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

A masterpiece. I sunk about 280 hours into TotK and loved every minute. Exploring a post-calamity Hyrule, along with the sky islands and depths, was very rewarding. The story, new abilities, new characters, new discoveries, new shrines, new enemies, everything… Top-notch! I would love to see this, along with BotW, get an update for Switch 2.
 
I think my feelings on TotK versus BotW can be summed up by how I played them. I played BotW nonstop in the first two months it came out. It was a busy time in my life, but I had to see it to the end, all memories and all shrines and all divine beasts. Meanwhile, TotK came out during a big burst of free time, but after dozens of hours I dropped the game some time in July. I keep telling myself that I'll go back to it, finish it just like I finished BotW, but I haven't felt that urge to go back in, despite really enjoying what I did play.

TotK is a game that is stuffed with things to do. Almost feels like too much, and that's after not having that problem with BotW. Great game! But one that feels like it's been having over my head for 10 or so months, one that feels kinda daunting in a way.
 
A step down from BotW but still a great game. I’ll definitely be interested in playing it again if it gets a next gen boost.
 
Not what I wanted from a botw sequel but a masterpiece nonetheless. There are a ton of problems with the game imo but its still a 10/10 thats how good it is. Should have won GOTY imo.
 
I can never understand how people prefer Breath to Tears. Like yeah Breath was more revolutionary, but Tears just took everything the original did and advance it
I mean, this is fundamentally the problem with games that are iterative more than revolutionary. It has less of an impact the second or third time around, even if it's mechanically a better game. It's the reason prefer OoT or MM to later games in the series and so on and so forth.

At least for me, was that I got my fill of this formula once, and I was more forgiving towards BotW's flaws as the first hail-mary towards a new direction for the series; TotK had an entire game to address the shortcomings and problems BotW had, so I'm less inclined to give it a pass this time around.
 
I thought there would be no way they could top Breath of the Wild and they pretty much blew it out of the water. I can’t even imagine what they are cooking for the next Zelda game.
 
Too bloated, among some other things, but the building and ultra hand mechanics are undeniably impressive. I spent hours just tinkering with machines and seeing what was possible with the mechanics. Very cool stuff. My favorite contraption was a stack of springs that can launch you to the sky.
 
I do wonder if anyone played TOTK before BOTW, it would be interesting to hear their perspective
That's exactly what my girlfriend is gonna do! Despite not being big on open world games, she considers TotK one of her all-time favorites, and she's been curious about BotW for a while now.

Meanwhile, I fell even more in love with TotK compared to BotW, which I did not think was even possible. It's probably because TotK leaned even more into immersive sim elements, which completely upended how I interacted with the world. I'm still playing TotK to experiment with various contraptions. I can also chill out in the world like I did with BotW, I love living in that Hyrule.
 
It's an undoubtedly great game, but after playing it on and off for most of last year, I reached a point where I realised I was never going to finish the game and put it back on the shelf. I never had that reaction with BotW, which I absolutely devoured on Wii U then bought again for Switch.



I can never understand how people prefer Breath to Tears. Like yeah Breath was more revolutionary, but Tears just took everything the original did and advance it

I can give you a few reasons:

- For someone who's already played BotW, a large chunk of the Hyrule content in TotK is remixed stuff that was already in the first game.

- The Sky Islands and Depths just aren't as well integrated into the game. The Sky Islands start off strong with the opening area, but that's literally the biggest and most developed sky island in the game. Everything after that feels much much less exciting to explore.

- Meanwhile the Depths just don't play to the game's strengths at all. Instead of exploration being led by sightlines and varied environments , your exploring a samey environment in the pitch black. Outside of the volcano areas, there is nothing in the Depths to make the different areas stand out from each other, which given the map is the same size as Hyrule, is pretty bad.

- The Ultra hand stuff is really cool, but it also dominates the gameplay loop in a way the Sheikah Slate never did in BotW. There, it felt like you were on an adventure with magic abilities to help you. TotK feels more like a vehicle building sandbox with a fantasy backdrop stapled on.

- BotW is just more consistent. It knows exactly what tone it wants to set, where to cut padding and fluff, and where to double down on it's own strengths. TotK by comparison feels muddled: it wants to keep the same minimalist tone as BotW, but it also wants to introduce way more stuff, more collectibles, more map icons, more currency to grind for...

BotW felt so refreshing because it looked at all the clutter and faff going on in other open world games, and got rid of it all. TotK feels like the same game adding back in a lot of that same clutter that they originally got rid of.

It's still a good game, it's just not in the same league as the first one.
 
Absolute masterpiece and one of the top games I have ever played, what's possible with this game with Fuse is absolutely unreal. However I can say that I was dissapointed when I thought there would.be many more sky islands, at least the few of the same scale as the starting one when the marketing was heavily focused on the clouds above Hyrule, I also missed the new town or something. But still, amazing game.
 
On the BotW v TotK debate… I prefer TotK

For me, I loved BotW, but was a little disappointed with the things it dropped from what is now considered ‘traditional Zelda’. (Dungeons, progression items, and a more linear story etc).

As time went on, I appreciated BotW more and more for what it was, but also barely touched it after the approximate 200 hours or so completing everything + DLC (I don’t include Koroks) I think in mid 2019. (I think this part is quite important)

When TotK came out I knew what to expect. A game that was in the same vein as BotW, but with some improvements/changes as it is a sequel after all… and it delivered on that and then some. It is my personal GOAT right now, and I am gutted that it doesn’t look like there will be any master mode or DLC to follow.

I didn’t have much of an issue with the reused map, because I had gone around 4 years since last playing, and it was in the ‘familiar/nostalgic’ territory.
 
God, it really has been a year, huh?

Does not feel like it in the slightest. Anyways, TotK was amazing. It really stands as a testament of making a game feel like not only an experience, but also something that you're actively engaging in to suit your playstyle. It's a game that has beauty but also the fun innocence of a toy. BotW had that too (and realistically, laid the foundation for it), but the way TotK leans into it even more and, arguably, perfects it is ultimately what makes it so special.

Regardless of any of the gripes I had with stuff like the story, or the comparison between BotW Zelda VS. Classic 3D Zelda, or even the BotW VS. TotK debates, I think it really is a special game.
 
Really great, its not as fun now but only after 200+ hours lol. Im revisiting it and still have stuff to do a year later. Once in a while I go skydiving, re-explore a cave, do another sidequest or just do random stuff. Its probably my favorite game but tied with BOTW.
 
I was LTTP for BOTW. Went in blind in... 2019 other than 'it's a Zelda game (with the only experience I had with Zelda being Spirit Tracks). That left a lasting impression on me and just as I finished BOTW, the first trailer for TOTK dropped. So TOTK was the first Zelda game that I 'looked forward to'. Now that it has been a year after the release, I think that TOTK left a mark in me.

BUT not as strong as the impression that BOTW had. It's unfair but I think that BOTW had the advantage of breaking new ground. TOTK is a more impressive game in all measures. But because BOTW came first, you can't beat first impressions. BOTW had the advantage of AOC reinforcing the storyline. TOTK, not yet.

I think that years from now, it is likely that BOTW will still reign supreme by virtue of coming in first. It holds a special place in my heart. Yes, TOTK is the better game. But you know. You can't fight emotions and first impressions.

All that said. That ending. That TOTK ending. That's a strong way to end the saga. Even today, once in a while, I'll rewatch the trailers for BOTW, TOTK and the ending sequence of TOTK and feel something in my cold, cynical heart. Sigh. That was a special feeling.

Extra update: I went to relook at some past discord chat I had with fellow players. It certainly is an EXPERIENCE when you are playing and discovering something with another player or two. While my (hardcore) entry into Zelda via BOTW was LTTP, it was really special to play TOTK and discovering/sharing secrets with others while everyone is in the same stage of progress. BOTW had a greater impact because it came first but... TOTK held a special place in my heart because I was able to experience the playground gossip with everyone about the different experiences we had of the same game. THAT, I think, will make for a great zine.
 
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Great game on a technical level that suffers from getting in its own way to being a very fun game.

Let's stop giving Link infinitely deep inventory pockets next time to start. Imagine if Link from TotK emptied his pockets all at once. Just nonsense and the amount of time you spend in the menus doing this or that with equipment and resources puts a damper on the whole experience.

The game is only fun if you put self imposed limitations on what you allow yourself to be able to do, otherwise it is was way too easy and tedious.
 
I remember taking a day off work on that Friday and playing the game throughout the day. What a ride it was.

It's the best game of all time, and the scary thing is that it easily surpassed the game that previously held that position: its prequel.
 
What nintendo managed to do with this game honestly puts other open world games to shame. Having a bunch of physics based stuff and a build interface in an open world usually does not work out as smoothly as totk. *glares at fallout 4
 
Sure was a big release with absurd gameplay mechanics. I'll never tire of hearing other devs in awe of Nintendo's ability to NASA stuff on 7 year old mobile hardware. As if there was any doubt that retained talent, skill, stability and creativity were the best ways to make art. (the fact that overclocked memory is all it takes to hit 60 fps too, jesus the engine must be efficient).

But from an overall release strategy perspective I don't entirely get it. Reusing the map and coming up with some fairly repetitive new locations holds the game back, with the bulk of development surely being on the frankly insane new mechanics. Which I believe they said they don't want to re-use? That's kind of odd to me, these mechanics can be pushed further in a world truly built for them. The overall structure and loop of the game is just too familiar for a sequel to game based on discovery.
I think they maybe went too hard this time. Just fusion and ascend a much more simplified building engine would have more than enough and left more time to change the map up more, and maybe release earlier.
And they could save the crazy building and time manipulation for a sequel. I can't really fault developers wanting to push their gameplay mechanics as far as possible though. Where do you even go from here? Straight up terraforming/ lots of map changes/destruction/building kept in memory? How long will the next major release be? Will we have smaller main series titles to fill the void, 2d?
 
Some of the fan artists reposting or sharing new art for the first anniversary. Said it in my other post, but this game has been blessed with an endless stream of beautiful fan art. Up top: a fanmade animation!












This detail about the geoglyph music is so damn cool.

I didn't know either that or that the music at the beginning is taken from Fi's theme. God. What a picture.
 
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A year removed and I have such a weird relationship with this game.

On one hand, TOTK is incredibly impressive and builds on Breath of the Wild in such a satisfying way. The game has a bunch of excellent moments and the verticality of the map design is just awe inspiring. Enemy variety was so much better and even shrines and dungeons were better. I think it's a better game than BOTW by most metrics.

However, my familiarity with BOTW made TOTK kind of lack a strong lasting impact for me. It's reuse of the world really made the game kind of lack a strong identity of it's own and at the end of the day, it did kind of just feel like more BOTW. It's a very good iterative sequel but that has never been a thing for Zelda before so it made the game feel kind of underwhelming compared to how new Zelda games usually feel.

In a way BOTW makes me enjoy TOTK less and vice versa. BOTW was a revelatory experience in 2017 and was the most impactful gaming moment I had since I was a teenager. However, TOTK iterating on it so successfully makes me appreciate BOTW less as I now don't find it as impressive in comparison and if I ever were to replay one of these games again - it would be TOTK. However, BOTW made so much of TOTK less impressive and route in a way it would not have had I not been so familiar with BOTW.
 
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Some more one-year-later musings. Thinking of things from TotK that I think will carry over in the series going forward after sitting on it for a while:

First - Caves and more seamlessly integrated linear dungeon design in general. Unlike most of Tears' other additions, this one was easily predictable and one of the most obvious things that could be improved from Breath. I expect it to continue to be improved upon in future installments. Caves especially, it’s impossible to go back.

Second, if there's one quintessential Zelda quality that I think Tears emphasized to the fullest - it's Link as the crafty toolsman who solves environmental logic puzzles/traversal using the tools he has. So many of the games systems support this - the physics and chemistry system, Ultrahand, Fuse… but at the center of it is the Zonai Devices - essentially consumable dungeon items. Of course, Ultrahand and Fuse allow these to stack upon eachother and I think that will remain something that Tears calls it's own, but the idea of consumable dungeon items in general is something I think could go beyond Tears and become an open world Zelda staple. Maybe not exactly the execution of the Zonai devices, but I think it fits so well with the series conventions and is the perfect opportunity to elegantly place the “invisible guiding hand” in an open world because the developers can control which tools appear where while not limiting it to a single lock-and-key dungeon item

I think as we move past Breath and Tears, things we think might be staples will be upended in the next game. Since we're getting a wholly new world next time, perhaps it won't be design around climbing and paragliding and those'll be gone in favor of other traversal methods. But I do think those two things I mentioned are universal enough and in-line with series conventions to be iterated upon as we move to the next era of Zelda.
 
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Ascend was my favorite new game mechanic of last year. Just a complete game changer in terms of exploring a large environment.
I sort of feel the opposite. While it made exiting caves convenient, I didn't care for its use otherwise. The philosophy of incorporating the various new mechanics into puzzle/dungeon design is evident, and I don't feel Ascend ever lent itself to interesting challenges or puzzles at all. It was great as a traversal option in the overworld, but it often either trivialized sections of shrines and dungeons (mainly the Fire temple, which climbing also sort of ruined if you chose to do it that way), or was required for certain puzzles in very banal ways. I can only count a handful of instances where a puzzle that required Ascend was really clever. Ultimately I'd have preferred they just disabled it for shrines and dungeons.
 
Looking back, I think it was a 10/10 sandbox game with a decent Zelda game inside it. In my perfect world where money doesn't matter the two would be separate.
 


The celebration art is now available as a wallpaper at the My Nintendo site, for free. (It's a "purchase" but it costs nothing, neither any points nor money.)

... And i can't fucking believe that they had to plaster that fucking date on ALL of the variants they give you.

Like ... how difficult is it to release ONE wallpaper without it?
 
One year... and I play it on and off since then. I'm far from finished and somehow I don't want it to really end, like it was in BotW.
 
I sort of feel the opposite. While it made exiting caves convenient, I didn't care for its use otherwise. The philosophy of incorporating the various new mechanics into puzzle/dungeon design is evident, and I don't feel Ascend ever lent itself to interesting challenges or puzzles at all. It was great as a traversal option in the overworld, but it often either trivialized sections of shrines and dungeons (mainly the Fire temple, which climbing also sort of ruined if you chose to do it that way), or was required for certain puzzles in very banal ways. I can only count a handful of instances where a puzzle that required Ascend was really clever. Ultimately I'd have preferred they just disabled it for shrines and dungeons.
Highly disagree. Ascend was so good both for traversal and in various puzzles it really feels essential. Although Ultrahand was the breakout hit of the game Ascend was the real mvp.
 
Which I believe they said they don't want to re-use? That's kind of odd to me, these mechanics can be pushed further in a world truly built for them.
I don't think they ever said that specifically, it's more in the sense that they're always exploring new play mechanics they want to throw in next.
 
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Highly disagree. Ascend was so good both for traversal and in various puzzles it really feels essential. Although Ultrahand was the breakout hit of the game Ascend was the real mvp.
Ascend works so well as an ability in TotK because they carefully designed the world to be seamless with the caves, the wells, the depths, the temples. There were several instances where you could orient yourself with the surface by finding the right x and y coordinates underground, so you could ascend up and end up in a secret place.

I distinctly remember doing that fun Hateno village quest in this way, where you can break into a shed by Ascend upwards. It reminds me of the wall merge ability in LBW where you are rewarded for thinking in 3D (or 4D). I would love a return of this mechanic that was basically instant, which I think they can do by speeding up the collision calculations on more powerful hardware.
 
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The Ascend Pillars broke me. I’ll never forget the “hmm, should I ascend here?” and then poof, on top of Dueling Peaks.
 
My favourite physics simulator

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Making Looney Tunes-esque contraptions was the highlight of the game for me
 
240+ hours, and I bid a fond farewell to it after a good few months of playing.

An excellent game, and an improvement on Breath of the Wild in every sense.
 
It's one of, if not the greatest, game I've ever played in my opinion. Really don't agree at all with the criticisms of it, except that maybe the Depths were a little too big. Every major region of Hyrule feels really different in spite of the fact that it has the same basic topography as BotW. I don't agree that it completely makes BotW obsolete as that game still has it's own strengths, but it does feel like Tears of the Kingdom expanded and improved on almost everything.
 
Never beat it. Nor got close to it I think.

Really should. I wanted to see Ganondorf.

But gameplay didn’t click with me.
 


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