‘Tears of the Kingdom’ is a Crowning Achievement for the Zelda Series with a ‘Master-Handful’ of New Content to Explore


Tyler Kim

Among the many new gameplay mechanics introduced to “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” by the Zonai Devices, the “ultrahand” and “fuse” abilities rely on the player’s ingenuity in crafting.

The Game Award winner for Video Game of the Year. SXSW winner for Excellence in Design. Golden Joystick winner for Best Audio.

The preceding list, while seemingly vast, is just a fraction of the many accolades that “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” received upon its release as a launch title for the then-new Nintendo Switch console in March 2017. Needless to say, fans held high expectations for the sequel – “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” – which released on May 12 following six years of rampant anticipation.

After a combined one hundred hours of gaming, we are glad to announce that TotK has done the impossible. Not only is it a near-perfect sequel, but the game also somehow provides an experience that far surpasses its predecessor in a plethora of aspects. 

Wholly new additions to the map, game-changing gameplay mechanics and a compelling continuation of the ongoing story are sure to delight long-time Zelda fans and introduce the best tenets of the franchise to newcomers.

The most noticeable departure from BotW comes with the wide array of fresh abilities that mystical Zonai artifacts provide Link, the game’s playable protagonist. The new mechanics — master hand, fuse, recall and ascend — provide an abundance of ways for players to interact with the open-world environment. These mechanics fundamentally alter the gameplay by forcing players to use their creativity when crafting solutions to various puzzles, defeating menacing bosses and piecing together the game’s story. 

In addition to the gameplay options, TotK also delivers a revamped map for players to explore. Though TotK may share the core of its map – the ruins of the Kingdom of Hyrule – with BotW, the passage of time between the two games’ settings makes it so that subtle updates reward players. 

Of course, TotK also delivers completely new environments such as a sprawling underground area teeming with beautifully crafted environments.

Dark, eerie and filled with frighteningly strong enemies — the underground provides an endgame-like experience that defies all expectations set in BotW. Here, players can explore the ruins of the long-lost Zonai civilization, which sets up one of the game’s most distinguishing features: the story.

TotK is canonically set at the end of the Zelda franchise’s timeline — established across decades of titles — and expands the lore of the series in original ways. From exploring the mystical, god-connected Zonai civilization to understanding the founding events behind Hyrule’s long-lost past, TotK presents a story-packed narrative that truly immerses players. 

Overall, the execution of gameplay mechanics, map, music and lore makes TotK a masterful sequel to the nearly flawless BotW. The game can be purchased in stores and on the Nintendo eShop.