Unveiling the Epic Adventure: Tears of the Kingdom Takes Hyrule to New Heights!

In a world torn apart by darkness, prepare to shed Tears of the Kingdom as we embark on an extraordinary adventure through Hyrule. With its gripping narrative, innovative gameplay mechanics, and awe-inspiring environments, this Breath of the Wild sequel takes us on a thrilling journey of mystery, danger, and redemption. Get ready to experience a kingdom on the brink and uncover the secrets that lie within.

Some Background on Tears of the Kingdom

It was June 11, 2019, Breath of the Wild sequel was announced without an official name. The trailer showed very little of the game, only revealing glimpses of Link and Zelda in the dark caverns. Nintendo kept its actual title hidden for spoilers until September 13, 2022. The developers still showed little of its gameplay differences from BOTW, which worried the audience.

Tears of the Kingdom is here after a long wait!

Due to unfortunate circumstances, the sequel was delayed until 2023. Nintendo even announced that the game will be worth the higher price range of $70. Though the developers revealed more gameplay showcases closer to its launch, the fans believed the game is an overpriced DLC cut from BOTW. To everyone’s surprise, it is not the case.

A New Drop into Hyrule

The sequel begins with Link and Zelda scouring the depths under Hyrule Castle. The caverns are hinted with ominous darkness, barely leaving any light except Zelda’s torch and Link’s Master Sword. After finding ruins of ancient civilization and history, the two delve deeper underground, finding a decayed corpse held back by a glowing hand. 

Their curious investigation results in the bright hand falling off the rotten corpse, which resembles Ganondorf. Out of nowhere, the corpse comes to life and attacks the confused duo. His attack greatly weakens Link and the floor below them. The pure rage unleashes limitless malice,  causing the three to fall deeper into the dark abyss. 

Link attempts to save Zelda, but she vanishes from his sight. To his surprise, Link gets caught and pulled up by the glowing hand. The blinding light and severe wounds made Link pass out.

Once Link awakens, he finds himself in a dark room with his wounded arm replaced by the glowing hand. Now he has to go find Zelda and discover what changed in his home kingdom. The game truly begins once Link steps down into a new adventure.

The Worlds of Hyrule Kingdom

After Link finds his way onto Hyrule’s surface, he finds his home kingdom again under great peril. Varied issues affect the inhabitants, which seem to stem from Hyrule Castle being lifted in the air from malice. This major event was named The Upheaval, which released Ganon’s infecting manifested darkness upon the surface. Link will be exploring three major areas of Hyrule Kingdom: the Sky Islands, Hyrule grounds, and the depths.

The most standard Breath of the Wild experience comes from the Hyrule surface. Link will be exploring across the kingdom lands and interacting with civilians again. This time, there are more secrets to be uncovered for any explorer to venture into. 

There are a variety of caves with rare goodies. The loot is protected by beasts and giant holes with malice sprawling onto Hyrule. Many familiar areas return, though the Upheaval has greatly changed their condition. For example, Kakariko Village has become a tourist attraction for explorers to see its broken ruins.

Drop into the floating lands!

There are a variety of floating lands above each section of Hyrule grounds. Link can easily reach high areas using his recall ability on fallen island rubble. Alternatively, he can be launched in the air with the Lookout Landing Towers found on the surface. Compared to the surface, there isn’t too much land to explore above, though they do hold great ancient secrets. Some islands can hold maps that lead to special treasures below the Hyrule surface.

Beautiful level design in TOTK

The most fresh, new experience in the sequel is the dark chasms. Below the surface lies a world with very little light. Link is required to make and use light sources to see through the darkness. This world design resembles Majora’s Mask, resembling its ominous terrifying atmosphere. 

The area saps any victim of its strength while aggravating Ganondorf’s forces, making them stronger and more menacing. If wounded, Link loses his maximum hearts and won’t be able to heal normally due to the effects of Ganon’s darkness. Manifested malice is spread throughout the abyss, which will also slowly harm Link when touched. Reaching the surface or any underground area with pure sunlight will recover Link’s maximum hearts. Despite such dangers, its rare treasure and materials are the greatest incentive to explore.

Combat in Tears of the Kingdom

Combat mechanics are similar to those in Breath of the Wild

The combat in Tears of the Kingdom is very similar to Breath of the Wild. Link will be fighting with 4 types of weapons found throughout Hyrule Kingdom: bows, one-handed swords, two-handed greatswords, and spears. 

The weapon-breaking system from Breath of the Wild has returned to Tears of the Kingdom, though for a good reason. Ganondorf’s manifested malice has decayed the majority of weapons. This problem incentivizes the player to use their new Fuse power to strengthen weapon durability and damage. Players can combine their equipment with different resources and materials. This power can provide great effects, such as making electric swords, bomb arrows, and cart shields.

Link can utilize his ancient powers during battle. These powers are much more useful than the rune powers in BOTW. In the previous installment, magnesis and cryonis were very situational due to their reliance on metal and water. They weren’t always as effective as bombs and stasis. 

In TOTK, the ancient powers are much more versatile. They include repelling attacks, moving environmental utensils, fusing weapons, and gaining higher ground.

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Ancient Powers of Creation

Tears of the Kingdom powers of creation

What sets Tears of the Kingdom apart from its predecessor is the creative capabilities of Link’s new powers. After Link acquires all his powers, the game will incentivize the player to solve its puzzles and maneuver the environment in their way. There are usually resources scattered throughout Hyrule for Link to use to his advantage, especially for puzzles. Link can even use the acquired materials in his inventory to create different inventions and powerful weapons.

Ultrahand is the most intimidating power due to its reliance on player creativity. The game hints at what it wants, but never shows exactly what it wants. Every invention is created by the player and never offered by the game. 

It will take a few hours of experimenting to get comfortable using Ultrahand and figuring out vehicle schematics. Using the power more frequently makes it easier and more satisfying to use. This is especially the case when combining its results with Recall and Fuse.

Early Problems with Tears of the Kingdom

There’s so much that the game does right. However, a few problematic gripes hold it back. The issues can be frequent, and more may be found when getting closer to the game’s ending.

Controls in TOTK are a bit more complicated compared to BOTW. There are a lot of technical inputs that can confuse players during the heat of the moment. It will be very challenging for BOTW players to get accustomed to the controls. One example is when switching ancient powers, but pressing the material button by mistake. It isn’t impossible to get used to the controls, though switching between BOTW and TOTK isn’t very easy to do.

The most tragic issue is the instability of the game’s performance. The ideal framerate is 30 fps. It does drop when too much is happening on screen or sometimes during the use of Ultrahand. The Nintendo Switch is over 6 years old with its hardware feeling more outdated by the day. It’s great how well it performs with such demanding, ambiguous games like TOTK and Metroid Prime, though it’s still depending on last-gen specs, which can hinder their performance rather than improve them. 

Is Tears of the Kingdom Worth the Hyrule Praise?

You won't be disappointed with TOTK

Tears of the Kingdom is the ideal example of how modern games should be designed. It holds a great balance of a grand world design, engaging mechanics for combat and exploration, creative puzzles, memorable characters, and so much more content. 

There’s still so much to finish, but currently, the sequel is worth the higher price. Playing a complete, modern game is a breath of fresh wild air.

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