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StarTopic The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom |ST| Linkin' Parts (Please Tag All Spoilers)

Ive been thinking about it and the Sky and the Depths definitely both succeed at creating kind of a surreal atmosphere that makes them distinct from the more grounded overworld.

The heavenly, zen-invoking Zonai playground of the Sky, and the mysterious overworld-mirroring depths with weirder fauna, bosses coming back to life, artifacts from past games. Plus the distinct musical style for both.

It’s not as blatantly surreal as MM was to OoT, but it’s definitely a new vibe and makes TOTK feel “weirder”
 
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Ive been thinking about it and the Sky and the Depths definitely both succeed at creating kind of a surreal atmosphere that makes them distinct from the more grounded overworld.

The heavenly, zen-invoking Zonai playground of the Sky, and the mysterious overworld-mirroring depths with weirder fauna, bosses coming back to life, artifacts from past games. Plus the distinct musical style for both.

It’s not as blatantly surreal as OoT, but it’s definitely a new vibe and makes TOTK feel “weirder”
Yeah it has a little bit more of that Zelda feel/bizarro fantasy. Agree.
 
I was really disappointed by the depths in the end, it all looked exactly the same as you went round whereas I was hoping for different, uniquely styled areas, possibly even a new, subterranean tribe you could interact with.
 
I had a bit of initial disappointment at how small the sky was, but when I think back to the sky islands I have nothing but positive things to say about them.

They’re puzzle playgrounds with a bit more curation than the overworld allows, I love what they added to the game and thought they felt pretty fresh.

Especially the low gravity areas, god I hope those come back for the next game. They felt so cool to play and the atmosphere was… perfection.
Agreed!! the low gravity sky islands leading to the water temple were a major highlight. Love this game so much😭
 
I had a bit of initial disappointment at how small the sky was, but when I think back to the sky islands I have nothing but positive things to say about them.

They’re puzzle playgrounds with a bit more curation than the overworld allows, I love what they added to the game and thought they felt pretty fresh.

Especially the low gravity areas, god I hope those come back for the next game. They felt so cool to play and the atmosphere was… perfection.

The floating mazes were a true highlight. The music, the feeling of completing them and first and foremost.. what happens after.
 
I think we deserve a game where sky and underground are properly fleshed out. It felt like ideas that were implemented well, they could have stretched them some more.
 
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I had a bit of initial disappointment at how small the sky was, but when I think back to the sky islands I have nothing but positive things to say about them.

They’re puzzle playgrounds with a bit more curation than the overworld allows, I love what they added to the game and thought they felt pretty fresh.

Especially the low gravity areas, god I hope those come back for the next game. They felt so cool to play and the atmosphere was… perfection.
I enjoy the sky but especially just the more unique areas. I usually come back to the Great Sky Island, Thunderhead, some of the ones over Tabantha etc. The rest are a bit copy paste but found some of the puzzles fun. Wish there was at least one more large island, but im fine with what we got!
 
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I think the worst thing about the depths and sky isn't just the copy-paste but also the fact they had zero civilization - or not enough real "ruins" that were interesting to discover and told a bit of a story. The Depths has some of the latter but is still thin on actual lore, and the sky has like, nothing. It's just gameplay which isn't surprising from Nintendo but the overworld exploration is just so much more interesting when you never know when you'll stumble across a side quest or person with a bit story behind them
 
I see eye-to-eye with the criticisms of the depths, but I'm willing to let it all slide because of how goddamn addicting the exploration loop is. The whole brightbloom seed>armory>enemy camp>lightroot>treasure>brightbloom seed>armory>enemy camp>lightroot>treasure>brightbloom seed>armory>enemy camp>lightroot>treasure... lovely stuff.

And I do think that there is some variety down there. The statues, for example, or that one giant mine.

I could spend upwards to 6-8 hours in the depths alone.
 
I see eye-to-eye with the criticisms of the depths, but I'm willing to let it all slide because of how goddamn addicting the exploration loop is. The whole brightbloom seed>armory>enemy camp>lightroot>treasure>brightbloom seed>armory>enemy camp>lightroot>treasure>brightbloom seed>armory>enemy camp>lightroot>treasure... lovely stuff.

And I do think that there is some variety down there. The statues, for example, or that one giant mine.

I could spend upwards to 6-8 hours in the depths alone.
I agree it's addictive but for me in a negative way. I get the same sensation of wasting my life time as infinitely scrolling a social network feed. When you're playing it is engaging, you want more, but after that I regret to be wasting my time. I try to avoid this kind of design because I'm someone who easily falls into compulsive behavior.
 
Honestly outside of having actual civilization ruins in the sky islands and the Depths, I'm not sure what I'd want. Imo all three worlds exist in service of each other; you aren't meant to stick to one of them (besides maybe the overworld, for obvious reasons) for a long period time. I think the sky islands and the Depths offer just enough to make me want to go to them, but without being a distraction or stealing the spotlight from the main attraction of the overworld.
 
I did say that one of my only two complaints of this game was sheer gluttonous "I wanted moooore"

So, the depths:
1. Unique enemies. The depths were the perfect opportunity to use the terrifying creature designs from Creating a Champion. This really would have elevated the concept imo.
2. A bit more environmental diversity. Nothing too crazy, but I think there was a great sense of place under Death Mountain. They could have had an area that was illuminated by glowing crystals, or one that was just entirely fungal or whatever.
3. Death race minigame hosted by Yiga depths researchers. This is what they do for fun and why the Depthcrawler (or whatever it was called) was being built.
 
In general I want more things that just exist for itself in this world. It was somewhat cool to get more context on some ruins or other places in TotK, but I also loved the feeling of the mystery of many structures in BotW.

One of my favorite moments in BotW was finding the Lord of the mountain when scaling up on a glowing Satori mountain.
This creature was just there because it was their special place and we could discover and wonder about it.

In TotK it becomes a visualisation of a checklist. And the rare random sight of a blupee in BotW became a regular sight as markers for caves.
It was not a deal breaker but I don't like this direction of giving everything a purpose in gameplay.

I figured that's why they didn't add a lot of new and weird creatures to the depths and sky as well, because those would have to drop some loot and the loot has to fit into the gameplay systems (with the elements and other properties, the usage of horns in weapons, and so on).
There would have been to many combinations and the item choice menus were already pretty bloated.

I know people liked to experiment with that stuff (and it was fine for me for one title) but imo they could throw that all out for the next title. Not every bug needs an element attached to it.
Let me discover, photograph and register them and maybe collect one for a weird scientist in a side mission (like in older Zeldas - or in Animal Crossing).
It made the world in BotW more relatable to me and the depths felt shallow in comparison with its, I don't know, 4 (?) unique creatures/enemies.
 
In general I want more things that just exist for itself in this world. It was somewhat cool to get more context on some ruins or other places in TotK, but I also loved the feeling of the mystery of many structures in BotW.

One of my favorite moments in BotW was finding the Lord of the mountain when scaling up on a glowing Satori mountain.
This creature was just there because it was their special place and we could discover and wonder about it.

In TotK it becomes a visualisation of a checklist. And the rare random sight of a blupee in BotW became a regular sight as markers for caves.
It was not a deal breaker but I don't like this direction of giving everything a purpose in gameplay.

I figured that's why they didn't add a lot of new and weird creatures to the depths and sky as well, because those would have to drop some loot and the loot has to fit into the gameplay systems (with the elements and other properties, the usage of horns in weapons, and so on).
There would have been to many combinations and the item choice menus were already pretty bloated.

I know people liked to experiment with that stuff (and it was fine for me for one title) but imo they could throw that all out for the next title. Not every bug needs an element attached to it.
Let me discover, photograph and register them and maybe collect one for a weird scientist in a side mission (like in older Zeldas - or in Animal Crossing).
It made the world in BotW more relatable to me and the depths felt shallow in comparison with its, I don't know, 4 (?) unique creatures/enemies.
This.

I'm not a huge fan of open world games but I really think BOTW was a step in the right direction for the industry. Then came Elden Ring that I also agree to move the genre forward. Then with Totk, I expected another leap but it actually went backwards to what BOTW did, more in the direction of a lot of open world games I was used to criticize.

Btw, seeing Lord of the mountain and Malice Naydra for the first time are probably my favorite BOTW moments.
 
This.

I'm not a huge fan of open world games but I really think BOTW was a step in the right direction for the industry. Then came Elden Ring that I also agree to move the genre forward. Then with Totk, I expected another leap but it actually went backwards to what BOTW did, more in the direction of a lot of open world games I was used to criticize.

Btw, seeing Lord of the mountain and Malice Naydra for the first time are probably my favorite BOTW moments.

Yeah, finding Naydra definitely was a very big one as well.


I don't want to sound like TotK has nothing like this, but while playing I got more sad over time about the checklist feeling this game induced in me, in contrast to BotW.
When I looked and walked around in BotW there were only these four structures in the landscape that emitted a “to do feeling” (besides the overall "four titans" and "Calamity beast"):
  • towers
  • shrines
  • unique monsters
  • enemy camps
The Koroks were hidden and you stumbled across them while exploring.
I just activated the tower in a region and then I ran around from one interesting looking structure to the next while doing the shrines I came across and fighting (unique) monsters when I felt like it.
Almost everything looked pretty distinct and I just freely explored and stayed curious.


A bit into TotK, you already see much more patterns and checklists. Again you have:
  • towers
  • shrines
  • unique monsters
  • enemy camps
but also
  • escort mission Koroks
  • Addison the sign guy
  • identical sky islands with machines for new Zonai devices or those stone tablet islands
  • Lord of the mountain cave checklists (each cave marked by a Blupee)
  • wells (the researcher that tracks your progress)
  • chasms
  • Pretty similar looking Yiga Clan outposts
  • Mines for building up your battery
  • These boss fight platforms in the depths
  • Lightroots
  • these rows of statues that lead the way in the depths
  • the stables do now also have this “gonna get them all” mission with the newspaper quests and the pictures.
I constantly passed stuff that I had to mark on my map or make a note in my mind to return to.
You do one Korok escort mission, turn around and walk a bit, only to see the next one screaming.

It’s not that I disliked all of these things above, some additions I really loved (caves and wells especially).
But overall it very quickly added up to a big feeling of ticking boxes on a list (with not many surprises) and much less like in BotW exploring in my own pace.
It’s just a bit too much.

That’s why BotW is still the better game for me. I was feeling more in the moment.
I know that’s probably a pretty big me-problem that not everyone has. I often feel overwhelmed in real life as well, when too many tasks are waiting for me :D
 
TotK is definitely more systemic, dense and overall a much more resource-based game than BotW. Many people give BotW flak for "It's only towers, shrines and korok seeds", which isn't true, but it is an open world game that is much more stripped down - for the better - than its contemporaries. I like it, it helps provide a sense of serenity that makes the world all the more alluring to explore. Doing all of this empty, desolate traversing over the hills makes it all the more powerful when you find the forgotten temple, or see a dragon, or encounter Kilton for the first time.

TotK, meanwhile, doubles down and gives you, like, a ton more things to stumble upon and collect and interact with. Poes and zonaite to gather in the depths, the latter in large variants that can be transformed into crystal charges that can be transformed into battery power, zonai charges, dispensers and devices, caves and bubbul frogs, heck, even the reward system in the stables makes the experience much more frontloaded and active in this game. Even traversal itself is radically changed up with how you can utilize Ultrahand to make temporary means of speeding up traversal.

I personally think TotK does the right and most important thing, which is setting itself apart from BotW. I returned to BotW quite recently and the difference between the games was much more pronounced than I thought it would be. It's just such a different feeling between them, it's like BotW is a combination of a camping trip and a playground, while TotK is a combination of hiking and going to an amusement park, and I love it, I love how they made TotK different in all the right ways, and how the duology becomes this "two sides of the same coin" situation where they share so, so many surface elements like control scheme and UI, but also serves as an example in that what truly sets two games apart is their underlying mechanical compositions and design patterns, and the two of them are just distinct and different enough to make them both matter, in my opinion.
 
I will always treasure getting my mind blown when I first descended into the depths...
To realize there was an entire full-size map beneath Hyrule was such a magic moment, at least for me.
 
I'll echo what's been said here in that I found TotK's world to be more focused on providing you with lots of distractions, and lists of things to do, while BotW's world was more focused on evoking a sense of wonder and letting your own curiosity determine exploration.

They are both very different games because of that, despite sharing the same world and many other things. I can't say for sure which of them is 'better', because they both cater to two different types of experiences. I suppose it just depends on which one you find more fun or impactful.

For myself, I much preferred how BotW was very light on things to do in the moment, and allowed me to set my own goals for exploration, and just soak up the atmosphere in the meantime. I remember how many criticized it because of this, but the 'emptiness' of the world was actually what made me fall in love with it in the first place.
 
Finished Tears of the Kingdom today. Played for more the 750h before seeing the credits for the first time, didn't spoiled anything, stayed away from social media and basically everything, my last post here was back at the beginning of May because I did not want to risk it haha.

Quoting one of the victory phrases from Mio in Xenoblade 3 "That was speectaaacular"
 
Played for more the 750h before seeing the credits for the first time, didn't spoiled anything, stayed away from social media and basically everything, my last post here was back at the beginning of May because I did not want to risk it haha
750 hours is already amazing to me, but the fact that you played that long while dodging all the spoilers makes it better lol.

And yes, Tears is spectacular. Nintendo, please make more im-sim-ish games.
 
By Golly! 750 hours??? I think I've only ever reached less than 200 ni BOTW, and that's because of the amount of times I've replayed it! hahahaha

A game I've organically reached over a hundred hours (120, I believe) is Pokemon Violet Version
 
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I was rewatching the Breath of the Wild memories and there is one where Zelda checks on Link for injuries. At the beginning of TOTK, Zelda inspects Link for injuries after fighting a Keese so it's a nice call back.

I think the team did a good job of aging up the characters in subtle ways. In BOTW, Zelda does feel like she's someone who is 17 while in TOTK, she definitely feels like someone in her early 20s. Even without him talking, Link feels older. The new blue tunic with the straps and armor pieces make him appear bulkier and thus, older.
 
Okay, so something really awesome just happened in my most recent playthrough.

I was up at the Gerudo Highlands Archipelago island chain, making my way to Starview Island. (the giant sphere) The way that you're supposed to reach it is to island-hop using rockets across a chain of islands surrounding the sphere, and it takes a while.

So, you can cheese the entire thing pretty hard by utilizing a stabilizer catapult, which I have in my Autobuild favourites. Building a long stick, and gluing a stabilizer on one end and standing on the other end, if you hit the stabilizer with an arrow, you go wohoooooo, and if you do it in a low-gravity area, you can shoot yourself really far up.

So I did this, and shot up high, way, waaaay higher than I though, I went above the sphere, way above, and landed on top of the light dragon. Now, the light dragon does this thing where it only descends and is on the same altitude as the other dragons when you've collected all the memories - otherwise, it's much, much higher and sometimes so high that you can't reach it unless you have assembled a jet. I have never reached the light dragon this early on in any of my prior playthroughs. It's a shame that I didn't have enough stamina though
 
Okay, so something really awesome just happened in my most recent playthrough.

I was up at the Gerudo Highlands Archipelago island chain, making my way to Starview Island. (the giant sphere) The way that you're supposed to reach it is to island-hop using rockets across a chain of islands surrounding the sphere, and it takes a while.

So, you can cheese the entire thing pretty hard by utilizing a stabilizer catapult, which I have in my Autobuild favourites. Building a long stick, and gluing a stabilizer on one end and standing on the other end, if you hit the stabilizer with an arrow, you go wohoooooo, and if you do it in a low-gravity area, you can shoot yourself really far up.

So I did this, and shot up high, way, waaaay higher than I though, I went above the sphere, way above, and landed on top of the light dragon. Now, the light dragon does this thing where it only descends and is on the same altitude as the other dragons when you've collected all the memories - otherwise, it's much, much higher and sometimes so high that you can't reach it unless you have assembled a jet. I have never reached the light dragon this early on in any of my prior playthroughs. It's a shame that I didn't have enough stamina though
Make a video
 
WOW!

Where do you get the sticks for the base of the catapult? What an amazing idea.

They’re from the construction sets that are here and there (the places with the planks and wheels, often accompanied by the sign guy)
 
I....don't get the biome complaint for the depths. It's an underground area devoid of any actual sunlight, how much did people expect? even then, you had the standard look and feel of the depths, the lava section under death mountain, the underground desert under gerudo desert, and you have forests, lakes and waterfalls throughout. not to mention the mines, factories, labyrinths, etc.

maybe it's repetitive but it's only in the same way people thought BOTW was repetitive. i feel like this far removed from BOTW, people forget what the primary loop is supposed to be. see something, go there. from there, find something else, and so on. BOTW was not built for 100% completion and exploration, and neither is TOTK. the criticisms of TOTK's additions remind me an awful lot of the discourse around BOTW's "empty" world with "repetitive" stuff to do. no variety, no actual point to most of it, etc. TOTK has plenty new to genuinely discover, despite some repeated environments. selfishly i do wish there were one or two more unique boss types to be found down there but honestly the variety is so much better as a whole, i can't complain too much.
 
Depths was drab and boring as hell. Easily my least favorite part of the game. The variety complaints in terms of both visuals AND gameplay are valid. Why not have some more unique environmental puzzles down there, perhaps involving dark and light, or even just more physics based puzzles? Just shooting bloom seeds over and over again to make your way from one root to the next got old really fast, and there were barely any unique enemies or bosses down there either. The Skylands could also be repetitive but there was much less of it overall, and was made up for by the endless beautiful vistas to gaze upon, and just jumping off into the air and gliding for an eternity was a joy.
 
Depths was cool and not boring. Easily my favorite part of the game. All opinions here are valid. There were some cool environmental puzzles down there, like finding your way around the giant statues or navigating the minecarts. I never get tired of shooting bloom seeds off in the distance, and the enemies were some of the most challenging the game has to offer. The Skylands were also great but there was much less of it overall, but was made up for by the endless beautiful vistas to gaze upon, and just jumping off into the air and gliding for an eternity was a joy.
 
Nobody is going to be able to convince me that the depths is anything but poor design choices.

In a sequel to a game that built itself on masterful guidance of the player through visual cues and being able to look to see where you might be able to find something interesting, they made an area where you can't see beyond your nose, and can only randomly point your bow in what you hope is an interesting direction, and the only efficient way to travel because you've got no idea of the terrain means you are tied to just beelining it on a basic flying machine and you're just going through a Ubisoft style checklist of a 120 points and have to explore the entire map to even be able to try and find if there's anything interesting.
 
Nobody is going to be able to convince me that the depths is anything but poor design choices.

In a sequel to a game that built itself on masterful guidance of the player through visual cues and being able to look to see where you might be able to find something interesting, they made an area where you can't see beyond your nose, and can only randomly point your bow in what you hope is an interesting direction, and the only efficient way to travel because you've got no idea of the terrain means you are tied to just beelining it on a basic flying machine and you're just going through a Ubisoft style checklist of a 120 points and have to explore the entire map to even be able to try and find if there's anything interesting.
I’ve got my gripes with the lack of environmental variety and sameyness for the depths, but I think it’s pretty clear that they were going for a separate gameplay loop down there, something different from the overworld style of “see something interesting? Go there” exploration and I don’t really think it’s a flawed idea for not being like that.
 
I’ve got my gripes with the lack of environmental variety and sameyness for the depths, but I think it’s pretty clear that they were going for a separate gameplay loop down there, something different from the overworld style of “see something interesting? Go there” exploration and I don’t really think it’s a flawed idea for not being like that.
Pretty much captured my thoughts on the Depths. I wasn’t in love with that map, but I did end up appreciating it as a playground for when I just wanted to muck around with Zonai gadgets.
 
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Love the depths, they feel very design by subtraction-y. The way that they’re intentionally monotonous and forces you into a hypnotic, coherent gameplay loop makes whatever you do discover hit all the harder. The copy-paste mines are a tad lame, but I jumped when I saw my first coliseum, the ascend point that takes you to the deku tree the Gerudo cemetery, and a lot more distinct locations, which there are more of than people give the area credit for.

My first foray into the depths was the Kakariko chasm, where I just had my jaw dropped to the floor, and below. But the second time was even more incredible, it was through a Great Plateau chasm where I ended up in one of the railway stations, where I had to both ride a cart and walk on foot to reach the large mine at the end. That stuff was nothing short of unforgettable.
 
you know what would have instantly improved the depths by a factor of at least 5?

hrfscTT.png


but I generally really like the vibes of the depths and how it contrasts the other two layers in the game
 
you know what would have instantly improved the depths by a factor of at least 5?

hrfscTT.png


but I generally really like the vibes of the depths and how it contrasts the other two layers in the game
Gutted these weirdos didn't return. Maybe they can return in the new 2D Zelda that is definitely happening.

stares at Nintendo
 
I loved the depths, but I have to admit adding a civilisation like Subrosians would have greatly improved them. But the design, eerie vibes and gameplay loop + the fact that Nintendo kept them hidden until the game's release (!!!!) will always have me thinking back to them with fond memories
 
Speaking of, I was hard baited when one of the chasms, the one outside Korok Forest, is called Minshi Woods chasm.

Thinking of unused BotW concepts, I put two and two together, and ….
 
I think a Depths as dense as the surface would've made the game too big and overwhelming. As it is a lot of people, even people who liked/loved the game, seem to feel that way about it, if the Depths also had it's own Koroks, caves, shrines, etc. it'd just be too much. The Depths are more like the Great Sea in The Wind Waker or the DS games, big stretches of not much where you can get a feel for vehicles and stuff, broken up by points of interest. But the emptier parts are more interesting in TotK because you have way more options for traversing it than just an unchangable train or boat. I wouldn't want a whole game to have only that for a map(it's one of the things that puts The Wind Waker a little lower in my esteem of the 3D Zeldas), but I wouldn't have wanted another map as dense as the main Hyrule map either. I do think there's some stuff that could've been better, like maybe giving the player the ability to pickup Poes without dismounting their vehicle/mount/Mineru Construct, and I think they could've thrown completionist players a bone by giving them some way of knowing where the remaining monsters you need to kill for medals were at the end of the game, but I don't agree with the notion that they should've built a second Hyrule-style map.
 
I think a Depths as dense as the surface would've made the game too big and overwhelming. As it is a lot of people, even people who liked/loved the game, seem to feel that way about it, if the Depths also had it's own Koroks, caves, shrines, etc. it'd just be too much. The Depths are more like the Great Sea in The Wind Waker or the DS games, big stretches of not much where you can get a feel for vehicles and stuff, broken up by points of interest. But the emptier parts are more interesting in TotK because you have way more options for traversing it than just an unchangable train or boat. I wouldn't want a whole game to have only that for a map(it's one of the things that puts The Wind Waker a little lower in my esteem of the 3D Zeldas), but I wouldn't have wanted another map as dense as the main Hyrule map either. I do think there's some stuff that could've been better, like maybe giving the player the ability to pickup Poes without dismounting their vehicle/mount/Mineru Construct, and I think they could've thrown completionist players a bone by giving them some way of knowing where the remaining monsters you need to kill for medals were at the end of the game, but I don't agree with the notion that they should've built a second Hyrule-style map.

It was overwhelming exactly as it was. I think it would have been a lot better if the depths was closer the size of the sky, rather than the size of the surface. That way you could have had three distinct areas, each with a unique gameplay loop without feeling too big and bloated.
 


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