I expected many things, but i wasn’t quite ready to get the sequel to Breath Of The Wild and see that the development team actually “pulled a Nuts & Bolts”, but actually do it in a way that doesn’t leave disappoiment and bewildered fans.
Mostly because Tears Of The Kingdom doesn’t completely goes away with almost everything from the previous movies (and its open worlds/spaces have actual shit to do in it, instead of meaningless wandering for few collectables in oversized dromes), retaining pretty much the same basic gameplay seen in Breath Of The Wild, from attacking, the stamina management for climbing, running, flying, item collecting, having to deal with freezing cold or scorching hot enviroments, Sacraries acting as both mini-dungeons and fast-travel locations where to collect orbs in order to power up life or stamina, tower that need to be actived to scan the area you’re in, etc.
And of course the weapons are made of biscuit crumbs, which is both worse and better, as now there’s is a real, honest-to-god story justification for Hyrule’s metal weapons having becoming corroded (which is fuckin hilarious in a way)… BUT at least now you can find more resistent variant of the weapons, the last strike that would seen the weapon break always deals a critical hit damage, and one of the new abilities is also there to help, as it lets you combine weapons with items to strenghten them or create weird ass weaponry.
What is striking is that the team at Nintendo felt confident in many design choices, like basically throwing away all the Sheikah Plate items/powers but giving you new abilities/powers that change how you can approach the various challenges and situations, actually going hog on it as now the gonzo shit some players could achieve in Breath of The Wild is kinda the required norm, with the new Zonian technology that puts emphasis on constructs.
The main new ability, the Ultrahand, basically works as an expanded telekinesis that also lets you glue items together, and the enviroments gives you suggestions or hints in how to use the items, vehicles and pieces of material to create something you need to proceed. See a rail that goes down to a lower piece of land?
“Glue” the hook to a plank of wood and you can ride it down the rail. Need a raft? chop trees, unite them, and if you have fans glue them to the back for improptu boat riding.
You can opt for the obvious suggested solution, or try another approach, which might likely work as the “how” is usually left up to you. An impressive confidence since this puzzle-crafting approach relies on physics working properly, and they do.
For example, one Sacrary needed me to get a crystal to where the Sacrary would be, indicating the crystal with a straight laser-beeline. You could have just used Ultrahand and slowly moved it up the small waterways.
Or you could have noticed the Zonian constructs that had wheels, pilot planks and make a “monster truck” to simply drive up the small waterfalls. Just saying.
What it’s also impressive is that the game eases you into it perfectly, as the starting area does a very good job at explaining the many systems to the player, a lot better than Breath Of The Wild did (for example how to cook), so even if you skipped BOTW you can get acquainted fairly quickly to it.
I’m still at what i would call “early” in the game, having to deal with the main four quests (which are supposed to mirror the “Guardian Beasts” main quests of BOTW, obviously), but i’m honestly digging a lot the brass balls of having so much shit from the previous game gone in order to avoid getting us too cozy and relaxed in what it’s supposedly the same Hyrule of BOTW…. but that too manages to feel fresh enough, which is a noteworthy achievement in itself.
Do i wish the game looked better? Yes, but honestly i don’t care since every time i’m not playing Tears Of The Kingdom i have the urge to get back to it, so it’s definitely doing something right for me, even if the does shows the technical limitations of the Switch.