It’s good that Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom uses the BOTW map

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom takes place in the same Hyrule as its predecessor, Breath of the Wild. It is true that the map has been greatly altered by the events of Upheaval: The ruins of Zonai fell from the sky, islands in the sky hovering overhead, and cracks opened up a pitch-black underworld. . But everything stayed where it was: Hyrule Castle, the jagged leaning towers of the Dueling Peaks, the ruins of the Gerudo Desert. It is recognized the same place. For a complete sequel that took Nintendo six years to make, this level of content recycling is unusual, to say the least.

Before Kingdom TearsFollowing its release, some fans wondered if the sequel would feel more like a glorified expansion. However, since the game’s launch, this topic has barely appeared. Even the expected series of comparison shots, or laundry lists of what has and hasn’t changed, haven’t really materialized (although players have noticed that Zelda decoration change after moving to Link’s pad). Get caught up in the dizzying possibilities of Kingdom TearsIts new toolkit, or the surprise and mystery of the new quests, players don’t seem to notice or mind that they’re literally rereading the old platform.

For starters, I feel the same way. Maybe it has something to do with the game’s opening, high in the sky over Great Sky Island. The unfettered, wind-blown novelty of this lofty place, culminated in a sensational parachute jump to the more familiar Hyrule world below, sets the tone and leaves everything that comes next fresh. like a light breeze. Maybe it’s liberating joy back in the hands of master designers with the confidence of giving players the freedom to explore their world and the ingenuity to direct their eyes to all the fun things to do there.

View of the Temple of Time standing on a green hill on the Great Plateau in pleasant light in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Great plateau in Breath of the Wild.
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Either way, I began to devour the game’s secrets and amusements, marveling at the sense of discovery it could create, without even considering how hard it was to do it twice. for how different such a trampled landscape feels. It looked familiar but still felt new, and I didn’t think about it – until I stumbled across the Great Plateau.

This hit is different. The great plateau is Breath of the Wild‘s Great Sky Island — a safe, sunny, self-contained area raised above conflict where players can learn the game’s system and the core abilities of the Future Peaceful Link opposite to. More than any other part of Hyrule, it got on my brain; it was literally conceived, because this is where I learned how to cook, paraglider and fight, and also learn how Link would relate to the world around him in the game. I can clearly picture the geography of this pocket world in my mind. Encountering it in a completely different context is jarring – even emotional.

IN Kingdom Tears, The Plateau feels wild and forbidding. There are currently several medium to high level monsters and Link is being hunted by masked assassins of the Yiga Family. I may have arrived a little early, but I must move cautiously and be prepared as I explore. The ruins, once picturesque, now look raw and jagged, and there are ugly streaks of light around the many chasms. I even felt different going up to this hostile new location, instead of going down from there, like I did in the first game.

The ruins of the Temple of Time can be seen from afar on the Great Plateau in Tears of the Kingdom.  In front there is a pile of rubble and a fearsome enemy

Great plateau in Kingdom Tears.
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Exploring the Great Plateau is the most thrilling adventure I’ve been in Kingdom Tears so far, and that has a lot to do with my memories of the word area Breath of the Wild. Going to a place I know very well and seeing it turned upside down, approaching it from a new angle and seeing it from a new angle, relearning my way around space with a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. sure – it’s like going back to a haunting childhood. Everything is still the same but different, familiar but not alien. This is a powerful feeling, stronger than the surprise of discovering a completely new place.

There’s only one other game setting that makes me feel like this, and that’s World of Warcraftis Azeroth. Azeroth was upgraded, in the same way as Hyrule, in 2010 cataclysm expanded – but other, more subtle changes over the years had a similar impact on me. I’m sure longtime players of any other multiplayer game will recognize that feeling. When you live with the game space in time, spend so long there that it is ingrained in your memories of your life, and then come back to find it still there but has gone on without you — for me, this is what elevates the virtual world. world to places that, psychologically, may well be real.

Descending from the Great Plateau to continue my exploration of the rest of Hyrule, I feel like I understand why Nintendo chose to stick with Breath of the Wildthe map of. Not because it’s a masterpiece (although it is), or because it would take too much work (it must be difficult to meaningfully remake it), but because bringing it back to reality is a no-brainer. The addition adds more to the game than a brand new one. The world could have done it. It gives history; it resonates; it makes sense. It is correctly said that Hyrule is the real star of Breath of the Wild. What would a sequel be without its star?


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