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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’ Review Part 3

A Light in the Dark
Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

This is the final part of our Tears of the Kingdom review. Please check out our first part and our second part!

This game attempts to return to its classic Zelda roots by having temples as dungeons instead of Divine Beasts like in the previous game. Sadly though, they function almost identically to their predecessors. 

From a gameplay perspective, these temples are the same as Divine Beasts. For classic Zelda fans, this definitely won’t scratch that nostalgia itch for old-school dungeons. Thankfully though, the presentations for most of the temples are significantly better than in the previous game as each temple has its own unique aesthetic, whereas each divine beast kind of felt the same. 

The quality of each temple somewhat varies, however. Some are absolutely awesome and some are really disappointing.

The wind and lightning temples are easily the best ones in the game. They have really cool quests building up to them and the temples themselves are just awesome. I won’t spoil anything, but they both have really cool premises that fully take advantage of the new abilities you get in these quests. 

The fire temple is just ok. It has an awesome aesthetic but gameplay-wise it kind of falls flat with a really confusing layout and a cool but extremely easy boss fight.

 The water temple straight-up sucks. It is easily the worst temple in the game. It comes with the absolute worst ability of all the sages and compared to the rest of the temples it just looks ugly. The puzzles are also just painfully easy in this one, and the boss feels like it was designed to piss you off more than challenge you. It is not a fun temple and was frankly a huge disappointment. 

The bosses in each temple are pretty easy but aside from the water temple, they are fun to fight. The lighting temple boss does put up a challenge (which is why it’s the best in the game), and the wind temple boss is always pretty fun, even if it’s super easy. You can also find all the temple bosses in the depths which is nice if you feel the urge to fight them again. 

What’s better is they respawn after a blood moon, so you can fight them to your heart’s content if you so please.

As with really any Zelda game, don’t go into this expecting a masterpiece of storytelling that will tug on your heartstrings and leave you sobbing in your mom’s basement at two in the morning. 

The story is perfectly passable and is engaging enough to do its job, but it’s not high art by any means. The writing here did receive a considerable upgrade from Breath of the Wild for the most part though. Each major character gets a neat little arc and challenge to overcome which ultimately makes the finale more satisfying as you feel like you have more emotional skin in the game now.

The story is essentially split into a bunch of different arcs that coincide with each temple. Each arc is centered around a specific character who usually overcomes some fear or insecurity. Again, they aren’t super deep, but it’s nice that they put a little more effort into developing their characters this time around. Even Link gets some development here through his interactions with Zelda and her journals.

The biggest problem with the story is how it’s structured. The story is split in half with half being the stuff with the temples and the other being memories you can find inside of tears to piece together an overarching mystery in the game. 

The temple half is fine, but the tears are just not well implemented at all. You can find 12 giant glyphs across Hyrule and each glyph will have a tear to find which will allow you to see a memory from Zelda. The issue with these tears is that you can find them out of order and they straight up spoil the story up until the endgame. 

A large problem within the story is trying to find out where Zelda went, but if you did all the tears you know exactly what happened to her. It’s not even remotely ambiguous or anything. You and Link know exactly what happened and where she is once you do all the tears and yet you’ll still have every major character wondering what happened to her and searching for her. 

There’s even an entire side quest line about trying to find out what happened to her with a reporter, but it’s kind of hard to get invested in this big mystery if you already know what happened. The actual memories that play are cool and engaging to watch, but they are implemented horribly and it weakens the overall story.

The side quests were really surprising in this game. I went in expecting some fairly basic, inoffensive quests that just fill out the world. To my surprise though, a lot of these side quests were of really high quality and had some pretty poignant messages. 

They aren’t on the level of The Witcher 3, but they really don’t need to be because this still is a game for kids to enjoy as well as adults. I’d even argue that in terms of writing, the side quests outclass the main story. 

Obviously, not every side quest is a gem as one literally just requires you to give someone an apple but for every apple fetch quest, there is a sprawling storyline waiting to be unraveled. 

There are quests about parents accepting their kids leaving the nest, political disagreements, modernity vs. tradition, journalistic integrity, and even reuniting a group of musical performers. In particular, there’s a quest where a certain town is split between sticking to its roots and embracing new ideas. 

It has a neat little message about accepting both that I think rings true, especially in our current society. There’s also a questline about working with a newspaper to find out what happened to Zelda. I may be a teeny bit biased but I loved this questline. Each story was essentially just a little short vignette, but they were always fun and engaging. You do all of these quests with your journalist buddy, Penn, who is the coolest guy ever. I’m not kidding, I’d take a bullet for this oversized bird.

The side quests really help to flesh out the world of Hyrule and make it feel like a real place with charming characters and plotlines. Each character, both big and small, has so much personality infused into them that I can’t help but love them even if they aren’t the deepest characters on planet Earth. Even this one bumbling moron who can’t figure out how to put a sign up correctly is charming in his own way.

Some side quests also unlock cool and unique rewards too. For example, if you do the quests for this ugly, Humpty Dumpty-looking guy, Kilton, you get to make a display diorama of monsters and enemies you’ve taken pictures of. You also can build a house, though admittedly the house-building mechanics kind of suck. They give you pre-set room options so it’s annoying trying to make everything look nice when you can’t make it exactly how you want it to look. It ends up being more finicky and frustrating than helpful, but I won’t lie that house came in handy when I was out of food and needed to heal quickly.

If you couldn’t tell based on the sheer length of this review, we feel very strongly about this game. While we are fairly critical of the game’s numerous flaws, that’s partially because a lot of the flaws from Breath of the Wild carried over to this game which just made them more apparent here. 

Despite those flaws, though, Tears of the Kingdom is a triumphant success and a technological marvel to behold. How this game was fit into only a 16 GB cartridge and runs as well as it does on supremely outdated hardware still blows our minds. Just like its predecessor, Tears of the Kingdom has become the gold standard for not only how to design a dynamic and engaging open world, but also how to follow up on an already incredible game. 

Everyone said this after Breath of the Wild too, but Nintendo has a really tough act to follow after this game.

Score: 9/10

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