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    The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Will It Live Up to the Hype?

    The hype cycle begins.

    The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases worldwide on May 12th. That means that we are now less than three months away from the next Zelda release! It’s been such a long wait, and will have been six whole years since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was first released. While we’ve had the spin-off Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in the intervening years and a couple of good remakes, has the hype actually died down because of the long wait? In this article, we look at what we can actually expect from Tears of the Kingdom and if it’ll live up to the hype.

    Tears of the Kingdom Zelda

    Breath of the Wild

    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released at the Switch’s launch in 2017 (and also released on Wii U). It was Nintendo’s first attempt at a truly open-world action RPG, and it was better than anyone expected, rivaling the critical acclaim of Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

    The gameplay loop of crafting meals and elixirs, defeating enemies, and solving shrine puzzles was satisfying. This is arguably the best gameplay loop of any Nintendo game. With this established, how will Tears of the Kingdom build on it, or revolutionize it?

    Breath of the Wild had only four major dungeons in the form of the divine beasts, and they were all quite similar. This, along with the story (and maybe voice acting), were some of the weakest parts of the game. Fans have been asking for a return of proper dungeons in future Zelda games, and usually, Nintendo responds to fan requests (especially in regards to Zelda).

    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

    Same World

    One massive problem that I see might be a problem with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is that it uses the same overworld as Breath of the Wild. Unless there are some huge surprises in store, I think this will kill some people’s hype for the new game.

    Part of the excitement of new Zelda games is usually the thrill of exploring new areas. Will we get this with Tears of the Kingdom? There have been clues in the trailers that we’ll get to explore some underground areas, but is there no new overworld? That would definitely be a disappointment.

    From the trailers, we know that vertical movement will be a thing, and we will probably get to explore sky islands, similarly to in 2011’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This prospect is exciting, especially if you’re nostalgic for Skyward Sword. I think there are loads of things about the overworld in Tears of the Kingdom that are still a mystery.

    Trailer

    The latest Nintendo Direct revealed a new trailer for Tears of the Kingdom. The trailer implies that the classic king of evil, Ganondorf, will return. It could be his voice that narrates the trailer, and for any long-time Zelda fan, this is exciting.

    His dehydrated body is under Hyrule Castle in the chasm that appeared at the end of Breath of the Wild (if it is Ganondorf). The Gerudo symbols on his rags of clothes imply that the creature we saw in the first Tears of the Kingdom trailer is indeed Ganondorf.

    However, the voice acting sounds embarrassing and makes me think about if we really need voice acting in Zelda. I’m worried that Zelda will become something like what has happened to the Sonic series. Text worked just fine before Breath of the Wild, and Zelda is known for its epic stories. Will voice acting ruin this? The rest of the trailer showed Link on various vehicles, but really wasn’t exciting, and didn’t live up to the 2016 Breath of the Wild trailer.

    Link Skyward Sword

    New Mechanics

    Every Zelda game introduces new mechanics and gameplay concepts. Some examples include masks in Majora’s Mask, Sailing in Wind Waker, and the wolf form in Twilight PrincessBreath of the Wild completely overhauled the Zelda formula with shrines and the weapon system. What will Tears of the Kingdom do to mix things up? We’ve seen from trailers that vehicles seem to be a thing, and also that vertical exploration might be introduced.

    It wouldn’t be a good thing if Tears of the Kingdom seems like it was just a massive DLC expansion. We’ve been waiting over five years for this game and Nintendo will surely have some massive new gameplay mechanics that we don’t know about yet. New runes could be likely and from the trailers, it looks like Link will be able to reverse time. This is exciting and has cool implications for combat and puzzle-solving.

    Zelda BOTW Image

    Story

    Zelda’s stories are usually classic tales of good against evil and involve the saving of the titular princess. However, the best Zelda stories, such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, deviate from this. It’s the world itself and the characters that you meet that create the vibe and atmosphere in which you understand the world and are fascinated by its oddities.

    This can be felt in games like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, and to a lesser extent also, Wind WakerSkyward Sword, and Twilight Princess. The same can be said of Breath of the Wild to a certain degree, with its oddball characters walking around the overworld asking Link to help them solve their problems.

    However, in Breath of the Wild, I found the character of Zelda and her father so cringy and embarrassing. Why did they have to make Zelda a vulnerable, mentally fragile person who seems like they have deep-rooted mental health issues? I just feel like they could have done better with the dialogue and voice acting. Or better yet, not had voice acting at all and let the players make up the voice in their heads. All the voice acting was just terrible in my opinion. At least the English voice acting. Maybe the Japanese voice acting is better.

    Zelda OLED Switch
    Rumored Zelda OLED Switch console.

    Will Tears of the Kingdom Live Up to the Hype?

    There has been so much hype for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Even despite the long wait, this game is consistently named as the most anticipated title every new year on numerous sites. People are excited for it as it’s a sequel to Breath of the Wild, which has reached so many people as it’s sold over 29 million units on Switch. The story elements that are incorporated in the trailers that have been released for Tears of the Kingdom have increased the excitement, especially the reveal that Ganondorf could be in the game.

    However, with Tears of the Kingdom using the same world as Breath of the Wild, will it actually live up to the hype and sell anywhere near the 30 million units (Switch plus Wii U sales) of Breath of the Wild? New Zelda games rarely disappoint, but will the new gameplay concepts in Tears of the Kingdom be enough to live up to the hype? I think it all rests on what the gameplay hook is, and if there’s a new overworld that we don’t know about.

    Conclusion

    In the next few months before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases, we might find out more about the game and its gameplay mechanics. At the moment, we know that vertical exploration might be a thing, new abilities that affect time will be introduced, and there might be new vehicles introduced.

    Since the game uses the same world as Breath of the Wild, it might kill some people’s hype for the game. Not to mention, it will have been over six years since the release of the predecessor. The voice acting seems to still be bad, and it is yet to be seen if the story will be any better than in Breath of the Wild. However, this is Nintendo we’re talking about, and they are known for surprises and achieving commercial and critical successes. 

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