The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Review
Zelda Tears of the Kingdom is a game that lives up to the high expectations set by its predecessor, Breath of the Wild. The story is a direct continuation and the gameplay mechanics are familiar, yet there are enough new abilities and features to keep it feeling fresh and exciting.
What sets Tears of the Kingdom apart from other games is its emphasis on creative thinking. Using Link’s powers, players can combine and rearrange objects to solve puzzles and complete quests. The game doesn’t hold your hand or provide many waypoints, which encourages players to figure things out for themselves.
A Unique Adventure
There were occasions where I found myself wandering around for extended periods of time trying to uncover the solution to a puzzle or figure out where to go next, and I loved it! In contrast to many modern Triple-A games that rely heavily on waypoints, Tears of the Kingdom encourages players to use their problem-solving skills. This type of gameplay is much more satisfying to me than running from point A to B, and it also fosters valuable skills such as creative thinking and persistence. I was constantly amazed at the cleverly designed puzzles and how perfectly everything fits together.
The most utilized ability is to combine and rotate objects. For example, you can stick together wooden planks to make a bridge, or attach a fan to make a raft. Want to make a campfire? Just place some wood on the floor and hit a flint. Need a flamethrower? Stick a Flame Emitter on your Shield. Want to fly like a bird? Put a fan or rocket on something that will fly. What the game does well here is that there are countless options to combine objects an you are constantly introduced to new items so it doesn’t get boring.
Another crucial ability is the Ascend power, which allows you to teleport through ceilings. This ability opens up some fascinating shortcuts and puzzle solutions. For instance, if you can’t climb a pillar, you can simply stand beneath and teleport through it. Similarly, if you’re stuck in a cave, you can try beaming through the ceiling. These abilities add layers of depth to the gameplay, and once you get the hang of them, you’ll find yourself thinking outside the box to come up with clever solutions.
Creativity Wins the Fight
Even the combat fosters creativity. You can fuse various items with weapons to upgrade their damage and add unique effects. For example, items dropped by enemies can be fused to a weapon or you can put a fire fruit on an arrow to create a fire arrow. Weapons break after a few hits, which means you regularly have to pick up new weapons and try out new fusions. This keeps it more interesting and you can’t rely on a single weapon. Even when you have better armor, the big enemies will deal a lot of damage. You can’t rush in and hack n’ slash your way through tough enemies with basic weapons. Instead, you have to make use of the bow, fusions, elixirs, and meals. Enemies always drop their weapons for you to collect. If you defeat a particularly challenging enemy, you also get its weapon and high-damage items for fusion. Then other encounters become easier. There is no XP-based leveling system, your strength is decided by your equipment. Everything you do in this game gives a worthwhile reward.
Find Your Own Path
The map is geared towards free exploration from the get-go. I was surprised how big the game world is. It consists of multiple layers and there are many flying islands in the sky to explore. There is also a large surface area. The more you explore, the more you realize the game is much bigger than it first seems. I thought the surface map looked big, then I found out there is another layer. Just uncovering all layers of the map will keep you busy for days.
The map features various landscapes ranging from snowy mountains to deserts to lush meadows. You need to make use of special clothing or meals to gain effects that protect against extreme weather. Cooking is another big part of the game, there are many recipes to make meals that grant temporary status effects. I found cooking quite enjoyable, trying to combine various items to see what meal you get from it. Sometimes you get a meal that restores multiple times the health of the ingredients, other times you get goo. There are lots of little side features like that.
A Massive Open World
After the first few main quests the story branches out into multiple main objectives that you can complete in any order. At this point you can freely explore and do side tasks or focus more on the story. I like this freedom and that you can choose your own path. It’s entirely up to you how you want to approach it.
There are over 100 side quests and longer side adventures. These quests usually don’t have waypoints so you need to listen to the clues from the quest giver and figure out the rest on your own. There are also lots of Puzzle Shrines that reward you with health and stamina upgrades. If you are going for 100% completion plan in at least 150 hours. This is an impressive amount of content for a game that comes in at just over 16GB file size.
The graphics are among the best on Switch and it manages to maintan fast loading times. The only performance issue is that the framerate stutters when there’s a lot happening on the screen. This doesn’t happen often but it’s noticeable when it does. I haven’t had a single bug or game crash at any point. The music is fantastic too. Each town has its own music, giving it a different vibe. My personal favorites are the relaxing sounds of Lookout Landing and Goron City.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is one of the most unique and creative games I have ever played. There is a lot to do and the world design is a perfect symbiosis between using Link’s abilities and your own smarts to reach your goals. One of the best games ever on Nintendo Switch and a must-buy.
***Nintendo Switch code provided by the publisher for review***
- Uniquely Creative
- Fosters Problem-Solving Skills
- Fantastic World
- A lot to do
- Framerate Issues