The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the long-awaited sequel to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After initially beginning life as a large DLC expansion for Breath of the Wild, the project expanded in scope and size enough to where series producer Eiji Aonuma recognized the potential for the game to be a standalone sequel. After spending years in development and suffering several delays thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the title finally arrived in May 2023. Within just a few days, Tears of the Kingdom quickly became the fastest-selling first-party Nintendo game. While it took Breath of the Wild nearly 3 years to sell 20 million units, Tears of the Kingdom reached 19 million units sold in just under two months.
The title shares many similarities with its predecessor, namely the return of the new open-world framework and an emphasis on open-ended exploration. However, for the first time in the series, Tears of the Kingdom gives Link the power to craft vehicles. The experimentation and ingenuity of the community surrounding the game have led to some incredible creations, including near-perfect recreations of vehicles and implements from other pop culture properties.
Not surprisingly, Tears of the Kingdom currently holds the top spot on major aggregate score websites for being the highest-rated game of the year. The title has received unanimous critical acclaim and praise, with several outlets awarding the game a perfect score. As of time of writing, the title holds a 96 critic score on review aggregate site Metacritic, as well as an identical 96% aggregate score on OpenCritic. Nintendo themselves said the success of Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom all but guarantees fans will continue to see more open-world Zelda titles.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Premise
The plot of Tears of the Kingdom picks up shortly after the events of Breath of the Wild, with Princess Zelda leading the recovery effort to rebuild Hyrule. As part of this effort, Zelda wishes to venture beneath Hyrule Castle to examine the ruins that lay underneath. The game begins with Link accompanying Zelda on this archaeological excursion, still wary of the potential for Calamity Ganon to return. After a groundbreaking discovery underneath the castle that provides the heroes with some insight into the mysterious Zonai and the origins of the Calamity, Link, and Zelda are separated, with the Hero of Time losing his arm in the process.
From here, Link awakens in a mysterious sky temple with a newly acquired appendage. Quickly, both Link and the player discover that Link’s new Ultrahand grants him what amounts to the most powerful tool in the Zelda series’ long history. Not only is the Ultrahand ability used to craft items from the remnants of the Zonai civilization, but Link can use it to fuze items together and ascend through solid surfaces. While these abilities would normally break the game in another Zelda title, the excellent design of the world and puzzles around the use of these abilities instead integrate seamlessly into the core gameplay.
Much like its predecessor, Tears of the Kingdom is still an open-world action-adventure game that does away with many elements of what fans consider “classic” Zelda. Weapons still have limited durability and exploration and discovery are at the discretion of the player. New to Tears of the Kingdom, however, are additional areas for players to explore. In addition to the return of the map of Hyrule from Breath of the Wild, players also have the new areas of the Sky Isles and the Depths to explore.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Main Characters
In addition to series regulars Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, Tears of the Kingdom features several returning characters from Breath of the Wild. While some of these characters were only given brief appearances in BotW, they are more fully developed and play a more critical role in the storyline of Tears of the Kingdom. Main characters in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom include:
- Link: The ever-present Hero of Time throughout the entire Zelda series. Link is the sworn protector of Princess Zelda and the chosen hero of the Goddess to weild the sword of evil’s bane – The Master Sword.
- Zelda: Princess Zelda is the guardian of the Triforce and another chosen hero to return time and again. She is inextricably linked to both the Hero of Time and the land of Hyrule.
- Ganondorf: Ganondorf (sometimes called Ganon when in beast form) is the recurring antagonist of the Zelda series. Said to be the reincarnation of the dark god Demise, Ganondorf will stop at nothing to achieve ultimate power.
- King Rauru: King Rauru is the first king of Hyrule and one of the most powerful of the Zonai. He guides Link throughout his journey in Tears of the Kingdom.
- Impa: Impa is another recurring series character to make an appearance in both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. She is an elderly, sage-like woman who helps Link.
- Mineru: Mineru is Rauru’s sister and one of the last of the Zonai. Now the Sage of Spirit, she helps Link to see Ganondorf destroyed once and for all.
- Queen Sonia: Queen Sonia is an ancient Hylian and the wife of King Rauru. She assists Princess Zelda in coming to terms with her time displacement.
Games in The Legend of Zelda Series
Since its debut in 1986 (1987 in North America) The Legend of Zelda remains one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises across more than 35 years. The Zelda franchise is one of the most important in all of gaming, continually innovating and pushing the medium forward. Games in The Legend of Zelda series include:
- The Legend of Zelda (1986)
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987)
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages (2001)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003)
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (2004)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004)
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007)
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (2009)
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (2015)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Cheats, Secrets, & Exploits
Similar to every other game in the series, there are no officially supported cheats for Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. That said, there are several secrets for players to uncover as well as some helpful exploits that players can take advantage of. Because Tears of the Kingdom is an open-world game that involves plenty of crafting, players may find themselves lacking in resources and need a quick inventory boost. Thankfully, some clever workarounds take advantage of the in-game systems to make this process easier.
While there were previous item duplication and infinite health glitches that players were able to exploit, these have since been patched out in later versions of Tears of the Kingdom. Because these exploits are no longer active, we will not cover them here.
By far, the fastest way to earn lots of Rupees is through cooking and selling meat skewers. Head to the North Tabantha Snowfield on the northeast section of Hyrule’s map. Here, you can repeatedly hunt moose and bear that drop plenty of high-quality meat when killed. Quickly gather all of the meat before it freezes and head to a cooking pot (or spawn one yourself). Cook 5 pieces at a time to craft a meat skewer, which sells for 300 Rupees each. Rinse and repeat until your wallet is full!
Get the Korok Mask Early and Easily Find All Korok Seeds
Breath of the Wild players likely remember that the Korok Mask was an additional armor piece that was part of the game’s DLC. Once acquired, Link could wear the mask and it would vibrate when in the proximity of one of the game’s 900 Korok Seeds. In Tears of the Kingdom, this useful clothing item is available right from the start but requires some skill and knowledge of where to find it.
The Korok Mask is rewarded for completing the Forest Coliseum, which is located in the Depths underneath the northwest portion of the Great Hyrule Forest. The nearest Lightroot is the Ramobnukas Lightroot. To acquire the mask, players will need to defeat a Black Hinox. This is no easy feat early on in the game, but once you feel comfortable, the mask is yours for the taking provided you can best this challenging foe.
With the mask acquired, simply wear it around each of Tears of the Kingdom‘s areas to easily find all of the Korok Seeds.
Get Majora’s Mask and Become Ignored By Enemies
Similar to the Korok Mask, Majora’s Mask was a DLC item for Breath of the Wild that is now included in the base game of Tears of the Kingdom. Also similar to the Korok Mask, acquiring Majora’s Mask tasks players with completing a considerably challenging combat arena. Players are awarded Majora’s Mask for beating the Floating Coliseum, which is in the Depths directly underneath the Coliseum Ruins southwest of Hyrule Field. Players will need to defeat 5 Gloom Lynels in a gauntlet-style fight, with each one increasing in aggression and difficulty.
After besting the 5 Gloom Lynels, Majora’s Mask is located in the reward chest. With this mask equipped, enemies will completely ignore the player, allowing Link to go wherever he pleases without needing to combat enemies.
Swap Health and Stamina Containers
After completing at least one Regional Phenomena main quest, Link will have access to the Royal Hidden Passage. This passage is close to the entrance of the Emergency Shelter in Lookout Landing. In the Royal Hidden Passage, players will encounter a horned statue that offers to buy any of your health or stamina containers for 100 Rupees. It will also sell them back to you for 120 Rupees. As a result, if you want to respec the balance of your health and stamina, you can do so for a net cost of 20 Rupees for each swap.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Cheat FAQs
Are there any cheats for Tears of the Kingdom?
There are no literal cheats or cheat codes, but there are plenty of secrets for players to uncover. Additionally, several of the game’s systems have been found to be ripe for exploitation.
Do weapons still break in Tears of the Kingdom?
Yes, weapons still have limited durability much as they did in Breath of the Wild. That said, the durability of weapons is improved. Further, the new Fuse ability can extend of the life of any armament through clever combinations with other items.