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All the wonders of the world of Zelda

Exploring the latest chapter in one of the best-loved video game series

Published: 9 Aug 2023
Link wakes up on an island suspended in the sky with a mechanical arm. How did he end up there?

In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the previous chapter in the Zelda saga, we left our hero celebrating victory over the terrifying Ganon. He had accomplished his mission of saving Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule.

In the new chapter, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, released for Nintendo Switch in May, our hero (born into the Hylia, a tribe of humans with pointed ears that allow them to hear the voices of the gods) finds himself having to learn how to exploit the potential of his new mechanical arm and, most importantly, save Princess Zelda and the entire kingdom of Hyrule again.

The official trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda is a video game saga created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986.
Over thirty-six years and with twenty chapters recounting Link's adventures in different timelines (clearly explained by Polygon), The Legend of Zelda has become a piece of history not only of video games, but of pop culture in general, thanks to a highly detailed narrative universe, gameplay that mixes action, adventure, and brain teasers, and graphics that over the years have developed along with technology by making choices that are never trivial and always surprising.

Tears of the Kingdom confirms all the beauty and strength of this saga. There are ancient languages that need deciphering, villages that need building and numerous challenges and sidequests to complete. So, the game involves exploring an entire universe that continually surprises gamers. According to the Guardian (which gave Tears of the Kingdom five stars out of five) «It is easy to forget how to find the fun in adult life. Games such as Zelda help to remind you that if you look at things the right way, it’s everywhere.»

Thirty-seven years of Zelda.

Link's extraordinary adventures that range from lava monsters and hot air balloons to waterfalls, the undead, temples and deserts, forests and flying cities are all graphically depicted in cel-shading. Although drawn in this non-photorealistic three-dimensional style, there is something cinematic about the end effect of Tears of the Kingdom. It is like a highly immersive animated film.

The universe available to gamers is huge. Link does not just explore the surface of Hyrule (as in the previous chapter), he goes up into the sky and clouds, and down into deep caverns populated by mysterious beings. All this multi-level universe can be explored, and it is packed with different environments, in which every space has specific features and colours to define its atmosphere. Light plays a key role in this. It tells us where we are and it defines emotional nuances, from dark spaces lit by artificial torchlight to open places where sunlight accentuates natural details (we could easily dedicate an entire article just to Hyrule's flora and fauna) and the constructions that have to be built. (The latter is a feature that unleashes the imagination and creativity of every gamer, as can be seen in this site which shows some of the most amazing creations).

It was not easy for Nintendo to invent a new Zelda chapter after the planetary success of Breath of the Wild, a video game loved by critics and audiences alike. (The musician St. Vincent has confessed to playing it for about 300 hours). Tears of the Kingdom not only lives up to its predecessor, it has also raised the bar once again to reach perfection. It is a game that stimulates the creativity of all gamers by pushing you to really think outside the box.