| Played on an OLED Switch and CLX Gaming PC Emulator |
Immediately after starting the game, I was whisked away on an extraordinary adventure with Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom; the highly anticipated delivered an enthralling world of Hyrule that surpasses even the beloved Breath of the Wild, offering a staggering array of explorable options. The Kingdom is teeming with life, thanks to its remarkable enemy density and diverse foes alongside outpost and underground layers that just deepens the experience further. But it’s the groundbreaking new gameplay mechanics that truly elevate this experience to new heights. From structure building and weapon crafting to the mind-bending puzzle solving skills required, Tears of the Kingdom presents a deep and immersive gameplay experience. And while the story may follow a familiar path for the franchise, the more independent storytelling ensures an engaging and emotionally resonant journey that will captivate fans, even if the tale feels somewhat tried and true.
Told Through Time
Embark on an adventure in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, where familiar elements intertwine with great storytelling. While the overarching story may feel familiar to long-time fans of the franchise, the game’s execution is definitely is better than Breath of the Wild; more cutscenes and dialogues with a much deeper story. The pacing is noteworthy with great enough effort to stay engaged. From the stunning landscapes to the heart-pounding encounters, Tears of the Kingdom delivers an immersive and engrossing experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
While I won’t reveal any key story elements, I can assure you that the way the narrative unfolds is a testament to the creative prowess of the developers. Each revelation timed well given its open nature, and the writers did a well enough job in creating an emotional connection to the characters. Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom proves that even in familiar territory, a well-told story can still captivate and surprise. It’s not perfect with an entirely original story, but it’s leagues above BotW.
A Remarkable Presentation
While the game maintains a similar fidelity to its predecessor, the graphical presentation has taken a remarkable leap forward in terms of scope and detail. The introduction of floating islands and deep underground caverns expands the world to nearly double its previous size, providing awe-inspiring vistas and immersive exploration. Hyrule is now adorned with additional outposts, towns, and larger cities, bustling with life and adding a sense of depth to the environment. Remarkably, the game runs exceptionally well, considering the new gameplay mechanics and the overall density of assets. Rare frame rate dips during intense battles are the only minor blips in an otherwise smooth performance. For those lucky enough to have a powerful gaming PC, used my CLX built computer to emulate TotK and let me tell you, the visuals reach new heights of beauty and crispness. Furthermore, the new arm of Rauru bestowed upon Link adds a touch of maturity and badassery to his appearance, while also serving as a thrilling gameplay mechanic that enhances his abilities and opens up exciting new possibilities.
Contrary to the prevailing consensus in the gaming community, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that Tears of the Kingdom performs poorly on six-year-old Switch hardware. In my experience, the game runs exceptionally well, which is truly a remarkable feat considering the hardware’s age. This accomplishment is a testament to Nintendo’s exceptional work culture, fostering a commitment to excellence that has allowed them to consistently produce outstanding games for nearly three decades. Whether you love or hate their titles, it is undeniable that Nintendo has maintained a standard of quality that few can match. Other companies would be wise to take note and consider adopting their approach, as it clearly yields remarkable results in terms of performance and player satisfaction.
Tearing Through the Kingdom
Link’s newfound Zonai powers, bestowed upon him by the enigmatic spiritual king Rauru, bring a fresh and exhilarating dynamic to the game. These abilities, each more captivating than the last, significantly alter the gameplay experience and enhance the sense of wonder that the franchise is known for.
Recall allows Link to reverse time on specific objects, opening up new puzzle-solving possibilities and providing a unique twist on environmental manipulation. The ability to undo actions and alter outcomes adds a layer of strategic thinking and experimentation to the gameplay.
Fuse grants Link the power to combine two items into one. This not only offers a practical advantage by creating powerful hybrid tools but also encourages exploration and experimentation as players discover new item combinations and their corresponding effects.
With Ultrahand, Link gains the power to effortlessly pick up, move, and combine items. This ability streamlines the gameplay, eliminating the need for tedious item management and enhancing the overall flow of the game. It empowers players to interact with the environment in innovative ways and adapt to challenges on the fly.
Link’s Ascend ability is particularly awe-inspiring, enabling him to climb straight up through solid surfaces. This ability opens up vertical exploration, unveiling hidden areas and secrets that were previously inaccessible. It adds a new dimension to the game’s world design and allows for a greater sense of freedom and discovery.
Autobuild provides an instant construction feature, allowing Link to recreate previously built structures effortlessly. This ability speeds up the pace of the game, eliminating the need for repetitive building processes and allowing players to focus more on exploration and combat.
The introduction of these Zonai powers significantly changes the pace and feel of Tears of the Kingdom, injecting it with a renewed sense of engagement and excitement. Players will find themselves constantly discovering new ways to utilize these abilities, solving puzzles, navigating the world, and approaching combat encounters with newfound strategies. The sense of wonder and discovery that these powers evoke while exploring this vast world is akin to my first-time playing Elden Ring – and if you couple that with the level of physical objects you can interact with – it’ll boggle the mind. Once again, I will never understand how this game is ever possible on the Switch. Genius-level stuff.
REVIEW SCORE: 9/10
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the best Zelda game in the franchise and will probably hold the mantle for years to come. With forward pushing gameplay elements while improving on every other level of BotW and an unprecedented engineering behind it, I can see myself sinking hundreds of hours into this game.