First Impressions of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Review by Julien Lamoureux

In 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released, redefining open worlds in gaming and earning massive success for its revolutionary gameplay. Now, six years later, Nintendo has launched the sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. After playing the first few sections of the game, my breath is taken away!

As the main character Link, you explore the limitless landscape of Hyrule, from the scorching dunes of the Gerudo desert to the most bone-chilling peak of the Hebra mountains. Throughout your journey, you will encounter friends and foes, uncovering the truth behind the cataclysmic event known as the Upheaval. Unlike many other games, it perfectly builds upon its revolutionary predecessor, correcting critical flaws and enhancing the already superb game mechanics, making you wonder how the prequel didn’t have these elements before.

First, the game adds many new abilities, allowing the player to develop more fun and creative solutions to challenging obstacles. The first power players receive is the Ultrahand ability, which permits them to move nearly any object and attach it to others, enabling them to create their own inventions unique to their playing style. For example, if players need to get across a river, they can employ Ultrahand to make a makeshift raft to propel themselves across.
Another ability that plays a core role in the overall gameplay is Fuse, which grants the player the capacity to combine materials and weapons. In the previous game, weapons were obtained by defeating strong enemies, and materials were only utilized for cooking, yet in this game, the developers took a risk, indicating that because of The Upheaval, all weapons have decayed profoundly and players must fuse materials to mete out adequate damage.
Second, Tears of the Kingdom adds two extra maps, allowing the player to explore three different maps throughout the game. The player first experiences the Sky Islands above the surface of Hyrule, floating landmasses of ancient ruins originating from the long-forgotten Zonai people. When exploring the Sky Islands, the player will frequently encounter these android-like beings made by the Zonai that will give them tips, resources and sometimes challenges. However, the Sky Islands aren’t the only extension to the map, as access to The Depths is available through the many chasms on the surface of Hyrule. The Depths are a dark and cold place, filled to the brim with obstacles and challenges that will put the player’s innovation skills to the test, as corrupted enemies in The Depths can permanently take away health until they reach the surface again.

Lastly, the story is much more developed and possesses a more substantial role in the player’s journey. In Breath of the Wild, the game suffered from a lack of story due to the abundance of freedom given to players to explore the vast world; in the sequel, a difference is evident, with the contrast being shown right after beating each game’s respective tutorials. Once the player leaves Breath of the Wild’s tutorial zone, they can beat the game immediately, although it would be difficult. In Tears of the Kingdom, the game does not tell you where the final boss is, forcing you to progress the game at a natural pace and have a greater sense of purpose when playing through the story.

To conclude, I would give this game a 9 out of 10 due to its exceptional gameplay mechanics and the overwhelming world to discover. In addition, the game perfectly recaptures the magic that made the previous game so revolutionary, while adding its own unique charm, which is precisely what I want in a sequel.
However, I believe that despite the more developed story, the game remains predictable and can suffer from a lack of suspense. Also, I preferred the music in the first game and found that certain songs do not fit their intended themes in the sequel. Nevertheless, the game is incredible and deserves all the attention it has been getting in the media. So, what are you waiting for? Go play it!

Julien Lamoureux is a Grade 11 student at Immaculata High School.

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