Tears of the Kingdom, the legend of the perfect sequel
*Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom*
It’s been two months since Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and I am hooked. As of writing this, I’ve played about 155 hours and that number grows every day.
Tears of the Kingdom fits into the Zelda franchise as the sequel to the 2017 installment The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Initially, Tears of the Kingdom started out as DLC (Downloadable Content) for its predecessor, until the list of ideas grew too long and became its own game.
With director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma both returning for the sequel alongside Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto as general producer, the same started with a solid team.
Following the 2019 announcement, suspense for the game grew immensely. Fan excitement was only increased by the release’s delay to 2023 and the official title announcement in 2022. The game was finally released May 12, 2023, and quickly became a hit.
Part of the game’s beauty comes from its familiarity. Tears of the Kingdom maintains the same map as Breath of the Wild but adds new mechanics, enemies and locations to explore. Technical director Takuhiro Dohta took inspiration from his work on Wii Sports Resort, to make a sequel rooted in the setting of its predecessor.
Despite reusing the previous game’s setting, Tears of the Kingdom reimagines the world and adds the perfect amount of new material. The game introduces more vertical exploration for the player through two new areas, the Sky and the Depths.
Along with seamless transitions between areas, the game provides a new arsenal of special abilities for Link to use on his journey. The new abilities are more useful than the previous games and allow for new types of puzzles and challenges.
In my opinion, the game owes its success to its scope. The possibilities of what you can do in the game are endless. When faced with a task you can complete it however you want. You can approach it the way they designed or make some complicated contraption and solve it your own way.
All of the side quests and shrines make the game fulfilling and ensure that you never get bored. As you progress through the game you slowly get better equipment and armour which gives the feeling of levelling up. With hundreds of hours of things to do it’s clear how the game sold 10 million copies in three days, making it the fastest selling game of the franchise.
Of course, the game does face valid criticism. Some players feel that the game is too rooted in Breath of the Wild to the point where it feels like a DLC rather than its own game. Others feel that the game is simply too big, there are too many things to do, and it can be overwhelming.
The criticism that resonates the most with me is that many common actions in the game require a process of menus and button presses. When I want to fuse an item to a weapon, I have to equip the weapon, then find the material I want to fuse in my inventory, then place it on the ground, then select the fuse ability and then I can finally create a new weapon.
This can be annoying and tricky at first, but I find that as you progress the processes become second nature and over time you end up finding shortcuts. It takes a while to learn every menu and control, but in the end, it opens the game so much further.
Personally, this is easily one of my favourite games of all time. It’s the perfect way to relax while still keeping my mind engaged. The last game to engross me like this was Stardew Valley, and somehow Tears of the Kingdom is just as peaceful.
If you’re looking for a new game to dive into, I cannot recommend this one enough. Don’t worry if you haven’t played Breath of the Wild, the game teaches you everything you need to know. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a talus to take care of.