The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the latest instalment in the long-running Zelda franchise, an entry that proves once again why each and every game is a classic in its own right. Remarkably, despite first arriving in the 1980s, Zelda remains a timeless gaming experience and one that raises the bar for the industry with each and every generation. Needless to say, with history weighing heavy on the shoulders of developers, expectations were high for the new release. Somehow, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom exceeds them all.
Table of Contents
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Plot
- Improved Voice Acting
- Tears of the Kingdom Soundtrack and Score
- Innovation and Creativity
- The Verdict
Tears of the Kingdom takes place shortly after the events of 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. With Calamity Ganon gone, Zelda, Link and the rest of Hyrule have started rebuilding the land. However, after exploring caves deep underneath Hyrule Castle, our beloved heroes accidentally awaken a new evil, one that older fans of the franchise will recognise and be familiar with.
For Zelda fans, it has been a long six-year wait since Breath of the Wild first launched on the Switch. And despite Breath of the Wild taking the world by storm for its complete redesign of the franchise, Tears of the Kingdom feels like an amalgamation of the whole franchise.
It expands on the open-world nature of recent titles, and draws inspiration from the narrative and Temple design of older games while once again providing the kind of engaging and innovative gaming experiences very few franchises offer.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Plot
While Breath of the Wild offered up a very open-world Zelda experience, the biggest fault of the game was just how far it distanced itself from the classic Zelda themes. In particular when it comes to narrative and storyline. However, Nintendo took this feedback in its stride, offering up a much more fleshed-out storyline for players to uncover and play through this time around. In particular, the game does a fantastic job of placing the titular Princess Zelda at the forefront of the game.
While Link may be the character we all play as, Zelda has always been the foundation of the franchise and her multi-layered portrayal elevates the game as a whole. As well as this, Tears of the Kingdom pays homage to the great Zelda games of the past, with the storyline and overall progress of the game mirroring the likes of Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword and other classic entries in the franchise.
With a great collection of supporting characters to aid Link and Zelda, many of which return from Breath of the Wild, the newest Zelda title also really brings to life Hyrule, fully immersing each race and type of character found throughout the land.
While Tears of the Kingdom does include Shrines similar to its predecessor. The game brings back Temples, many of which are completely fresh and new ideas to the franchise. These larger gameplay activities and boss battles will feel like home to old-time Zelda players while also offering up a brand new challenge to those who may have only recently begun dipping into the franchise.
Improved Voice Acting
Of course, the other big inclusion in the narrative of Tears of the Kingdom is Ganondorf. Despite being such an iconic figure in Zelda lore, this is the villain’s first appearance since Twilight Princess. Voice actor Matthew Mercer has done a superb job of bringing the character back to life and proving once and for all that Ganondorf is one of the most recognisable villains in all of gaming.
After all, the Zelda franchise is mostly built on the idea of Link, Zelda and Ganondorf as the three main figures. When all are combined and thrown together, the consequences are fierce and devastating but always a massive success.
As well as Mercer’s performance as Ganondorf, Patricia Summersett returns as the English dubbing for Zelda in a performance that’s much stronger than last time. While her outing in Breath of the Wild portrayed a much younger Zelda, Summersett brings a level of experience, regality and wisdom to Zelda that has not been seen since the likes of Twilight Princess.
Tears of the Kingdom Soundtrack and Score
Speaking of audio work, it’s worth mentioning that Tears of the Kingdom‘s original soundtrack is a masterpiece in its own right. While each Zelda title offers up a fresh and beautiful OST, Tears of the Kingdom combines the big orchestra pieces of old with the softer and more ambient nature of Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild.
Old classic tunes have been given a glow-up, each Temple and boss battle features an epic and uplifting score to accompany it and for the longtime Zelda players, the way Nintendo has completely reinvented Ganondorf’s theme from Ocarina of Time is a marvel for the ears.
Innovation and Creativity
The biggest drawcard to the new Zelda is the mechanics that Nintendo has done an almost unbelievable job of creating and fine-tuning. While Breath of the Wild hinted at creativity through the Sheikah Slate, Tears of the Kingdom goes all in on allowing players to do basically whatever they want.
Want to attach a log to a rocket and shoot into the sky? No problem. Would you like to build a giant tank to destroy a Talus with? The sky really is the limit.
With abilities such as Ascend, Rewind, Ultrahand and more, Link is able to fuse weapons together, flow through mountains and appear at the peak. As a result, the game becomes a completely individual experience for each and every player. There is very rarely one correct way to do anything.
Stamina may now be less important given these extensive traversal mechanics. The variety of ways in which players are now able to explore Hyrule makes it a completely new experience, despite how similar the setting may initially feel to Breath of the Wild. Instead, Nintendo has given Tears of the Kingdom players all the tools they need to play and left the handbook at home. While this does mean there’s a steep learning curve at the beginning, once you find your groove you’ll never look back.
The Verdict – 5/5
While Tears of the Kingdom would likely benefit from a more powerful console than the Nintendo Switch, the developers have been able to create 2023 game that still runs exceptionally well on a console that’s six years old. A culmination of all the Zelda titles that came before it, Tears of the Kingdom builds on the success of Breath of the Wild to offer up a gaming experience like no other that we’ll likely be talking about for years to come.