This is definitely the Super Mario Galaxy 2 of Breath of the Wild. It's less principled and poetic in its design; whereas SMG2 gutted the first game's story in response to people saying that Mario doesn't need one, TOTK adds in a looot of unnecessary chatter that people who were critical of BOTW missed from the first game.
But the compromises that these sequels make work well as contrast to the first games. I spent 200 quiet hours in BOTW's totally open world; if TOTK wants to occasionally block some stuff off until I've triggered the right cutscene, it's earned it, and I'm enjoying the variety. And by making these compromises, the game is able to throw a bonkers number of new mechanics at you. Galaxy 2 really is the only other game I can think of that has the same level of variety as TOTK, but there each new mechanic was confined to one level, whereas here they all multiply with each other.
Also similar to Mario Galaxy 2, TOTK seems to ignore the first game's story in a weird way! Weird isn't bad, but this game is going out of its way to raise a lot of questions about the broader Zelda canon, and given its handwaving away of the previous game, I'm not expecting it to stick the landing. I'm fine with enjoying this story for what it is, but my mind will be blown if by the time the credits roll it makes any sense in relation to past games.
How they used the same world and yet make it feel so different is amazing - and also make it bigger. I have to use different strategies so itís familiar but all new at the same time. It took me much longer to find myself a horse. a nice Bonus: the Horses you boarded in breath of the Wild are waiting for you in this game . How cool is that???
Physics is on steroids in this game so much to do.
Iím sure everyone who owns a switch will buy it - it deserves all the praise itís getting.
Iíve played for over 30 hours already. Oh wow. I guess that was one perk to getting Covid again and having a week off work. My only real complaint so far is that I donít like the Upside DowÖ I mean The Depths as much as I was hoping. Gets kind of repetitive and samey down there. Solution to that is to just explore a little bit at a time though.
Friday morning feels like a month ago now. I've seen and done so much since...
Playing this one a little bit differently than BotW. Jumping around between regions more, going to save a lot of exploration for later on instead of feeling like I need to explore everything in an area now.
With BotW so much of the discovery came from exploring the world, and while that's still true of TotK, a lot of the discovery in this game is coming from experimenting with your abilities. So I'm thinking I want to save a lot of the exploration of the game's world until later, once I have all the tools at my disposal to experiment with. In a way I'm playing this more like I would a traditional 3D Zelda, or somewhat of a mix between that and how I played BotW. I'm focusing on quests and if I see something interesting off the beaten path I'll pursue it as far as it leads me, but I don't feel like I need to do everything there before moving on.
In BotW I sort of made a "donut" around central Hyrule, fully exploring all of the areas before making my way towards fighting Ganon. And I made a point of exploring all of the areas between one divine beast and the next. But by the end of the game I didn't have much left to explore and burned out on it shortly after clearing the remaining 10 or so shrines. This time around I'm doing a little bit here, a little bit there, using the sky to make my way to remote places much quicker than I could have in BotW.
Having a blast. I expect to be playing this for a loooooooooong time.
My only real complaint so far is that I donít like the Upside DowÖ I mean The Depths as much as I was hoping. Gets kind of repetitive and samey down there. Solution to that is to just explore a little bit at a time though.
That's what I've been doing, too. Every so often I'll go down there and get to the next lightroot, and then go back to what I was doing & pick it up later on.
Yup, agreed with everything you guys said. I'm 20-30 hours in and have seen marvels.
And I also felt like the exploration was getting a bit repetitive yesterday, being that I already did all that in BOTW. I loved the Depths for a while, but they started to feel samey and pointless after a while too.
...then last night I found something that really opened the game back up and added a lot more texture to the Depths. Make sure to talk to Josha for a hint on where this is; I think you might need to beat a dungeon first.
So yeah, going forward I'm going to be focusing a lot more on quests and obvious landmarks than I did in BOTW. The game seems like that's what it wants me to be doing, so that it can direct me to the specific big new things.
Yep. And all of the exploration of surrounding areas will still be there later. I feel like that's gonna be more fun once I've gotten all of the really important tools and abilities.
With BotW I wanted that experience of exploring this unknown, mysterious land and making use of the things I find along the way in order to survive. It felt like that's what that game wanted me to be doing.
So it's like, yeah, I already did all of that once and this game is offering so many new ways of avoiding having to do that all over again. Now that you know this world, use that to your advantage to maintain that steady sense of progression. And it makes it really easy to switch things up when you need a change of pace.
The only point where the game started to drag at all for me so far was when I was making my way towards the first disturbance (I did Rito area first). I had that mentality of "I'm going to make my way there and explore anything that looks interesting along the way" but I fell into the old habit of trying to do everything that was off-to-the-side while also being committed to staying on this path. So it ends up taking a really long time to get to my destination instead of just more-or-less going straight there.
And then I came across some stuff along the way that I literally couldn't do until finishing the first dungeon anyway. So at a certain point I'm just like "You know what, I just really want to get to Rito Village and be on with it." I've noticed a good deal of that elsewhere as well, where it's obvious when there's something you should come back to after making further progression in the main quests. There seems to be a lot more value in following the game's guiding hand when it does nudge you in a particular direction. The story quest pacing is better that way and later on you can explore to your heart's desire without feeling like you're neglecting something else at the same time.
@Secret_Tunnel This kind of makes me wonder if I'm playing the game "wrong" because I'm doing what I did in BOTW which is pick an area and try to explore it fully, but the first few areas after leaving the sky well... there are a LOT of enemy fights and mini-bosses and little korok moments and such but I feel like I've spent the last 10 hours or so just wandering around trying to clear out the map without doing much particularly new or interesting and I'm definitely getting a bit burnt out on it already.
Oh, and a LOT of helping that guy keep his sign up, which was neat at first but after doing it like 20 times...
It's tough to play it differently though! I said to myself last night "Ok I'm going to head for the Rito area because I'm sure more unique stuff will be there" but the path I took to get there took me hours because I found it tough to just head right there. "What if I miss something on the way?!"
I'm not sure entirely why but something about this hasn't quite clicked for me yet. Like when it does click, it's awesome, but then I will go back to having times where I spend a few hours without doing much particularly interesting and start to wish the game was a bit more focused. I felt this way early into BOTW but barely ever past the first 10 hours or so, so I'm not sure if it is me or the game or what...
I think it maybe doesn't help how many enemies are recycled too. You have some new tools on how to approach them but I'm still just shooting the Hinox in the eye and then swinging away at it. I've seen some Lynels too but I haven't really even tried them yet because I'm like, I know how that goes already, right?
Yeah, the real meat of BOTW was in exploring every nook and granny. It was an absolutely magical brand new world where you were close to the ground fighting for your life against weird new enemies. Korok puzzles were new and fun, there were a ton of new cooking items to find in each biome, and you had to explore everywhere to find every last shrine. If the game clicked with you (and for a lot of people, it didn't), you could really drink in the little moments of the world
TOTK has all that stuff too, because if it didn't, the map would be completely empty. But it's constantly inviting you to skip all of it, with how often it's launching you into the sky to let you quickly travel to all the cool points you can see. Accepting that invitation feels wrong at first because of how BOTW trained you, but once you can get that compulsion out of your system in the first few areas, you can relax and recognize that skipping yet another Korok seed is fine.
TOTK contains BOTW within it to accommodate new players, but the real meat is in the new stuff. Even the new stable side quests feel tame compared to the crazy things that get thrown at you in the sky and dungeons.
But it's constantly inviting you to skip all of it, with how often it's launching you into the sky to let you quickly travel to all the cool points you can see. Accepting that invitation feels wrong at first because of how BOTW trained you, but once you can get that compulsion out of your system in the first few areas, you can relax and recognize that skipping yet another Korok seed is fine.
TOTK contains BOTW within it to accommodate new players, but the real meat is in the new stuff.
Oh, we're talking about the Depths now? I'm surprised that@Hinph is the only other person online I've seen referring to it as The Upside-Down; the visual similarity struck me immediately!
I haven't been there much yet (only about an hour or two total) but so far I really like it. It provides a different, more tense kind of gameplay that compliments the exploratory sky/surface stuff nicely for me. And with that comes a very rich, surreal atmosphere. BotW had beautiful environments but they were largely very naturalistic, and it's awesome to see something truly different in the series. I'd heard rumblings of a series of underground passages, but I expected to see a bunch of standard rocky caverns and the like, not an alien planet.
It reminds me of the creepy environs of Metroid Prime 2...
...mixed with this area from Illusion of Gaia...
...topped off with Stranger Things. It's unnerving! And made more difficult due to the gloom mechanic. That said, I kind of wish the enemies weren't just variants on surface-dwellers; I'm hoping to see more alien, creepier monsters than just Bokos being Bokos.
I also got a heck of an introduction to it. I decided to just take a chance and dive into the Akkala Chasm for my first visit, and...it did not go well. I was immediately greeted by a giant, hungry beast that chased me around until some stray Bokos finished me off while I tried to find my bearings in the dark. Since then, the whole area has made me nervous. Time will tell if it gets old though, but at the moment I'm hungry for more.
Playing it so far and loving it. I do think they throw too much at you at the beginning, and it feels a bit overwhelming and the enemies especially feel more difficult than in BotW. Iím finding myself a bit limited in combat without bombs to get spacing on groups of enemies. Always seem to be low on arrows too! Iím gonna have to stick to some of the low hanging fruit content so I can build up to more of these challenges.
Itís good to know that my feelings about the underground area might change. I think Iím going to get back on the rails a bit myself and go for the main objectives. Itís funny because when I was initially overwhelmed with the game, thatís exactly what got me out of it and made things click a lot more.
I have also been bouncing around the whole world a lot more and am not doing the one area at a time thing I mostly did with BotW. In fact, completing one particular objective to get one particular important item I decided I needed already had me go to pretty much every territory once for something.
Yeah, I was also thinking about how much it reminded me of Echoes! Like a mix of that and the Upside Down. Donít remember that area from Illusion of Gaia since I havenít played it in many years, but man I loved that game as a kidÖ might have to revisit it sometime soon since Iíve no doubt forgot so much that it would be pretty fresh.
I spent like 4 hours in the depths last night and I don't want to spoil anything but I'll say there is some cool stuff down there. I think the depths seem to be built more for using your wild hacked together vehicle ideas more than anywhere else I've been in the game yet. Probably because the terrain is a bit more questionable and there is the GLOOM all over, so it's nice to find quick ways past / over it. But also because they just leave free stuff to build with everywhere, and not like the boring surface depots that are just boards of wood and such, they leave the FUN stuff... wheels, fans, gliders, etc. I had this monstrous creation going because every time I'd find a new place with stuff I'd add to it.
With that said I really need to build up my battery power. All I've done is add one slice. My vehicles don't go very far. Though if you use a glider you can get up in the air and glide for a bit even on low power.
Anyway, down there is where I found the auto-build power which seems super awesome (also I'm just now reading that it is the end of a sidequest that I totally missed, lol), and then I ran into a big Yiga clan tower which was basically just like "here's a bunch of building stuff, figure out how to get to the top" and that's awesome. Need more of this!
@Mop it up This reminds me of how in Elden Ring you can make custom potions and one of the ingredients blows things up and I legit never found out if there was a serious use case for this or if the game was just trolling us because I tried it out and sure enough, use the potion and you blow yourself up.
I've played this game for nearly 70 hours already. How is that possible!? I've never been this obsessed with a game in my life! Even Breath of the Wild took me a month to get to this point.
I'm at about 70 shrines, 30 lightroots, and 120 Korok seeds. I've completed two of the regional disturbances and have taken care of a few other big main quests. I've uncovered about a third of the Depths and have been to probably the majority of sky islands. I've ignored most side quests.
So, as far as the real meat of the game goes... I'm only about halfway done! And I need to chill with how often I'm playing it too, no more six hour days haha.
This game is Breath of the Wild: Never Ending Edition.
I have two gripes:
1. I hate how this game undermines its sense of mystery with incessant chattiness and in-your-face hints. The Mario devs really out-Zelda'd Zelda with Bowser's Fury here. In that game, they put a ring in front of you and trust you to jump through it, because of course you will. But in Tears of the Kingdom, no, we need a robot to tell us about how these rings were once used in a ritual, and that we need to jump through them as fast as possible, and we need to trigger an official mini-game scenario that times us EVEN THOUGH GRAVITY IS ALREADY DRAGGING US DOWN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE ANYWAY. Korok hoops already do this type of race so naturally!
The first hour of this game raised a thousand questions, I've clicked through a thousand dialogue boxes, and I have zero answers. It's actually impressive how the writers managed to generate so much text that never accidentally ends up having anything interesting to say.
But don't worry, there is an election side quest, in case you haven't gotten enough of that in real life!
2. The pacing of hours 20 through 40 or so were tinged with doubt due to repeated content. "Am I getting a good enough blend of experiencing new stuff vs. re-visiting old stuff?" The first chunk of the game was all new and didn't have this issue; now that I've uncovered the full map and the game has put all its cards on the table, I can relax again being that I know what I'm working with.
In the grand scheme of things, these are minor quibbles. This is by far the most interactive game I've ever played, and by extension, my favorite game I've ever played. Every enemy encounter is a canvas to experiment with. This game has the dense complexity of a turn-based roguelike combined with the easy, fun controls of Mario 64. If it weren't for Pikmin 4, I'd almost wonder if this is the final game Nintendo ever plans on making.
It's also worth mentioning what a technical marvel this game is.
I spent a stint as a literal rocket scientist and my reaction to this moment was abject horror.
Breath of the Wild has the brilliant chemistry system. Which must be super-difficult to implement and balance, because why isn't everybody copying it?
I wonder whether Mario Kart would be more or less fun with more physics/collision simulation. Like, shoot a green shell, spin out a Kart, he spins into another car and crashes it, somebody uses invulnerability and sends both of them flying, one of them lands on you...
I guess F-Zero X is kind of like that, except without weapons... or some of the Burnouts, in a simplified way. And modern racing games barely even try to model fun, chaotic collisions and destruction.
Seriously, what is the PS5 even DOING with its processor power??
Every other developer, as well as every graphics snob singing the praises of "next-gen" consoles, should be embarrassed.
Yeah, I went most of 2021 and 2022 not touching video games outside of the occasional Mario Kart over drinks or Beat Saber for cardio and even thought to myself ďif I donít like Tears of the Kingdom, maybe Iím just over video games.Ē Well, that is not the case. Just needed one that could grab me like this.
I've gotten a lot of mileage out of replaying old classics lately, but my options there are starting to dry up, and I can count on one hand the new games that I've really loved in the past three years (and that's being generous). Tears of the Kingdom feels like a true boundary-pushing experience in the same way that next-gen games always used to.