Zelda Holiday: Tears of the Kingdom Takes the Gaming World by Storm

Zelda Holiday: Tears of the Kingdom Takes the Gaming World by Storm
People queue up at the check-out counter as dozens of shoppers arrived early at a popular electronics chain store for the latest offering from Japanese gaming giant Nintendo's long-running "Legend of Zelda" game series - "Tears of the Kingdom" - which went on sale in Tokyo on May 12, 2023. A six-year wait came to an end for "Zelda" fans across the world on May 12 as Nintendo released the long-awaited next instalment of its 40-year-old gaming saga. (Photo by Richard A. Brooks / AFP)

The highly anticipated release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has created a frenzy among gamers worldwide. Serving as the sequel to the acclaimed 2017 title Breath of the Wild, which many consider one of the greatest games of all time, Tears of the Kingdom carries the weight of enormous expectations. As the iconic hero, Link, returns to the vast and immersive realm of Hyrule, players can expect a gaming experience spanning over 100 hours, ensuring weeks of captivating exploration and adventure.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The game’s launch on a regular workday in Japan did not deter devoted fans from indulging in their passion. Numerous reports have emerged of employees taking “Zelda holidays” or utilizing paid vacation days specifically to immerse themselves in Tears of the Kingdom on its release date. In fact, one company president enthusiastically approved his employees’ requests for Zelda-related time off. This trend signifies that when exceptionally popular games like this hit the market, a significant number of employees prioritize playing over work, prompting companies to encourage the use of legally entitled vacation days rather than witnessing employees play hooky or call in sick.

For those not engrossed in their Switch consoles, social media platforms are flooded with fan art, livestream links, and photos of gamers clutching physical copies of “Tiakin” (the preferred Japanese abbreviation for Tears of the Kingdom). Nintendo’s official stores in Tokyo and Osaka have also joined the excitement by selling an array of Tears of the Kingdom-themed merchandise, including T-shirts, neckties, and art booklets. Furthermore, participating Lawson convenience stores across Japan are running a Zelda-themed goods lottery, ensuring a comprehensive marketing blitz to accompany the launch of Nintendo’s biggest release of the year.

But does Tears of the Kingdom live up to the immense hype? Major releases with extensive marketing campaigns have sometimes failed to deliver a satisfying gaming experience. So, how does this game fare?

Approximately 4½ hours into my midnight playthrough, I made a startling realization—I hadn’t discovered a single rupee, the ubiquitous in-game currency of the Zelda franchise. The game presented me with an overwhelming amount of sights to see and tasks to accomplish. Having spent over eight hours immersed in the game, I can confidently state that I have only just completed what seasoned Zelda veterans would consider a tutorial.

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The breathtaking freedom of exploration that stunned players when Breath of the Wild debuted five years ago remains a standout feature in Tears of the Kingdom. Nintendo has embraced this design philosophy, empowering players to chart their own path. While dedicated fans may need some time to adjust to the nimble-fingered inputs required for navigating the game’s intricacies, mastery comes swiftly.

Once you become acquainted with the controls, a world of possibilities unfolds before you: hordes of goblin-like enemies lurking in nearby caves, tantalizing treasure chests perched atop seemingly inaccessible cliffs, and colossal structures looming on the horizon. Each encounter presents a plethora of approaches, allowing players to exercise their creativity.

If you are one of the countless Breath of the Wild players, this might sound familiar. Rather than reinventing the core gameplay mechanic of facilitated exploration, Nintendo has instead introduced new elements to enrich the experience. For instance, players can now bypass arduous climbs by utilizing a new ability that propels them through cave ceilings and onto towering mountaintops. Additionally, the weapon and vehicle creation system opens up a range of problem-solving strategies. Faced with a vast body of water, players can choose between gathering ingredients for an endurance-boosting elixir or crafting a makeshift raft by felling trees.

Despite the dozens of hours still ahead of me, there is already one burning question regarding Tears of the Kingdom: if it can match the exceptional quality of Breath of the Wild, isn’t that