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Discussion The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom is 1 year old

Mekanos

300 Years Of Gyudon
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It's been a year since the long awaited sequel to Breath Of The Wild released. This was one of the few times in modern gaming that I felt like I was discovering a game along others as I played it and shared tips and tricks with people. Truly one of my favorite experiences in the medium in recent years and probably still one of my all time favorite games.

Shout out to when people figured out how to build giant robots.
 
That piece of shit Musk killing media sharing on Twitter makes me even more sad now thinking about how much this game flourished from it.
 
A really good game, that’s showcased how much wizards Nintendo developers, especially ascend being one of the coolest features and power.

Hopefully in the next game we’ll be in an open world Zelda, that has a hyrule in its prime.

I’m excited seeing what they’re cooking with the next title.
 
Posted this in the General thread a few days ago:

I’ve been replaying BotW lately, first time post-TotK. Mainly just speedrunning to shrines and the divine beasts. Also using some mods to speed things up a bit. Anyway, replaying it has made me able to more firmly put the two games head to head. And my conclusion is: BotW was a massively impactful game and my first experience with it was one of my greatest gaming experiences ever. And that probably won’t ever be able to be replicated. But in terms of just what video game is a better video game, TotK is just a better game in all meaningful ways. Both games still rank near top of the franchise for me, but if I’m ranking the games, TotK is always going to rank ahead of BotW. For a while there, I wasn’t sure which one I truly like better. But I think the answer is pretty clear for me now. I didn’t really appreciate the sheer scope increase and mechanical polishing that TotK brings until going back to BotW.

Also something else that’s really noticeable now: TotK actually has quite a graphical upgrade from BotW. It’s sharper looking and brighter, and textures seem to have gotten a bit better. I never noticed that until revisiting BotW.
 
The most technically impressive game in the console industry since... well, since BOTW, but you know.

I can't even say I'm that hot on the mechanics of TOTK, since I'm honestly not talented enough to really engage with them to their full extent but there's no doubt that they were running circles around the rest of the industry again after already having done it once before.
 
Loved it then, love it now. Playing through it for like a week straight (I literally took vacation time for this game) was an unforgettable experience. I feel like some of the story twists have already crossed into well known “it was his sled” territory, but I’m really glad I experienced it knowing nothing going in.
 
Didn't fully deliver for me but it's still a great game, I think I put in like 100 hours in like 7 days. Honestly doesn't even feel like it's been a year lol.
 
TotK was a game I desperately wanted to love playing, but I was more content watching others play it than to do so myself. As a weirdo who loved Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, I bounced off the vehicle building in TotK pretty hard and didn't care for the fact that it felt like the focal point of the experience. It kinda sullied the rest of the game for me. I played a dozen or so hours and enjoyed the Hell out of it, but I beat two dungeons and just never felt a desire to go back to it.

I still respect the Hell out of the game, but as somebody who clocked multiple playthroughs of BotW I was sorta burned out on TotK before I even really started playing it.

Hot take: Elden Ring was more of what I wanted out of a sequel-like experience to BotW.
 
The Greatest Game Of All Time.

Also the most ambitious game ever made where it succeeded in all of its ambitions.
 
I don't remember if there was a brilliant blue sky outside the apartment or not during the second week of June in 2019.

In truth, I don't remember much of those seemingly insignificant details that we so often print into our memories, because that's kinda the stuff that you filter out when you've witnessed something as earth-shattering as the reveal of the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

Because it was indeed earth-shattering for me. EPD4 has always had this uncanny knack of knowing exactly what I want in a game, only for them to give it to me, and then some. Like Shadow of the Colossus? Here's a Zelda game with dungeons inside big, walking beasts. Always wanted futuristic tech in Zelda? Here's a game with canonical lightsabers. Heck, do you think Link would look good in a ponytail? Here! And from that initial sequel trailer, it seems like they would do it yet again. Did you ever yearn for a darker tone in Zelda to return? Do you think reverse chanting in songs is cool? Heck, do you think Zelda would look good with short hair? Here, here, here!

Fast-forward to May 11th, 2023, at 11:58 PM, and for the following two minutes I would briefly reflect upon the last 4 years, and how every little smidge and hint of the sequel to Breath of the Wild was like a running theme through all of those years, with each piece of the puzzle becoming a highlight in life: Endless nights speculating with my best friend: late evenings rewatching trailers: a longing stare into the horizon when I dreamed about the day that I was sure would prove the unlimited potential of games once and for all: and of course engaging in speculation and hype with all of the wonderful people on Famiboards. (especially holding last year's launch party!)

And then the game was finally ours. That initial run through the Great Sky Island had me starry-eyed completely starstruck by that special kind of spell that only games - Nintendo games especially - has the capacity to elicit: part the feeling of brushing your hand across a freshly mown lawn, part the feeling of being a small kid set loose in a Lego store. Beauty in atmosphere and mechanics, working in harmony to create an interactive experience so immersive that it really is like the television screen expanded and swallowed me whole, only for me to never wanting to be let out again.

The following weeks would be borderline absurd. I would walk around with a spring in my steps, while my brain went "TEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOMTEARSOFTHEKINGDOM". I melted into a pool of awe evening after evening as I discovered exactly what this marvel had in store for the world to see. The first time I found the depths, hit the map button, and saw that there was an entirely separate map layer, I went into the ST and yelled "HOW IS THIS GAME POSSIBLE?!" to everyone. The first time I landed on top of the Light Dragon and found what was waiting for me there, I just stood still for minutes and soaked in that specific, mournful rendition of the Dragon's theme. Gaping into Gloom's Origin for the skydive that I knew would determine the fate of the kingdom. Ascending Hera's snowstorm only to emerge on top of it, in something I can only describe as a once-in-a-generation wow moment. Ascending Wellspring Islands with Sidon, doing the skydiving challenges for the bird suit, delving into all the different caves, blasting camps apart with home-made mechs, the entirety of the Construct Factory, all of the many, many, many side adventures that takes the Tarrey Town quest from BotW and says "hmm, what if we went all in on this?", the various things you can do with Fuse, all the ways you can cheese shrines, and so much more. So, so, so, so, so much more.

But most of all, the ending. What. An. Ending. I couldn't believe the places that the game insisted on taking me. Just flat out couldn't believe it, like I was in some kind of silent, euphoric state of denial. That descent, those battles and that final sword swing, that later unfolded and erupted into the single most emotionally loaded button press I've ever enacted in my life: it all brought me home in a literal sense, only for me to stare at the credits with a feeling in my chest that I still find it extremely hard to describe. All I knew was that I was so happy to finally be there for that moment, to see the finale of the four-year journey that has brought me so much I treasure dearly.

Those weeks, I found it hard to hold back a smile, even in the most unfavorable of circumstances, whether it be a tough work life or a dealyed train home. The sun was brighter. My laughters were louder. Food tasted better. I slept more soundly those nights when I wasn't busy fucking Hyrule up with my armed automobile.

Tears of the Kingdom has divided my life into a "before" and "after". It might sound pompous, but that truly is the case. When that game came out, it was one hell of a stopping point at a four-year journey dotted with some of the most precious memories I'll ever have, while also being a brand new opening to a new chapter, most of which is still unknown, but hopefully bright.

It's wild that it's already been a year. Tears of the Kingdom is nowadays not as much of a game as it is a part of my life. Whenever I'm sad, I play it and let the calm winds of the sky islands sweep my worries away. Whenever I'm bored, I mess around with ultrahand "just for a little while", and end up spending an entire night trying to go viral. Whenever I'm excited, I fish up the Colgera theme on YouTube and have a jam. If I'm having a nice, quiet time at home, I start the game up, pour a glass of wine and just forage into the depths. And whenever I find myself longing for a reminder of why this art form it where the true magic in life, Hyrule is always the place I keep returning to. Happy birthday, you wonderful, marvelous and miraculous masterpiece of a game. Soar long, fami.
 
Hot take: Elden Ring was more of what I wanted out of a sequel-like experience to BotW.
I consider Elden Ring to be a very good game with a metric fuckton of visual diversity in its world design and enemies, but it puzzles me a little when I see it brought up as a 'Zelda like'.

In terms of fleshing out an open world I think there are enough superficial similarities with the presence of caves and a large underworld area, that I think both TotK and Elden Ring executed well. I think Elden Ring's sheer enemy and visual variety helps with the sense of discovery and exploration. Stumbling onto a group of dangerous enemies is indeed a Zelda like experience similar to early areas of BotW.

Beyond that, Elden Ring does not have all the elements of what I seek in a Zelda game, including towns with groups of NPCs, puzzle box dungeon design (instead of the labyrinthine castles and catacombs in ER / Dark Souls), and a diverse tools / abilities intended specifically for puzzle solving and traversal.

The abilities of Ascend and Recall, for example, feel like natural evolutions and variations of not just the abilities and traversal methods in BotW but also of past Zelda games such as the Ocarina Song of Time and Link Between World's wall merge. The Fuse ability feels like they finally fulfilled the promise of combining items in Link's Awakening and Twilight Princess but extended it to everything in the inventory. And Ultrahand is basically a free for all in terms of spatial manipulation, compared to more limited use items like the Sand or Dominion Rods in the past. I understand that not everyone clicked with the building - I rarely built structures or vehicles jut for the sake of doing it - but I found it very enjoyable as a puzzle solving tool.

I actually found Elden Ring a little tiring and still prefer the linear Souls games of bashing your head against a single obstacle in your path over and over until you learn it, while in Elden Ring there is a set path you could take by following Sites of Grace but you could leave and level up elsewhere. I understand the appeal, but Souls + open-world hasn't clicked with me as much as Zelda + open-world has.

I think ER has TotK beat in terms of visual variety to enemies and locations, but I prefer playing around in TotK's world. I hope new hardware and further refined development tools will allow them to build a much more varied and dense open-world for the next title.
 
Adored it and waiting for the point in time where I can pick it up again and start over from scratch.

Today was the first warm day since last year that I've sat in the garden with my Switch, and it brought me back to late last May, when I ascended to the Wind Temple open-mouthed as I emerged above the storm to a glorious dawn.
 
Yup, it released a year ago...

Still haven't beaten it. Not because I disliked it, it just... fell off the priority list? Same thing happened to Pokémon SV. Like with that game, I'll probably love it once I catch a second wind and jump back into it.
 
The caves are by far my favorite addition, more so than the sky and Depths. The fact that the caves are fully built into the geography of the world and not separately loaded areas is brilliant. I love jumping into a cave or well and splashing down into the water, all seamlessly from the overworld.

I get that there is some aspect of the ‘‘magic” of exploring from BotW gone having reused the same game world, but the way they revamped how you interact with the world and added things into it just makes me realize that TotK was an absolutely necessary game. Leaving that beautifully crafted world to just one game would have been a huge shame. They got the absolute most out of it in TotK.
 
Leaving that beautifully crafted world to just one game would have been a huge shame. They got the absolute most out of it in TotK.
It's not the most original observation, but I like to look at BotW/TotK as a two-game version of the child/adult split of Ocarina -- same world, but numerous different ways of interaction.
 
While I loved my time with it, Breath of the Wild was on a different level. The whole end game sequence was glorious in TotK, though. I really hope the next mainline game has less of a "stuff scattered around a big square of land" feel, especially if they go open-world again.
 
My second favorite game of all time. (Sorry TOTK, nothing can beat the nostalgia of SM64 for me).

There's so much I could say about this game and how much it means to me. I'll just say that I appreciate this game for maximizing player freedom at every opportunity. It's such a refreshing design philosophy and they were able to take it even further this time. It really feels like they knew what to keep the same, what to change, and what to expand upon from BOTW.

I look forward to how the Zelda team will push multiplicative gameplay even further with the power of the Switch 2. It's hard to believe we could see a trailer for their next project as soon as next year (2017 -> 2019, 2023 -> 2025)!
 
I got like 300 videos from it saved on my Switch which says a lot about how much I played and enjoyed it.
 
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Trying to sum up how I feel about this game leaves me in a state of paralysis because it astounded and captivated me in equal measure in so many different ways. As a game it almost seems themed around the feeling of awe—moments of revelation in the face of earthly grandeur or human achievement that reorients your perspective, and your purpose with it. As a story it is about the serenity/enlightenment found in immutable purpose, and more specifically purpose found in human connections.

Fujibayashi had said his team's goal was to respond to the desire expressed by players to wipe their memory of BotW and play it again. I tore Breath of the Wild's world apart, and somehow, he achieved that for me.

I've never left the game. I'm constantly encountering beautiful, evocative fanart made by those the game touched or inspired. I'll listen to the soundtrack to wind down an evening. It sits in my mind: a beautifully adorned chamber of zen.




For anyone that'd like to reexperience the game in a novel way, I'd recommend this episode of Kirk Hamilton's Strong Songs podcast (a music dissection podcast) dedicated to Tears of the Kingdom, which he called a "musical masterpiece."
 
Incredible game. Unfortunately, I think this is going to end up as a Galaxy 2 where it lives the shadow of its predecessor for most people.

Myself personally, at the moment, I'm not sure if I ever will have a reason to revisit BOTW over this one. I do wonder if anyone played TOTK before BOTW, it would be interesting to hear their perspective.
 
Beautiful game. I can sum up the handful of things I thought were weaker aspects of it in a post (and have done), but they are far overshadowed by it being a rounded, extremely polished adventure that unfolds in a different way for each player. An absolute treat of a game with something to invite curiosity, reward experimentation or make you laugh in surprise around every corner. All closed out by an ending that’s both fitting thematically for TotK and for the series, and one that’s extremely memorable.
 
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Loved it then, love it now. Playing through it for like a week straight (I literally took vacation time for this game) was an unforgettable experience. I feel like some of the story twists have already crossed into well known “it was his sled” territory, but I’m really glad I experienced it knowing nothing going in.
I was already on a 2-week vacation in the Outer Banks when TotK released, so I had a whole week with no work responsibilities to play it. I've never become such a degenerate in my life - poolside, beach, poker, and TotK were all I did the entire week, and I'd go to bed at 5am and wake up at 8am from the moment it released until my vacation was over. Put over 100 hours in that week, and 200 overall!
 
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As I played TotK I journaled my thoughts and findings in a very lengthy notes page. I have a couple of choice screenshots stashed in there. Here are some of those. Enjoy a trip down memory lane with me.

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And I'm still playing! With only 2/4 phenomenons done...

Formidable game, definitely top 3 on Switch for me and probably above BotW.
 
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My opinion on it hasn't changed since beating it again a few months ago. It's definitely a great game and at time a brilliant game (still incredible how ultrahand and the connected world can work on the Switch as well as they do), with some of the best moments in the entire series. But there is too much stuff thats dissapointing or just bad for me to consider it a masterpiece. Sky Islands and depths are still empty and boring, with the depts also being ugly to look at when illuminated and having no changes in the environment no matter where you go, overworld still doesn't have enough changes for me, character and sages abilities are still terrible, lore and story are still a mess, combat is still incredibly unbalanced and more that I'm forgetting.

it is better than Botw, but Botw was a better experience for me and there have been BOTW inspired games that I simply prefer over it.
 
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I don't care what people said.
Playing Tears of the Kingdom was just like re-experiencing Breath of the Wild, a game I finished three times (and yes, doing all sanctuaries).

When the grabby hands appeared, I felt the exact same panic than the first time I experienced a blood moon in BotW ; I was wondering what was happening, trying to find a shelter because I was wondering what was going to fall on my stupid head (to be fair, I experienced quite a lot of game over before that so... I was kinda scared ^^) and getting more and more panicked until... "Oh, it's... it's just that ?! Phe- WAIT NO THE MONSTER IS BACK, AAAAH !".


EDIT :
The final trailer was amazing, better (in my personal opinion) than BotW's final one :


(Yes, it's the french one, because I love this dub)
 
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I consider Elden Ring to be a very good game with a metric fuckton of visual diversity in its world design and enemies, but it puzzles me a little when I see it brought up as a 'Zelda like'.

In terms of fleshing out an open world I think there are enough superficial similarities with the presence of caves and a large underworld area, that I think both TotK and Elden Ring executed well. I think Elden Ring's sheer enemy and visual variety helps with the sense of discovery and exploration. Stumbling onto a group of dangerous enemies is indeed a Zelda like experience similar to early areas of BotW.

Beyond that, Elden Ring does not have all the elements of what I seek in a Zelda game, including towns with groups of NPCs, puzzle box dungeon design (instead of the labyrinthine castles and catacombs in ER / Dark Souls), and a diverse tools / abilities intended specifically for puzzle solving and traversal.

The abilities of Ascend and Recall, for example, feel like natural evolutions and variations of not just the abilities and traversal methods in BotW but also of past Zelda games such as the Ocarina Song of Time and Link Between World's wall merge. The Fuse ability feels like they finally fulfilled the promise of combining items in Link's Awakening and Twilight Princess but extended it to everything in the inventory. And Ultrahand is basically a free for all in terms of spatial manipulation, compared to more limited use items like the Sand or Dominion Rods in the past. I understand that not everyone clicked with the building - I rarely built structures or vehicles jut for the sake of doing it - but I found it very enjoyable as a puzzle solving tool.

I actually found Elden Ring a little tiring and still prefer the linear Souls games of bashing your head against a single obstacle in your path over and over until you learn it, while in Elden Ring there is a set path you could take by following Sites of Grace but you could leave and level up elsewhere. I understand the appeal, but Souls + open-world hasn't clicked with me as much as Zelda + open-world has.

I think ER has TotK beat in terms of visual variety to enemies and locations, but I prefer playing around in TotK's world. I hope new hardware and further refined development tools will allow them to build a much more varied and dense open-world for the next title.
We clearly want different things out of the series. To me, the combat in the 3D Zelda games has always been sufficient at best and rudimentary at worse; it wasn't until Skyward Sword where I felt like they made combat a more important core part of the gameplay. And as much as I love BotW and even TotK, the combat still feels like it's moreso the sum of its parts than a core tenet of the experience. Enemy encounters felt more like chores in those games that got in the way of exploring. At least in Elden Ring it feels like a core part of the experience.

And while I enjoy the core features of BotW and TotK a lot in regards to traversal, I feel like I just... don't have cool shit to find in these games like I do in old Zeldas since they give you your toolset immediately at the beginning of the game. Barring stamina it doesn't feel like the world is gradually opening up to you or you're getting progressively stronger, everything is just sorta there at once. Games like OoT, MM, TWW have a power curve to it where you not only feel like the world and combat experiences are opening up to you, you are constantly learning new ways to interface with the world. I get the intent with BotW and TotK giving you your toolset immediately, but I miss that gradual power curve in older games where your weapons aren't finite resources and you're really only progressing shrines for the sake of them/to get more stamina and hearts.

What I love about Elden Ring is depending on what builds you're running, there's always new gear, new spells, new weapons to add to your inventory to diversify the way you engage with the combat and to feel like there's a sense of progression to how strong you're getting in the world. I enjoyed the varied locations and labyrinthine dungeons where the puzzles in and of themselves was finding ways to navigate them without getting murdered/discovering checkpoints or exploring different routes.

I love BotW more than TotK because TotK to me just doubles down on what makes the game good without addressing its flaws or weakpoints. Elden Ring to me gave me specifically what I wanted out of an expanded and more focused, arguably more linear experience from BotW while enriching its combat and enemy encounters. I understand it's a hot take for a reason lol. I guess ultimately I just wish more traditional/linear Zelda crept its way into TotK this time around.

BotW is one of my favorite games of all time, and TotK is just more of that in a lot of ways. I get the novelty and power of the sheikah abilities, but I'm less interested in them by the time TotK rolled around.
 
Definitely one of the best games ever made. I kinda burned out on it for a while so hadn't fully realized how much I enjoyed it, but with the benefit of distance... yeah, this was a masterpiece
 
Replaying it for the third time right now and still having a ton of fun with it. I just can't believe how much control they managed to put into the hands of the player in such a massive game that runs this smoothly on a seven year old handheld.
 
Happy birthday to (what I believe) to be the most mixed Zelda experience out there! 🥳

(This is bait.)

(Or is it?)
 
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The greatest game of all time, with some of the greatest moments in all of gaming. I love this game more each time I play it.
 
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This game is a masterclass in technical mechanics and emergent gameplay. A game of this massive scope with such complex physics/chemistry systems running smoothly on the Switch is pure development wizardry.
 
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A crazy ass good game, a month ago I started playing the game again just going around and messing with the mechanics and collecting korok seeds and it’s such a fun game even like this. I have over 200 hours and I already want to play it a second time and I also want to do an only depths run. Top of the line zelda game even with his flaws, it’s just an super fun game with some of the best moments in the series.
If only they didn’t reuse phantom ganon so much.
 
the game still manages to feel mechanically fresh 160 hours in, which is already impressive enough. Then throw in that it’s an iterative sequel to a game I spent 200 hours in and that makes it even more impressive. The gameplay variety is just sublime, and has carried the game for even longer than BotW’s mechanics were able to for me.
 


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