So instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of our favorite quests, characters, and story beats just yet, we’ve decided to discuss our first impressions and highlights from the game’s launch. There’s a poll below, so feel free to let us know what you liked best about TOTK in its introductory chapters, and head to the comments to discuss what we missed below — but only from the first few hours, please!
The very beginning, the “return home” and the door of the shrine
Black screen. In slow succession, the next words disappear in small white text…
The Legend of Zelda
Tears of the kingdom
Oh! Pure class and confidence what a discovery was masterful. No spinning logos, no gimmicks, no fighting. Simply here you are
Apart from this elegant discovery, what struck me the most was that the feeling of coming home. I had a good time on the Great Sky Island just messing around, admiring the luscious golden grass and foliage and the general pleasantness of it all. I listened to the birds, cooked food and just rested a bit.
As Alana worked on her glowing review, hearing how great the game was gave me some idea of the limitless adventure that awaited me. But that moment at the very beginning—the moment of waiting—was something I cherished as much as I could. Oh look! Dove. Yes, we are at home.
Oh, and more A Tardis style effect through the temple entrances. I can’t get enough of this. – Gavin Lane
Hyrule voice acting and transformation
The first thing I really noticed about Kingdom Tears was this net cost of production is shown in the opening sequence. Sure, Breath of the Wild had voice acting, but it mostly felt like it was reserved for moments that needed a bit of exposition.
When Zelda and Link ran into that mummy in the opening of TotK (and we’re pretty sure we know who it is), the raspy voice coming from the living corpse sent chills down my spine. In one fell swoop, TotK suddenly felt like the most dramatic of the Zelda series. It was a wonderful thing.
If that wasn’t enough, I was impressed how Nintendo was so successful at making the land of Hyrule feel so foreign to me. When I first fell from the sky to the surface, I thought “Yes, no problem, I will know exactly where I am and where to go”but when I landed I really felt completely disoriented.
I’m not sure if it’s because I was dropped in a place I rarely visited in Breath of the Wild, or because certain landmarks were changed by The Upheaval, or a combination of both. Needless to say, I had to have a good look around before I could get my bearings. – Ollie Reynolds
The first time you meet a Construct in Tears of the Kingdom, it tries to hurt you. The next time you meet the Construct, you’ll wake him from his long slumber, and unlike the previous robotic creature, he’ll make some friendly beeps and sounds and offer to help you.
So, I love Construct Stewards. I can’t help anything. With the warm palette of yellows, golds, whites and pastels of the Great Sky Island, as well as the mix of friendly and menacing robots, the Studio Ghibli vibe is back in full force. Friendly Constructs made me smile from the minute I met the first one, and then every subsequent one—her routine, her role, and her horrifying reaction every time you try something ultra-handy around her—loved me more and more.
Constructions are pretty common in TOTK – both good and bad – but they all serve as reminders of the past. These are the remnants of a lost time, which are only waking up for the first time in a long time. My favorite on the tutorial island is the one that cooks mushrooms, even though he admits he has no digestive system. Does he do it for the fun of cooking? Or is it just to give Link advice? I like to think that he does this as a reminder of his past life, of his purpose even before the events of TOTK. Their presence makes the world more alive, and meeting and talking to them every time is a real joy. – Alana Haigs
A leap of faith
Remember when we first saw footage of Breath of the Wild where Link runs out of the Temple of Resurrection and onto the Great Plateau? The title card appears, the music plays, the tears well up (wait, not everyone? Okay then…), there’s a reason why it’s one of the most iconic moments of the game. Well, Tears of the Kingdom does it again.
Leaving the awakening room with nothing but a gnarled Master Sword and some ill-fitting sandals, Link’s first jump from an open sky island has all the wonders of its BOTW predecessor, but with the added smile of “and you thought it was just going to be DLC“Again, when the title came on the screen, I caught myself with a little tear in my eye and a beaming smile from cheek to cheek – a truly wonderful thing.
I’m only about five hours into the game at this point, but so far every diving animation has given me the same reaction. Looks like we’re in for many, many more hours of happy Jim. – Jim Norman
These are a few moments and elements that caught our eye, but let us know which one made the biggest impression on you in the first hour or two of playing the game — or if something completely different made you smile from ear to ear.