The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom’s Tears – Preview
|Title||The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom’s Tears|
|release date||May 12, 2023|
A sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now in development. With that simple phrase and a few snippets of what was supposed to be the next big Zelda game, Nintendo grabbed attention at E3 2019. Viewers of the Nintendo Direct live stream saw a familiar world, where dark forces herald new humans. After all, this version of Hyrule wasn’t long before he was stripped of Calamity Ganon’s influence by Link, but the story doesn’t end there. In the short clip, we saw how Link and Princess Zelda went on an adventure together, how a creature similar to Ganon was brought back to life and how Hyrule Castle seemed to be rising. We now know the latter is probably true, because in the years since, Nintendo has shown off more and more images. It also recently showed off some gameplay, which showed how Hyrule now has all sorts of new islands floating in the sky. We got to visit some of those islands last week, when we got to work with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for a few hours on a visit to Nintendo in Frankfurt.
A little context beforehand: I’m not a fan of The Legend of Zelda. That being said, I think they are great games, but I owned SEGA when others met Link with their NES and later SNES. I had a PlayStation instead of a Nintendo 64 and an Xbox (and a gaming PC) at the time of the Game Cube. In retrospect, I’ve played several TLOZ games, with Breath of the Wild being the most recent, but I’ve never been infected with what you might describe as the “Zelda virus”. There’s no denying the high-end performance of the Japanese masters, but I kind of wonder if the game world would be a little less empty if the game was allowed to run on more powerful hardware. After all, Breath of the Wild was developed for the Wii U and then released for the Nintendo Switch. Aside from upgrading to an OLED display and using a more efficient chip, nothing has changed on this Switch. That’s why I got on the train with some skepticism: How much could this game make, knowing that hardware hasn’t advanced in six years?
The final answer to this question will of course take some time, as we were only able to play a limited portion of the game during this preview session. During the game, a Nintendo moderator meticulously directed us as to which floating islands we could visit, what puzzles we could do, and what enemies we could fight. It wasn’t an ideal way to spend your first few minutes in a new Zelda game, but the reason is understandable. Link gains a number of new powers set in Tears of the Kingdom that involve a different way of playing. So the hour we could spend with the match was mainly focused on that.
Although we are not allowed to travel far in the game world, we can of course look around and see what the world looks like. The changes in the game world are evident once you walk around Tears of the Kingdom: the floating pieces in the game world are quite noticeable. In addition, we know from the trailers that Hyrule can also appear much darker in this game than what we saw in Breath of the Wild. We have not yet seen this in the gameplay, but this may still be waiting for the player. This also applies to any piece in which Zelda plays a role. We know from the trailers that she’ll be out with Link at some point, but we haven’t seen any of that either. This hands-on session was about Link’s new powers and what this game means.
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