I’ve been waiting for the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom with bated breath since the first announcement trailer. I’ve studied as much content as I can without spoiling too much for myself. I’ve read theories, and re-visited previous lands in preparation, and now release day is here, I’m starting to worry that I’m not prepared, nor am I creative enough to face the new approach that the sequel takes compared to my beloved Breath of the Wild.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, from what I’ve seen, has an immense focus on the individual experience of everyone and anyone who decides to take on the challenge. While there was still a fair amount of flexibility in terms of carving your own path in Breath of the Wild, you were subtly directed toward completing the divine beasts before facing Ganon. Whereas with Tears of the Kingdom, I’m convinced you’re able to do whatever your heart desires from the moment you boot up the game.
What’s your favorite idea?
No two experiences are destined to be the same, and without even starting the game I can tell that Tears of the Kingdom is bound to spark a lot of conversation among players. Rather than sticking to your own experience, and enjoying it solo, there’s a heavy emphasis on communicating with other players to take things from a different angle and possibly implement ideas you wouldn’t necessarily conjure yourself, which is something a lot of solo, story-driven games lack. Of course, you can get tips from friends, but it’s rare that it’s an encouraged part of gameplay like it will be in Tears of the Kingdom.
Everything from how you tackle certain boss battles to the contraptions you create using new Zonai tech is in the palm of your hands. From what I’ve seen in trailers, there are very few guidelines or blueprints in regard to what you can make. Sure, I’d probably be able to create a simple raft to cross a river, but when it comes to battlebot style machines to face huge, towering bosses, I don’t know if I’m fully equipped and ready to harness the creativity I think the game expects from me.
To differentiate itself from Breath of the Wild, even the most useless items in Tears of the Kingdom can now be used to create something bigger. With the new fuse mechanic in particular, every item has a purpose rather than just taking up valuable inventory space or occasionally being a quick money grab. But, in turn, you need to think more carefully about what you’re carrying and whether or not it can be substituted for something more useful in the long run.
It is time
One of the things I’m most looking forward to is finding new inventive ways to face enemies. In Tears’ predecessor, I used to just swing my sword and hope for the best, but there was little skill behind it. In addition, I love archery in Breath of the Wild, but when it comes to any arrow above the standard head and feather, I always find my pockets lacking.
However, I always found my inventory overflowing with mob loot, which has very little purpose in Breath of the Wild aside from the occasional meal and possibly trading to Kilton. At least now I can stick a Chuchu Jelly on the end and find a new way to harness elemental power rather than spending all my rupees or keeping my fingers crossed every time I open a chest.
But even though I’m not too confident in my own creative ability right now, I am incredibly excited to see what chaos I can conjure up by drawing inspiration from my fellow Hylians. It’s rare I go into a solitary game excited to speak to others about different tactics and approaches, but Tears of the Kingdom feels different in all the right ways.
Even though part of me isn’t prepared to lay my Breath of the Wild experience to rest and relish in what is to come for this side of the Zelda timeline, I’m fully prepared to go out of my comfort zone to make the most of the adventure at hand, and who knows - maybe I’ll tap into a new side of mechanical creativity I didn’t think I had.