Sky islands. Constructs. The fusing of anything and everything. Mr Aonuma’s delightful voice being covered by perhaps the most annoying English dub of all time. For anyone that forwent the chance to see the first gameplay session of Nintendo’s upcoming title The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – you’re probably a bit confused as to what the heck we’re talking about.
Tears of the Kingdom
If you are one of the few that didn’t watch, You should correct that. Like… now. Go on, we’ll wait.
We’re only 44 days away from the release of the game informally known as The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Breath of the Wild 2. In celebration of that fact – and with the game officially going ‘gold’ – Nintendo gave fans roughly ten minutes of Tears of the Kingdom gameplay. We caught a glimpse of the floating sky islands, Link’s new powers (and glossy, flowing hair) and the confirmation of the ‘Zonai Tribe’ – something theorists have bandied on about for years.
Besides showcasing some new abilities (which we’ll get to in a second), the video confirmed that the sky islands won’t be a separate entity from the overworld, and that weapon durability is here to stay. And how glad we are. We’re part of the minority camp that loves weapon durability and welcome it back with open arms.
A handful of new abilities
If you were hopeful that Nintendo would spoil some of Tears of the Kingdom’s story, you’ll be sorely disappointed. This was pure gameplay, through and through. First, we got a look at Recall, the ability to rewind an object’s path – which Mr Aonuma used to rewind a falling piece of a sky island, allowing Link to climb atop and enjoy the ride.
Recall immediately took a backseat to the Fuse ability whereby Link can take ordinary, mundane objects such as rocks and logs and fuse them to regular weapons, creating entirely new tools for mass destruction. A long stick and a pitchfork? Link is suddenly wielding an extra-long weapon that combines the durability and strength of each of its parts. That’s… cool enough on its own.
Somehow, Nintendo took it a step further with the Ultrahand ability. Here, players will fuse objects together to create a new mode of transport. Within a few seconds, Link had constructed a basic raft of logs, complete with fans to propel himself across some water.
Climbing – one of the first game’s biggest mechanics isn’t going away in Tears of the Kingdom, not by a long shot. The Ascend ability seems to be lessening some of that pain, giving Link the power to crawl through any ceiling he’s able to find. There are limitations according to Mr Aonuma, though we didn’t see any restrictions in the video.
And… that’s about it. This is likely to be the last bit of gameplay we see until Tears of the Kingdom is physically in our hands – with the possibility of yet another cutscene trailer to hold us over until the game’s launch on 12 May.