The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the long-awaited sequel to Breath of the Wild, bringing a whole new adventure to the world of Hyrule. While a lot has been carried over, a lot has changed too. Locations have been transformed, mechanics tweaked or changed entirely, and the game world is bigger than ever.
The tone, too, is different. Rather than a world on the brink, things are actually looking up for Hyrule. And even from the very first moments of the game, Tears of the Kingdom works to show what makes it stand out, and what the developers have learned over the last six years. From crazy contraptions to deep caves, there’s a ton that’s new and plenty to explore.
10 The Intro
One of the most significant differences between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom is immediately visible: the opening. While in Breath of the Wild, Link found himself weak, unarmed, and unsure of who he was, Tears of the Kingdom does so much more.
With twenty hearts, armor, and even the full-fledged Master Sword, Link feels like a powerful force right away, short-lived as that power might be. The next portion, from waking on the Sky Island to the title splash, can be seen as a homage to the original, though improved upon in both flow and spectacle.
9 Tears Of The Kingdom Has A Tutorial
While Breath of the Wild was renowned for teaching players through gameplay, some facets of it could still slip by, and what tutorials did exist were often barebones and far apart. Tears of the Kingdom, on the other hand, takes a more active approach, though the majority are still optional.
Link and Zelda’s exploration of the catacombs is a great example. Thanks to Link’s initial power, the first combat is a pushover, but does let players get the hang of the controls. Likewise, his awakening soon after ensures players will gain the confidence to jump when needed and know how to land safely.
8 Voice Acting
Breath of the Wild was noteworthy at the time for being the first Zelda game to feature voiced dialogue, but while that is technically true, it was easy to miss for many players. The majority of voice-acted scenes were kept to scattered memories which were only needed for the game’s true ending.
Tears of the Kingdom makes much more liberal use of voice acting, featuring plenty in the opening scenes, and plenty throughout, even giving fan-favorite Purah some time to shine. Ganon gets a voice for the first time since the ill-fated Wand of Gamelon, a game more famous for its baffling cutscenes than anything else.
7 Light Matters
It can be easy to take light for granted, but in Tears of the Kingdom, players will find themselves leading Link through pitch-black caves if they don’t prepare properly. While a torch is better than nothing, to truly steer clear of the ever-dangerous Gloom requires something brighter.
Lightroots are perhaps the easiest fix; these Shrine-like locations brighten the radius around them. Brightbloom Seeds are a more portable option, causing bright light where they land. But sometimes, it pays to have something portable. For that, there are glow potions and the Miner’s Armor, both of which cause Link himself to light up like a lantern while active.
6 A Brand New Set Of Powers
Link’s quartet of Cryonis, Magnesis, Remote Bomb, and Stasis were defining features of Breath of the Wild. Four abilities he could use anywhere, any time, to manipulate the environment and solve puzzles even in the middle of battle, adding a layer of depth that the series had rarely seen before.
In Tears of the Kingdom, these abilities are gone, replaced by a new set of tools. Ascend is perhaps the simplest, allowing Link to ascend through objects above him. Recall is deceptively complex, but easy to learn, letting the player rewind the time of an object. But Fuse and Ultrahand take it a step further.
5 Weapon Fusion
In most games, “weapon crafting” means sitting at a table, going through menus, selecting a recipe, and maybe adding a few bells and whistles if the game is particularly generous. But in Tears of the Kingdom, players can take a basic stick and glue on just about anything they want, thanks to the Fuse ability.
At its most basic, a rock plus a stick makes a hammer or an axe if it’s sharp. Fire fruit and an arrow, a flaming arrow, or a homing arrow if a keese eye is used. But some of the most creative “weapons” use a shield and a Zonai device, turning them into flamethrowers, jetpacks, and more.
4 Ultrahand Contraptions
In Breath of the Wild, players found countless unexpected ways to travel the land, from lifting rafts with balloons to paradoxical minecart hovercrafts powered by magnetism. In Tears of the Kingdom, it seems the developers decided to take these to heart, and actively encourage players to go wild with their creativity.
The Ultrahand ability is likely to be both the first ability players acquire, and one of their most used. It allows Link to glue any movable object to any other movable object, be it wheels on a plank to make a skateboard, adding fans to a hot air balloon to soar the skies, or just making a really long bridge.
3 Hyrule Is Being Rebuilt
in Breath of the Wild, Hyrule was in shambles, having fallen from grace a century prior after the devastation of the Great Calamity. Towns were sparse, and the lands in-between had few traces of civilization outside the ramshackle bokoblin camps that dotted the landscape.
In Tears of the Kingdom, this has begun to change. The kingdom of Hyrule is starting to rebuild following Calamity Ganon’s defeat, towns are growing, and more and more people can be seen traveling the world. Thanks to the work of Hudson Construction, several supply depots have even been set up, providing lumber and tools to aid in the reconstruction.
2 Time Has Passed
Time has passed since the events of Breath of the Wild. Not only has Hyrule changed, but its people too. With the return of Princess Zelda, the land has been more unified than ever, and life is changing from a struggle to survive to the populace enjoying some semblance of peace.
Amid this turbulent time, a few characters have stood out in growth. Purah has quite literally grown, and is recovering from the accident that turned her into a child. Link and Zelda have made good use of the last few years, living together in their house in Hateno Village and turning it into a cozy hideaway.
While Breath of the Wild was vast, it was more or less vast on a single, expansive plane. The areas around Death Mountain or Rito Village had plenty of height, but with the exception of divine beast Vah Medow, nothing could match the sheer scale the sequel would bring.
Tears of the Kingdom brought with it not just sky islands, but deep, mysterious cave systems as well. It’s entirely possible to dive from the top of a sky island, soar over the surface of Hyrule, and descend into a pitch-blank Gloom-tainted chasm all in one continuous action, provided Link has a way to survive the fall.
NEXT: 10 Games Like The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
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