June 25, 2024

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom lives on without a link – and that’s why it’s so compelling


The Role of the heroby Link, within the series The Legend of Zelda has to this day always been more schematized in a series of plots and situations that defined him as the chosen child who “takes on the role of a hero” and is involved in the history of Hyrule in a “passive” way.

Link wakes up in his bed, crosses paths with someone or something and, as a victim of events, must begin his journey where he will discover a hero who, growing and stronger, will manage to save Princess Zelda and all of Hyrule.

Already with Breath of the Wild This scheme has a slight disadvantage variation: Link is already the hero of Hyrule even if he doesn’t remember it anymore. Driven solely by an unconscious altruism, he embarks on a search for himself and the salvation of the current Zelda.

Leaving aside the narrative of the introduction, Link therefore embodies the same model as always in the series, that of the knight who, without knowing why, is caught up in something much greater than himself and manages to do so in all the terrible ways Cope with situations Come your way. Placed in front.

Tears of the Kingdom (If you missed it, you can buy it Here) suggests instead Something completely different, a reversal remarkable for the scheme we have been playing with for several years.

Here is link Already the hero of Hyrule, the knight who saved the legendary land from Calamity Ganon a few years earlier and who, with the help of Zelda, contributed to his second life by taking an active part in the reconstruction of the game world.

So Link doesn’t have to accept an order, he He’s already what he always was on the show: the chosen boythe one who can wield the legendary sword, capable of driving out evil, on whose shoulders once again rests the protection of a princess too precious to lose.

And what happens when you introduce Tears of the Kingdom is just that: Link is defeated while protecting Zelda, Hyrule is caught up in the game of another evil incarnation…or almost.

The true heroes of Hyrule

The game world, the Hylians, the Ritos, the Zoras, the Gerudos and the Gorons no longer assume the role of the “damsel in distress” who must be saved at all costs. This time they are aware of the most dangerous threat they have ever faced active participation in the fight He tries to support Link in everything he does, fighting for his own survival and for the liberation of their country.

Each of them faces a gigantic evil, something “too big”: those who live in an eternal winter oppressed by famine, those who no longer have drinking water, and so on. Whole villages destroyed by monsters, by ruins fallen from the sky, who have to reinvent their lives and their economy.

But every single one of them, every single character You do not give up But Fight against the new threat This has come over Hyrule and is doing it with force never seen before in the series: Groups of vigilantes are formed, literally with the intention of crushing entire hordes of enemies – knowing that they will return at the first Red Moon, and at the same time knowing that Ganondorf would if they didn’t Would fight if they surrendered Overcome them all.

In the saga, if Link began the adventure as the chosen one to become a hero, his hero status is already cemented here.

They no longer rely on Link, or rather, They no longer count on his character as the only solution to the evil that’s befalling the world. If you stay on the sidelines in the missions along with the Executioners, you’ll realize how alone, with a lot of time and effort (and with a good RNG, if we have to be honest), they can defeat hordes of enemies that Link with a few shots would kill.

Of course, we can help them, but our help will not be decisive in the fate of the battle, but will “simply” help curb losses and move on to the next camp much faster.

And that’s true In these small, macroscopic details lies the narrative magic of Tears of the Kingdom which, apart from a very lazy design, stages something in the structure of its side quests that has never existed in the series before. A living, dynamic game world in which Link’s passage is located a real influence on what’s going onin everyone’s life, even if that is the case this time fully capable of caring for themselves.

Link embodies the role of the knight licking the wounds of the kingdomwho goes around trying to heal where he can, helping the residents in their reactionary approach to the catastrophe that has literally befallen them.

Special missions

And if this aspect is easily observed in the main quests, where there is indeed a huge and quantifiable change in the game regions (the cold that disappears from the ritos, the water that comes back clean from the zoras, etc.), it is it also in the side challenges and in the mini-challenges that involve writing Tears of the Kingdom reaches a level that is difficult to compare.

We can be the protagonists of a love story between a flautist and a very young Hylian who tries in every possible way to make her happy by giving her a tree “of magic fire”, or we can help a stoic employee of the Miceda constructions , which “do not move a millimeter even when it rains”.

And once again: we can be the ones who lend a hand to a father so that he lets his little Gerudo go to the customs of his people, even though the situation in the citadel is not exactly peaceful, or we can even witness the eternal battle between Tradition and innovation in the village of Finterra between the two mayoral candidates.

This time, the residents of Hyrule don’t just watch: they try to react to difficulties in their own way, and in this way the effects of their actions on the game world become even more noticeable.

In this “little” quest we are asked to understand how these people liveas he thinks, on the conflict between the young people who want to give status to the village and the older people who just want to remain farmers in their quiet little gardens.

The interesting thing about the gameplay solution in which the different sides that lead us to the elections develop is what they actually look like have an impact on the game world not only in the dialogues, but also in the growth of the village.

In fact, when the search is completed, the new products of the village, the heliozucchini and the cheese, both products that try to bring tradition and novelty closer together, will lead to success Economic and trade center from Finterra will be products that can actually be bought even at some neighboring retailers.

In short, Link’s passage, although “superfluous”, has also led to a small series of changes that actively affect the game world and create a “living” narrative in the lives of the NPCs – which thereby seem more real and more interesting than ever.

A reward how it goes beyond the handful of rupees that the game gives us for completing the “fetch quest” on duty, making Link’s role much more interesting and deep than we’ve been used to in the saga so far.

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