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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is Overwhelmingly and Absurdly Fun

The game is, above all, fun to play. Because the world is so open, every player is going to have a different experience with the game, so you might as well have fun with whatever the game throws your way. Why worry about playing “correctly” when you can lose yourself in the ridiculousness of the world of Zelda?

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When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out in 2017, I was immediately hooked. I hadn’t previously been interested in the Zelda franchise, but the game was being released alongside the Nintendo Switch, and I hated being excluded. So, I got the game. I currently have upwards of 230 hours logged on it, so when its sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was announced, I was practically bouncing off the walls in excitement.

Following the events of the first game, we rejoin Zelda and Link in Hyrule, in what seems like a few years after the defeat of Ganondorf. The reveal of a tomb hidden deep beneath Hyrule Castle triggers a chain of events which separates the two of them yet again. It starts in a similar fashion to the first game: Link is stranded, alone and with barely any clothes on. (I don’t know how he lost the clothes. The game didn’t really elaborate.) 

The controls remain largely the same compared to Breath of the Wild. They should be fairly simple to grasp, and the game gives you plenty of time in the beginning to work them out. There are a few new iterations of old things and a slightly revamped user interface. But besides that, the real change is more to do with the gameplay and story.

Tears of the Kingdom gives us such a unique plethora of puzzles that can be approached in a dozen different ways from all sorts of angles. Allowing for individual player creativity becomes a really intuitive way of making players feel smart for doing whatever they think is the best option, because nine times out of ten, it works. But what really struck me was the completely new set of available abilities. Players can rewind time for specific objects, swim through ceilings and fuse things together, alongside so many other new skills. The “fuse” power served useful when I had the revelation that I could build a shoddy car and cruise around Hyrule Fast and Furious style.

At this point, I could easily picture myself spending hours upon hours getting lost in the immersive world of Zelda. With a tiered map—players can explore both land and sky—there was no shortage of new things to discover. Adorable little Koroks and forest spirits are littered throughout the land; helping them through whatever dilemma they found themselves in was such a joy. 

But even as an experienced player, the amount of new content was a little overwhelming. It does a good job of guiding you through the first couple of shrines where you unlock and learn how to use your new superpowers, but once you freefall off what is essentially the tutorial island, you’re left to your own devices. You have the entirety of Hyrule to explore, and one dot on the minimap telling you where to go. I completely ignored the dot and went to go see how the landscape had changed instead.

In theory, I thought this would be a good idea. In the time that I’d spent playing its predecessor, I had learned that the main objectives were things that could be completed at any time. That was until I found myself attempting to complete a shrine without the necessary objects I had to have. I died around six times before I realised I should have probably gone to where they were asking me to go. It’s not that the game got more difficult—once I had gotten the necessary items the shrine was a breeze—but it was more that I had skipped ahead and found myself out of my wits.

This kind of thing happened a lot more than I thought it would. Bombarded with new things to investigate, I never actually finished anything because I would get too distracted by something else along the way. I wished there had been more information telling me what I had to do next before I could start exploring. 

The story itself stands strong on its own and gives players a lot of new things to find out about the lore behind Hyrule. We learn more about the creation of Hyrule and its founding king and queen, while we work on locating Zelda in the present day. There are a whole host of problems to solve, and it’s done in a way which echoes Breath of the Wild in its nature without becoming repetitive.

I do think if new players want to delve into the world of Zelda, Breath of the Wild is still the way to go. It’s a lot smaller in scale in terms of what players get to experience and is a great way to gain your footing while still getting plenty to explore. Additionally, a lot of characters from the first game return in the second, some with drastically different appearances. Going into the second game and knowing about existing relationships from the first made Tears of the Kingdom feel just that much more welcoming and helped make me feel less anxious about just how much there was to do.

If you don’t want to play Breath of the Wild first, you won’t have a bad time playing Tears of the Kingdom, but it may not have the same emotional depth. 

Overall, I would say Tears of the Kingdom is a much more well-rounded game. The abilities can be used in a myriad of ways, and the storyline feels a lot more solid than the first. It nailed the open-world concept and balances story and exploration in a way which will delight both old and new players alike. 

The game is, above all, fun to play. Because the world is so open, every player is going to have a different experience with the game, so you might as well have fun with whatever the game throws your way. Why worry about playing “correctly” when you can lose yourself in the ridiculousness of the world of Zelda? 

I, for one, will be playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom long after its release and would recommend it to anyone searching for an open-world experience like no other.

 
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EDITION SIX 'PHANTASMAGORIA' AVAILABLE NOW!

The harpsichords sound like skeletons. The wings of butterflies open and close like lungs. The trees are murdered for pianos. The dust in the abandoned antique store glows gently, as if made from the powdered skulls of fairies and changelings. Welcome to the weird and wonky world of Edition Six, Phantasmagoria. We bid you to tread carefully...

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