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The student news site of Freehold Township High School

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The student news site of Freehold Township High School

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The Legend of Zelda – Tears of the Kingdom Review

Has the game of the year already been released?

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. You’ve played it, seen it, or heard of it. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t owned a Nintendo product since you played Mario Kart on your DS; you can’t avoid this game. 

A few years after the events of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we are brought back to the land of Hyrule after a new substance called Gloom emerges. The gloom begins causing people to fall ill. So naturally, the bravest in the kingdom of Hyrule choose to investigate. The game opens with Princess Zelda and her appointed knight Link in the underground caves below Hyrule Castle. Through their investigation, they find a mural on a wall of various tribes fighting against a great evil known as the Demon King. This mural reveals the existence of a long lost tribe known as the Zonai who become quite important throughout the game. Following the mural, moving deeper into the cave system, Link and Zelda find a large clearing with a bright spiral coming to a point at a decaying corpse suspended off the ground. As they walk up to the body, a seemingly gravity defying arm holding the body bends over and falls. The body starts moving, and begins to reanimate, revealing it to be the long forgotten Demon King, Ganondorf. The body erupts with gloom all around the room and targets Zelda, luckily to be blocked by Link’s quick reaction using the infamous Master Sword. The gloom however, latches onto the sword and crawls up his arm, burning his arm and eventually shattering the blade of the sword. Ganondorf, clearly growing in power, unleashes a full assault demolishing the room. As the ground crumbles, Zelda stumbles back falling to a seemingly endless void. Link, without a second thought, jumps after Zelda but is not fast enough to save her. Zelda appears to be engulfed in a bright light, and Link is stopped from falling by the same disembodied arm once holding the corpse of Ganondorf. Link falls unconscious, awaking to a new arm, the same arm that saved him, was attached to him. This is where the prologue ends and the main gameplay begins.

Enough backstory of the beginning. Let’s get to the good stuff. The gameplay, the rest of the story, and the game itself is truly worth the wait. Furthermore, the only spoilers will consist of beginning content that can be discovered within the first hour of gameplay. 

The gameplay is remarkable. If you loved Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom somehow makes it look like a tech demo. Breath of the Wild does everything right– Tears of the Kingdom somehow does it better. The new mechanics of the game rely on the new abilities of Link’s replacement arm. Taking the place of the previous title’s Sheikah Slate, the arm comes with 4 new abilities: Recall, Ascend, Fuse, and Ultrahand. When an object is moved, recall will return it to its original location within a certain timeframe. Ascend lets you live out your dream of flying through ceilings… but only ceilings… when meeting the specific conditions. Not sure why you would have that dream. Ascend can be a lot of fun to mess around with. Fuse allows Link to attach all sorts of items to weapons, shields, and arrows, providing different effects. There are tons of combinations to work with each providing different uses, whether it’s freezing enemies, lighting up areas, or attaching a minecart to a shield and pulling off some sick tricks. Ultrahand is one of the most useful abilities of the game, especially with the addition of the new Zonai technology. Ultrahand allows you to move objects freely and attach them together for makeshift vehicles, platforms, and basically whatever you think of. The gameplay overall is incredibly smooth and kept all the great mechanics of its predecessor, while touching up areas it needed to.

The rest of the story is phenomenal. It sets the mood immediately and captivates its audience right off the bat. Some of the major events are challenging to get through, so it is difficult to rush the game without strategically planning for each major moment. The story as a whole is extremely enticing and provides for some very emotional moments, as you feel a bond growing with each of the characters. The story is certainly challenging to discuss without giving away too much information, but all leads up to a tremendous conclusion to this version of Hyrule.

The game at release was $70, which is one of the most hefty for a Nintendo release that was not included with DLC, or additional content. As someone who pre-ordered the game and got it on day one, I wouldn’t put it down until I finished it. I played for days and weeks on end just to make it through. The game absolutely was worth it’s price tag. Even months after finishing it, I still will talk for hours about it. I absolutely loved this game and really appreciated how it followed up Breath of the Wild, especially with how successful it was.

Overall, Tears of the Kingdom is a beautiful game that does the Zelda franchise a huge service. Sure, the game isn’t perfect. It overlooks a few missing details from Breath of the Wild, yet it’s not nearly enough to take away from the greatness of this game. I cannot recommend it enough to people. If you want a great experience that’ll last you a while, play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

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