The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom improves on Breath of the Wild in almost every way, featuring a superior story, more creative abilities and a kingdom that feels even more alive
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A direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom takes players to the skies above Hyrule.
What we love
- A captivating storyline
- Link’s creative new abilities
- Hyrule feels more alive
- Fantastic sound and visuals
- Lots of inventive Shrine puzzles
- Rain no longer as restrictive
- The ability to create fun and interesting weapons and shields
What we don’t
- Weapons still shatter too easily
- Occasional dips in the frame-rate
- Not as atmospheric as Breath of the Wild
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LEGEND OF ZELDA: TEARS OF THE KINGDOM REVIEW…
With more awards than Ben-Hur and scores so high they dwarf Death Mountain, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the perfect game to kickstart the Nintendo Switch era. Personally, however, I’ve always had more of a love/hate relationship with the Nintendo Switch launch title, believing it to contain some serious flaws that would really hamper my enjoyment. Fortunately, however, Tears of the Kingdom fixes many of the original’s biggest problems, resulting in a masterpiece open-world adventure that surpasses Breath of the Wild in almost every way. Check out our Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Nintendo Switch review to find out more…
Taking place a few years after the events of Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom begins with Link and Zelda investigating a mysterious dark energy known as the Gloom, which is emanating from beneath Hyrule Castle.
It’s not long before Link and Zelda stumble upon the game’s big bad, which ultimately leads to Link losing his arm and waking up in the floating islands above Hyrule.
With Princess Zelda missing and parts of Hyrule experiencing “strange phenomenon”, Link must once again explore the world and put things right, only this time it includes the skies above, and the deep, dark depths below.
Tears of the Kingdom doesn’t have the same melancholic atmosphere as Breath of the Wild, but the narrative is much stronger overall. Where BotW gave inquisitive players the option to piece together memories of the past, Tears of the Kingdom features a much more dynamic story in which events feel like they’re unfolding in real-time.
The stronger, more compelling narrative is backed up by a wealth of innovative abilities, most notably the power to create vehicles and other useful objects by piecing together items using Link’s Ultrahand.
While Breath of the Wild gave fans the freedom to go and do as they please, there were certain situations that restricted Link’s ability to fully explore. For example, low stamina coupled with a thunderous downpour meant you weren’t getting up the nearest mountain anytime soon.
These same issues are still present in Tears of the Kingdom, only thanks to abilities like Ultrahand, there are now multiple ways to get past a problem area.
For starters, you could stick a few fans and steering wheel onto a block of wood and try flying up the mountain. Or, depending on the height, you could piece together multiple planks, lean it up against the rock face and simply walk on up.
Then there’s Link’s Ascend ability, which gives our hero the power to swim upwards through solid surfaces. If you discover a cave in the mountain, or perhaps a ledge jutting out, Link can use his Ascend ability to rise to the top.
Meanwhile, Link’s Recall ability lets him rewind various objects and projectiles. If a rock falls from the sky islands above, you can cast Recall and sail upwards, using your glider to float down to the aforementioned mountaintop.
Another of Link’s abilities lets him fuse materials onto weapons and shields, adding all kinds of weird and wonderful status effects. If you have a rocket to hand, Link can attach it to his shield and propel up the mountain, similar to Revali’s Gale from Breath of the Wild.
It’s remarkable how many different ways observant and imaginative players can scale that same mountain – or approach any situation, for that matter.
Link’s Fuse ability also makes the game’s weapon degradation system a little less frustrating. While weapons still break far too quickly for my liking, the ability to create devastating new tools using objects in the surrounding area means you’re rarely too far from a powerful alternative.
As long as you’ve got a stick and a rock, chances are you’ll be able to fight your way out of most situations.
Indeed, Link’s abilities aren’t just useful in terms of exploration and puzzle solving, but they can also be put to good use in combat scenarios. Link can fire explosives back at enemies using Recall, or build post-apocalyptic war tanks using wheels, wood, spikes and flamethrowers!
I can’t wait to see what the wider community creates using tools like Fuse and Ultrahand, because I’m certain I haven’t even scratched the surface. It really does feel like the only limits are your imagination.
Long-standing Legend of Zelda fans will also be pleased to hear that traditional dungeons make a return in Tears of the Kingdom.
They’re a little formulaic in terms of Link’s overall objective, but being tied to specific areas and environments, they have a lot more personality than the Divine Beasts.
Not only do they contain some fantastic puzzles and superb boss battles, but getting to them is an adventure in and of itself.
Needless to say, Hyrule is absolutely jam-packed with secrets to discover and quests to complete, with rarely a moment going by without Link stumbling across somebody in need of help, or a giant monster to vanquish.
Shrines also make a return, only the improved abilities makes them even more pleasurable to solve. It does kind of feel like they’re shoehorned in with a weak explanation, but they’re so much fun that I’m not complaining.
Considering how much there is to see and do, Tears of the Kingdom performs exceptionally well, minus the very occasional dip in the frame rate.
Moving between land, sky, and the caverns below Hyrule is pretty much seamless, with only fast-travel affected by lengthier loading times. Considering how much more alive Hyrule feels, and how many different ways there are to explore the environment, there’s a good chance you won’t be doing much fast travelling to begin with.
The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
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The Hyrule Historia provides a comprehensive timeline of the Zelda series, as well as artwork and background info about each title.
There are so many more amazing things I want to talk about in Tears of the Kingdom, but like its predecessor, the joy is in discovering things for yourself.
Just know that if, like me, you struggled to look past some of Breath of the Wild’s biggest flaws, then you should have no such problems with Tears of the Kingdom.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom improves on Breath of the Wild in almost every way, featuring a superior story, creative abilities and a kingdom that feels even more alive.
The best reason to purchase a Nintendo Switch, Tears of the Kingdom will go down as one of the all-time greats.
Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Limited Edition
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Launching ahead of Breath of the Wild sequel Tears of the Kingdom, the new Legend of Zelda-themed Nintendo Switch model is likely to be a big hit with collectors.
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