What We Still Don't Know About Tears of the Kingdom
Posted by Kris Randazzo on Apr 5th 2023
But Why Does The Kingdom Cry?
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is just over a month away, and depending on who you talk to, it’s either going to be even more amazing than the last one, or it’s going to be trash. Internet rhetoric aside, Breath of the Wild was easily one of the best selling games in the entire franchise, so it’s only natural that Nintendo would try and follow up on its success with a sequel that’s at least somewhat similar. But last week they showed off some new gameplay footage and well, it may have looked a bit too similar.
The whole point of a Breath of the Wild sequel was to try and pull a “Majora’s Mask” and pump out a relatively quick followup that reused many of the previous game’s elements. Tears of the Kingdom certainly seems to do that, excepting of course for the short development part. It’s been 6 years since Breath of the Wild released, and with Tears of the Kingdom literally reusing the same map and architecture, the same sounds, the same music, and even the same enemies, it’s hard not to wonder what they’ve been doing all this time.
On one hand, it seems more than likely that the bulk of what this game is is being kept secret. They've been incredibly secretive about this game since its announcement, and maintaining that secrecy until players actually get their hands on it wouldn’t be out of character. Of course it’s also not hard to imagine that they’ve just been working on this crafting stuff for years to make sure it doesn’t break everything, and the rest of the game doesn’t actually offer much that’s new.
We’ll all soon see what the verdict is, but I have no doubt Nintendo knows how much is riding on this game, and an air of mystique can be an effective tool to drum up hype. But as the saying goes, Nintendo’s gonna Nintendo, so who knows what this game actually is?
Personally, I’m finding myself pretty lukewarm on the whole thing. I adored Breath of the Wild, but I like it when new Zelda games feel, you know, new. What little I’ve seen of Tears of the Kingdom doesn’t feel new to me, and that’s sapping most of the excitement I had for the game away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to buy it and probably enjoy it, but I can’t shake the feeling that I might not be blown away. It might just be more of the same with a bonkers crafting system, which doesn’t really do much for me.
It would help if I knew more. How much more? Well…
Will there be dungeons?
Dungeons are the meat and potatoes of most Zelda games, and Breath of the Wild took a wildly different approach to them. Instead of a handful of complex and interesting dungeons, they made a bunch of smaller shrines spread all across Hyrule which worked like mini dungeons. They were neat, but I don’t want to do that again. I would love to see what proper dungeons in the Breath of the Wild Zelda universe would be like, and not even the Divine Beasts were it. They were cool as heck too, but they still weren’t quite the proper dungeons I’m looking for.
So, will they be there? What little we’ve seen shows that the shrines from the last game seem to have all been wiped off the map, but what will take their place? I hope it’s dungeons. Glorious, creative dungeons.
How will weapon degradation actually work?
Easily the biggest gripe most people had with Breath of the Wild was weapon degradation. Every weapon broke constantly. Like, hilariously often. The idea was to put a system in place that encouraged people to experiment with different kinds of weapons, but even when that worked, those weapons broke way too fast too. It’s a good idea, but one that needs a SERIOUS amount of fine tuning to make it actually worthwhile.
In Tears of the Kingdom, it seems a new way to combat weapon degradation is to take advantage of the new fuse system, where you take your weapons that are about to break and combine them with some random stuff you have in your inventory. Once fused, it appears that the item reverts back to full power.
This is cool, but the question is, how does basic weapon degradation work for just normal items themselves. I don’t want to have to go fusing apples to my cool Ancient Swords just to stop them from breaking all the time. Did they actually overhaul the weapon stamina system? I certainly hope so, but we still don’t know for sure.
What’s the story?
Who was that dead guy? Was it Ganondorf? Where’s Zelda? What happened to Link’s hand? How is he doing all that stuff without his Sheikah Slate? Where are all the new Champions? Can I still make dubious food?!? Just what in the heck is going on? I honestly don’t know, and that’s kind of exciting, but still frustrating. I know most people don’t play Zelda games for their story, but I love the story in Zelda games. Sure they’re simple and not all that “grown up” like God of War or anything, but I find them fun and I want to know more about what’s going on in Tears of the Kingdom. Fingers crossed we get one final story trailer before the game releases.
How many of these sky islands are there?
With Hyrule basically being the same as it was in Breath of the Wild, these new sky islands are looking like my best bet in terms of new places to explore. They sure do seem to hold a ton of potential, but only if there’s a lot of them, which I have no idea about so far. If it’s just a small handful of floaty islands, that’s going to feel like the Sky in Skyward Sword, which was supremely disappointing. If it’s a ton of stuff floating in random places all over Hyrule, that’s going to be more like sailing in Wind Waker, and that’s an exciting proposition to me. One of my favorite things about that game was the feeling of exploration whenever you’d find a new island, learn its history from a fish, and then go exploring to see what it has to offer. Skyward Sword’s sky was desolate and boring. It’s my sincerest hope that the sky in Tears of the Kingdom is more Wind Waker than Skyward Sword.
How different is the world?
Yes, the map is quite literally the same landscape as the first game, but time has passed, and in what little we’ve seen, there have been a fair few changes. Spots that once held ruins are now home to mid-construction buildings. All the towers are gone, as are the shrines. But what else? Are there new caves to explore? Is there an underworld to match the floating sky islands? Have new roads been paved? Are there new towns to visit? What do the old towns and villages look like now? These are all burning questions that I can’t wait to learn the answers to. It’s been at least 5 years since I’ve even turned Breath of the Wild on, so I definitely don’t have the old game’s map memorized. Still, I want to see something new. I want to see what makes this world worth exploring a second time instead of just playing Breath of the Wild again.
I’m choosing to have faith that Nintendo will answer these questions in a satisfactory manner. The only mainline Zelda game I outwardly dislike is Majora’s Mask, which doesn’t make this direct sequel that reuses a lot of the previous game’s assets look super exciting, but I’m choosing to have faith. I may not have loved Majora’s Mask, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 was a similar situation and it also happens to be one of my favorite games of all time.
So I guess what this all boils down to is, let’s just wait and see. I’m choosing to hold out hope that this game will have been worth the wait.