We Played The New Zelda & If You Think It Looks Mad, You’d Be Dead Fkn Right

Link is back, baby! And with a whole new set of tools at his disposal.

How do I know this? The good folks over at Nintendo Australia offered me the chance to play Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom. For a good three hours, I got to explore the new areas, play with all the new tools, solve some puzzles and beat some Moblins to death.

If you’re keen on a short review, good news! It’s fun! It’s great! It’s everything you would have wanted from a sequel to Breath of The Wild (BotW)! If you wanted to buy this game, you can feel assured that you’re a clever consumer of goods and products!

If you’d like to know more about the game, how it’s different from its predecessor and what new goodies are gonna be in it, grab your favourite gourmet meat curry and take a seat.

The preview was divided into three categories: the first was a nice guided walk-through by a Nintendo representative, showing us through all the many new abilities and tools at Link’s disposal.

The second part of the session was hands-on where we got to explore the Sky Isles, the new cloudy terrain in the game. I got to experiment with the sandbox mechanics of the area and even fight a super cool unique boss that forces you to take advantage of all the new abilities.

The third session was another hands-on-one that was tailored towards a more endgame experience. The challenge was to get to this fortified tower however I wanted. Naturally, I decided I wanted to find the most game-breaking way possible. Unfortunately, my mad science experiment failed to launch and I decided to take the easy way in.

Everything I got to see and play was entirely gameplay oriented and I did not see any story elements like cutscenes or where rehydrated Ganon might be. It was purely tailored to letting me go wild in the massive sandbox that Tears of the Kingdom is going to be.

When the Nintendo rep played the guided introduction to the game, Link started at a long-spanning lake, with the goal to get across. Link, unfortunately, can’t swim across it because, at this stage of the game, he has the stamina of a chain smoker in their 60s and can’t make it.

Instead, you get to use two of the new abilities in the game. Ultrahand, which is similar to the magnet ability from BotW, lets you pick up items, float them in the air, and connect them to other items. You also get to rotate their position around as well.

This is vital to making the next ability, Fuse, work. Fuse lets you combine different items together for a variety of effects. For instance, if you need wood for a puzzle but can’t find any logs, you can attach a stone to your weapon to make an axe that can cut trees and break specific rock formations. You use these two together to combine fans and wood to make a little raft that can carry you over.

There are endless combinations you can make in Tears of the Kingdom, and I think experimenting with them is going to yield some of the best experiences.

The third ability, Ascend, might be my favourite. This ability lets you swim up through any surface above you. This can be great in combat if you wanna quickly rush to high ground, or bypass certain puzzles quickly.

The last ability was Recall, a rewind time ability that might feel familiar to stasis from the previous game.

A great way to use recall is to send rocks and gigantic boulders back to your enemies. It can also be a lifesaver if you accidentally throw something off the side of the Sky Isles or activate a machine too early.

I spent a stupid amount of time fiddling with this ability to solve a puzzle where you have to use a log to block a door so it can drain water. My plan was to use recall as the door was up and slide the log underneath while the lake is draining, so the door would close on it, leaving a gap for the water to drain.

In my defence, this wasn’t my first tactic. I tried the correct way a few times and it didn’t work because the log didn’t stick right to what it needed to. Either way, I took so long trying to make this recall trick work, that the poor Nintendo rep watching it unfold had to politely tell me how to solve the puzzle.

The other big inclusion in Tears of the Kingdom is the Zonai devices. For the lore-heads, the Zonai were a mystical tribe alluded to in BotW and their tech is now more prominent and accessible in the game. It’s unclear if they’ll show up later in the game at this stage.

You can find these Zonai devices throughout the world. These can be fans, rockets or flamethrowers that you can easily attach to objects to create momentum and force. You can also carry around Zonai capsules, which are portable balls that stay in your inventory that you can use.

You get these from a neat Gacha machine that drops them for you after you offer Zonai charges and other materials to it like you would cooking ingredients in the last game. The more you put in, the more random Zonai capsules you’ll get. You get to do this as many times as you like, so long as you have the materials to do it.

These Zonai tools really help open the world up and provide so many cool and unique ways to complete puzzles in the game. For instance, you can also attach rockets to make things go fast or to lift you up high in the air. One I’m really keen to see people use is the air balloon, which can lift you high in the air to bypass barriers and climbing.

Zonai devices do have a limit though, in that you can only use what’s available in the area or what you have available in your inventory. The Gacha machines spawn random orbs each pull, so you can’t predict you’ll always have rockets on you. Zonai devices also have their own special kind of stamina bar, which you can extend with batteries or consumables.

Combat is also a bit different in Tears of the Kingdom. Weapon durability is back for better or for worse, and enemies are a lot tougher. Not just in terms of challenge, but they can take ages to take out. I remember spending a whole minute taking on a standard Moblin, parrying every hit for extra damage, and it was standing like Captain America, ready to fight all day before my weapons broke.

That’s because, in this game, you need to use Fuse to attach items to your weapons and shields to deal the most damage and gain extra durability.

I’m a little mixed on this as in the preview, it made combat a pretty hefty chore on top of managing the weapon’s durability.

I do think the Fuse ability makes for really fun interactions though. For instance, you can attach a barrel to your shield, and when an enemy hits it, it triggers a massive explosion that hurts everything in front of it.

The shield interactions are honestly the most interesting thing for me so far. You can attach a rocket that will lift you high into the air. You can even attach a flamethrower to it and feel sad as you burn Moblins alive.

The same goes for arrows. Instead of getting different types of arrows, here you get to select from a long list of your ingredients that will have different effects in the game. Rubies for instance will turn your arrows into big boom projectiles, mushrooms will put enemies to sleep and eyeballs turn them into homing devices.

You can fuse pretty much anything in the game to your weapons. The Nintendo rep showed us that you can attach a mine cart to your shield. Why? Nobody knows, but it sure looks cool. Don’t like what you fused? No worries, just hop in your inventory and you can destroy the fused material, which will return your weapon or shield to its original state. The material that was fused to the weapon or shield is destroyed and cannot be used again.

Overall, the game is looking to be an amazing successor to Breath of the Wild and if you loved that game, you’re bound to love this one. Nintendo always puts an immense amount of quality into their games, so it’s hard to not be excited about this one dropping, and I’m sure I’ll be hiding away like a Korok for weeks when it comes out.