Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom – What are the Differences?

Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom – What are the Differences?

The Legend of Zelda franchise received a major shot in the arm with Breath of the Wild, completely reimagining the game within the framework of an open-world sandbox and revolutionizing the series in the process. This year fans finally received the long-awaited sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, and again the series has evolved even further. With a more full-blown emphasis on crafting and an expanded suite of options in terms of activities to pursue in its impressive open-world, Tears of the Kingdom improves upon Breath of the Wild‘s template by nearly every metric.

The new open-world format for Zelda is an unprecedented success for the series. Not only do Breath of the Wildand Tears of the Kingdom account for nearly 50% of the entire franchise’s lifetime sales, Tears of the Kingdom is the fastest-selling Nintendo game in history. Having moved just under 20 million units in 2 months, Tears has established itself as the front-runner for Game of the Year and quickly become a cultural phenomenon. Although TotK shares a lot of similarities with BotW, there are some key factors that differentiate the two.

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Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom – Side by Side Comparison

Tears is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, and it only makes sense that the two would share a lot in common. However, to assume that Tears of the Kingdom is simply “more of a good thing” would be a major mistake. Tears of the Kingdom completely iterates on the formula of Breath of the Wild to introduce some new mechanics and elements. Additionally, Tears of the Kingdom successfully addresses the few issues fans have with Breath of the Wild to present players with a “best of both worlds” scenario.

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FeatureBreath of the WildTears of the Kingdom
Cel-Shaded Art Style
Unique Armor Sets with Bonuses
Degradable Weapons
Horse Riding
Freedom to Explore
Tackle Quests in Any Order
Side Quests
Climbable Shiekah Towers
Skyview Towers
Hyrule, Sky Isles, and Depths
Crafting/Ultrahand & Fuse

Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom – 5 Must-Know Facts

Here are some must-know facts about the differences between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom:

  • At their core, both BotW and TotK are very similar games. Because TotK is a direct sequel to BotW, the two games share many similarities. However, outside of gameplay differences, Tears benefits from its later release with improved performance on the Switch.
  • While BotW features a robust cooking and elixer-brewing system, TotK expands crafting immensely. Nearly all of the essential items in the game can be crafted from harvested materials. Additionally, the Fuse ability makes crafting a necessary component of combat.
  • TotK is the first game in the series to feature fully-fledged vehicles. While BotW and older Zelda titles feature horseback riding, TotK adds the ability to craft your own cars, planes, and other implements of traversal.
  • One of the more controversial choices found in BotW is the removal of classic Zelda dungeons in favor of the Divine Beasts – moving fortresses that Link could enter. Dungeons make their triumphant return in TotK, though they are smaller and fewer in number.
  • Both games have degrading weapons, meaning Link needs to switch his armaments frequently and on the fly. That said, TotK greatly improves the weapon durability system and most weapons typically last longer.

Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom – How Ultrahand Transforms the Game

Without a doubt, the most transformative element in Tears of the Kingdom is Ultrahand. This ability makes crafting the central focus of the game, with nearly all other systems built around its functionality. With the Ultrahand ability, Link can effortlessly craft combat implements, solutions to puzzles, and vehicles to traipse around Hyrule and the two new locations exclusive to TotK. Seeing the creative ways that the Zelda community use Ultrahand proves that there’s possibly no limit to the ability other than players’ imaginations.

Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom – An Expanded Open-World Sandbox

One of the biggest initial questions surrounding Tears of the Kingdom prior to its release was how the game would transform the map of Hyrule as a sequel to one of the most impressive open-worlds ever created. Not only does TotK provide narrative reason for Hyrule being different, it also opens up two brand-new areas: the Sky Isles and the Depths. Both of these locations aren’t just new maps to explore, they operate on completely different rules and force the player to engage with them differently. In short, Tears of the Kingdom features the most expansive (and impressive) world of any Zelda title.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, Tears of the Kingdom is exactly what most fans want out of a sequel. The elements that were a rousing success from Breath of the Wild return (albeit in an improved form) and new mechanics are introduced that enrich the experience. Tears of the Kingdom proves itself to be a worthwhile experience by expanding the open world, introducing new game-changing abilities for Link, and providing fans with one of the best-looking, best-performing, and most entertaining games on the Nintendo Switch. In terms of a “perfect” Zelda game, Tears of the Kingdom just might fit the bill.

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