Playing Tears of the Kingdom is like riding a rigged bike that you built with your Ultrahand

Playing Tears of the Kingdom is like riding a rigged bike that you built with your Ultrahand

When back The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild When it first launched in 2017, no one fully understood how passionate many fans would become about experimenting with the game’s physics and mechanics to find creative ways to explore Hyrule, which almost felt like cheating. It was unbelievable how the players would pull back seemingly impossible trick shots with eerie accuracy, it was hard to imagine that Nintendo ever intended for people to fall in love with game glitches. It was even harder to imagine a publisher recognizing it Zelda community nudging as an opportunity to capitalize.

Ever since we all saw gameplay footage for the first time The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the KingdomBut it was crystal clear that Nintendo paid very close attention to what people unexpectedly loved about its predecessor. And as soon as I pulled my first homing arrow moblin during a recent hands-on event, I got the strong feeling that Tears of the Kingdom it will have gamers, hardcore and casual alike, losing their minds in the best way possible.

Within a few hours I had to spend exploring two small (compared to the rest of the map) but still large chunks Tears of the KingdomWith the overworld, the game felt more cleverly evolutionary than boldly revolutionary. Everyone who played Breath of the Wild in preparation for Tears of the Kingdom you’ll feel right at home with most of the game’s controls, and the basic aspects of traveling the world by burning endurance wheels, running, climbing and gliding will feel pleasantly familiar. But once you start actually using Links new abilities to interact with things around him, monsters, weapons, bushes full of bomb flowers. Tears of the Kingdom reveals itself to be a much more technically complex and imaginative game than its predecessor, which is saying something.

While you could use the original Sheikah Slate to perform all sorts of incredible tricks, Breath of the Wild I didn’t always feel like it was designed with the intention of getting players to reach their full potential. First some new runes were loaded Tears of the KingdomRevamped techno-magic tablets like Recall and the ominously named Ultrahand look like revamped versions of classics like Stasis and Magnesis. But unlike Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom it actively encourages you to not only use each of Links’ new abilities with surprising frequency, but to think of all the different ways to potentially deploy them to solve puzzles and kill monsters.

While Stasis gave you the power to freeze enemies and objects in space and blast them with kinetic energy charges, Recall kicks things up a notch by instead sending objects back through space following the trajectories they started on moments earlier, hitting anything in their path. Magnesis allowed you to detect and manipulate metal objects such as blocks and swords and decorative treasure chests. But with the Ultrahand, Link can move pretty much any free standing object that isn’t bolted down and fuse it with another to make it good, whatever old junk and new technology you find around Hyrule can be made to use . for construction.

Of all Links’ new abilities, Ascend is a riff on Revalis Gale, which sends you up towards ceilings before then swimming/phasing through them like Kate Pryde, is the most direct in how it’s designed to make you think more expansively (and vertically) about , how you can move Tears of the Kingdomwith Hyrule. But along with Ultrahand, his Links Fuse ability, the simple joining of two things to create another stronger thing that feels the most symbolic of yes, and the… Nintendo ethos he described as a key part of the game’s identity.

As someone who has spent more hours raiding Moblin bases than I care to admit, what struck me the most when I took on a small squad of them using only bows and arrows was how many Tears of the KingdomThe experience will depend on whether people enjoy its jerky controls very much.

Since my regular arrows were weak, the master swords were in bad shape early in the game, and I was heavily outnumbered, I briefly thought that taking them all down the stairs from their perches and then outrunning them back to the top might be solid a way to overcome them. And lo and behold, it was. But after accidentally triggering Recall and seeing how it could be used on a massive spiked ball rolling in to crush me to death, it fell into place as the game presented me with several options to defeat my enemies.

The first time I ran into the spiked ball I was unprepared for it and couldn’t fire a Recall before it knocked me over the ledge to my doom. Outrunning the moblins or beating them with sticks the old fashioned way were always options that could work. But the more comfortable I became with switching between the new runes, the easier it was to recognize when they could be used in battle. It was definitely a bit of a learning curve with the ball when it comes to using Recall as a weapon. But the effort made it much more satisfying when I was able to send the orb hurtling back at the moblins that released it and then fuse it with my shield with Fuse to create a ridiculous battle weapon perfect for smashing monsters until they burst .

Obviously, Ultrahand works very differently than Recall and doesn’t lend itself to combat the way Magnesis can. But the way the new power uses glowing bits of adhesive energy to indicate how different objects can fit together is downright adorable, and again, satisfying almost as if the ideas of jury-rigged fabrications seem to be coming together.

An Ultrahand that you both use to build them all up Tears of the KingdomWith new vehicles and handling things like massive switches, it stands out as the flashiest of Links’ abilities because it can affect the world around you and because it plays a big part in exploring the new floating islands in this sky. But during my playthrough of the game, it was Fuse that allows you to instantly create chained weapons like homing, bomb, and light (as in creating light sources) arrows on the fly. Tears of the Kingdomis the most promising and thoughtful innovation.

In many ways, Fuse feels like Nintendo’s way of acknowledging some Zelda fan complaints Breath of the Wildwith resilience mechanics and responds to them by cleverly doubling down on the idea in a new way. Most weak melee weapons and shields I’ve seen in Tears of the Kingdom they were still pretty breakable after a few uses. However, by combining things like mushrooms (or spiked balls or minecarts) with shields, they became immensely more durable, and the same went for weapons that were able to carry and take much more damage.

Tears of the Kingdom not the first Zelda a game that will visibly feature crafting new items from farmable resources and then Breath of the WildGiven the emphasis on recipes, it’s not at all surprising to see this specific mechanic return. But besides making good potions, many rough parts of the body which Tears of the KingdomMonsters drop when you kill them can also be used to upgrade weapons with Fuse, giving you a whole new reason to spend time hunting them. This also applies to the many flowering fruit-bearing plants and trees growing throughout Hyrule, waiting for you to harvest them, either connecting them with arrows or simply throwing them like the explosive, light-emitting, and sometimes smoke-producing grenades that they can be. .

Just as it took me a while to get the hang of Recall’s weaponry, using Fuse especially when trying to fend off attacks was an interesting, choppy exercise in trial and error. Technically speaking, crafting fused arrows is as simple as jamming regular arrows with the right trigger, pulling up a carousel of fusible items in your inventory using the left directional pad, selecting the one you want, and letting the rune work its magic. Getting all the right menus right and choosing which items to melt while enemies try to hit you is easier said than done, and the mechanics aren’t exactly the most intuitive, which may put some people off using it at first. .

Players will have a ball figuring out all the different ways Fuse can be used to turn familiar monster drops like Chuchu Jellies into exciting new tools. But what’s likely to fire people’s imaginations the most are when more obvious apps like Fuse and Ultrahands challenge you to think about how they might work if you tinkered with them a bit just because you could.

There are plenty of opportunities to use all the runes down on the ground level Tears of the Kingdomwith a world map, but it’s in the sky with clouds and islands where you really start to understand how integral Ultrahand is to this game’s approach to exploration and puzzle solving.

As many useful natural resources as there are scattered around the world Tears of the Kingdom, there are also a number of mechanical ones such as rockets, fans and portable stoves that you can find and in some cases craft yourself using a new material called Zonaite. The new robot class of enemies in the games that drop Zonaites after you destroy them are as cool as Breath of the Wildwith Guardian enemies scavenging the necessary components to craft powerful Guardian-killing arrows and upgrade your armor. But the sheer number of Zonai devices you can create with Zonaite dwarfs the handful of uses that existed for the ancient bolts and cores, and they’re all tools that were carefully designed with playful experimentation in mind.

Which Zonai devices and vehicles end up being your go-to for getting from A to B will likely depend on how much time you spend upgrading your Zonai Energy Cell, a new item that stores the energy charges needed to power the structures you build. Much like Link needs stamina to cling to things, his constructs need adequate battery power to function. But unlike Links stamina wheel, which will automatically start refilling when idle, Zonai’s energy cells can only be replenished in small amounts in certain locations, forcing you to think strategically about what things you want to build and how you’re going to do it. you want to use them.

In the grand scheme of things The Legend of Zeldawith game specific, unusual abilities, building with Ultrahand Tears of the Kingdom will go down as one of Nintendo’s boldest attempts to challenge people to rethink what a Zelda title can be It’s undeniably cool to see Link flying Green Goblin-like hot air balloons and gliders through the sky. What really surprised me, though, was finding out that when you attach a rocket to a shield, the rocket/shield combo becomes an arm-mounted jet pack that can shoot you straight up into the sky, a ridiculous idea that does the real thing. sense of fun.

Based on what I’ve seen Tears of the Kingdomit’s hard to say how the game will turn out Breath of the Wildwhich was still extremely affordable despite being one of the most radical refreshes in franchise history. Tears of the KingdomIt’s definitely a sequel built on many of the same principles as its predecessor, but it also sometimes manages to be a lot like a game for people who never stopped playing Breath of the Wildwhich one can easily imagine would overwhelm someone new to all this.

That said, there are plenty of people who have honed their Lynel hunting skills over the years, and Nintendo knows we’ve been craving something new to challenge us in a way that recaptures the magic that originally created Breath of the Wild so special Tears of the Kingdom felt like a lot of what Ive personally wanted from the next chapter in the endless cycle of Link, Zelda and Ganons magical drama. Something tells me a lot of people will experience something similar within a few weeks.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom debuts on Nintendo Switch on May 12.

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