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‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’ review: Going on an adventure… again!

Victor Barreiro Jr.

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‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’ review: Going on an adventure… again!


In 'Tears of the Kingdom,' experiencing this blend of old and new is invigorating, and adventuring is fun for its own sake

The reviewer purchased a copy of his own for the purposes of this review.

I have fond memories of playing – but getting nowhere near completing – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I spent hours on it on the Wii U, then eventually restarted after buying it again on the Nintendo Switch, and it was good stuff.

The passage of time and the advancement of technology, however, has brought about the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a sequel to Breath of the Wild, and while I was afraid I’d be missing out by not completing the first game, I found I had nothing to worry about and everything to love about the sequel.

Gaining (a new) right hand

Now, I won’t spoil any major story beats, but the basic premise is that Zelda has gone missing again – apparently being whisked away somewhere in a ball of light after a dramatic sequence of events that overturn the world and create floating islands and a deadly, dark underdepth.

Upon waking up, as is standard in Zelda games, the game gives you hints through quests to sort of tell you where to go and what to do to see the story to its completion, but honestly, it felt like I had all the time in the world to do that. I just wanted to explore this new landmass – basically a transformed Breath of the Wild map with locations above and below ground – with new powers bestowed upon me by a magical new arm attached to the corrupted remains of my old right arm.

My new hand lets me attach items to one another to make bridges or invent machines.

With it, I could attach things to one another and build machines, reverse the flow of time for a moving object, and ascend through solid rock to reach higher ground – the last one being a technical feat that astounds me with each use.

All of that occurring within the opening hours is meant to be used to do the same things you tried doing in the first game: regaining your strength by completing shrines, finding out where Zelda went, and taking down big baddies – including the supreme evil of this iteration of the Zelda franchise: You-Know-Who.

Regaining your power

The premise of regaining your power is a fun one, because if you played Breath of the Wild, you were likely much stronger. Regaining power – or getting back things that you lost – seems to be a running theme in my mind for this game.

I had to explore the basement of Hyrule Castle for my old Soldier Armor.

You lost your health and stamina? Get it back! Lost technologies from a mythical age before the present setting? Bring these technologies back to life!

Find a chasm leading to an subterranean civilization and the remnants of an evil ninja clan that hates the royals and Link? Explore and slay! You lost Zelda? Go find her!

The theme of getting back things lost also rings true when it comes to brushing up on your fighting skills. The game provides you with the same fighting skills you had in the first game, and the same somewhat annoying weapon system, in which weapons, shields, and bows break and you’re scrambling to find replacements for them in the middle of battle like a Fortnite player.

The only difference is that now, thanks to your awesome arm, you can fuse weapons and items together to increase their power temporarily, before those weapons break.

Aside from stocking up weapons, acquiring new armors (and the fashion game) is a fun little diversion, as you can get armor that increases your skydiving maneuverability, or makes climbing when it’s raining easier.

You can now acquire just about all the armors from Breath of the Wild, with some new armor besides. It’s fun to just go spelunking through caves, finding treasures hidden away while you were sleeping.

A series of towers can fling you up in the sky. How you get back down is up to you, but having a paraglider helps.
Adventuring is fun, and worth it for its own sake

Just to be clear, I’ve spent between 20 to 30 hours in-game since it released and I’m nowhere near done. There are a ton of side activities to do and quests to take on, and while I do feel the need to save Zelda, that’s not why I bought the Tears of the Kingdom to begin with.

I wanted a new adventure and to revisit old haunts, and I now have that chance. Experiencing this blend of old and new is invigorating, and adventuring is fun for its own sake.

While the price point is steeper at $70, Tears of the Kingdom certainly earns every tingly rupee I spent on it. I recommend it for people seeking a new open-world RPG to take away their worries for a while, moreso for those who want to revisit this iteration of Hyrule once again. Just don’t be afraid of the dark below. –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.