Nintendo Goes Beyond Expectations with New Legend of Zelda Installment


Link dives into the Great Sky Islands from the Room of Awakening as the game’s title appears. Photo courtesy of Nintendo.

Chloe Tilley, Editor-In-Chief

Nearly two years after Nintendo released the groundbreaking open-world Legend of Zelda game, “Breath of the Wild” (BotW), a teaser for a long-anticipated sequel was showcased at E3 2019. Another two years later, a full teaser was released at E3 2021, providing fans with an official title, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” (TotK). The BotW sequel was set to release in 2022 but was delayed to May 2023, leaving fans even more eager than ever to return to Hyrule.

    As seen throughout Zelda history, Nintendo had never really made direct sequels to games until this year. Each game was a new adventure, offering a clean slate and a new incarnation of Link and Princess Zelda. 

    However, BotW became one of the most-played Nintendo games of all time, going on to sell over 30 million copies. How could Nintendo not make a sequel and give fans more of the world they became enamored with?

    TotK returns Zelda fans to the vast world of Hyrule, where they can play as the hero of time, a young boy named Link. The game follows Link’s journey to reunite with Princess Zelda after being separated from her while trekking beneath Hyrule Castle. Before their separation, they were met with a mysterious mummy, whom fans know to be the Demon King Ganondorf, whose goal is to conquer and destroy the kingdom of Hyrule. 

    Like in BotW, Link begins with nothing, as the Master Sword is decayed following the game’s prologue, and he must search for clothes and weapons to fend for himself. His right arm is destroyed in his altercation with the mummy. However, he is mysteriously provided with a new arm by a spirit named Rauru, a Zonai who was the first king of Hyrule.

    Rauru then assists Link through the Great Sky Islands as the latter must find four total shrines to gain the power to open the Temple of Time. After gaining the Goddess’ blessing in the Temple, Link bravely dives below to the land of Hyrule and begins his journey to find Princess Zelda. 

    TotK brings back features seen in BotW, such as finding Koroks, which are little leaf-like forest creatures that grant Link a seed. Link then brings these seeds to Hestu, a giant Korok that needs the seeds for his maracas, to expand his inventory. 

    Players can visit stables to board and take out horses they have tamed from the fields throughout the world. To my surprise, my horses from BotW were transferred to the stables and I was able to use my mighty white steed, whom I named Gandalf. 

    The game also brings back shrines, where players complete puzzles to gain Lights of Blessing. Players then use these Lights to pray to Goddess statues found in various villages to obtain heart or stamina containers.

    Yet, even though TotK takes a lot from BotW, it is still exhilaratingly fresh.

    The prologue to TotK is known to Hyrulians as the “Upheaval,” where Hyrule Castle rose to the sky and remnants of the Sky Islands fell to Hyrule. Pits of “gloom” known as Chasms sporadically appear across the world, resulting from Ganondorf’s releasing of his malevolent power. Regional phenomena occur in Rito Village, Gerudo Town, Goron City, and the Zora Domain. It is Link and his allies’ responsibility to find out what is causing these phenomena.

    While TotK derives immensely from BotW, TotKcontains new features that spice up players’ experience. Link’s (or Rauru’s) right hand gives him various abilities, such as Ascend, Fuse, Recall, and Ultrahand. Fuse is the most popular of these new abilities because it allows Link to create an endless possibility of…interesting…contraptions. Fuse along with the other new abilities aid Link in battle as well as shrine puzzles. 

    Overall, Nintendo truly went above and beyond with TotK. Every aspect of the game is entrancing, from the music to the plot as well as the scenery; It leaves me (and I’m sure other players as well) wanting more and more. I dread having to sleep every night because I’d rather be in Hyrule searching for my Princess and fighting weirdos (Lizalfos, Bokoblins, Horriblins, etc.).

    While TotK is a sequel to BotW, developers have tweaked the new game to where fans old and new can enjoy it. TotK both engenders and revives a need for adventure with its wanderlust-rousing country-sides, mountains, forests, and beaches. In a variety of ways, like BotW, TotK went beyond expectations to provide a genuine open-world experience and put other competitors to shame. I highly recommend TotK and hope that you, dear reader, decide to indulge in the wonder of diving into Hyrule. 9.5/10. (Slashed half a point because you still can’t pet the dogs.)

    The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available for purchase exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.