Review Legend of Zelda – Tears of the Kingdom

Review Legend of Zelda – Tears of the Kingdom

Extraordinary is an apt accolade when discussing what Nintendo accomplished with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a few years ago. Not only did we encounter a Zelda game that introduced an open world ripe for exploration from the very first moment, but it also masterfully incorporated diverse object physics interactions. This allowed for the experimentation of unconventional solutions to the array of puzzles it presented. It's no surprise that it garnered numerous awards in the same year. Now, attention is directed towards its sequel series - Tears of the Kingdom.

Tears of the Kingdom Overview

Transforming into something truly absurd, instead of merely encompassing horizontal expanses, you now gain additional vertical areas both in the skies and beneath the earth, ready to be explored. The physics system remains intact, now infused with fresh forces that will challenge your creativity, from combining weapon actions to the opportunity of constructing an array of stationary or mobile structures based on your desires. On paper, Tears of the Kingdom stands as an awe-inspiring game.

So, why do we refer to it as an imperfect game discussed in our view? Considering this game has ended up receiving so many flawless review scores across numerous media, including major ones? This review will delve into it further for you.

Tears of the Kingdom Plot

Tears of the Kingdom Plot

As previously discussed by Nintendo, Tears of the Kingdom serves as a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild. This implies that we will embark on an adventure in the same familiar land of Hyrule, notwithstanding the significant geographical alterations that have taken place. This also signifies that we are once again portraying the roles of Link and Zelda.

The tale commences with Link and Zelda's exploratory actions, as they attempt to unravel more mysteries about the land of Hyrule they inhabit. However, instead of finding answers, they inadvertently unleash a tremendously dangerous entity, potent enough to shatter even the Master Sword. Amidst the ensuing panic, Link and Zelda get separated. As Zelda plummets and Link simultaneously endeavors to rescue her, she vanishes suddenly, taken by a power hitherto unseen. Meanwhile, Link, now burdened with a cursed hand, falls into slumber and awakens on an astral island he has never beheld before.

So, as anticipated, Tears of the Kingdom once again tells the story of Link who now holds three significant responsibilities: saving Hyrule, rediscovering Zelda, and unraveling the mystery of what truly transpired within his beloved kingdom. This is an adventure that no longer solely demands Link to encounter the finest knights of Hyrule, but also to delve into a journey through time, all of which culminates, ominously, with one name – Ganon.

So, what kind of adventure awaits Link in Tears of the Kingdom? What happens to Zelda? Can Link rescue Hyrule? The answers to these questions are attainable by engaging in the gameplay of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Good Game Perfomance For Nintendo Switch

Good Game Perfomance For Nintendo Switch

On paper, the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid handheld gaming machine – a console that has indeed fallen behind in terms of performance. We are talking about a device that is even less powerful compared to the previous generation machines from Microsoft and Sony. However, once again, through an optimization process that can almost be equated to "magic," the Nintendo Switch proves its prowess. Do you still recall how it managed to handle Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which hardly suffered any resolution drops? In Tears of the Kingdom, what it achieves is even more astonishing.

The Hyrule that Link encounters in this series is not the same as the one in Breath of the Wild, where its expanse was predominantly horizontal. Thanks to the intervention of the mystical power he discovers early in the game, Hyrule is now divided into three vast vertical areas – the sky, Hyrule itself, and the underground world. The most remarkable aspect? You can explore these three regions seamlessly, without any loading times, even on the relatively modest Nintendo Switch platform. You can leap from the Sky Castle, descend freely through Hyrule, and enter the underground world of "The Depth" without encountering loading screens, allowing for a continuous flow. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that this does require sacrificing render distance, causing world details to fade during these transitions.

A round of applause is also well-deserved not only for this technical achievement but also for the design aspect of the new world in Tears of the Kingdom itself. You will come to understand that this is still the same Hyrule as in Breath of the Wild, yet on the other hand, it is different due to the changes that have occurred. We are certainly not just talking about the torn-up regions rising upwards and the ruins descending into The Depth, but also the dynamics of the population movement that now fills several areas, whether it be for habitation or just restoration. Unfortunately, if there is one weakness that should be noted, it's the lack of remnants from the conflicts of Breath of the Wild. For example, you miraculously no longer come across scattered remains of The Guardians or notice the presence of the old Shrines. There is a continuity issue from the presentation aspect, especially with minimal explanations.

Playing Tears of the Kingdom, much like in Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, also instills a sense of appreciation for how they strategically place diverse Points of Interest. These locations, while not necessarily adjacent, feel densely populated and easily accessible to one another. Even though the vertical access now aids in effortlessly surveying and discovering various captivating sites around, this remains a commendable design. You can stumble upon a shrine in one spot, fruit-bearing trees in a corner of your vision too captivating to overlook, which upon closer approach, reveal a horse stable with numerous NPCs inside. Surprisingly nearby, there might be a side quest awaiting completion. The world's design sprawls extensively, yet it remains packed with abundant content in every nook to engage you.

However, it still must be acknowledged that despite all the remarkable elements it offers in terms of presentation, particularly on the visual front, it's challenging to disregard the expectation that Tears of the Kingdom requires release on more potent and capable hardware to support all these aesthetic approaches. Observing this presentation as a whole reveals jagged edges, occasionally unstable framerates at certain points, blurriness, remarkably low render distance, and textures with low resolution. All of these aspects lead us to hope for a more fitting Remastered version in the future. Something we believe will promptly be fulfilled and reissued by Nintendo once the successor to the Switch emerges.

Even better news? All these facets of presentation are further complemented by voice acting and a fairly stirring soundtrack at various points. It's something worth appreciating, yet it's regrettable due to the slim possibility that Nintendo would release these soundtracks via existing streaming services, similar to how other major game publishers do. This is something that prompts both you and us to lament once again.

Tears of the Kingdom Gameplay

Tears of the Kingdom Gameplay

On paper, Tears of the Kingdom is indeed built upon the concept of Breath of the Wild as its foundation. This implies two things – firstly, you'll still find an adventure game where you must conquer a variety of Ganon's cronies to ultimately face Ganon himself, complete with the returning weapon degradation system. Secondly? It still embraces the exceptional concept of physics. This means you're not always confined to a single solution, especially when solving puzzles. Tears of the Kingdom effectively continues to stimulate your rational thinking by employing various new tools and abilities at your disposal.

New abilities seem to be the main selling point of Tears of the Kingdom, surpassing many mechanics that were already introduced in the Breath of the Wild era, such as the weapon durability effect and the shield that necessitates you to consistently ensure a sufficient stock to facilitate your journey. No longer confined to just bombs or time manipulation, Link now possesses at least 4 new powers, two of which can be considered as radically altering the game's dynamics.

The two aforementioned new abilities are FUSE and ULTRAHAND. Just as the name suggests, FUSE allows you to combine weapons or shields with other objects to generate three simultaneous effects: bolstering damage status, enhancing durability before shattering, and occasionally yielding specific attack effects based on the attached object. For instance, attaching an arrow with the eye of a particular monster, which serves as loot, will grant the arrow homing properties, meaning it will track the nearest target it spots. Alternatively, you can also merge your Shield with a rocket, for example, to equip yourself with a fuel-based rocket hand, enabling temporary vertical flight. FUSE, as one would expect, is designed to be one of Link's offensive forefronts in the future.

Another new ability – ULTRAHAND – arrives with even more astounding mechanics. The core idea? This new capability enables you to blend various objects at hand to construct architecture, vehicles, and whatever you require to support your adventure. What's even cooler? You can also merge it with diverse technologies from the Zonai civilization, obtainable randomly or through the colossal gacha machine located on Sky Island. Coming with an array of functions and features, these Zonai Devices, ranging from giant wings for gliding, rockets, steering mechanisms, to mere wheels, will complement, refine, and infuse functionality into what you've built using the ULTRAHAND. The creative minds of Tears of the Kingdom gamers have even been tested in crafting fully armed mechas, as readily discoverable on the internet and social media platforms.

The introduction of these two new abilities – FUSE and ULTRAHAND – also forms the foundation for numerous puzzles offered within the Shrines, reminiscent of Breath of the Wild, where fragments can be combined to enhance your HP or Stamina at the end. There are Shrines that emphasize action, often requiring you to merge an array of available weak weapons to survive. Meanwhile, there are many Shrines that demand profound contemplation, utilizing the ULTRAHAND as the cornerstone of the solution. The good news? Such Shrines typically provide the Zonai materials or technology you need to complete them, which, at a glance, can usually be achieved with a touch of extra cleverness. As long as you can think rationally, it seems not too challenging to speculate on what you can construct and design. However, it's worth remembering once again that puzzle solutions like these are always flexible, considering, as we discussed earlier, there are numerous physics-based interactions you can explore to solve each one.


In addition to the two groundbreaking new abilities – FUSE and ULTRAHAND – Link will also be equipped with two extra powers – Ascend and Recall. Although these two functions will significantly aid your journey, they never seem to be something Nintendo intends to emphasize amidst the array of puzzle designs and battles. Ascend enables you to pierce through the ceilings of structures, mountains, and even dungeons, automatically landing at the top. This streamlines vertical access, making it quicker and easier without relying solely on climbing actions, which, once again, deplete stamina. As for Recall? It grants you the ability to reverse the motion of an object for a limited time, with its physics retained. Recall also tends to serve as a solution for several puzzles you encounter.

With the amalgamation of all these new abilities, where creativity is even further highlighted, Tears of the Kingdom discovers a form that is both familiar and fresh compared to its predecessor, Breath of the Wild. The process of exploration will lead you to discover numerous novelties, from intriguing side quests like aiding in putting up promotional billboards to actively participating in raids alongside local residents to eradicate existing monster camps. Encounters with stronger monsters that now inhabit the corners of Hyrule won't be uncommon either, ranging from those demanding specific strategies to defeat, to those genuinely testing the array of weapons and shields you've prepared. Naturally, a series of main missions will need to be completed to propel the existing storyline forward.

For this final aspect, Tears of the Kingdom now introduces a new reward that prevents you from feeling like you're shouldering these weighty missions alone. For every successfully completed main mission, usually linked to the story of a particular village, Zelda's disappearance, and an elemental-based temple to be conquered, you'll have the chance to borrow their abilities in the form of Spirits. This will keep the powers of these Sages with you, and you can access them whenever you need. For example, the Sage of Wind can summon strong gusts of wind to propel your glider even farther without depleting stamina. What's even cooler? These gathered Sages will actively assist you in attacking and fighting enemies as long as they are active.

Those of you who have been following Anidraw for at least the past decade undoubtedly understand that we often strive to chase and complete review articles as quickly as we can after the release of game preview articles that are impossible to finish within, say, 20 hours. That same intention was also instilled when Tears of the Kingdom was released, followed by intense gaming sessions. However, these gaming sessions became distracted with the release of Final Fantasy XVI, the addiction to an indie game currently in early access – Halls of Torment, and the ambition of pushing ranks in DOTA 2 taking dominance. The worst news? Our intention to return to Tears of the Kingdom, a game we purchased with our own money, suddenly vanished into thin air, leaving us with nothing.

Indeed, your anticipation for this review article unfortunately doesn't contain the idyllic dreams of how dedicated we were, how we wanted to complete every aspect of Tears of the Kingdom to make this review exceptionally comprehensive and thorough. The truth is, your wait for this overdue review, which has stretched over two months, is rooted in a mysterious fact that we've used as the foundation for our assessment – we were LAZY to return to Tears of the Kingdom and complete it.

This situation is certainly unique. Why? Because for a video game that has been adorned with perfect scores on so many giant gaming websites and the undeniable label of "Potential GOTY," Tears of the Kingdom has actually generated a contrasting effect as time has passed since we left it behind and ignored it. Even though as gamers, we were also adamant and convinced that it is a clear indicator for a "quality" game, at least for a single-player game with a story, that it provides enough motivation to keep you going and ultimately, to finish it. When it fails to offer that motivation? There must be something wrong with us or with the video game itself. This introspection then gives rise to the subtitle of the above review article.

What actually happened? Have we grown too old to engage in a game that seemingly requires dozens of hours to complete? However, on the other hand, we never felt bored spending around 72 hours consistently to achieve the platinum trophy in Final Fantasy XVI, which notably needs to be completed at the highest difficulty level. Is it because we were so easily distracted that our intentions vanished? Yet once again, a high-quality game should still be able to uphold and drive that motivation, no matter what. In a utopian world, a world where this review is written after we've completed the game to the end, Tears of the Kingdom should kick and shatter even the slightest inclination to return repeatedly to the Halls of Torment or DOTA 2.

So, there's no more rational conclusion, from our perspective at least, that Tears of the Kingdom isn't as perfect a game as many people have been discussing. The next question then becomes, what transforms this "imperfection" into a sense of reluctance to return? We reflect and try to identify what forms the foundation of this issue. The outcome?

Firstly, when it comes to comparisons, its structure isn't all that different from Breath of the Wild. Ultimately, the game revolves around a multitude of Shrines that you can complete and the freedom of exploration right from the start, allowing you to adventure wherever you wish. However, eventually, there will be a few main quests that require you to complete various element-based Temples filled with perplexing puzzles towards the end. Regardless of all the new elements it introduces, from abilities to the expansive vertical world at hand, this format remains the same as what we've experienced in Breath of the Wild before.

Secondly? It must be acknowledged that the missions involving Temple completion, which are essentially part of some of the main quests, don't offer the same enjoyable experience as the exploration process, Shrine quests, and other side activities. In fact, this could be considered one of the main reasons we're reluctant to return to Tears of the Kingdom. Envisioning that the culmination of your adventure must involve lengthy brain-teasing activities to solve several intricate puzzles within a Temple, followed by boss battles that aren't always thrilling, leads us to lose the motivation to see it through. Not only does this concept feel somewhat drawn-out, but it also overshadows the more enjoyable aspects of Tears of the Kingdom - namely, the exploration and adventure it offers.

Thirdly? It's not just the vastness of the Tears of the Kingdom world that contributes, but the sheer number of main and side quests now neatly arranged on the list genuinely leaves us feeling overwhelmed and emotionally fatigued even before attempting to complete them. Imagining temple puzzles in the beginning has already dampened this intention, but visualizing that other activities you need to accomplish also involve hunting for 10 giant patterns on the ground with small ponds you need to visit to understand Zelda's journey adds an extra burden you never knew you had to bear. And this is still without discussing the various side quests, the solutions of which are sometimes not as straightforward as you might imagine. Some require you to venture far into specific areas, search for something, or even more complex tasks like consistently fulfilling missions provided by specific NPCs you encounter at each Stable.

Fourthly? Even though we don't know to what extent it plays a role, seeing the progress of gamers in the online world actually diminishes our playing spirit instead of boosting it. This feeling doesn't stem from the assortment of cool vehicles and mechas they craft, which we were well aware from the outset would be beyond our creative capabilities. What dampens our enthusiasm actually comes from something seemingly insignificant – the number of Zonai Batteries they possess as a power source for what they build. Witnessing how these players have rows upon rows of Zonai Batteries initially filled us with motivation to attain the same. But what did we discover? It's the bitter fact that it takes a long and grindy process just to add a single small bar. This comparison further "kills" our intent to continue with Tears of the Kingdom.

In the end, we also have to admit that our deep and genuinely sincere love for Breath of the Wild from a few years ago is unfortunately challenging to replicate in Tears of the Kingdom. This affection seemed to stem from an admiration for Nintendo's wild and original ideas that managed to offer and execute so many new elements that wouldn't easily be found in other games, an appreciation that couldn't be higher. Entering Tears of the Kingdom and discovering that there are so many formulaic experiences similar to Breath of the Wild, rather than new super radical crazy ideas, makes it not as grand, not as beautiful, and not as awe-inspiring as its predecessor.

"Tears of the Kingdom" might be our most peculiar review, as instead of delving into it comprehensively after a lengthy gameplay process, it emerges as a rationale for why we ended up reluctant to revisit and ultimately led us to discard it altogether. "Tears of the Kingdom" is certainly far from being negative. We do concur with the sentiments shared by numerous media outlets and gamers that it stands as one of the finest games in 2023, with a strong chance of clinching the "Game of the Year" title that is hard to dispute outright. However, we must acknowledge that the personal experience it presents doesn't epitomize the "perfection" felt by many other gamers.

Naturally, we were captivated by how a game of this magnitude could run on the Nintendo Switch, which on paper sounds like an impossibility. Or how the new powers it introduces now propel your creative energy a step further compared to the previous installments, all while retaining the physics-based interactions that even serve as ingenious solutions for the array of puzzles it presents. However, on the flip side, our "reluctance" to dive back into it also serves as a clear indicator to us that something is amiss in "Tears of the Kingdom." Something that either stems from within us or indeed signifies that there is an underlying issue.


However, beyond these aspects, we still have no hesitation in recommending "Tears of the Kingdom" to all Nintendo Switch owners, regardless of whether they are familiar with the Zelda series or not as a franchise. Your experience might culminate in something fantastic, distinctive, and enjoyable all at once. Yet, the next question will also revolve around an equally essential factor - how much time you can invest in it.

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