Fans know the Legend of Zelda series well, spanning nearly 40 years of tradition and elements we’ve come to expect from games. With Breath of the Wild, however, Nintendo took the series in a slightly new direction, choosing to leave some things behind and offer a fresh experience.
Although Breath of the Wild was a huge success, Tears of the Kingdom took the new formula even further. Expanding on what BotW did, TotK brought back many nostalgic and classic features to solidify this new formula as a new Zelda formula. These are just a few things that may seem small but are appreciated in a big way.
5 Reliance on objects
An important aspect of the Zelda series as a whole has always been collecting items throughout your adventure and using them in new and meaningful ways to achieve your goal. While TotK follows in the same footsteps as BotW, giving you most of your abilities right away and setting you free, this time the addiction to using different items in new and creative ways is the main thing.
Throw fruit with various elemental effects, attach Keese Eyeballs to your arrows to aim them at the target, or even experiment with plants and mushrooms to inflict some unique conditions on your enemies. This may not be as traditional as a hookshot or mirror shield, but it works. In addition, you can just glue the mirror to the shield. So yes.
4 Bomb Flowers
While on the subject of items, there’s one in particular that’s a clear step back to something more traditional in the series, and that’s the flower bomb. The Zelda games always featured bombs or bomb flowers as items that Link carried around and had to collect more of if he used them all.
BotW gave us the ranged Sheikah magic bomb, which was handy and refreshing, but sometimes you can’t beat simply throwing a little blue bomb flower at unsuspecting enemies or a crumbling rock wall. The return of this item meant two things – room for more actual powers now that remote bombs are gone, and more nostalgic joy in collecting as many as possible and sticking them on your arrows for some destruction.
3 Poe Spirits
The Depths hold every possible secret in Tears of the Kingdom. A dark and cruel world that lies beneath the one we know, you will encounter dangers at every turn. However, it’s not all danger – almost, but not quite – as you can also find the lost spirits of Hyrule once upon a time. These appear as floating lights called Poe, and have been in the series several times.
What this means for the depths and what exactly it is is a mystery, but collect them all and offer them to the Bargain Statues to return them to the afterlife and receive rewards in the process. It’s such a simple yet nice thing to have back in the series, and it adds to both the nostalgia and excitement of uncovering these mysteries.
We can’t talk about all this nostalgia without mentioning its funniest form: music. There are many different tracks in TotK that are reminiscent of the classic songs we all know and love. From Zelda’s lullaby to Link’s House theme and even Colgera Boss’ music that echoes Dragon Roost Island’s music and Molgera Boss’s music from The Wind Waker.
Every bit of music, both in cinematic moments and in the world, makes for some amazing scenes that take you back to the memories of popular games in the Zelda series. There’s something for everyone, and TotK knows exactly how to include just enough of this music to make you go down a memory lane.
One of the biggest things fans have been asking for since before the Breath of the Wild sequel was even announced was the return of real dungeons. BotW had Link explore each of the Divine Beasts, which were pretty similar and bland when it came to what is expected of the series. Tears of the Realm brought back the traditional Zelda temples.
As with the classics of the series, each one is dedicated to elements and will require a lot of exploration of different levels, solving puzzles and reaching mechanisms to open the way to the boss. To expand on this, the bosses also harkened back to classic Zelda fights, either in reference or in the way they appeared.
While BotW had you fighting pieces of Ganon that were all very similar, just like the dungeons, TotK has larger than life monsters that will fill you with excitement and fear as you prepare to battle them. Eliminate their weaknesses and exploit them and lead them to a satisfying victory. These temples were the biggest aspect that mixed the feel of Breath of the Wild with the old school Zelda formula.
NEXT: The best new enemies in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom