- Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom first impressions: flying high
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was a day 1 purchase for me — its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, might be my favourite game ever. So far, I’m having a great time.
I think the running theme so far has been the balance between the familiar, the changed, and the new. Tears of the Kingdom contains many echoes of, and homages to, the original — but the details are very different, giving it a distinct identity.
A good example is the role of verticality. In both games, gliding from a height makes it possible to travel farther, faster, and more safely than travelling at ground level. But the details differ.
- In Breath of the Wild, reaching those heights required a difficult, time-consuming climb.
- In Tears of the Kingdom, while climbing is still needed, in many places Link can teleport upwards, launch himself from giant towers, or reverse time to ride a falling rock back up to the sky.
Using these techniques, I was able to cover a large amount of ground (and fly over difficult terrain) — although I still had a panicky moment when I had to escape a lynel. Thankfully it was unaware…
Another example is narrative. Old friends are still around, but they’re in different locations and in different stages of their lives. The story takes us to familiar places, but in a different order and different circumstances. It’s still Hyrule, but it’s changed over the intervening years.
Other differences, I think, come from me rather than the game. I’m dying less in TOTK than I did at this stage of BOTW. Is that because the game is easier? I’m not sure. Link is fragile — many of the early enemies can kill him in two hits — and even near the starting area, I had to run from a couple of bosses. Or is it because I’m more skilful and experienced? Coming from Elden Ring has made me confident and aggressive in combat, even when I have nothing better than a stick.
My plan is to go broad before I go deep. In other words, I want to explore, map out the early areas (either on horse or by glider), and maybe travel to the various hub towns before I attempt major quests. Hyrule is still a beautiful world, and I want to see more of it. And more experienced or not, I want better equipment and more health before I fancy my odds in tougher areas!
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