The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Leaks are Making me Second Guess Myself

I’m normally not one for engaging with spoilers, often chastising certain people in my life who are so deep in the spoiler game that they do things like dangle the plot points of unreleased Star Wars movies in my face because they needed to talk about it with someone. I’m usually pretty good about not engaging with that kind of stuff, but recently my normally steely resolve crumbled into dust when The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom leaked all over the internet, making for the most tantalizing of minefields I so carelessly wander through. While most of what I’ve seen is cause for excitement, building upon the sensational foundation of Breath of the Wild, I’m getting pretty worried that it might not be the game for me.

Note: There will be a clearly marked paragraph with a non-story spoiler later in this article. Aside from that, this article only references things seen throughout the various trailers that have been officially released by Nintendo.

So how could the upcoming release of sequel to one of my favorite games of all time be cause for panic above anything else? Simply put, it looks really difficult. I know a lot of folks like to debate how difficult Breath of the Wild was and if it should have been tougher or not, but I found it to be an extremely challenging and punishing game, both in terms of the mechanics at play like weapon degradation, and simpler elements like how hard everything hits you.

I recently started another playthrough of Breath of the Wild in preparation for the sequel, and found myself getting my ass kicked up and down Hyrule with minimal resistance. I struggled with some of the bosses, and have been so thoroughly stomped by the slightly tougher variants of the basic enemies that I go out of my way to avoid any and all conflicts. I don’t remember the game whipping my ass as much when it released 6 years ago, but maybe in that time my “gamer skillz” have atrophied. Or maybe I just don’t have the time or desire to bash my head against the rippling abs of a Lynel that’s dead set on skewering Link and making him a delicious, blonde, shish kabob.

So when these leaks reveal a whole litany of bone-crushing, skin-melting enemies lining up to pummel Link into dust, it makes me a tad worried that this game might be a bit much for me. I’m all for more enemies and challenges, but I’m not looking for something that’s basically Dark Souls dressed up in a green tunic. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I enjoyed Breath of the Wild in spite of its combat mechanics, not because of them.

What really made Breath of the Wild so special for me was that feeling of limitless exploration mixed with endless possibility. Combing through every nook and cranny of Hyrule was the best part of the game, but it was constantly undercut by being ambushed by some enemy or enemies that were not only eager to but exceedingly capable of turning Link into toothpaste.

Breath of the Wild was one of the only games I’ve ever played that was so good at encouraging exploring and charting a wild, untamed world. That feeling of cresting a hill only to spot some far off anomaly that necessitated further investigation, whether it be a curious stone formation, a forest shrouded in darkness, or the gentle puffs of smoke coming from a distant campfire, Breath of the Wild was unparalleled in fostering that sense of discovery and wonder.


I’m not saying that I want no enemies or combat whatsoever in my Zelda games, but would it be too much to ask for an easy mode or the basest of accessibility options? Tears of the Kingdom apparently boasts a massive underground map that rivals the size of Hyrule’s overworld from Breath of the Wild, and that sounds really exciting to me in concept, but I’ve also heard that some of the hardest enemies in the game reside down there, making it one of the most challenging areas of the game. The area is positioned as incredibly tough and punishing, a fact I’m sure plenty of people are thrilled about, but I am most certainly not one of them. Hearing about the depths just fills me with a looming dread that gives way to the realization that I’m going to have to head down below eventually, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to overcome whatever awaits me down there.


I don’t know what the optimal balance is for me when it comes to a game like Tears of the Kingdom, but I fear that from what I’ve seen already, it’s going to be a much harder game than I am prepared to take on. I get that Zelda games are all about Link stopping some, usually Ganon-centric, world ending calamity, which Tears of the Kingdom seems to absolutely be leaning into, but how about a “story mode” for me and my fellow aging gamers?

What’s really frustrating is that Nintendo could address these concerns with some difficulty options, or heaven forbid, any accessibility options whatsoever, but that seems like a bridge too far with them. Seriously, just allowing me to be heartier or make enemies less formidable would be huge for opening up the game to more players, but it just doesn’t seem like they’re interested in that.

Maybe I’m just psyching myself out and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom won’t be that difficult, but some of the stuff I’ve seen really makes me think that I’m being set up for disappointment. A lot of what I’ve seen, hell, most of it is really exciting and makes waiting for May 12th even harder than it already is, but I keep being brought back every time I see anything about the difficulty. Hopefully the people saying this stuff just suck at playing video games more than I do.

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