The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom reviews and why it is already a GOTY candidate.
Nintendo surprised Zelda fans in September 2021 by announcing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the sequel to Breath of the Wild, would launch in 2023. Since then, Nintendo has slowly revealed more details about the new open-world Zelda adventure.
The title Tears of the Kingdom sounds rather somber and suggests a darker tone than Breath of the Wild. The initial teaser trailer showed Hyrule Castle crumbling and floating in the sky, signaling that Hyrule has descended into a state of despair. Link and Zelda appear in new outfits, with Link sporting a longer hairstyle and Zelda a shorter cut. Zelda seems poised to take a more active role and may even be playable in parts of the game.
Tears of the Kingdom will reuse the same massive open world map of Hyrule from Breath of the Wild. However, new sky-based exploration and sky islands will add a vertical element. Link can climb up into the sky, skydive down, and glide between floating islands. This sky dimension will house its own quests, puzzles, and beasts to battle.
Classic Zelda items and gameplay will make a return after being largely absent in Breath of the Wild. The reveal trailer showed Link wielding familiar gear like the bow and arrow, boomerang, hookshot, and shield. Large underground dungeons were also on display, indicating more traditional Zelda puzzle-solving will play a key role in Tears of the Kingdom.
In early 2023, Nintendo dropped another trailer highlighting sky exploration and new threats. Massive sky beasts known as Volucres fly through the clouds, and Link is shown battling one atop a sky island. The trailer also gave a closer look at the game’s version of Zora and Rito, confirming more familiar races will return.
Amiibo compatibility was confirmed, with new Zelda amiibo slated to launch alongside the game. These will likely unlock in-game bonuses like special gear, items, or cosmetic options as in previous Zelda titles.
Tears of the Kingdom is better in almost every way
If the reviews are any indication, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is shaping up to be nothing short of epic. Reviewers can hardly contain their excitement about this much-anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild. The sentiment seems to be uniformly positive – with reviewers calling Tears of the Kingdom everything from “jaw-dropping” and “spellbinding” to “a true masterpiece”. The praise just pours forth from those who have gotten an early glimpse at this ambitious new entry in the Zelda franchise.
Up until now, Nintendo’s masterpiece has received a beautiful 96 on Metacritic and 97 on open critic.
Why is the Tears of the Kingdom such a success?
The reviewers love everything from the gorgeous visuals and groundbreaking physics to the grand scale of the game and the epic story. But what exactly makes Tears of the Kingdom such a jaw-dropping experience according to those lucky enough to play the game early? Here are the main reasons why the reviews were through the roof.
First off, Tears of the Kingdom builds on top of Breath of the Wild’s incredible physics engine and vast open world in a huge way. Where Breath of the Wild made you go “wow” when you discovered you could chop down trees and set grass on fire, Tears of the Kingdom takes it to a whole new level.
Now you can pick up and throw pretty much any object in the game, climb and descend cliff faces like Spiderman, and soar through the skies gliding and using Link’s crazy new high-tech paraglider. You explore massive underground caverns, floating islands high in the sky, and a sprawling overworld that makes Breath of the Wild seem tiny by comparison. So pretty much every minute of gameplay makes you think “how the heck did they make a Zelda game do that?!”
Second, the visuals are absolutely mind-blowing. Nintendo took a massive leap with the art style in Breath of the Wild but somehow they managed to somehow make another massive leap forward with Tears of the Kingdom. The landscapes are some of the most beautiful ever put in a video game and the level of detail is stunning.
Shadows and light dance across every surface, individual blades of grass sway in the wind, and when you fly high above Hyrule Field the scale of the world and immense complexity of the terrain really hits you. Boss battles have some of the most epic set pieces ever seen in a Zelda game, with massive environments and unbelievable animations that push the Switch to its limit.
Third, the story really intrigues players and reviewers alike. Whereas Breath of the Wild’s story was relatively simple and served mostly as a framework to explore Hyrule, Tears of the Kingdom weaves together an epic tale that spans multiple dimensions and time periods.
While keeping plot details a secret, reviewers say the story delves into the fundamental concepts of fate, free will, and the bonds that tie people together across space and time. Link’s journey takes him to haunting yet beautiful locales as he tries to unravel an ages-old mystery and save a cast of memorable new characters from a mysterious threat. The story packs an emotional punch that leaves you thinking about its themes long after you’ve finished the game.
Finally, the overall scale of the game simply blows reviewers away. Tears of the Kingdom has by far the biggest map of any Zelda game and you explore locales that push the boundaries of what a Zelda game should be. Going underground and seeing ancient civilizations, soaring to sky islands that seem to float among the clouds, and discovering a vast underwater realm are just some of the settings reviewers describe as “omg I can’t believe this is Zelda.”
Put it all together and you have what most reviewers are calling a true video game epic – potentially the magnum opus of The Legend of Zelda series. Tears of the Kingdom takes everything people loved about Breath of the Wild and cranks it up to 11. It has the exploration and wonder of discovery, the innovative gameplay, and the beautiful visuals – just on a jaw-dropping new scale.
•Massive open world and sky exploration create a sense of freedom and discovery.
•Darker mature themes and story provide emotional depth.
•Overreliance on repetition and lacking major new ideas from Breath of the Wild.
•Some technical issues like frame rate drops and long load times. Dated visuals.
•Overall though, Tears of the Kingdom is seen as a worthy follow-up that recaptures the magic of Breath of the Wild while taking the series in a more poignant direction. The open world gameplay remains compelling, and the sky dimensions and somber tone represent a maturity that elevates this new Zelda to be more than just another sequel. While not as revolutionary as its predecessor, Tears of the Kingdom is a haunting and memorable journey that Zelda fans will not soon forget.
Reviewers loved basically everything about Tears of the Kingdom. They praised the gorgeous visuals, expansive world, epic story, innovative gameplay, and how it builds upon Breath of the Wild in every way. Many described it as a massive leap forward that pushes the boundaries of what a Zelda game can be.
The reviews say the visuals in Tears of the Kingdom are a massive leap above Breath of the Wild. Shadows, lighting effects, terrain detail, character animations, and scope of environments are all significantly improved.