After 42 seconds of relative silence, peaceful camera work, pans and tilts around a network of sacred carvings on the walls, The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom Tears was announced to the world. In the blink of an eye, the latest trailer for the long-awaited sequel to Breath of the Wild, now with a new name confirmed, showed Link opening two massive crumbling stone doors, before nailing them to a sun-kissed ledge. , beyond which lie floating islands. lined with golden trees stretching into the distance. Without pausing, the plucky protagonist dove overboard in perfect swan dive form, before we were shown snippets of some of the things we’ll be doing in the new Zelda game.
This is, in essence, Breath of the Wild 2 in all but name, releasing on May 12, 2023 for the nintendo switchas revealed during September Nintendo Direct – with what seems like two separate plains to explore: one in the sky and one thousands of meters below. With five years of hype since Zelda’s last outing, three since this game’s first sneak peek at E3 2019, and I’m excited to see Nintendo get even bigger than Breath of the Wild here. With hang gliding and skydiving, floating rock platforms, and the first proper sense of scale between the lower and upper reaches of this game world, there’s definitely a lot to be highlighted in the latest trailer. But, to my dismay, one of my biggest issues from the previous game hasn’t changed.
get a grip
Let’s cut to the chase: climbing in Breath of the Wild is pants. There just aren’t two ways to do it. An arbitrary stamina bar, a feature first introduced to action RPGs in the mid-1990s, determines how far you can go in any direction before, once the bar is emptied, lose your grip and plummet to the next flat surface/its unwelcome. death in an instant. In a game that is so progressive in so many ways, one that puts exploration front and center in both its narrative and moment-to-moment discovery, this return to such archaic and clumsily executed mechanics, to me, really puts a curb the free nature of Breath of the Wild as a whole.
Stamina bars are a staple of the ARPG genre, of course, since Skyrim to Dark Souls, Nioh to elden ring – but the restrictions they otherwise impose on combat and, say, running from enemies, feel less forced, because right now you’re managing stamina as a draining resource; you are working to overcome the loss of a product on the fly to be successful. Ultimately, right now, you are being judged on how your play the game, not how it’s plays you During the most recent trailer for Tears of the Kingdom, we see Link clinging to various vertical structures, crawling up and down with the same laborious weight-shifting animations from the previous game. There’s no sign of the dreaded stamina bar, of course, but given the fact that there’s also no visible HUD throughout the trailer, I think at this stage it’s that scaling is similar this time around.
I realize I may sound like a grumpy old man here, but my reason for criticizing this facet of Breath of Wild so much is because it’s very, very capable elsewhere. GamesRadar+ does not deal five star reviews for no good reason, and I suspect we’ll have similar conversations about Tears of the Kingdom when it launches in May of next year.
Breath of the Wild’s constantly breaking weapons are another one of its most divisive features, and while I’m still on the fence about whether I love them or hate them, to mark its fifth anniversary earlier this year, I wrote about how Zelda: Breath of the Wild broke the mold (and I) by breaking its weapons – this design decision shook up the ARPG formula enough to earn my respect. Unlike Fallout 4, the witcher 3, and the vast majority of other open world games that take advantage of familiar RPG talent trees and tricks, Breath of the Wild stops leveling altogether. Instead, to balance progression and difficulty, weapon durability, plus the finite number of weapons we can carry at once, puts a precise limit on the amount of damage we can deal at any given time. In practice, therefore, we find ourselves constantly scrapping weaker arms as we discover new ones, and only then can we hope to beat the toughest baddies in the game.
Admittedly, the latest Tears of the Kingdom trailer doesn’t show any combat, but I’d be quite happy with the return of perishable weapons, as long as they’re equally intertwined with exploration and discovery, according to Breath of the Wild. The resistance-linked tour, on the other hand, can make one. Don’t get me wrong: I’m really excited about Tears of the Kingdom, hopefully it will show up on Game of the Year lists in 2023, but it will definitely go up in my own estimations if it ditches what I think is the most frustrating and outdated mechanic of its predecessor.
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