The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Game Review

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Game Review

Looking at Tears of the Kingdom from the outside, the new Nintendo exclusive seems empty and boring. But once you run the game on your own… Embracing it completely seems like an almost impossible task. Something is happening under every pebble and bush, there is a new adventure at every step. And you won’t find such a spirit of freedom in any game today!

After going through the first part of the dilogy, I firmly believed that Tears of the Kingdom was a “$70 add-on” – the five-hour introduction introduces some of the new mechanics, but the player constantly sees familiar tricks. Again four villages and forces of four nations, again the same characters. For a long time I thought that I would be the main opposition to popularity and hype in the new part of Zelda. And then the introduction ended, I was released into the open world and I disappear in it to this day.

Like Majora’s Mask, but for Breath of the Wild

I’m glad that Nintendo listened to the criticism of the first part (ha ha!) And paid more attention to the story and characters. There were more plot videos, the characters of the previous part were developed, and the plot is intriguing. After descending under the king’s castle, Link and Zelda awaken the imprisoned Ganon, who has been there all this time. Link loses his right arm, Zelda falls into an abyss and disappears, and Ganon transforms the world of Hyrule.

tears of the kingdom switch

Some of the plot moves of the previous part immediately become clear. But don’t worry: even if you haven’t played Breath of the Wild, you can safely start with Tears of the Kingdom – the story is self-sufficient and connected with the previous part only in small things and details.

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At the same time, the developers did not forget about the essence of the first part of the dilogy. “Tears of the Kingdom” is also about the freedom of the player during the passage. This is also reflected in the plot – to learn the vicissitudes of history, in the segment “after the introduction” and “before the finale”, is allowed in any order. The changed open world of Hyrule only encourages this.

The game also featured side storylines. “Episodic Quests” tells a coherent story, which, after the completion of one episode, will continue in the future game. One of these tasks, which touched the soul, tells the story of a girl leaving home. She had to go to the Gerudo Desert to come of age there. And for some hour of playing time, the player becomes attached to all the characters of this action, empathizes with them. It is impossible to look at the touching completion of the quest without tears – Nintendo knows how to hook adult men with poignant stories!

In 50 hours, I saw three full-fledged worlds: the skies over Hyrule with flying islands; Hyrule transformed after the Cataclysm, on which parts of ancient buildings flying in the sky have fallen and continue to fall; the underground world “Caverns” with its endless caves and impenetrable darkness. And all three worlds are so inundated with content that at the time of this writing, I saw, perhaps, only a third! I will not spoil the content from the Caverns out of principle – you need to see it yourself.

The middle world, that is, Hyrule, is not only littered with the remains of ancient buildings, but also expanded inland – full-fledged caves appeared, where new enemies live. Sometimes treasures or resources are guarded there, less often you will have to go down into the caves to solve riddles on the surface. Because of this, there is no feeling that the player was slipped the same game in a new wrapper – only sometimes you meet iconic places from the first part and nostalgia squeezes your heart.

the legend of zelda: tears of the kingdom platforms

Horrorgoblins from the caves aren’t the only newcomers. Zonai golems also appeared – mechanisms of varying degrees of complexity that attack Link as soon as they envy him. The opponents known from the first part now have more abilities. For example, goblins have grown horns for themselves and will not hesitate to kick the main character in battle with them. These small and not very reptiles also began to obey the big and fat Boss – he sends them into battle or recalls them back to him during the fight. And only when the trifle dies, he will go on the attack on Link.

Organs and spare parts from opponents dismantled in battle, as before, can be used to strengthen Link. If in Breath of the Wild they were needed for brewing potions, now the horns and hooves of enemies will have to be used to improve their own arsenal. Due to the Cataclysm, the weapons are destroyed by miasma and have lost their full power. New abilities of the protagonist come to the rescue.

Game within the game

Having lost his arm, Link did not remain a cripple – the guy was given a better prosthesis, more sophisticated! And he will give the protagonist new abilities. After passing the introduction, the main character will learn: to collect objects into mechanisms with the help of Combikinesis; glue finds with weapons and make them better using Charmmontage; seep through the ceiling or mountains thanks to the Spell Portal; return items back in time using Auto Reverse. Each of these abilities is used everywhere – the game design of the game is sharpened for the player’s experiments.

The jumpsuit is needed to solve the mysteries in the shrines and create insane mechanisms – there are already hundreds of videos from users on the network, where they collect aircraft, combat vehicles and fool around with the Koroks. Over and over again, you don’t get tired of assembling mechanisms, as well as using them to overcome obstacles: assemble a catapult for launching over a long distance; create a sled with a fan that will slide on grass or miasma; get into a flying machine with a bunch of fans and batteries to climb to the top of the above-ground island and find a test there. The possibilities are endless.

tears of the kingdom gameplay

Charmmontage is Nintendo’s neat way out of a situation where you need to give the player more variety without taking away old features. In fact, in Tears of the Kingdom he uses old weapons, but since they are ineffective due to miasma damage, he has to get out. By knocking out the horns of a Bokblin or Goblin Boss, they can be attached to weapons to increase attack power. Works with any object – even hook mushrooms on a stick. Or attach an explosive barrel to the shield, jump on top of the crowd of enemies, slip the shield under Link’s feet and blow up the poor fellows! Or pick up a fallen star, attach it to an inactive wand, and create a staff of light to explore the Caverns.

The auto-reverse of objects in time is used to solve puzzles or fly to the heavenly islands – we stand on a fallen piece of the ancient building, start the return in time and wait for the newly made elevator to take Link to his destination. But in battle, the ability has considerable potential. A stone was thrown at a hero? Send the gift back! Boss multiplied into a bunch of parts? Climb up one of them and use Auto Reverse to pull yourself up to the exposed weak spot!

But seepage through the ceiling could not be used anywhere other than exploring the world or solving mysteries. Although, I won’t be surprised if at the hundredth hour you meet a boss, who can be killed with the help of the Spell Portal – this is what The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom catches on!

Category “Experiments”

Unlike Elden Ring, which deliberately puts the player in the wheel, the new Zelda gives the tools and allows you to experiment with everything that the player sees on the screen.

This is not to say that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an easy game – the enemies here are merciless, and in some zones they kill with a couple of hits, if not one! But the player always has a choice of how to act in this or that situation – he is not forced to run and farm experience points, upgrade his characteristics and plug everyone he meets with a stick for “levelup”. The player’s head and brain are pumped: “How can I use all the means available to me to emerge victorious from this fight?” – and the solution is always at hand, as if the developers clearly calculated every battle in this vast world!

tears of the kingdom collector's edition

During the passage of the story mission in the village of the water people of Zora, which was flooded with mud, I could not open the entrance to the tower in any way – it was covered with mud. AAA releases filled with scripts taught me to leave things like this for later – most likely, they will give an ability or, according to the plot, the dirt will come off by itself. Until it dawned on the brain – the dirt can be washed off by attaching a water fruit to the arrow. And it worked! I felt like a genius and a fool at the same time – this delight at solving a riddle and shame at my own stupidity cannot be explained. It only needs to be felt.

In battle, the player is also free to experiment: attach a confucsia flower to an arrow and lure some of the opponents to his side for a while; throw a smoky mushroom at the feet of a crowd of enemies and kill everyone from the back; use elemental chuchu jellies or fruits to apply effects on enemies. It all depends on the desire of the player to try to solve these mini-tasks.

Sanctuaries are training grounds for creating mechanisms and solving puzzles with their help. During the passage, at first you don’t understand how correctly, according to the developers, you solved local puzzles. But it seems that there is no “correct solution” – everything that the player can implement works. And it intoxicates, forcing you to go against far-fetched rules more and more often – after all, these are only restrictions in your head, and not the framework set by the developer.

Need Switch more powerful!

The only and main drawback of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the release on the Nintendo Switch. Soapy picture, low frame rate – this is not the kind of game in which you want to see such a technical condition. Yes, you forgive her everything – during the gameplay, it’s not up to counting the frame rate – but you want to see the picture in all its splendor.

zelda tears of the kingdom

This is where emulators come to the rescue. Gorgeous graphics in 1080p, 2K or 4K and 30/60 frames per second – it all depends on the hardware. Thus I comprehend the new Zelda and do not feel any pricks of conscience about this – although I bought a Switch and I’m still a collector of physical copies of Nintendo games. At the time of writing, the Yuzu emulator plays Tears of the Kingdom without problems, and every day the performance is getting better! Not to mention mods from the community, where they increased the draw distance, the quality of shadows and removed the dynamic change in image resolution.


To summarize after 50 hours of gameplay, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a phenomenon. Such freedom is not seen today in any major AAA release from the “big” publishers – they try to navigate through points of interest, point to a smelly pile of content in the form of questions and please a dissatisfied client. If only he did not get bored and carried money to the cashier!

The new “Zelda” makes you look at video games in a new way. You want to live in it, spend your free time and constantly experiment, testing local mechanics for strength. And Tears of the Kingdom, so far, does not fail – it surprises and delights non-stop, clouds the mind with freedom and makes you try to play differently.

Questions about this game:

When does The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom come out?

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom release date – May 12, 2023.

Who is the developer of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development (EPD), directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi and produced by Eiji Aonuma.