Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom is ‘even better’ than Breath of the Wild
Thank you for subscribing!
We have more newsletters
How do you follow up from the best game of all time?
In the eyes of many gamers, that's exactly the challenge Nintendo faces with Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ('TOTK').
Released in 2017, Breath of the Wild ('BOTW') not only sold millions of copies and won countless Game of the Year awards; it was even declared the best video game of all time.
It perfected the open-world gameplay that so many blockbuster titles try to impersonate today, and arguably is still the best example of the genre out there.
So it's no wonder people were a little doubtful that Nintendo could possibly improve on it when the Japanese gaming giant announced the game's sequel, Tears of The Kingdom.
READ NEXT: Zelda Tears of the Kingdom release date, preorder bonus, and when you can start playing
But I've been lucky enough to spend the last couple of weeks playing through Tears of the Kingdom, and I can happily tell you that Tears of the Kingdom is not only as good as Breath of the Wild; it's much, much better.
From spiced-up new graphics to challenging new bosses, it fuses everything that was good about Breath of the Wild into a new, dynamic experience that's jampacked with the kind of variety and out-of-the-box thinking Nintendo is known for.
Read on for our comprehensive story spoiler-free review and verdict
Hyrule is nearly unrecognisable in Tears of the Kingdom
Set after the events of Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom sees gamers reach new heights—and plunge new depths—as Princess Zelda mysteriously disappears and a weakened Link awakens on an island high in the sky above the land of Hyrule.
Hyrule was the star of the show in BOTW—it wasn't just a backdrop to the story, unlike in other open world games. Instead, the ways in which the player traversed mountains, crossed rivers, and solved environmental puzzles were at the core of BOTW's gameplay.
So, when Nintendo first announced a sequel, there was understandably some concern about just how much was set to change about Hyrule or whether it would be more or less the same.
Fortunately, there is so much more to explore. From the get go, it's clear that Tears of the Kingdom isn't about to make you retread old ground. There's plenty for fans of the original game to love, but there's also tons more to do in Hyrule for those who felt the last game was a little too slow or empty.
Whereas BOTW's Hyrule was a beautiful but desolate, largely unpopulated world, in TOTK it's packed full of living, breathing settlements both old and new. There's hundreds of NPCs dishing out quests and intrigue in brand new towns which never existed in the previous game.
It remixes iconic locations from BOTW and combines them with two distinct new realms, giving you essentially three realms of Hyrule to explore: Surface, Depths, and Sky.
Terrifying new fishing game Dredge is 'too scary to complete' despite cute graphics
The 'Sky' areas float above the ground and can be accessed through use of Link's new abilities, whether that's building a hot air balloon or 'rewinding time' on a falling rock. You'll quickly get to grips with these high altitude archipelagos as the game plops you down on the Great Sky Island for the tutorial stage of the game.
So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Sky islands after I enter each new region of the game as they're packed full of machine-building puzzles. They also function as an easy way to get a bird's eye view of the world below, allowing you to skydive down to new locations rather than schlepping up mountains.
Then, there's the Depths. This sprawling, pitch-black underworld can be accessed by skydiving down huge caverns carved out by Gloom across the map. It's filled not just with terrifying enemies but tons of loot and even resources to mine. Although the Depths are eerie, they're immensely satisfying to explore as you work your way through them lighting up a path and uncovering new mysteries.
Minecraft Legends review: An action-strategy game that offers years of co-op fun
Meanwhile, on the Surface, iconic locations from the BOTW are still there but, in the fallout from Ganon's latest catastrophe, they've been completely shaken up and are nearly unrecognisable.
For example, Kakariko Village (an iconic early game location in BOTW) is in complete disarray with floating Ring Ruins all but destroying the place and the townsfolk scrambling to turn it into a tourist destination.
On the other hand, the bird-like Rito civilisation have had their lives completely uprooted due to a mysterious mega-blizzard which has buried their settlements in snow and led to a Lord of the Flies-type scenario where the kids have taken charge.
You can now cook a Sunday roast by app from the comfort of your sofa
Outside of the main settlements, there's also much more going on as Hyrule struggles to rebuild. There's new towns, encampments, and even a Hyrule-wide newspaper.
Dotted around the place are also building materials put there by one President Hudson, whose construction company are helping Hylians rebuild. (Shout out to Addison who will no doubt become Zelda meme fodder thanks to his extreme simping for President Hudson)
All in all, Nintendo has really succeeded at making Hyrule feel brand new and introducing not just fresh areas but completely unique environmental puzzles. If you've played BOTW, it doesn't necessarily feel brand new and you might not have quite as many of those breathtaking 'wow' moments, but the world is beautifully realised and as fun as ever.
Are there Shrines in Tears of the Kingdom?
You may have read that TOTK doesn't have Shrines in it. Well, this may come as bad news to some, but it absolutely does have shrines—hundreds of them.
The shrines are still used to upgrade your stamina and health capacities, but they look and feel a little different to BOTW. Instead of being a straight up puzzle testing your lateral thinking, the Shrines in TOTK are a test of how well you can use Link's abilities.
They'll introduce new Zonai gadgets, combat concepts, and ways of using Link's various special powers which you can then take with you into the rest of the game.
In fact, when you test out a new Zonai gadget for the first time in a Shrine, it often appears in the Zonai dispensaries elsewhere in Hyrule meaning you don't just get a healthbar upgrade from completing a Shrine but a unique new way of playing the game.
Banned dating game helps you file your tax return while you flirt with cartoons
Link's new abilities: Recall, Fuse, Ultrahand, Ascend
Above all else, what really makes Tears of the Kingdom shine are Link's new abilities.
In Breath of the Wild, Link had four abilities which, while occasionally necessary for Shrine puzzles, were not ultimately crucial to your exploration of the world. A lot of the time, you could more or less get by in BOTW with your weapons, logic and climbing ability.
In Tears of the Kingdom, Link has completely different powers which he gains as a result of an important plot element that I'm not going to spoil:
- Recall: You can 'rewind' the motion of objects
- Fuse: Bind objects to weapons to get new abilities and power-ups
- Ultrahand: Combine machines, equipment, weapons and objects to make powerful devices
- Ascend: Climb vertically upwards through ceilings
At first, the application of these abilities seems a little bit clunky, but as you progress, the gameplay possibilities they open up are far above and beyond anything that was ever on offer in Breath of the Wild. These are not just fun little additions; they completely change the way you play.
Star Wars Jedi Survivor review: A blockbuster PS5 epic for all the film fans
Hot air balloons, aeroplanes, and time travel
The Fuse ability, for example, plays a critical role in how you approach both fights and puzzles. At its most basic, you could fuse a monster horn with a sword to make it more powerful in combat.
However, you can also fuse Zonai gadgets to weapons—so you can add a rocket to your shield and activate it to soar high above the ground, then while you're falling, fuse a bomb to an arrow and fire it at an enemy in slow-motion before finishing them off with a fire-breathing spear.
The Ultrahand ability is tons of fun too. As seen in gameplay demos, you can use this to make basic rafts, bridges and ramps to traverse tricky areas of Hyrule. However, the ability is actually much more varied than that.
There's Zonai gadgets scattered throughout the game which, when combined, can make all sorts of whacky machines. My personal favourite is the Balloon gadget, which lets you turn any plank of wood into a hot air balloon allowing you to float gently above the ground.
However, you can also make rocket-powered sledges, jeeps, speedboats, and even planes. The possibilities are honestly so endless that at times I've invented completely new machines, most of which don't have a name and would never make it past Dragons' Den.
Playstation fans have just days left to claim free games as May's PS Plus revealed
'Recall' is another ability which seems limited in use at first but can actually give you a completely new way of tackling the game. It lets you manipulate the physics of objects by reversing their movement. You could, for example, reverse a rolling boulder up a hill so it hits into a group of enemies, or throw an object into the air, climb up above it, reverse its fall, and grab it while it's in mid-air.
Finally, Link's Ascend power is unbelievably useful. It allows Link to climb up through ceilings and objects above him and ascend to the top, where you can peek around for enemies before choosing to jump out. This opens up some really unique vertical puzzling, even if Link looks a little undignified when wiggling his way into the ceiling. It also cuts out a lot of the tedious climbing that was present in BOTW.
Gamer spends almost £500,000 on virtual skins for a video game character in CS:GO
Verdict: A knock-out Zelda game that blows Breath of the Wild out of the water
From souped-up graphics to genius gameplay mechanics, Tears of the Kingdom is a masterpiece.
At first, it might seem like BOTW with bells on, but as you get deeper and deeper into the world of Hyrule and learn the full extent of Link's capabilities, it becomes clear just how expansive this game truly is.
While it may not make the same waves as its predecessor given the sheer quantity of open world games that followed it, it's an improvement on Breath of the Wild in almost every conceivable way. It feels and plays like a completely new experience and that's because it is.
By breathing new life into Hyrule, Nintendo has proved that open world games aren't dead yet—and paved the way for thousands of fun, new memorable adventures to come.
- Warning for iPhone users to install emergency Apple update as soon as possible
- You and your friends can get hundreds of games for free including 'Redfall' right now
- Nokia's 'indestructible' new phone almost as tough as legendary 'brick'
- Your iPhone has an amazing built-in AI tool that you can use for free – here's how
- 88% of Brits are making the same major password mistake
- Nintendo Switch
- The Legend of Zelda
- On Instagram
Source: Read Full Article