Here’s yet another The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review posted on the interwebz! Just what the online gaming world needed, I’m sure. Thank you if anyone reads this though! I am genuinely grateful for your click or tap (hopefully psychic internet is never a thing).
I spent a grand total of 120 hours wandering around in this version of Hyrule. I did all the Shrines, had max capacity stamina, amassed a wardrobe of outfits, cried over so many broken weapons, whacked all the cave-dwelling Bubblefrogs (will not confirm or deny it was worth it outside of my spoiler section), and beat the main story. I ignored the majority of the minigames and Korok Seeds. I was also short a few heart containers so guessing I missed a side quest or two that would have given met those.
Analyzing the XP
Where in time is Princess Zelda Sandiego?
The game starts of with Zelda and Link accidentally awakening a great evil (yes, of course, it’s Ganondorf) lurking underneath Hyrule Castle. The Master Sword gets shattered, Link loses his arm, Zelda disappears to an unknown time, and Hyrule Castle starts levitating over an endless pit of oozing evil redness. Yep. Things look pretty grim.
Link is rescued by the arm of a friendly ghostly figure and awakens on a sky island. This serves as a tutorial area of sorts. There Link finds his main base abilities, sends the broken Master Sword to wherever Zelda is, and then jumps down into the world proper. The main quest is to find Zelda and stop the oozing evil, while meeting tons of friends and meaningless distractions along the way.
Creativity is king
I admit I was not a huge fan of Breath of the Wild and was less than thrilled to learn Tears of the Kingdom would be following the same gameplay style. Weapons still break forever far too quickly, and Link is still very squishy, but at least they added the new ability to create things!
Pretty much anything can be stuck to other things to make crazy contraptions. I did the bare minimum amount of creation to get by, but far superior minds will likely find endless joy in creating. You can also fuse items to weapons and arrows with varying results. Weapon R&D is fun even though my simple mind stuck mostly to rock + stick and bomb flower + arrow.
Three levels of vast world to explore
Not only is there a huge classic ground level, they also added a sky full of islands and a pitch black underground abyss to get lost in. Certain parts of the game tie all three levels of world together beautifully. I felt motivated to visit everywhere just to see what secrets (and horrors) awaited me.
Combat responsibly, people
Be careful with exploring, though, because you never know when a surprise boss or crushing creature might pop up to ruin your day. Thanks to my extensive Amiibo collection, I had a constant crop of decent weapons to kill stuff with. Without that, I probably would been annoyed having to waste weapons on many random fights with little rewards. Sometimes running away or being stealthy really is the best option.
Overall, I had a blast in this version of Hyrule, to my surprise! Hands down, my favourite part of Tears of the Kingdom was the story. I found it much more intriguing than Breath of the Wild and I was on the edge of my seat near the end of the game. Exploring the vast realm on three levels of elevation came a close second.
Just… can weapons not breaking please be a thing in the next Zelda game? Don’t make me beg, Nintendo.
⚠️Memory Lane (Click to see SPOILERS!!) ⚠️
The lovely Lightning Helm saved Link’s butt many a time! This helmet seems to act like a Faraday shield and makes Link immune to ALL forms of electrical damage when equipped. Electric attacks and lightning strikes are devastating in this game, making this item a blessing. I was so glad I had it for the Thunderhead Isles part of the main story!
I believe I got it in a brawling minigame with the Yiga Clan.
I’ll give my feathery journalist friend Penn a shout-out here. One of the many side activities is helping the Lucky Clover Gazette publication follow up on leads about Zelda sightings. Penn is right there with you to help bring out the truth and combat fake news.
Plus his trademark goodbye pun “Soar long!” is the best.
The tropical paradise by the name of Lurelin Village. Loved those beautiful water effects! A gang of Bokoblins had unfortunately wrecked the place though. Another side adventure is to drive out the monsters and rebuild the village. This added a special connection to the area for me.
Favourite Story Moment
When the defeated sore loser Ganondorf gets angry and swallows his secret stone to become the Demon Dragon. This final fight was amazing! I love how Zelda the Light Dragon helps you out. He’s no match for the good old repaired Master Sword, that’s for sure.
Favourite WTF Moment
I have two moments I can’t choose between. Firstly, putting the spirit of Mineru in a robot and having a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot style boss fight in the Spirit Temple to claim her secret stone.
Secondly, how Link gets the Master Sword back was a really ‘whoa’ moment. Zelda became an immortal Light Dragon to get back to the present and bathed the Master Sword in her light over the ages to restore it. Link has to pull it out of her forehead to get it back. Instead of a health check like the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild, this pull is a stamina check since Dragon Zelda tries to knock you off.
Was getting all the Bubblefrogs worth it?
Nope. I should have just stopped after I got the Mystic Armor set. Handing in all the Bubbul gems merely fulfils Koltin’s wish to turn into one of the mystical creatures. At least he’s happy I guess.
My Gameplay Videos
Sources: All images in this post are screenshots we took with the Nintendo Switch from the video game The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom by Nintendo