The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review: long live Link
You are currently seeing more Nintendo Switch consoles on public transport than ever before. The reason? Simple: Tears of the Kingdom. The new game from The Legend of Zelda series is very successful. In our review you can read what makes the game so attractive, but also: what makes it quite a challenge at times.
Breath of the Wild
It’s been a long time since we were treated to a fresh Zelda adventure. The last was Breath of the Wild in March 2017. So we are more than five years later and I must say: when I started Tears of the Kingdom, I had to think about how it all worked again. What is an extra challenge is that a new gift is introduced quite quickly: the gift of picking things up and gluing them together.
For example, you have to make a kind of moving platform by attaching a hook to two planks of wood and put it back on some kind of rails (and also jump on it in time to go along with it). It’s cool because you really have to put your brain to work. In itself, the game is quite linear at the beginning: you pretty much know where you have to go and if there are still assignments to be done first, then it is fairly clear what is expected of you.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Besides the fact that you have to be very creative with the objects that are scattered here and there throughout the game world (and also a lot of tricks to master the controls), you also have to make quite a lot of meters that sometimes end up nowhere . For example, I really wanted to go to a certain kind of shrine, but I couldn’t because it was quite frozen and my fairly fresh, half-naked Link couldn’t handle that. Too bad, because you walked all the way there. So keep looking.
This game is brilliant because everything is so beautiful and so well put together, and you also know you can rely on that with a franchise like this (and a game maker like Nintendo), so even if it’s really challenging and you think : “Jeez, why doesn’t it work?” then you persevere, and then you will also notice that this game rewards you. Not only with that wonderful feeling of: “Hey, we did it!” but also with a great new part of Link and Zelda’s world to discover.
Some people are put off by the idea of this game being open world, but there’s always a red line. This game tackles that very well with all kinds of missions that you can do, but also through the story. At first that seems a bit thin, but soon you dive further and further into it. You are a guest in what was a former world of a different kind of civilization and you gradually learn more about it.
By the way, if you’re wondering about that gift: Link has lost his arm, but now has a magical arm that can contain more and more powers. Along the way you will meet all kinds of characters who help you to understand everything better, but also to explain your magical powers. At first you traverse that world on foot and everything is a bit overwhelming, but in the end that is also the power of this game: overwhelming you so violently that you want to know more and more about the world and do more and more just to to get some traction. For example, you can later go on horseback, which will take you to a different place much faster (but there are more ways).
Tears of the Kingdom
In Tears of the Kingdom you are an inventor and a boy scout, a superhero and a kind of little kid who knows nothing, you are searching, but you also find a lot at the same time. You learn as you go and Nintendo gives you just enough to keep you going, inspired to better understand this world. It sounds like there might not be much freedom now, but freedom is exactly what Zelda is all about. There are handles to help you somewhat navigate your way through this adventure, but if you want to go your own way, you are welcome too. You can invent anything and everything: it’s amazing to see how many different objects can be combined in different ways.
However, freedom is also in the fight. It was said that you should focus on enemies for a while and especially not too much one-on-one fighting, but yes, I’m a crass gamer, so of course I still smashed branch after branch on my enemy’s head: delicious . However, that does not matter: there are actually always several roads to Rome. That makes it a less attractive game to watch, because you may have wanted to do something completely different from the person holding the Joy-Cons. Although it is also educational: you get a look behind the scenes of how it can be done.
The Legend of Zelda
If you already thought Breath of the Wild seemed big, you probably have it even more with Tears of the Kingdom, because this game has layers everywhere: physical layers, but also psychological layers. You sometimes encounter yourself in this game, but at the same time there is also simply a lot of layers of terrain to traverse. It’s all equally magical: it feels good, you never really feel left to your own devices and you can trust that you will work it out. Continue again, to go even deeper on the journey of discovery. To fight even more difficult enemies and to make even better inventions. Who knows what you’ll find back there behind those hills? In fact, it is almost envious to see people who are not that far into the game: they still have so much to discover. Go do it, because this game is already by far the biggest game recommendation of this year. At least when it comes to Nintendo, but maybe in general.
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