The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom: Surprisingly Secure Sequel Assessment

It’s the hope that kills you. A trite epithet all too acquainted to sports activities followers (RIP Arsenal title problem 22/23, we hardly knew ye), and surprisingly applicable to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

As a result of it’s the hope for an additional industry-shaking, genre-defying, franchise-transforming masterpiece that will kill the sequel to Breath of the Wild, which commits the egregious sin of merely being an excellent sport.

All of it comes right down to your expectations. With most corporations, and most franchises, you’d know what’s coming from a sequel. However not so with Zelda.

Whereas the collection’ essential entries fall into acquainted rhythms, the few direct sequels are inclined to observe their very own beat – whether or not that’s Zelda II’s side-scrolling, the uneasy time loop of Majora’s Masks, or the recurring central dungeon that dominates Phantom Hourglass.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Credit score: Nintendo

The identical can’t be mentioned for Tears of the Kingdom, which is kind of merely extra of the identical.

On one stage, that’s incredible information. Breath of the Wild has but to be bested by any Change title within the six years because it launched, and an excuse to do it once more is to not be sniffed at.

However Breath of the Wild was extra than simply one other Zelda sport. It noticed Nintendo tear its second-favourite franchise up and rebuild the bits, inventing a brand new type of open-world that’s solely since been matched for its breadth, depth, and sheer playfulness by Elden Ring.

A lot of the attraction hinged on the sensation that all the things was new, that the foundations now not utilized, and something may occur. Each placing landmark or unusual rock was an excuse to discover, realizing that even odds had the sport able to shock you.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the KingdomThe Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Credit score: Nintendo

That feeling continues to be there in Tears of the Kingdom, however lessened. You’re again in the identical Hyrule, as soon as once more beset by monsters and stuffed with shrines, Korok seeds, and harmless bystanders with errands so that you can run.

The map has been remixed a bit by the Upheaval, an inciting occasion which sees Hyrule Fortress ripped up into the sky and a poisonous darkness identified solely as Gloom spill forth from the earth beneath it.

A lot has been made within the sport’s trailers of a serious enlargement to the map: a collection of islands floating within the sky far above Hyrule. Much less has been proven of their inverse: a sprawling underground world beneath the principle map, providing you with three Hyrules for the value of 1.

The brand new worlds aren’t fairly as monumental as they first appear. For one, the sky islands are surprisingly sparse, with only some archipelagoes value exploring in every map area. The Depths are bigger – they actually do cowl your complete Hyrule map – however much less fascinating. It’s an enormous, darkish, principally flat map which you could discover solely by spreading mild sources, which are inclined to reveal extra huge, flat stretches of land with the occasional Bokoblin to combat.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Credit score: Nintendo

One of the best bits of Tears of the Kingdom, as soon as once more, are the Shrines that dot the maps. These remoted challenges are the proper bite-sized pleasure, ten-minute mind teasers that all the time depart you wanting extra.

They profit from the 4 key new powers within the sport: Ultrahand, which helps you to seize and mix objects within the setting; Fuse, which helps you to merge virtually something along with your weapons and defend; Ascend, which sees you rise vertically by surfaces and ceilings; and Recall, which reverses the motion of particular objects.

All three have their half to play within the sport’s myriad physics puzzles, however the awkwardly named Ultrahand is the sport’s star. It may be used for way more than sticking planks collectively to make a bridge: discover the suitable items of historic expertise and you’ll mix them to create vehicles, planes, jetpacks, scorching air balloons, and the rest you’ll be able to give you.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the KingdomThe Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Credit score: Nintendo

A transparent response to Breath of the Wild’s overwhelming reputation with YouTube creators and streamers, Ultrahand captures the sandbox sensibility completely, bringing the Minecraft creator impulse into its open-world journey. It’s solely used sparingly within the sport’s essential story, however at occasions to nice impact, whether or not that’s navigating a labyrinth of rail tracks on fan-powered mine carts, or taking to the skies in a airplane to greatest one of many sport’s bosses.

Fuse, in the meantime, is Nintendo sticking its finger up at everybody who ever complained about weapon sturdiness. Weapons nonetheless break as quick as ever, however now you’ll be able to modify them for a little bit of selection. Strap a flamethrower to your defend, add an ice impact to arrows, or simply go hell for leather-based and stick a sword on the tip of a spear to see what it’ll do. None of it lasts, however none of it must.

It’s a halting acknowledgement from the studio that the primary sport’s sturdiness system by no means fairly had its meant impact, however the staff determined to stay reasonably than twist, tweaking what that they had as a substitute of ranging from scratch.

You possibly can see the identical spirit within the sport’s Temple dungeons. No, these aren’t the total, conventional Zelda dungeon expertise – there’s no map, compass, or boss key to gather – however they’re a half-step again in that path. The 2 dungeons I’ve accomplished to date are each greater than Breath of the Wild’s Divine Beasts, extra curiously designed, and have correct Zelda bosses on the finish – none of that knock-off Ganon Blight nonsense.

These are welcome refinements, however that’s all they’re. The sport as an entire feels exceedingly acquainted, a snug slide into outdated habits. Jog there, climb this, clear a shrine, go check out that humorous tree over there simply in case.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a contradiction: an excellent sport, comfortably among the many Nintendo Change’s greatest, whereas concurrently a slight disappointment.

I performed over 100 hours of Breath of the Wild, and I think I’ll play 100 extra of this. However I feel I do know which hundred will linger within the reminiscence longer.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom launches 12 Could 2023 for Nintendo Change.

Verdict

Tears of the Kingdom performs it protected, which is a disgrace for the follow-up to the least protected Zelda in many years. Nonetheless, it’s exhausting to complain an excessive amount of about getting extra of one of many all-time greats, and there are sufficient tweaks to make it really feel value taking part in once more.

Execs

  • Comically giant open world
  • Improved dungeons and correct bosses are again
  • It’s Breath of the Wild, once more

Cons

  • It’s Breath of the Wild, once more

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