‘Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom’ Reviews Are Calling It Nintendo’s Greatest Masterpiece
— 16 May 2023

‘Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom’ Reviews Are Calling It Nintendo’s Greatest Masterpiece

— 16 May 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

After many years of patiently waiting for a follow-up to one of the greatest video games of our time, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was released on Friday, May 12. And in perhaps the least surprising gaming news of the year, it’s already being touted as a masterpiece beyond what even its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild could achieve.

Flick ‘Tears of the Kingdom Review’ into Google and you’ll see a long line of 10/10 scores and five-star reviews. If I was reviewing the game – I’ve only spent two days with it, nowhere near enough – my score would likely be exactly the same. I’m about five hours into the incredibly large story and the game has already hooked me in a way no title has since last year’s Elden Ring. For those who have played Breathe of the Wild before, ToTK is much of the same, just bigger, more refined and even more inspired.

Could Nintendo have already locked in Game of the Year for 2023? There’s little doubt Zelda is already being seriously considered and even Nintendo’s competitors don’t seem to have a problem with it. In fact, both teams from PlayStation and Xbox used social media this past week to congratulate Nintendo on the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Fallen Kingdom. This is a moment just about everyone in the gaming industry has been waiting for since Breathe of the Wild was released in 2017.

The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Fallen Kingdom – Our Thoughts

Crafting weapons yourself can be immensely satisfying.





  • Beautifully designed open world
  • New mechanics add a lot more to the gameplay
  • Puzzles are interesting
  • Engaging storyline


  • Weapon durability can be frustrating at the start
  • Voice acting feels rough and phoned-in
  • Doesn’t have the same magical quality to usual Zelda music
  • Abilities can be overpowered

As above, I’ve only spent five hours with the new Zelda so far but even that’s enough for me to confidently write that this is, without any doubt, one of the best games I’ve ever played. That it’s being reviewed so well across the board is no shock. Right now, Tears of the Fallen Kingdom is sitting pretty at 96 on Metacritic, which is higher than any other game released this year including Metroid Prime Remastered (94) and the Resident Evil 4 remake (93).

The only other game that most recently came close to this level of acclaim is Elden Ring, which was released last year and sits at 96 on the review aggregating platform.

That score of 96 could go up and down over the next few weeks as more outlets start publishing their reviews, but for now, it’s safe to say Tears of the Fallen Kingdom is an essential game. And, really, all it had to do was be as good as Breathe of the Wild. Yet, it’s not just as good, it’s better.

First off, the map is much larger than in BoTW – which was already a staggeringly overwhelming map larger than anything Nintendo had done prior. It’s the same approach here. The world of ToTK is so vast, open and richly detailed that if you can literally see it, even if it’s in the far distance, then you can get to it. This is a game that makes you feel like the possibilities are endless. It’s very rare for a Nintendo game to completely ditch linear gameplay and opt for something so modern.

That being said, the first few hours of Tears of the Kingdom aren’t as fast as you’d want. You’ll have to sit through numerous cutscenes at the start and they are worth sticking with given the plot of this game is far more interesting and exciting than most other Zelda games before it. That’s a big reason why it’s got such an edge over BoTW – you actually care about what’s going on beyond the typical Zelda nostalgia baiting.

I won’t get into the story because this is a game that shouldn’t be spoiled. Instead, I’ll talk about the major change to the gameplay which is Link’s new abilities due to a mutilated arm that’s been replaced with something more high-tech.

These abilities, which I’ll detail in a simple list below, fundamentally change the way Link can interact with and navigate the overworld of Hyrule and the many dungeons that lie in wait. They are as follows:

  • Recall – this lets you rewind objects back along their trajectories.
  • Ultrahand – this is ToTK’s version of telekinesis which can also be used to stick objects together and, for example, make a raft or a bridge.
  • Fuse – this lets you stick random things together to make a weapon. You can add certain objects to your existing swords, for example.
  • Ascend – this lets you fly up under solid objects and phase through any surface you hit, letting you get to the game’s many floating islands.

The new powers replace Magnesis and the old Rune abilities from the previous title and they each play around with the game’s physics in quite aggressive ways. A lot of memes are going to come from the Ultrahand ability especially, given you can quite literally do anything with it. Taking 10 logs and building a huge bridge so you can bypass a lake that you’d usually need a boat for? The game was obviously pushing me towards building a boat but I was able to use the power of excessiveness to ‘hack’ the game.

In that sense, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom borrows some ideas from creation sims like Super Mario Maker and Dreams. Sketching that level of customisation onto what is just generally an excellent Zelda game – genius.

Building a raft and then attaching jets to the raft is easy with Link’s new abilities.

Aside from wildly experimenting with the game’s physics, the animators have also done an incredible job. I’m not too much of a fan of the voice but the graphics on this game are outrageously beautiful. At times, the world of Hyrule reminds me of a good Studio Ghibli movie, popping plenty of colour into the overworld but switching to a very dark tone when Link is crawling through one of the game’s many dungeons or shrines. The visual impact helps keep everything engaging, from general exploration to the many side quests that are dotted throughout the game.

If I had any criticism it would be that the abilities mentioned above can be overpowered at times. In introducing this very central mechanic to the game, Nintendo has opened players up to a range of possible solutions to any situation or battle. It’s a great idea no doubt but if I’m feeling a bit lazy or impatient I can just use those abilities to craft something ridiculous and over-the-top like, as above, a lake-sized bridge. As such, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.

A common complaint from BoTW was weapon durability. Gone is the gradual upgrade in weapons of your typical RPG. With these new iterations of Zelda, you can pick up multiple weapons and you can almost bet the weaker ones will, frustratingly, break after a few uses. ToTK is a bit more tolerable when it comes to this as it pushes you to use Fuse and make weapons stronger yourself. You are your own blacksmith.

However, the early hours of the game naturally suffer from this. It’s frustrating having one branch break only to have to pause during battle and select another one. It interrupts the flow of everything.

One last thing I wanted to touch in is the technical side of things. The Switch is six years old now and even the newer version, the Switch OLED, has run into a few technical issues running newer games. The latest Pokemon game was notorious for these gameplay-breaking bugs or stutters. I’m happy to report that I’ve run into no issues with Tears of the Kingdom. Granted, I’m running it from a physical cartridge and on a Switch OLED. I wouldn’t love to see how this massive game works on an older Nintendo Switch model.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is out now exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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