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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

‘The Legend Of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’: Living up to expectations

Maria Gorecki
Maria Gorecki

I was walking the lakes of Notre Dame back in 2019, exploring the campus the summer before my freshman year. After the walk, I was on my phone when a 90 second trailer dropped for the sequel to “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” Everyone, myself included, was ecstatic for a sequel to one of the greatest open-world games ever made. I was only a sophomore in high school when “Breath of the Wild” was released, along with the Nintendo Switch, a that's the only game that truly had me addicted for months on end. I played it in class, as the console was so small that my teachers never even noticed (my apologies, but hey, I still graduated, so that’s all that matters). I played it at lunch, on the bus rides to our football games and in the locker room. I woke up on weekends and immediately started playing. I must admit it was a bad habit, but that’s how great the game was. 

Up until “Breath of the Wild,” the “Zelda” series primarily featured linear narratives, with the player finishing dungeons in a specific order. “Breath of the Wild” marketed itself by saying that if you can see it, you can explore it whenever you want. You can even finish the game in the first 30 minutes, though only a few have completed that feat. So when Nintendo announced its sequel, “Tears of the Kingdom,” expectations were sky-high. People worried about what more could be added, as the new game seemed to have the same map as “Breath of the Wild.” There were genuine concerns that “Tears” would cost $70. With the release of multiple story and gameplay trailers in the weeks leading to the sequel’s launch, Nintendo answered every concern fans had, showing how a franchise spanning 30 years can still find new life.

In “Tears of the Kingdom,” if you can see it, you can find many ways to get there. Fusing weapons and items that took up space in your inventory in the previous game now have a greater purpose than ever before. The possibilities are truly endless, limited only by your imagination. You can merge pieces of wood and fabric together to make hot air balloons and traverse the skies. Yes, this is how the map issue is solved; the new adventure takes place above the old world, on floating islands. It seems “Tears” will have the biggest map in the history of the franchise, and I expect there to be more puzzles and enemies to conquer than in “Breath of the Wild.” Nintendo was finding their footing for this new formula in the original game, and it seems they will perfect it now. With legendary voice actor Matthew Mercer being the first person to voice the historic villain Ganondorf, and Patricia Summersett returning to voice Princess Zelda, I’m expecting this to be the best story told in the franchise. Series manager Eiji Aonuma stated the team originally planned to only add downloadable content to “Breath of the Wild.” But they had so many ideas, they decided to make a sequel, and the trailers prove that. With the game arriving on May 12, you will see me playing this while I’m waiting in line to receive my diploma.