No need for tears, this game will leave you very, very satisfied
Title: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing
Released: May 2023
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Overall Score: 10/10
In 2017, Breath of the Wild shook fans with a Legend of Zelda game they have never seen before. An open world exploration game with an endlessly creative combat system. It was no shock that when Nintendo announced a sequel to Breath of the Wild in 2019 that fans would be counting down the days to it’s release. After waiting 4 long years, Tears of the Kingdom’s release sold an astounding 10 million copies in 3 days! With new features, an expansive world to explore, and a well written storyline fans hype around this game only roared more after the games release.
Tears of the Kingdom picks up where Breath of the Wild left off, in the land of Hyrule some years after Calamity Ganon is defeated and the kingdom finds peace again…until an evil is unearthed. The game begins with Zelda and Link uncovering ruins beneath Hyrule Castle that depict the tale of an ancient mysterious race called the Zonai defeating a great demon king. They come across a mummified Ganondorf sealed deep below the castle just as he reawakens and spreads an evil gloom over the land again.
In an attempt to stop him, the master sword shatters and Links right arm becomes corrupted by Ganondorf’s evil powers. Link and Zelda fall as the ground begins to crumble around them: Zelda vanishes with a mysterious artifact and Link is saved by an arm that was sealing Ganondorf away. The adventure starts with Link waking up in a newly appeared Sky Islands and his quest to find Zelda and save Hyrule begins.
Fans of Breath of the Wild will feel at home in Tears of the Kingdom as they recognize a familiar map of the land with more to explore. The mainland from Breath of the Wild are included in Tears of the Kingdom, but the landscape has changed just as time has passed in the story. Each area will bring nostalgia with it as players recognize familiar landmarks, characters, and buildings with a chance to reexplore them with the changes Tears of the Kingdom brings.
Tears of the Kingdom not only brought back a familiar map of Hyrule, but two other new maps to explore: Sky and Chasm. Players begin the game in the Sky map getting a glimpse of the mysteries it holds. Though the starting island area may appear small, don’t be fooled. There are many small sky islands spread across Hyrule to discover.
Deep below the sky and land players will also have a third map to explore: the chasm. A vast dark pit consumed by the gloom, players can explore this ominous area and uncover the secrets it holds. The chasm is filed with tougher mobs inflicted with gloom and lots of ores to mine giving players an opportunity to make money and gain resources on their travels. While exploring the land, players will have many chances to hop into the chasm through wells or holes adding a new challenge while playing the game.
Along with three different lands, Tears of the Kingdom also brings small new pockets of exploration. While traveling the world of Hyrule, players may find themselves coming across ‘Discovery’ areas. These areas appear as: wells, caves, temples, and ruins that can be small or unexpectedly deep. Although there may be multiple of these areas across the land, each one will be different with its own unique properties that feel new every time.
At first players may recognize similarities to Breath of the Wild such as combat and weapons, but Tears of the Kingdom surprises fans with exciting new features. The biggest change is Link’s right arm that begins the game corrupted, becomes restored by a new mysterious character that gives Link powers: Fuse, Ultrahand, Ascend, and Recall.
Ascend and Recall are abilities that are used during exploration to reach new heights and reverse the affects of time. Ascend can be used by Link to travel through materials above him (like cliffs, rocks, a tower etc.) to enable him to reach high places in a pinch. This ability may not seem very useful at first, but the game provides opportunities for it to be used in puzzles or for players to save time reaching places in their travels. Recall is like Stasis from Breath of the Wild, except instead of freezing an object in time, recall reverses the affects of time. Recall is introduced as a puzzle solving ability, but players can use it in combat or on devices throughout the game.
The other two new abilities Fuse and Ultrahand allows players to be creative in their adventuring and has quickly connected people throughout the Legend of Zelda community. Fuse allows players to literally fuse objects to their weapons, shields, and bows to make powerful and ridiculous combinations. What was once just a plain rusty sword can now have a boulder fused to it to create a powerful rock hammer. A long spear can be fused onto an equally long spear to make an absurdly long spear. The possibilities of weapons can be created with fuse are endless and add new approaches to combat.
Ultrahand is equally as fun and creative for players as Fuse. Ultrahand allows players to lift, rotate and attach objects together to build all kinds of creations. Many side quests and puzzles make use of Ultrahand as a way for players to creatively complete these objectives. This ability also allows players to build all kinds of creations from cars to boats to hoverboards, and even cages for enemies! Ultrahand has quickly spread across social media with players posting their creations from silly ones to innovative ways of defeating bosses.
The Final Word
Overall, Tears of the Kingdom is a huge sandbox to explore with something new around every corner. Players will be spending hundreds of hours getting lost in the new world and having fun with all that they can do with Links new creative abilities. Nintendo has once again astounded us with how they can build on an already successful title and create something that players both new and old can enjoy. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the next title in the Legend of Zelda saga has to offer.