With abilities that let you rewind time, skip ceilings, craft a litany of makeshift weapons, and build vehicles that would make Rube Goldberg drool, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom can be a bit overwhelming.
Our advice? Embrace the chaos and appreciate that there’s no wrong way to play this slapstick comedy of a game.
Throughout the two-week exam period preceding tears of the kingdom, my colleagues and I constantly talked about how we solved certain puzzles, faced specific bosses, or navigated particular stretches of land. Where one of us fought the Water Temple boss multiple times to no avail, another discovered a combination Fuse that made the fight trivial. One of us designed an elaborate rocket barge to reach a high-altitude sky island, but another used Ascend to swim up a massive stalactite hanging from the bottom of the rock.
At first we were worried that we missed “the” solution and somehow broke the sequence or cheated. I myself returned to a white whale-like sanctuary several days in a row, tortured for a treasure chest that was just out of reach, confident that I was missing some intricate detail the game was trying to teach me about the Ultrahand ability. One day I said to screwconcocted the craziest machine possible and opened the trunk.
Was this the intended solution? Non pertinent. In tears of the kingdom, the “envisaged” solutions are only a path and, in the end, the end justifies the means. I recently spoke to director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma, and they admitted it. In fact, Ascend, one of the most godlike abilities in the game, started out as a developer cheat.
The game has only been out in the wild for a few days, but players are already embracing tears of the kingdomemphasizes player freedom. Some have used Fuse to turn the game into Link Hawk’s pro skater. Others joined the Long Bridge team at every possible opportunity.
Namely: my colleague Russ Frushtick’s solution at the end of Runakit Shrine:
Now consider my solution to the same puzzle:
For as many people who told me they loved tears of the kingdom, almost as many have told me they bounce on it because of the dizzying number of possibilities. And that’s perfectly fine: there’s a lot going on here, and breath of the wild is still a great game, and worth coming back to if you’re not thrilled with the sequel.
But if you like tears of the kingdom still a bit worried, as I was two weeks ago, that you weren’t playing it right? Take a page from Fujibayashi’s book and bask in the glory of a game that admits, “Cheating can be fun.”