Zelda Tears Of The Kingdom Gameplay Drops As Nintendo Wraps Up Development

zelda tears of the kingdom key art
Nintendo has finally finished work on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and for the announcement, it has released a gameplay video narrated by none other than series steward Eiji Aonuma himself—at least, in the Japanese version. The English version is narrated by an interpreter, but either way, the video shows off some of the new gameplay features in the long-awaited sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Breath of the Wild was lauded for taking the 3D Zelda game formula, debuted with Ocarina of Time and refined over two decades, and then blowing it up to giant-size for an open-world explore-a-ganza. While there are complaints to be made about the title, it is overall widely-regarded as not only one of the best games in a nearly 40-year-old series, but also one of the greatest video games of all time.

With that in mind, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that Tears of the Kingdom appears to be, as a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, almost more of an expansion pack than a wholly new game. The surface world of Breath of the Wild appears to be mostly intact, but there's a whole new world awaiting in the sky. Floating structures simply called "Sky Islands" hold new challenges and areas to explore.

zelda tears recall power

How do you get up to the Sky Islands? There are apparently a few ways, but the simplest was the first thing demonstrated in the video: a power known as Recall that rewinds time for a specific object. While this power will almost certainly have its use in puzzle solving, it can also be used to lift chunks of fallen debris from the sky islands to gain access to them.

zelda tears fuse

While on one the floating landmasses, Aonuma then demonstrates the new Fuse power. This power lets Link combine an object from the game world with an object he is holding, whether that be a weapon, shield, or arrow. By combining a giant rock with a sturdy stick, he creates a sort of primitive mace that is very effective against the enemies in the area.

zelda tears fuse2

As another example, by combining the eye of a Keese enemy with an arrow, he creates a homing arrow that makes it very easy to pilfer poultry from the sky. Finally, by attaching a puffball mushroom to his shield, he creates a smoke cloud that blinds an enemy when he attacks it, allowing him to sneak around the enemy's backside and deliver a killing blow like a ninja.

zelda tears ultrahand

This theme of combining objects isn't limited to Link's equipment. Aonuma also demonstrates a power apparently called "Ultrahand" that allows him to glue together objects in the environment. The first demonstration is fairly straightforward: to cross a wide river that he doesn't have the stamina to safely swim, Link builds a raft out of three large logs and a couple of recharging fan devices.

zelda tears hoverboard

Aonuma points out that fans have already seen devices constructed in this way, including the floating platform that we saw before as well as the ground vehicle Link deployed in earlier screenshots. It remains to be seen how versatile this ability really is, but emergent gameplay does seem to be the order of the day here, and clever players will surely suss out all sorts of ingenious devices.

The demo reel includes a couple of other new features, including a new power called Ascend that allows link to burrow through ceilings. Of course, all of Link's mobility abilities from the previous game, including his paraglider and climbing, are available as well.

zelda tears falling

Perhaps the most impressive thing is that all of this is still seamlessly present in the same game world. At the end of the demo, Aonuma gets knocked off of a Sky Island by an enemy with a fused weapon, and free-falls for quite a while before diving straight down into a river, placing him back on the surface of Hyrule once again. Aonuma says that there are many changes there, as well, but didn't elaborate.

Given that we haven't played the game, we obviously can't say anything about how good it is yet, but we can say that it looks to be exactly what a direct sequel should be: an evolution of the original game that builds on the concepts established there while exploiting unused opportunities.

If you're as excited for Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom's May 12th release as your author here is, you can pre-order the game over at Amazon. If you missed out on the original title but would like to jump in now, you might as well snag this spiffy Switch OLED system themed around the new title.