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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Aaron Potter

5 biggest differences between Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Breath of the Wild

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is much more than just a Zelda: Breath of the Wild clone – as proven by these five major substantial changes

Despite some initial fears that Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom wouldn’t feel different enough from its 2017 predecessor, the game is now here and it’s safe to say that this sequel – six years in the making – is far from just a rehash of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Sure, the main Hyrule map is largely the same, but Nintendo has implemented numerous changes to make the way you traverse it a vastly different experience compared to before.

It’s surely time to don your tunic and paraglider all over again, because as mentioned in our review this sequel “pays excellent tribute to both the past and future” of the franchise. But if, for some reason, you’re still sitting on the fence about whether you should pick up the latest The Legend of Zelda instalment on Nintendo Switch, or are curious as to what new additions are in store, we’ve listed five of the biggest differences between Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Four new powers to master

Whereas Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s power set enabled players to play around with magnetic objects and freeze objects out of the water, Link’s four new abilities in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom allow you to get creative in all-new ways. Ultrahand, Recall, Fuse and Ascend change the way you move around the game world – literally. Ultrahand is easily the most flexible, letting you join together any two objects using a glue-like substance to have you create rocket-powered sky lifts, flame-emitting minecarts and more.

Fuse applies the same principle to weapons, removing much of the frustration that comes from weapon degradation by letting you toughen up any blade, bow or shield with a material of your choice; fire and ice arrows are just the tip of the iceberg. Ascend also removes the sting out of climbing some surfaces by enabling Link to slam and melt through ceilings, while Recall lets you temporarily freeze objects in time and rewind them. All four of Link’s new abilities change the way you approach getting around Hyrule, making it a fresh experience compared to its 2017 predecessor.

Towers work differently and are actually fun

Towers in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, aside from offering a tough climbing challenge to reach, worked extremely similarly to how they function in Ubisoft franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. However, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom strips you of the need to climb them to reveal the map entirely. You can just meander on in as soon as you find them and get shot up into the sky above.

Being flung up into the sky at a tower in a new area of the map not only reveals the terrain of surrounding locales, but lets you glide or dive to any point from above. See a shrine in the distance? You won’t have to make the arduous trek there this time around. Instead, you can find the closest tower, and get fired out of the top like a fleshy cannonball, before floating down to your destination of choice in mere seconds. There really is no easier way to get around.

Link has companions now and they're useful

In addition to the four new abilities you’re gifted by King Rauru while exploring The Great Sky Temple at the very start, you’ll eventually come to the assistance of four Hyrule tribes: Zora, Gerudo, Rito and Goron. These missions are hard to miss seeing as they’re an essential part of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s main questline.

It won’t be too long until you meet a member of each tribe – a Sage – who will assist you to take on what lies ahead in their respective territory. And handily, each comes with a new companion ability, dubbed Sage abilties.

After helping them rid the evil spreading in their land, they’ll gift you with a Sage ability that you can use when standing next to them. Link has to be close to them to activate the Sage ability, and obviously you can choose which companion to get on board first based on which Sage ability looks most appealing. Here’s a full break down on each Sage ability and how they work:

  • Sage of Wind: A gust of wind that comes in handy for a paragliding boost or to blow enemies back in combat.
  • Sage of Fire: A cannonball (your companion rolled into a ball) that can be fired at enemies, or into breakable walls.
  • Sage of Water: A water bubble shield that defends Link against the next attack he receives. It can also be used to rid areas of gunk and to keep Link cool when exploring hot environments.
  • Sage of Lightning: Temporarily surrounds Link in a field of lightning. When activated, he is able to shoot an arrow to unleash a powerful lightning-based strike that shocks any surrounding enemies.

Dungeons are back and Divine Beasts are out

Divine Beasts were a great spectacle to look at in Breath of the Wild, but they didn’t do a good job of filling that dungeon-shaped void that long-time The Legend of Zelda fans love. Even just aesthetically, each riffed on the same look that got a bit samey after visiting four of the things. However, dungeons are back in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, riffing on a different material element that relates to each of the four different Sage abilities: fire, water, wind and lightning.

All four Tears of the Kingdom dungeons challenge you and your knowledge of your powers in creative ways, often tasking you to explore in any order you desire to remove a series of locks. Once the dungeon is complete, you’ll be treated to a boss fight at the end to once again tests your skills in bold, new ways. Are Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s dungeons as intricate as those seen in the past? Probably not, but they're a welcome change compared to the Divine Beasts.

Multiple maps for a more vertical Hyrule

The original version of Hyrule seen in Zelda: Breath of the Wild was big. Like, really big. Imagine our surprise to learn, then, that not only would Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom let you explore this same map again (remixed in various ways) but that you’d be afforded the ability to discover two new maps in the form of the sky and the depths – in other words, above and underneath Hyrule.

The sky map is split up into multiple archipelagos, being far more separated and split up when compared to the ground-level map. The Depths map is around the same size as what’s available to see on the surface. It’s incredibly dark and murky down there, though, meaning you’ll need to illuminate the space using brightbloom seeds and lightroots to explore properly.

In just this one aspect alone, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is 2.5x bigger than its predecessor.

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