that swiftly divides into four. You may do whatever you want after that point.

If you know where to search, you can even advance the campaign’s conclusion. Though this time around, it’s not nearly as simple to attempt (which is probably for the best, as I do not suggest it for anybody other than the inescapable speedrunners, whom I happily applaud).

The tale differs from conventional Zelda stories in a positive way.

Image credit: insider-gaming.com

The majority of the cutscenes and significant plot points are once more clustered at key locations around the map, shedding light on Hyrule’s past and the origin of the “Upheaval”—a bombastic event at the beginning of Tears that opens up ominous chasms, makes the ruins of an ancient civilization called the Zonai appear floating in the sky, and peppers the surface with new structures and strange anomalies.

Although you don’t have much direct involvement with the game’s main characters for the majority of your time playing, this might not be the greatest storytelling structure over the course of such a lengthy game. However, it’s incredibly simple to overlook this when the tale itself is so awesome.

Yes, it’s about stopping some evil douchebag (hello again, Ganondorf) and saving Princess Zelda as usual, but the direction that recognizable shell is taken at times is buck crazy in the greatest way. I’m still a little surprised Nintendo made the choice it did, and the novelty the surprise brings makes Tears stand out from other Zelda stories.

Even if it doesn’t have the same amount of storyline as a game like God of War, it has the potential to be a true high point rather than just an amusing background element as it was in BotW.

But since exploration is the soul of the modern Zeldas, going on adventures in Tears is still a complete blast, especially since the game’s new construction system lets you construct unique vehicles like flying cars, boats, and ships that allow you explore the world anyway you choose. Since its release in 2017, BotW has impacted several other games, but one of the most crucial truths that relatively few of them appeared to grasp is that a blank map might be more effective than a filled one.

There is a tremendous quantity of things to do and see, so it may be intimidating rather than exhilarating if you were given a list of checkpoints to start meticulously checking them off straight once. Instead, you are given the bare minimum you need to complete the main quest, a pile of pins, and a blank map just begging you to fill it in yourself. 

Following an arrow to your next goal is so much less enjoyable than noting down fascinating locations as you descend from the skies, learning rumors as you converse with locals, or just getting lost and stumbling by someplace intriguing.

Nintendo has a great deal of faith that we will search for the map’s secrets without being directed to them — and if we don’t see everything, that’s fine. This confidence comes from experience. It makes the entire experience feel so much more “natural” and “video gamey” than you might anticipate, which is crucial given that Tears essentially doubles the scale of this realm.

This may be the same map, but it in no way feels repetitive.

Image credit: www.videogameschronicle.com

Even though this is essentially the same map of Hyrule as in BotW, there is absolutely no sense of repetition when exploring it. The narrative does not provide a precise number, although the population has been recovering since Calamity Ganon was vanquished a few years ago. The main town is a brand-new settlement that has appeared in Hyrule Field, close to the castle, providing you with a hub that changes in amusing ways as you go.

Although it’s a lot of fun to recognize persons or settings and see how they’ve evolved or developed, Tears just takes you on unexpected journeys and to strange places.Hat gave a map plenty of life and caused me to frequently see areas of Hyrule that I was familiar with and had grown to love from fresh angles.

Any doubt melted into pure, joyous amazement when I dove down my first chasm.

Image credit: www.gamespot.com

The Depths are about the same size as the surface, but while there are fewer side quests and plot moments there are still plenty of treasure boxes to search for and surprises to be found, many of which are cleverly concealed in plain (if very dark) sight. Thanks to a crimson material called Gloom that covers both its ground and adversaries, it also serves as Zelda’s take on a “poison swamp”-style nightmarescape.

Every battle has a satisfying build-up of pressure when you suffer damage from Gloom, which reduces your maximum health until you either return to the light or have a Gloom-removing meal.

What do I mean when I say, “Return to the light?” That opens up a whole other bag of worms. Exploration takes on a whole new and tenser atmosphere in The Depths since it is so entirely dark (like, Advanced Darkness dark), forcing you to throw out collectible Brightbloom Seeds as you travel to see where you are going.

There aren’t any shrines in the Depths; instead, there are a large number of Lightroots that, when triggered, heal your Gloom damage and illuminate a portion of the map nearby, offering you another completionist objective that’s both interesting and time-consuming.

Even in the context of Breath of the Wild, it’s difficult to emphasize how massive this game seems.
Image credit: www.vg247.com

I ultimately opted to defeat the game’s final fight in 2017 after playing BotW for just over 80 hours, feeling satisfied that I had completed all of the side quests, shrine hunts, and other miscellaneous objectives I had set out to do. Of course, not everything existed, but a large portion of it did, as well as everything that truly tempted me. Similar to Tears, I completed the main questline about the 82-hour mark, but this time I feel like I have only accomplished around half of what is still to do.

Even after more than 20 hours, I still have a ton of Lightroots to discover, a ton of shrines to finish, two maps marked with a ton of unexplored spots of interest, and a ton of other things to accomplish.

I took my time going through the main quest material as well, allowing myself to daydream and become preoccupied as I so like doing. Even in comparison to a predecessor that caused me to have the similar sentiment, it’s difficult to emphasize how large this game seems.

It’s clear Nintendo was listening to feedback after BotW.
Image credit: www.reuters.com

Your other two new skills play a smaller part, but they complement the previous changes made well. Recall is mostly used to throw opponent strikes back at them in creative ways or to ride boulders that have fallen from sky islands back to where they came from, while Ascend allows you to warp through the ceiling up to whatever is above you. The ability to swiftly ascend specific mountains or leave the earth is crucial in Tears because of the abundance of caverns there.

It may also be employed to uncover a variety of cunning mysteries. My mind took some time to even register that I possessed this capacity, However, it’s noteworthy that I never once lamented the loss of Stasis or Cryonis, which are totally gone since that Link no longer possesses the Sheikah Slate from BotW. Neither of these abilities is necessarily as interesting as Ultra Hand or Fuse.

This game may be really attractive, especially when you’re soaring over its breathtaking landscapes while listening to the soundtrack, but even when it’s running in docked mode, it only supports 1080p quality and, at most, 30 frames per second. That obviously cannot theoretically match the capabilities of games on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or PC. That’s not really the point, though, unless you place a premium on resolution and frame rate above everything else, including gameplay.

There are still occasional frame rate drops, but there are practically no glitches.
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But generally speaking, these problems rarely cause a real disruption to the action that is actually harmful, just like previously. The frame rate dips may undoubtedly be annoying at times, but the only real harm they do is make me long for a Switch Pro once more, as we’ve all been doing for the previous few years. Would it appear better on a more powerful, contemporary system?

Absolutely, and I hope Nintendo produces one soon. Does it imply, though, that I won’t use my Xbox One or PlayStation 5 until I’ve completed exploring this updated version of Hyrule? Zero chance.

The conclusion
Image credit: www.vg247.com

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an incredible sequel to one of the best video games ever created, outdoing it almost in every way, whether it be with straightforward quality-of-life enhancements, an engaging narrative, or wildly inventive new building mechanics that challenge your preconceptions.

With an almost alarming number of tasks to complete, mysteries to solve, and enjoyable diversion to keep you from ever reaching that place you naively thought you were headed, it both revamps old ground and introduces vast new areas so immense it somehow makes me wonder if Breath of the Wild was actually that big. Nintendo has added to and evolved a universe that already seemed whole, building on its previous accomplishment.

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