Will Tears of the Kingdom stand up to comparisons to its big brother?
I’ve been hitting Breath of the Wild quite hard again recently. Having completed it on the Wii U (story and the best ending, not all shrines, seeds etc!), I committed to doing it all again on the Nintendo Switch.
To get it out of the way, I firmly believe (and my re-play is reaffirming this) that Breath of the Wild is the best game ever made. Ocarina of Time and Shenmue used to hold that coveted title in my heart, but Breath of the Wild smashes those to pieces.
Playing through Breath of the Wild again with a couple of years break in between, has seen me remembering stuff, but also realising bits I’ve forgotten. Better still, I’m just doing and finding different stuff. This is almost like paying blind again, minus some key moments.
This has me thinking. On the eve of a Nintendo Direct, that’s suggested to be very Zelda-heavy. Can anything beat Breath of the Wild? And more importantly, would Tears of the Kingdom be able to take its place as the best game ever made?
I don’t think it can. I want Tears of the Kingdom to be better and a new experience. But I suspect it’s going to be “just” (not a bad thing here) more of the same, with some tweaks.
The long and short of this is that Breath of the Wild was the big game that decided to stop holding players’ hands, and just let them go off on their way. Endless exploration and adventure and you got to do all of this off your own back. Games have since followed suit, and it’s no longer novel.
I would suggest that a high percentage of my enjoyment of the Breath of the Wild experience was derived from that initial feeling of being free, like never before. My re-play is as fun, but now it’s remembering, it’s knowing roughly where to go, and that element isn’t there.
The other limiting factor is surely the Nintendo Switch itself. I love the Nintendo Switch, it’s a wonderful console and my favourite of its generation without a doubt. But it’s not exactly a powerhouse.
Sure, Breath of the Wild was initially built for the Wii U, so there’s likely some headroom to get more out of the game engine, but with it being based on the same engine and tools used to make the first, how much more will we see squeezed out of it on the Nintendo Switch? Particularly without a “pro” version.
Tears of the Kingdom – All quiet…
Nintendo is a different beast from other publishers and game developers. It’s hard not to hold them by the same standards as others, despite always doing their own thing, and often doing things better.
One common thread for games that generally fall over (there are plenty of exceptions, I appreciate that), is the lack of information released. Big AAA titles are often rammed down your throat with ad campaigns, previews, Youtubers going crazy over multiple trailers etc.
Tears of the Kingdom has 2 trailers and a release date delayed to 2023.
Sure, there’s plenty to be gleaned from them, but it’s all speculation and I’m not sure if Nintendo is being sensible and trying to control the hype. Or holding back because they can’t deliver something as significant as Breath of the Wild.
The only way Tears of the Kingdom2 can stand apart from Breath of the Wild is to innovate and improve upon it.
Thankfully, Nintendo is the best in the world at being innovative (hell, the Switch, the Wii, and the Wii U are all innovative!). Not just chasing frames and pixels, but pushing the experience, trying new gameplay and masterfully crafting gaming experiences beyond just a narrative and some graphical improvement.
Will they be hampered by this being a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, though? Will the technology prevent innovation?
Will some new abilities, and going into the sky be adequate? I’m confident they’ll do more than that, of course. But will it be enough?
I’ll be honest, I want Tears of the Kingdom, really badly. I want it to blow me away like Breath of the Wild did, like Wind Waker did, like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s mask did. Truly.
The precedent is there with the Ocarina of Time to Majora’s Mask. Two games I adore. But expectations were different then, the world was different then, and certainly, the internet was different then….
Nintendo isn’t slouching in this arena, either.
I just don’t know that Tears of the Kingdom will be the gaming epiphany that the first one was. Perhaps that’s ok, though? I am a total sucker for skydiving in games, though……so maybe that’s all I need on top of more of the same as the greatest game ever made.
One thing I hope Tears of the Kingdom isn’t is an ICO-style game, being followed around by Princess Zelda and having to work with her to solve puzzles and get around. I like puzzle games, and maybe that will add an extra layer to Shrines or whatever the equivalent, might be. But I don’t want that all the time.
And for those of you wondering what more information was revealed about the game, you can catch the Nintendo Direct below where it discusses Tears of the Kingdom plus many other planned releases:
For even more opinion pieces like this Tears of the Kingdom one, click right HERE.