Game Review: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

By Dave Jamieson
By July 5, 2023 Game, Reviews

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is finally out. The long-awaited sequel of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It will be difficult to talk about one without mentioning the other but to put it simply, Breath of the Wild was and perhaps still is, one of the best open world games available, and Tears of the Kingdom builds only the game’s strengths and adds so much more.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BotW) was an amazing game for making the player feel like they were really thinking outside of the box or really pushing the game to its limits when solving some of the puzzles presented to you. Tears of the Kingdom (TotK) has taken that concept, along with the box, and Nintendo has ran with it. The new powers available to you completely change the way in which you can interact with the world.

TotK gives the player a new set of tools to help defeat the forces of evil. You can fuse parts together to create stronger, more effective weapons for example, fusing a bomb to an arrow before firing it off towards an unsuspecting group of Moblins. Using the Ascend rune it is possible to swim through the solid ground above you, which is very useful for a quick escape from a cave and adds a new verticality when interacting with the world and the new puzzles. The Recall ability allows you to rewind the movement of an object, be it a moving part of a puzzle or even a giant rock launched at you by an aggressive monster.

This is only scratching the surface of what is possible. Within the game you’ll also find a myriad of objects you can fuse together along with a recently discovered ancient technology called Zonai devices- fans, wings, wheels, sleds, lights and many, many more. Using these you can create, well, whatever you’d like- build a skateboard covered with lasers or create a flying box to rain down bombs on your unsuspecting foes, the possibilities are mind-boggling. You may not always complete tasks using the intended method and there’s a lot of satisfaction to be achieved when you really start experimenting with everything at your disposal.

These new tools and the devices you can build are essential for the expanded map. The sky is flooded with floating islands and chasms have appeared across the land that lead to the dark and creepy depths. The map feels way more populated than it did in BotW- secrets, quests and caves are scattered across the familiar land of Hyrule, breathing new breath of life into anyone familiar, or bored with the original map. Within the expanded map there’s an endless list of places to explore, maybe even too much to keep track of. I decided to spend the majority of my first few sessions of the game buried in the gloom-ridden depths. Fighting frantically for my life, dodging the life-sapping gloom and attempting to explore and light up the seemingly never ending darkness.

Tears of the Kingdom’s visuals are similar to BotW, again taking a more stylised approach that works incredibly well for the game’s overall tone. I was worried that my aged Switch would really struggle if the game really pushed the console to its limits. I was amazed by how much they’d managed to squeeze into this game and of course my Switch’s fans spun furiously and the battery drained far quicker than I would have liked, but the game ran surprisingly well.


Any fans of the Zelda series could already tell you how incredible the music is across the game series and it’s no different in TotK. The iconic and memorable musical cues are ever-present. The soundtrack lifting and lilting as you walk, ride, drive or fly around really helps in pulling you into the world as the hours just tick away as you glide across the sky, hoping you have enough energy to reach your destination or enough stamina to make it up that stubborn cliff edge.

 Because of the inclination towards freedom and exploration in TotK, some of the elements of the story can potentially be a little bit messy. Without spoiling too much, there are certain quests which allow Link to watch moments of the past. These help fill in the history, as well as exploring some of the newer characters introduced in TotK but as they can be found in any order some of the more compelling scenes can unfortunately fall to the sidelines.

One popular element to various Legend of Zelda titles are temples which are usually associated with a specific element and TotK is no different. Each temple has a unique set of puzzles that must be solved with the help of a companion and again these can be attempted in any order. The game’s favour of exploration and freedom over a strict narrative does have some drawbacks. Aside from elements of the story being presented in a random order, some scenes are repeated several times such as the concluding moments of temples follow an almost identical outcome which can make the latter temples feel a little underwhelming.

The voice acting is one of the weakest points of TotK. The acting isn’t bad but rather the character’s voices rarely match the character’s personalities or characteristics. Considering the amount of work that went into this game, the visuals, the music, and how it all builds to create an incredibly immersive world, some of the characters end up falling a little flat. This is all without mentioning the awesome new armour sets and interesting quests that have been thrown in. There are plenty of new recipes, along with ingredients as well as creatures, critters, and monsters to contend with. And finally, all of the small changes and quality of life changes have only improved the quality of the game.

Ultimately, there are a thousand more positive things I could say about TotK. I’ve fought, explored, and experimented for over 150 hours and I still don’t think the adventure is over for me. TotK encourages exploration and promotes experimentation with an array of quests, secrets and collectibles in this, quite frankly, masterpiece of a game. There’s also nothing more satisfying than finding a Korok, the small woodland spirits that are scattered across Hyrule either lost from their friends or hiding in plain sight, strapping a rocket to them and sending them flying across the horizon, but then again- that might just be me.