‘Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’: Nintendo Makes Another Masterpiece


(Courtesy of Nintendo Co.)

By Zach Anderson, Arts Writer


On May 12, Nintendo released its much-anticipated installment of the Legend of Zelda franchise, “Tears of the Kingdom.” The story remains as it has in every Zelda game: the Demon King, Ganondorf, awakens, Princess Zelda is kidnapped and Link (the player) is the only one that can save the princess and stop Ganondorf’s evil forces. After some light story setup in a brand-new skyward start-up area, Hyrule is yours to explore with 4 quest markers on an empty map, much like the setup of this game’s predecessor. While “Tears of the Kingdom” doesn’t reinvent much of what made “Breath of the Wild” great, “Tears” feels like a perfect elaboration on its open-world formula.

With a revamped weapons system, new tools/mechanics and an expansive map with plenty of new nooks and crannies to explore, there are a million more ways to skin a Korok. Every encounter is strengthened with power that players haven’t seen since “Breath of the Wild” was released. After playing through only a fraction of Nintendo’s newest masterpiece, this sequel somehow feels so much larger than its predecessor.

Hyrule and Mechanics

“Tears of the Kingdom” sticks steadfastly to its belief that exploration and discovery are king. In contrast to many other open-world games of its caliber, “Tears” does the bare minimum in directing the player where to go outside of the main quest. Nintendo leaves the rest of the adventuring up to the player to exhilarating effect.

Each new shrine, cave and quest I found felt earned and I was excited to see what bosses and puzzles I’d encounter next. Now with multiple layers of Hyrule to explore in the sky and in the depths, there’s a great sense of verticality to exploration as a whole. Boss encounters, specifically the Wind Temple’s boss, were a highlight and made me feel smaller in an already massive world.

Thankfully, Link’s new abilities, granted to him via a new magic arm, give him new ways to interact with this brave, familiar world. The tool that’s been sparking the most hilarity online is the new building mechanic. This allows the player to build everything from cars to gliders to Korok torture devices. This doesn’t short-sell other needed improvements made to weapons, thanks to another one of Link’s “handy” abilities. For example, Link can now combine lesser weapons with other lesser items to create greater items, like bomb plant arrows or a firestick. This adds a sense of balance to a durability system that thrived on scarcity. Now, instead of saving all of your good weapons for a rainy day, you can now craft good weapons on the spot.

Stuttering Performance

My only complaint thus far with “Tears of the Kingdom” are the same occasional processing stutters that plagued “Breath of the Wild.” These stutters in regular gameplay aren’t noticeable, but in large battles with a few too many entities or effects, the lag becomes hard to deal with. Still, unlike many other triple-A studio releases over the past few years, I encountered no game-breaking glitches. In fact, I didn’t encounter any glitches or crashes at all. It’s sad to say that launching in a playable state is a notable feat for video game companies nowadays, but I give credit where credit is due.

“Tears of the Kingdom” is slated to go down in history as one of the greatest Zelda games of all time, let alone one of the best games of all time. If you have a Switch, this game is a must-have for your library.


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