The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Review

Jarrod Garripoli
Published: 1st of August 2023, 8:09 AM GMT
Reviewed on: Switch


  • Exploration is fantastic!
  • Varied puzzles
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Tons of content
  • Denser world


  • Weapon Durability
  • Stale battle system
  • Music isn't memorable

Final Verdict

8.5 / 10
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Editor’s Choice May 2023

In 2017, Nintendo released their Switch console, along with a new Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild. This game was a big departure from the usual Zelda formula that was the standard since the Super Nintendo, as it was open world. The majority of gamers were thrilled with the direction, although there were some that weren’t all too happy with the new take on the series. Despite the criticism, Breath of the Wild became highly popular and sold a total of 30+ million units. It wasn’t until six years later that the sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, would eventually release. Is it more of the same, or was Breath of the Wild topped as the greatest game of all time?

The story takes place after Breath of the Wild, although it isn’t specified how long after, where you start with Link and Zelda exploring underneath Hyrule Castle. They happen upon a mummified corpse that ends up coming alive, taking Link’s arm and causing Zelda to fall in a chasm. Link is saved by a disembodied arm, while Hyrule Castle is lifted into the sky. Link wakes up in the sky, with the arm that saved him replacing his own, beginning his adventure. It’s a little weird, especially the events at the beginning, and the story takes some interesting turns throughout the rest of the game. The only problem is that you don’t get the full scope of the story, unless you do an optional quest to learn about all of the events.

While the overarching story isn’t exactly stellar, there is quite a bit of world building, should you explore all the nooks and crannies of the maps. Yes, there are multiple maps in the game, since the world is basically split up into three main areas. When you begin the game, you will start out in the Sky area, then drop to the Surface after finishing that opening act. The Surface is more or less, the same Hyrule you remember, for the most part. In addition to that, though, you will have the Depths, a massive underground area that is filled with all kinds of dangers. These three main areas essentially double, or even triple, the amount of content that was in Breath of the Wild.

These three main areas essentially double, or even triple, the amount of content that was in Breath of the Wild.

It’s true that there is a lot of content, but that might be one of the main problems with the game, as some people might think it’s too much. Also, it isn’t always rewarding content, either, especially if you do a lot of exploring in the Depths or in the Sky, which might be a little more barren than the Surface. For those who are completionists, this can even be a nightmare, since there’s so many things to do. However, that is not always that bad of a thing, especially for those that may or may not be able to play a lot of different games, so you are definitely getting your money’s worth here.

Tears of the Kingdom is definitely an amazing looking Switch game.

Now, if you weren’t particularly fond of Breath of the Wild and its systems, you might be a little cautious with Tears of the Kingdom. A lot of the bigger faults with the former game are still present in the new one. You still have the same old stamina system, where Link can only run for about two steps, before he gets tired and runs out of stamina. Of course, you’re still able to upgrade your stamina, and health, by visiting the various Shrines in the game. The Shrines are still a big part, with there being more than in the first game, and they are definitely more varied this time around.

A lot of Shrines will involve you scratching your head, trying to figure out how to solve the puzzle within them. You will find a lot of variation in the puzzles, which is definitely one of the higher points. There are still Shrines that have the puzzle outside of them, where you do something to get the Shrine to open, with the inner Shrine just giving you the reward. Of course, you will also be able to solve a lot of puzzles in different ways, so there is still that bit of a sandbox feeling with the puzzles. The only problem with these puzzles is that they are mostly isolated to their respective Shrines, so you never really get to use your brain outside of them, and they are also very short puzzles. It would have been nice to have one or two Shrines, where they combined the various puzzles you already encountered, into one bigger puzzle.

You will find a lot of variation in the puzzles, which is definitely one of the higher points.

One of the bigger problems with Breath of the Wild is that they designated a lot of Shrines as Tests of Strength, where you fought what was essentially the same enemy over and over. You’ll be glad to hear that those aren’t in this game, so you won’t have to worry about that aspect. There will still be combat-focused Shrines in Tears of the Kingdom, but they mostly act as tutorials for the battle system. Unfortunately, the battle system hasn’t really changed much, though, as it’s mostly the same. You will still have your basic attacking, dodging and special abilities, like Flurry Rush, and they didn’t really add much of anything, in terms of new skills.

Combat will still feel largely the same as in Breath of the Wild.

It was probably the case that the new non-combat abilities were added to make things a little interesting. You don’t have your old abilities from Breath of the Wild here, like the bombs or Stasis, but a new set of abilities. Ultrahand is one of the new abilities, where you’re able to grab onto almost anything and lift/grab/pull it. Additionally, there is Fuse, which allows you to attach items to your weapons, making them stronger and slightly more durable (more on that in a bit). Recall is another ability, where you basically are rewinding time for a short duration, on an object.

They are definitely all fun to use, but don’t really allow you to do much in direct combat, as with the first game’s abilities. The last major new ability in Tears of the Kingdom is Ascend, which is more for exploring, than anything else. It allows you to pass through ceilings, giving your exploration more verticality. There is one more secret ability you can find, which plays more into the building aspect of the game and is another aspect of Ultrahand. You can basically take two items, provided they work together, and glue them together. So, you could essentially glue together two boards or logs to create a bridge, which helps a lot with exploring.

The new Zonai objects help a lot with adding replayability, since they allow you to craft some wild and crazy things. While you do have some creative freedom with building things, they are just for show mostly, as the simple contraptions will get the job done, just as well. For example, you could try to construct a huge boat to sail along the water, but a simple wooden board, a Zonai Fan and a steering stick will be more than sufficient. Also, the more complex the machine, the more strain it will be on your battery resource, at least, until you’re able to upgrade it.

It was briefly mentioned above, but what about the whole weapon durability thing that might have been a problem for you in Breath of the Wild? Well, it’s still in Tears of the Kingdom and it can still be a bit of a problem. As mentioned already, Fuse allows you to put items on weapons, which can add some durability, but it doesn’t fix the inherent problem with the system. Your weapons will still break all the same, even some that were a little harder to find (and that weapon still breaks). So yes, you will still be going through a lot of weapons in your playthrough, which might lead to you just avoiding combat altogether, if you can help it.

Ultrahand and the Zonai devices make it fun to experiment!

Tears of the Kingdom is still a game that is about exploring, and you will see a lot of love and care went into the game’s world. It is one of the best-looking Switch games, if not the best looking one, and the art style lends itself to likely last a lot longer than a more realistic game. However, it is still a Switch game and what may have been slightly outdated hardware back in 2017, is becoming a lot more ancient. You’re not going to be seeing anything that truly wows you here, especially when you have more powerhouse consoles out there, with a lot more graphically intensive games on them.

The sound in Tears of the Kingdom also isn’t anything to write about, in terms of it being super good. There are a few tracks here and there, that will probably dig into your brain and set up residence, but most of the music is pretty forgettable and is more in the background. The sound effects are also good, but don’t really stand out too much. If there’s one thing surrounding the sound that can be a little grating, it’s the voices, especially Zelda’s voice being the same. Link is still mute, so you’re not going to be hearing much from him, other than his usual sounds during combat.

It is one of the best looking Switch games, if not the best looking one…

Overall, Tears of the Kingdom might feel like it’s more of an expansion to Breath of the Wild, especially since it uses a lot of assets. However, the exploration is much improved, due to some of the new abilities and the fact that there is a little bit more density in the world. You will be finding a lot of enemies, NPCs, or even a distracting shiny off of the main path. If you’re not careful, you could easily get lost in the world and be clocking over 100 hours of gameplay, without even making a dent in the main story. You will be getting a lot of value for your money and even if you weren’t fond of Breath of the Wild, there might be something here in Tears of the Kingdom.

Final Verdict

8.5 / 10



Tears of the Kingdom is a great game that makes it hard to go back to Breath of the Wild. It improves on its predecessor in terms of exploring and its sandbox method of gameplay, but fails to update the main combat mechanics and weapon system.

Score Breakdown
Gameplay 8 /10
Sound 7 /10
Graphics 9 /10
Story 8 /10
Value 10 /10
Jarrod started writing walkthroughs for games in 2002, and has been playing games since he was three years old, on the original NES. He is a huge fan of JRPGs and platformers, with Chrono Trigger being one of his top games of all time. Other hobbies include doing puzzles and listening to music.


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