When I got my Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the first games I picked up. It’s like a rite of passage for Nintendo fans, it’s one of the most impressive games on the console, and most people you speak to will probably recommend it at some point or another the second you mention wanting to try a new adventure, so it’s become a hall-of-fame title in the grand collection of Switch titles. Its esteemed reviews and high praise have resulted in a solidified, almost communal love.
About halfway through the game, I’d decided enough wasn’t enough. I spent hours running around Hyrule, locating Koroks until everything sounded like a wooden rattle, and foraging until my little heart was full, and I still wasn’t satisfied. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best Nintendo Switch games, that’s a given, but no amount of gameplay would be satisfying. It’s the type of game you want to embed yourself into until you feel like you’ve experienced everything it has to offer, and four years on, I still feel like I’m not at that point.
So when The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the long-anticipated successor to my beloved Breath of the Wild, finally saw the light of day with an announcement trailer, I was elated. I watched the trailer with bated breath, analyzing each and every frame and connecting every link I could. For a split second, I felt the same excited bewilderment as when I picked up Breath of the Wild for the first time. But before long, the crushing feeling of concern started creeping in, suggesting it was ridiculous even to think I’d be able to feel the same affectionate daze again.
A link to the past
Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly excited for Tears of the Kingdom, and I can guarantee I will probably play it to death, but saying I’m only slightly concerned that the expectations Breath of the Wild set in stone will tamper my experience is a massive understatement.
As much as I want to be able to experience the game in its purest form, with no expectations at all, I just don’t think it’s possible, despite how desperately hard I try to shake it off. That said, I know I’m not the only person facing this dilemma right now, which is a slight bit of peace among the panic.
A huge amount of players have shared their excitement for this upcoming game, as you’d expect, given just how anticipated it’s been since the idea of a sequel was even considered, but at the same time, a lot started to share their concern that the game felt like more of a DLC to Breath of the Wild rather than a standalone experience.
During the live Nintendo Direct, I remember seeing the chat flooded with comments suggesting that Tears of the Kingdom could never offer the same experience as Breath of the Wild. After thinking about it, I’m worried I’m starting to believe it. The last thing I want is to potentially damage what could very well be one of the best games I’ve ever played with these thoughts before I’ve had the chance to play it.
My rose-tinted glasses
As more content has been drip-fed to us through short gameplay insights and even shorter trailers, we’ve started to see more into what life in the newest version of Hyrule will feel and look like. To my comfort, it does look almost identical to Breath of the Wild with a few additional elements, such as the floating islands and now levitating castle, and while this is semi-reassuring that the game has the potential to offer something of the same caliber, there’s still the dilemma as to whether or not a regurgitation of the same game would be as enjoyable as we’ve declared it to be.
So long story short, I’ve put far too much pressure on myself to enjoy the game before I’ve even held a copy in my hands, and I’m concerned I will mentally block my potential to fall in love again by comparing it to any experience I’ve had with the Zelda franchise.
It’s comforting knowing I’m not the only person feeling this way, and a quick scroll through any Tears of the Kingdom hashtag will show me that. I just hope when the day finally arrives, I can push it all aside and focus on the ‘what is’ rather than the ‘what could’ve been’ while hoping every other like-minded Breath of the Wild fanatic manages to do the same.