Things to Know Before Getting Started in Tears of the Kingdom Featured Image

Things to Know Before Getting Started in Tears of the Kingdom

The start of a new Zelda title is always an exciting time for players, new and old. Tears of the Kingdom is the direct sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild, returning gamers back to the land of the post-apocalyptic Hyrule devastated by the Calamity now finally free from Calamity Ganon’s grasp. But as the game implies, this peace is short-lived as Link and Zelda are thrust back into fray with a new threat.

A fresh adventure is a daunting task. So, here are some things to know as you take up the mantle of Hero once more to save Hyrule.

Quick Summary of the Start of Tears of the Kingdom

Much like the first game, Tears of the Kingdom thrusts players right into Link’s boots without too much introductory exposition. It is not explained how much time has passed since BOTW’s ending. However, it is mentioned that people of the kingdom have begun getting sick due to a strange miasma emanating from the ruins of Hyrule Castle, which has remained in disrepair and neglect since Ganon’s defeat. From this, it can be gleaned that the world is still in the process of rebuilding.

Link and Zelda delve into the depths of the castle and uncover constructs and architecture of a foreign ancient design, detailing Hyrule’s relationship with an ancient people known as the Zonai. This revelation is short lived as a withered, red-maned husk-like corpse suddenly regains life deep within the caverns. Responsible for all the poisonous miasma, this Demon King makes quick work of Link and separates him from Zelda, who disappears in a flash of light.

Link is then rescued by a disembodied hand, the same hand that was keeping the Demon King sealed away. He then wakes up later after an undetermined amount of time (though judging by Link’s hair, it has been a minute) on the Sky Islands, a world far apart from the lands below.

Thus, Link’s quest begins anew.

What Carries Over from BOTW to Tears of the Kingdom

One of the first things I was curious about was what aspect of my progress in BOTW would carry over from into its sequel. I know I was returning to my old save files to find some more Koroks and shrines to beef up Link in preparation for Tears of the Kingdom.

However, I now realize that that is a waste of time.

Link is at full power at the start of ToTK. Full 20 heart containers and four full bars of stamina, he has the complete makings of a hero… for about five minutes.

His injuries completely neuter his gains and return him to an even weaker state than he was at the start of BOTW. Any of the armor, weapons, or capacity upgrades he may have had in BOTW are also all gone.

The only things that carry over from BOTW are the horses players corralled. That is it. You do not need to grind out the first game in prep for this one. If you were able to beat Ganon and obtain all the lost memories, you have all the necessary information to get started in Tears of the Kingdom.

Sheikah Slate is No More

Much like how Link’s right arm is no more, the powerful Sheikah Slate has been thoroughly replaced. As such, the abilities of cryonis, stasis, magnesis, and bombs are no longer usable. Instead, Link’s Zonai arm is the arbiter of his abilities this time around, bearing unique powers that set it apart from the Sheikah Slate.

However, I would be lying if I said the Sheikah Slate is completely gone. It does exist in some capacity. Now called the Purah Pad, the new device is a familiar Nintendo Switch-shaped Sheikah tablet that still functions as a scope, camera, and pause menu. 

Master Sword is Broken

To anyone with eyes, this isn’t really a secret. The Master Sword has been teased as a broken mess of a blade in officially promoted footage and screenshots, and the sword is a shadow of its former self on the game’s box art, in much worse condition than its dented, battered depiction in BOTW (kinda like its wielder, huh).

The Blade of Evil’s Bane shatters completely as Link tries to wield it against the shadowy red tendrils of the Demon King, rendering it into near uselessness. To make matters worse, it still retains its durability problem from BOTW. Using it will deplete its energy so it should be used only at the start of the game. To keep spoilers to a minimum, this becomes a non-issue once the player gets through the first section of the game.

Weapon Fuse Characteristics

Among the first abilities players learn with their new arm, Fuse is a power with immense utility. BOTW’s weapon durability mechanic returning in TOTK initially irked many players until Fuse was revealed. 

Simply put, Fuse allows Link to meld any intractable object/entity with a wieldable weapon. See a rock you like? You can put it on your shield to turn it into a makeshift weapon. Really into burning things? You can attach a flamethrower to turn your club into a firespitting monstrosity. Do you want to explode? Attach a bomb to… you get the picture.

Certain weapon types can be repaired by fusing another attachment to replace a broken part. However this can only be done once before the entire weapon breaks. Though there are many weapons lying around, everything has become fragile due to a story detail players will learn.

Fuse fundamentally changes the way players can approach combat and exploration, opening up new ways for players to tackle this new adventure. With enemies now dropping pieces that double as weapon attachments, the possibilities are staggering.

Climbing Terrain Differences

BOTW had wet surfaces that made climbing all but impossible when it rained. TOTK allows players to cook a sticky elixir that allows Link to boost his grip strength when scaling precarious cliffsides. 

Along with wet surfaces, TOTK introduces icy terrain as well, which is a permanently slippery surface that cannot be overcome by waiting and must be scaled with an elixir or through the use of the Ascend ability.

Using Zonai Devices

The Zonai are key players in TOTK’s story and have left behind various devices and gizmos to aid Link on his quest. Many can be found lying around the terrain and others can be obtained through capsules that Link can pop to summon a device of his choosing. 

These marvels of engineering can all be fueled by the power of gravity, but that way of maneuvering severely limits the direction players can traverse. To combat this, an item players later receive act as fuel cell batteries to power these Zonai devices, like tires, gliders, and more. So long as Link has power in the tank, these miraculous constructs can be molded and driven in whichever way and form Link and the player chooses. Players also need to be mindful of HOW they craft their vehicles as TOTK obeys the laws of physics; weight and balance need to be kept in mind to create functioning vehicles.

Also, as an addendum, some devices like the glider have a set time limit before disappearing in the air, so keep that in mind if you don’t want to suddenly plummet to your death.

Two New Maps

Link needs to rechart the lands of Hyrule with his Purah Pad. Luckily, there are scanning towers that function the same way as Sheikah Towers, scanning the terrain over certain areas while also taking Link on a brief skydiving trip.

What these scans also do is chart the skies above as floating islands dot the heavens like an impressionist artist’s painting. So, players will have two separate realms to navigate and explore as they try to fully fill out their maps. The skies are littered with treasures and loot, so keep an eye for them whenever you take to the skies.

There is so much to do in Tears of the Kingdom and so many things to see. This journey will be one to remember.

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