What We’re Playing – The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Who had ‘Korok crucifixion’ on the Tears of the Kingdom bingo card? Yes, it’s the game that keeps on giving! Here are our first impressions of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom:

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Joe – Editor

It’s less than a week since The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was released and already I’m starting to think (dare I say) that it’s even better than its predecessor, Breath of the Wild. Granted, I’ve only played for ten hours or so, but Tears of the Kingdom seems to take everything that didn’t quite work for me in BotW and improve upon it.

The tutorial in BotW, for example, always felt like a bit of a slog, especially when travelling from shrine to shrine, but in Tears of the Kingdom, the Great Sky Island is a magnificent jumping off point (literally) into a familiar yet different Hyrule. The magic of the island is that its design feels completely organic, but its only when you make your final descent to the Temple of Time on the back of a Zonai wing that you realise you’ve done a full circle of the terrain without even a hint of an objective marker. 

I’m also loving the fact that Hyrule is much more alive in Tears of the Kingdom; with seemingly more NPCs and allies inhabiting the world that helps to shake off the sense of isolation I occasionally felt in the first game. Now, I find that I’m wanting to spend more time hanging around the villages and stables, chatting to locals and soaking in the atmosphere. 

Now, as a self-confessed Korok hater, I was initially frustrated to learn that these guys were back, but boy, was I wrong. Aside from the hilariously dark videos of Korok crucifixions doing the rounds on social media, the new seed collecting challenges are a delight that puts to use the full set of Link’s new abilities. 

Speaking of which, it goes without saying that Ultrahand – Link’s ability to pick up and stick objects together to create basically anything – rules. I actively avoided starting Impa’s first quest so that I could tamper with her hot balloon and take a leisurely ride up into the clouds. This is pure, unadulterated play, the kind that makes you feel like a kid with their first Lego set. Magic.

Tears of the Kingdom

Tom – Lead Writer

In many ways, Tears of the Kingdom is the game I’ve been waiting years for. I mean, obviously everyone has been anticipating it for years; I’m not unique there. But I’ve written before about my growing apathy towards huge open world games, with worlds that are overstuffed with content and yet feel totally barren.

Tears of the Kingdom is the antithesis of games like Horizon Forbidden West, though. This game captures the excitement of adventure and exploration in a way that no recent game has for me, probably since Breath of the Wild. With every corner I turn in Hyrule, I’ll spot something intriguing in the distance that I’ll immediately divert from my path to investigate. In other open world games, stumbling across a new cave or combat encounter can be kind of a bummer. Oh great, more bullshit that I’ve got to do! But in Tears of the Kingdom, it’s a source of genuine excitement.

I’ve not spent nearly as much time with this game yet as I would have liked; I’m probably less than ten hours in. And if average playtimes are anything to go by, I’ve got a long way to go yet. But it’s exciting to have this game to chip away at over the coming weeks or months. It’s just the right combination of exhilarating and relaxing, and so far, it’s been a joy to experience.