Playthrough: Long-Awaited Tears

Box Art

Welcome to The Starlight Megaphone‘s playthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, released worldwide for the Nintendo Switch on 12 May 2023. It is the latest in the Legend of Zelda series of video games, and serves as a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, released on the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom incorporates many of the same gameplay elements of its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, and even shares the same director and producer. It reprises the open-world adventure gameplay, now with the addition of craftable weapons and vehicles, and also expands vertically to incorporate a vast world that exists within the clouds. Originally conceived as expansive DLC for the earlier title, its size and scope soon eclipsed the range of what would have been possible for DLC, and development was instead redirected as a full-length sequel. Announced at E3 in 2019, almost four years ago, Tears of the Kingdom (then known as Breath of the Wild 2) has been one of the most hotly-anticipated titles on the Nintendo Switch platform, and its release is practically asssured to ship millions of units despite being a console exclusive.

Zelda has more substantial involvement in this game than in previous games in the series.

Most of Breath of the Wild‘s mechanics have been incorporated in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, although often with substantial quality-of-life improvements or additional mechanical depth. For example, the earlier title’s use of ordinary items (sticks, rocks, etc.) as weapons is still present, as is the limited durability associated with some of the more fragile items (such as sticks). However, improved depth and usability have been incorporated in the form of ‘fusion’, which allows the player to combine found items into new items and weapons. For example, a wooden stick might be about to break after hitting an enemy only once of twice, but if it is fused with a rock (an item with very high durability but low functionality), not only will the stick-rock become a mace, but it will have new, and very high, durability, turning two near useless items into one very powerful and useful weapon.

The ability to fuse items is not limited to weapons. Going far beyond the scope of the original game, the player can collect machines and engines, and fuse them with logs, stones, planks, sticks, and boxes in order to create rudimentary (and not-so-rudimentary) vehicles. In this manner, a player can create motorised land vehicles, boats, and potentially even airships. These vessels behave in realistic ways, meaning that they can be crashed and destroyed, but also outfitted with armour and piloted for both attack and exploration. Given the new vectors of exploration present in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, players will likely want to make frequent use of their new vehicular locomotion.

Monsters now work together, combining their abilities.

The world of the game is reminiscent of that found in Breath of the Wild–but in the time which has passed since the end of that game, changes have taken place in Hyrule. A new threat has arisen, and the landscape is changed, with new monsters and puzzles to encounter. Moreover, an entire world is now present in the skies above, requiring craft and skill to access and navigate, and leaving open the terrifying possibility of an Icarus-like plummet to the land below. Luckily, Link still retains his parasail, and he has gained new powers that can see him launched high into the stratosphere, there to uncover lands hitherto unexplored.

In that regard, the game shares design concepts with Wind Waker and Skyward Sword, which both offered vast expanses (of sea and sky, respectively) dotted with islands of exploration. Fans of those earlier titles will find much to appreciate in Tears of the Kingdom, although the islands in the sky appear far more substantial on the whole than anything found in the aforementioned games. Indeed, there seems almost as much to do in the sky as on the ground, and players will likely spend a large portion (if not the majority) of their time in the sky, exploring and navigating an array of puzzles and enemies that will make use of Link’s battery of newly-acquired abilities.

The expansive skyworld is reminiscent of Skyward Sword, recently re-released on the Nintendo Switch.

Because of the nonlinear and open-world structure, player experiences with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will vary in terms of the order in which content is experienced. Players may create entirely different weapons and vehicles, explore content in a different order (perhaps skipping some content entirely), or prioritise combat, exploration, sidequests, or storyline to differing degrees. The player who chooses a completionist route will likely find the game less challenging, but far more time-consuming and immersive. Each player will be able to report a highly personalised experience.

Please use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, strategies and content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Are you excited to revisit the already-proven world of Breath of the Wild; or would you have preferred a wholly new experience despite the risks that come with a new venture? Is this one of your first experiences with the Zelda series, or are you a long-term fan familiar with both the 3D and earlier diagatilt titles? What sorts of changes would you make to the game? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments for our podcast discussions.

New and terrifying bosses have been created to challenge Link.

The aim in this playthrough is to complete the main game storyline by 16 June 2023. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion and encourage other players, whilst helping us to monitor and adjust the length of the playthrough. Please also make use of our official Discord channel, where we have an #events channel dedicated to playthrough chat.

Please join in with us and comment about your experience! Our playthrough is intended to encourage anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the genre. Comment and tell your friends!

Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone‘s staff members and readers in Long-Awaited Tears: a The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom playthrough!

One comment

  1. Two towers left to unlock, 52 shrines done!
    I need to do more in the underworld, I’ve been seriously neglecting it with only 5 lightroots done.
    But I was exploring the Royal Passage (where I found the Soldier armor) and then Hyrule Castle (where I found the Royal Guard armor), and that took a lot of time, because it is very labyrinthine.
    I did the classic and sky labyrinths too, and unlocked the underworld labyrinth.
    I have a few more ancient Hylian sky tablets to photograph. Not hard, just time consuming.
    I have lots of sidequests to double back to complete, as I’ve primarily beed focused on Shrines and then Towers in order of priority. Although I do pause to get Koroks, so I have 15 weapon slots, 10 bow slots, and 6 shield slots so far.
    Focusing on getting a 2nd stamina wheel before any health upgrades was a wise decision informed by playing BotW. Luckily I know the combat really well, so I am not generally threatened by enemies. It made doing things so much easier, and my heart total is filling out well now.

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