Game: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Genre: Action, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch
Developers | Publishers: Nintendo
Age Rating: US E10+ | EU 12+
Price: US $69.99 | UK £59.99 | EU € 69.99
Release Date: May 12th, 2023
No review code was used. Instead, I purchased the game myself.
After an extended six-year wait, we have finally got our hands on what will probably be many players’ Game of the Year, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. We also have a tips and tricks guide for Tears of the Kingdom, here.
By the way, interested in testing your knowledge of the Legend of Zelda? Try our Quiz!
You would have to have been away from civilisation not to know this, but if you don’t know, Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Sequel to Breath of the Wild
Like many players, including half the team here at LadiesGamers, I’ve been chomping at the bit for months to get my hands on Tears of the Kingdom as The Legend of Zelda is my all-time favourite game series and one I’ve been playing since the first game was released 37 years ago.
This review will be spoiler-free in regards the storyline. Therefore, I won’t discuss it in detail, as players should discover it themselves.
My first impression when booting up the game was that being back home in Hyrule was marvellous. It’s like seeing an old friend after being apart for a long time. I had a smile on my face as wide as a canyon; my jaw hurts now because I’ve smiled so much while playing the game. The beginning cut scenes are wonderful and set the storyline up perfectly.
Tears of the Kingdom kicks things off in a familiar fashion to anyone who played Breath of the Wild. As expected, the story in Tears of the Kingdom takes place directly after the events of Breath of the Wild. So Link, from the very beginning, wields the Master Sword; unfortunately, that doesn’t last long.
A prologue reveals that Ganondorf and a calamity known as the Upheaval leave Link grievously injured and Zelda missing. However, the twist in the tail comes when Link awakes in a sky kingdom populated by ancient and powerful technology, courtesy of the Zonai clan.
Furthermore, the way the plot progresses and uses some of the same mechanics to keep you engaged, as in Breath of the Wild, such as collecting Memories and four new dungeons to discover, is fantastic. However, the narrative of the game itself is very different and feels more in-depth, and the voice acting is ace.
Familiar Yet New
As is usual in a Zelda game, the first area you explore will teach you everything you need to know, and of course, it’s also where Link gets his new abilities.
Shrines have returned better than ever with some tricky puzzles to solve in them. Then once you are free and completed enough of the starting area, you can go to Hyrule. Returning to the Hyrule map is a delight; it’s familiar surroundings and also unfamiliar as many things have changed. There are new stables and villages to visit, and dungeons are back instead of the Divine Beasts, the world feels much more alive than in Breath of the Wild.
In addition, many more NPCs are milling about Hyrule, and there are many more quests to complete. Even the quests feel more fulfilling to complete, like you are helping out your neighbours and friends. Link feels like he is part of a community in ToTK more so than it was in BOTW.
It’s like Nintendo took all the good parts from Breath of the Wild, updated them, changed them and made everything so much more fulfilling for the player, and that’s saying something considering how great BOTW is.
Across Hyrule, pits have been carved out of the earth; they ooze pink and black sludge known as Gloom. They look bottomless, but they are instead gateways to ToTK’s most significant addition, The Depths. It is an inhospitable black abyss full of new things to discover. It is like a whole new world down in the depths and has increased the size of the map you can explore.
Another thing that is vastly improved is enemy variety, which has been changed and elevated. But, of course, the different enemies still make combat relatively straightforward once you know their patterns, and it’s gratifying and extremely satisfying. The combat feels much more rewarding in Tears of the Kingdom; Flurry Rush returns, as do all the other combat moves, and Link also has a few different animations during combat.
Throwing items are now a crucial part of every encounter, letting you hurl everything from bombs to weapons, sticks and stones.
Then we have Link’s new abilities, which Nintendo has put even more thought into developing. This time the abilities not only help you to solve puzzles, but they are also a magnificent help in traversing the Kingdom.
The Recall ability pauses projectiles in mid-air and sends them back from whence they came. Think rewind time, and you will understand what recall is. Recall can be used in combat, and it’s a lot of fun throwing bombs and boulders back at the enemies.
Then we have Ascend, which is an ability that transports Link upwards to the next available level. This is another brilliant addition to the game, making traversing the environment much more accessible. No more sliding down the side of a mountain while Link clings to it in the rain.
Yes, if you enjoyed watching Link struggle to climb in the rain, you can still do that. However, with the addition of the Ascend ability, you traverse the different cliffs by finding a cave and floating upwards and phase through the ceiling, then appear at the top of the cliff….Bliss!
Fuse Weapons and Shields
The Fuse ability combines different items together, such as weapons and shields, with items you find lying around Hyrule. It can be used to extend the durability of your weapons, they still break, but there is always something lying around Hyrule that you can fuse onto a weapon. All the resources you collected in BOTW that didn’t have much use can now all be reused in breathtaking ways if you use your imagination. I can’t wait to see what crazy weapons and shields players come up with.
Ultrahand is a souped-up version of Fuse, by which Link can create big new objects out of things lying around on the ground. You can use Ultra Hand to manipulate the environment and, basically, anything that isn’t nailed down. Piece parts together that you have found from your menu, and at last, your inventory and all the things you picked up are helpful.
Like how the Fuse ability revolutionises the BOTW weapon system, the Recall ability completely changes how you climb up mountains, as it’s possible to skip some of this with the new abilities.
Visuals and Controls
Visually I think Tears of the Kingdom is beautiful; the graphics seem much more colourful, and the world much more alive with insects and creatures. Looking out across Hyrule from a high vantage point, the world is stunning.
Controlling some of the abilities takes some getting used to. However, once you get used to them, they become second nature, as if you have always used Link’s new abilities.
Music and Frame rate
Some music returns from Breath of the Wild, along with new tracks and sounds; again, Nintendo has outdone itself as the music is wonderful. I’ll be listening to it for months to come.
As previously reported by other websites, there are a few frame rate issues with Tears of the Kingdom. The frame rate drops are apparent during fight scenes, though they do not detract from the gameplay in any way. Like Nintendo did when BOTW was released, I expect we will see a few updates to Tears of the Kingdom to help with the frame rate issue.
Conclusion – An Epic Adventure
Once again, Nintendo has proved why they, as a company, are still around and producing fantastic video games. The Legend of Zelda has always been a wonderful game series, and Tears of the Kingdom is no exception; Nintendo smashed this one out of the park. I love it, and everything that Nintendo has changed, updated, and improved on from BOTW is evident in their six years of Tears of the Kingdom development.
If you only ever play one video game, it should be The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. This game is magnificent, gorgeous and outstanding. It is absolute bliss to be back in Hyrule, Tears of the Kingdom is a sublime experience. Two thumbs Up is our highest score, but it doesn’t feel like it’s high enough for Tears of the Kingdom; if I could, it would be a four thumbs up from me.
Final Verdict: A Resounding Two Thumbs Up