Tag Archives: The Legend of Zelda

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.

My Favorite 15 Games of the Decade

Alright, it seems like everyone is doing one of these lists right now, so why shouldn’t I do the same?  As we round the corner and leave this decade in the dust, I’d like to take a look back at just a handful of my favorite games from the past 10 years.  These are in release order, and don’t indicate how much I enjoyed one over the other.  Also, I didn’t want to write this article forever, so I limited it to 15.  Don’t worry, I liked other games too, but these ones jumped out at me immediately when crafting this list.


MASS EFFECT 2 – (January 26, 2010)

When Mass Effect 2 arrived at the beginning of the decade, I was instantly taken with it.  Having never really enjoyed the first one, thanks to its cumbersome mechanics, Mass Effect 2 provided a more streamlined an accessible approach to the action-RPG.  With its tight combat and extremely well crafted story and world, there was very little to take umbrage with upon its release.  It had its fair share of missteps to be fair, but those complaints drifted into the background pretty quickly.  Mass Effect 2 is still a colossal experience to this day, and it also had some phenomenal pieces of downloadable content to provide new and interesting stories in this world I came to love so much.


ROCK BAND 3 – (October 26, 2010)

Rock Band 3 was the pinnacle of the plastic instrument craze that dominated the mid and late 2000’s, providing not only an amazing and diverse set list, but offering people the chance to live out their most rockin’ piano fantasies in the form of a plastic key-tar.  It isn’t hard to see why the franchise and its competitors were so popular, but the Rock Band franchise is especially dear to me because without those games, I would’ve have never started playing the actual drums.  While plastic guitars don’t really translate to real world musical talent, the fake drums actually taught me a lot about timing and limb independence.  That and it had both At The Drive In and Metric on the base set list.


THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 1 – (October 31, 2010)

When the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead concluded, I was devastated.  Through its highs and lows, it managed to tell a beautifully morose story that left me teary eyed.  It also reinvigorated and reinvented the stagnate adventure game, making it not only a viable genre again, but proving that these kinds of games could tell amazing stories while not requiring you to solve obscure puzzles which had been a staple for so long.


PORTAL 2 – (April 18, 2011)

Do I really need to explain why Portal 2 is on this list?  It’s one of the best puzzle games out there to this day, providing an excellent learning curve, intriguing story, and for being genuinely hilarious.  For years people have been clamoring for Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3, but the correct answer is making Portal 3.  I can safely say that I haven’t enjoyed a puzzle game as thoroughly as Portal 2 since its release.


JOURNEY – (March 13, 2012)

The way Journey handled not only its story and world, but its multiplayer component, was a revelation to me at the time.  There was this constant feeling of isolation that would encompass everything around you, until a mysterious figure would show up in the distance, beckoning you to come over.  They had no name, they couldn’t speak, but they were another player, and they were waiting for me.  And it was an incredible feeling to know that while we once thought we were both alone, we were both wrong.  Without saying a word, you and your buddy would trek through the entire game together where Journey would finally reveal the name of the player or players that you spent a few hours with.  Journey was a beautiful game on all fronts, and everyone should play it.


SLEEPING DOGS – (August 14, 2012)

It’s a shame that Sleeping Dogs never saw a sequel, because it’s a fantastic game.  It’s like if Grand Theft Auto had a better story and didn’t rely on shooting everything in sight to progress.  It combined all of the fun aspects of GTA, the open world, the vehicles, and the side activities, and paired them with a really good hand to hand combat system in the vein of Batman Arkham Asylum.  It was a joy to play, with the least interesting parts of it ironically being the bits where you had to shoot things.  Also, Emma Stone was in it and I don’t understand why.


MARK OF THE NINJA – (September 7, 2012)

Okay, so here’s a reference that maybe like 7 people will get, but does anyone remember those old Splinter Cell games that they put out on flip phones like the Motorolla RAZR?  They were these 2D stealth games that were way better than they had any right to be.  Why did I bring that up?  Because Mark of the Ninja scratched that itch for me in the best way possible.  It was this 2D stealth action game where you were unsurprisingly, a ninja, who would sneak around and slice fools up.  Not only did it play great, but it looked phenomenal.  I wholeheartedly recommend Mark of the Ninja to anyone that wants to play a stealth game that isn’t overly complex.


THE LAST OF US – (June 14, 2013)

There’s like 5 or six moments in The Last of Us that still stick with me to this day, and I’m willing to bet anyone who’s played the game can guess what they are.  From a gut-wrenching story to tense combat and stealth situations, The Last of Us was a triumph of a game.  Ironically enough, my least favorite part about it were the zombies, but I still really loved this game despite their presence.  Also, The Last of Us had a really amazing multiplayer aspect to it that I feel was under appreciated.


SUPER MARIO MAKER – (September 10, 2015)

I’ve never been a huge fan of level building games or modes, but Super Mario Maker was so brilliant in its design, using the language of Mario games that I understood so well to empower me to stretch my level building muscles.  It was so cleverly designed in a way that made logical sense through the lens of Mario games.  If I wanted a large goomba, I’d feed him a mushroom.  Want a flying Bowser?  Slap some wings on that fool.  It took the pieces of Mario we all understand, and made them work in the context of a level editor.


FIREWATCH – (February 9, 2016)

There aren’t too many games that I could say “made me feel things,” but Firewatch was definitely one of them.  From the jump you’re thrown into a tragic situation that’s the impotence for the rest of the game.  It’s this constant, nagging feeling in the back of your head that reminds you that you shouldn’t be here.  “Here” of course being in the middle of the woods working as a forest ranger in a fire watch station.  You spend all of your time exploring the wilderness and talking to the voice of another fire watcher who is guiding and directing you while asking you increasingly more personal questions.  You’re not only learning about each other, but you’re learning about a mystery lurking in the very woods you’re wandering through.  It’s amazing and I can’t say enough good things about it.  Play Firewatch.


TITANFALL 2 – (October 28, 2016)

It’s such a shame that when Titanfall 2 was released, it was wedged between a Call of Duty and a Battlefield game, essentially killing any moment it could gather before it had a chance.  Like I said, it’s a real shame considering that Titanfall 2 is one of the best first person shooters of the last decade.  From toe to tip, everything in Titanfall 2 is crafted with care and attention to detail.  The campaign, while not the most interesting story, is incredible from a design standpoint, with each level boasting a new mechanic or idea that dramatically changed how you played.  The multiplayer was no slouch either, building upon the chaotic fun that the original Titanfall introduced back in 2014.  Titanfall 2 is still worth your time even if you don’t plan on engaging with the multiplayer aspect of it.  In fact, I might even recommend just getting it for the campaign at this point.


NIGHT IN THE WOODS – (January 10, 2017)

Night in the Woods is hands down my favorite game of the decade.  I wrote a review that goes into my feelings on it in detail, but I’ll quickly summarize what I can here.

Night in the Woods struck a real chord with me and even managed to make me genuinely reconsider things in my own life.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but the themes, the interactions, the setting, everything about it just rang so true and hit me hard.  It’s a hard game to recommend because when I start out by saying, “you play as an anthropomorphic cat,” people tend to tune out immediately afterwards.  But for such a visually adorable game, it gets really dark and intense.  Adventure games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I really can’t say enough good things about Night in the Woods.



I’ve never been the biggest fan of The Legend of Zelda series, enjoying some of them but never really feeling any affinity or passion for the series, but holy hell did Breath of the Wild change all of that.  You’re plopped onto this massive and sprawling land mass, given all the abilities you’d need to conquer any and all obstacles along the way.  Breath of the Wild isn’t a game about getting stronger, it’s a game about getting smarter by using your skills and the tools you find along the way.  By incorporating a system that rewards exploration and puzzle solving in order to maximize your HP or stamina, you were always encouraged to explore the world as opposed to just charging towards the finish line.  The only thing that I absolutely hated about Breath of the Wild was its system of weapon degradation.  I felt like it didn’t add anything to the game itself, and made me hoard more things that I normally would in games.  But that’s barely an issue when stacked up to every other triumph in Breath of the Wild.


MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN – (September 7, 2018)

Let’s get this out of the way, Marvel’s Spider-Man is repetitive in spots and doesn’t offer a tremendous amount of variety in what you actually do in it.  That being said, I’ve never had more fun with a superhero game than this one, and coincidentally it stars my favorite one.  Marvel’s Spider-Man, by my own admission, is just a good game.  It isn’t great and probably doesn’t stack up to several other games on this list, but it was easily one of my favorite and most memorable experiences with a game in recent memory.  It’s one of the only games I’ve felt the need to 100%, despite the repetitive chores I had to complete to accomplish that.  Marvel’s Spider-Man just feels good to play, providing a satisfying swinging mechanic mixed with some great (yet repetitive) combat.  It’s rough around the edges in spots, but I still love it so dearly.


RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 – (October 26, 2018)

I’m willing to bet that a good percentage of the posts on this site are about Red Dead Redemption 2 in some way.  That’s with good reason though.  You can read my review, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is such a triumph of a game in terms of story, atmosphere and world building, that I can’t even fathom a game that’s done it better.

Every piece of Red Dead Redemption 2 is crafted in a way to reinforce the Wild West setting, while still providing interesting and engaging story beats.  Like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it does a great job at encouraging exploration.  Almost every cottage, structure or cave you stumble upon has something there for you experience or find.  The amount of random events in the world that crop up do a great job of breaking up what would be the tedium of riding your horse from mission to mission, while also being pretty interesting for the most part.

I could go on forever about how much I like Red Dead Redemption 2, but I have a review to do that for me.  And if you haven’t played it yet, my one bit of advice is that the game is slow.  You have to be okay with going at its pace or else you’ll have a miserable time.


The 2010’s have been really great for video games as a product.  Less so for the business end of things… more specifically the “being an employee at a game company” part of it.  I know we’re going to get some great games in the coming decade, but we need to see real change in the way game companies are run.  Here’s hoping for some progress in 2020.

Blog: Building a Better Zelda – 06/26/19

In 2017 we were graced with some real bangers on the gaming front.  When I looked back through the releases of that year and issued my Game of The Year verdicts, I gave one of the top slots to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild.  It was a truly extraordinary game that had me hooked from start to finish.  Fast forward to this past E3 where it was announced that a sequel to said game was in development, and my mind immediately starting swirling with the possibilities a sequel could bring to the table.

To preface, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild isn’t a flawless game in my eyes, but it was still really damn good.  I know there are things inherent to this new style of Zelda that probably wont be changed, but this list serves as both a realistic wish list, and some more general tweaks that would make this upcoming sequel the perfect Zelda for me.


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I don’t think there’s been a main entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise that’s allowed you to play as the titular character herself, but it’s about time we rectified that.  I’ve never been the biggest fan of the franchise over the years, but I’m pretty sure that Zelda herself does cool magic spells and stuff.  When you put that in the context of the very systems driven world that is The Breath of The Wild, the possibilities for open world shenanigans goes up exponentially.

Imagine Zelda lighting up some bokoblin tree house with some fire spells and watching that thing just crumble into ash.  Or if she summons some lighting bolt at a lynel who made the mistake of standing in a puddle.  Once again, I don’t know that Zelda actually does that stuff, but I like to imagine that she totally can.

Also, the game is fucking called The Legend of Zelda, how about we let her have at the very least, one of them.


We need to be careful when we ask for traditionally single player games to branch out into the multiplayer realm.  We saw what happened with Fallout 76 and I’d prefer that didn’t happen here.  But, I would love the ability to play as both Link and Zelda cooperating my way through the world with a friend.

But there’s a fine line on that request.  What I don’t want is a game that just has an AI companion with you at all times that a friend can inhabit.  I don’t want a situation where I have to switch between characters to complete a mainline dungeon or shrine either.  I’d like the ability to wander around the world with a buddy, tackling the challenges available in the single player game, but also pepper in some cooperative specific dungeons and shrines.

The version I want is way more work obviously.  Essentially I’m asking for two games in one that I can enjoy depending on my current situation.  But hey, it’s a wish list, so I’m gonna go hog-wild on some of these.


If there was one aspect of Breath of The Wild that I abhorred, it was the fact that everything had a shelf life.  I get it, sticks break, clubs splinter, bows can snap and so on and so forth, but in a world of magic and wonder such as this, why do I have to deal with weaponry that shatters hilariously quickly?

Why does the “royal” weaponry crumble into dust after a few uses?  Why is my champion’s shield capable of deflecting a few hits before I’m thoroughly fucked?  This is a magic world where I can find a sword that shoots fucking laser beams, but I still have to be constrained by some shit-ass survival mechanics like weapon durability?  Did you not see the thing I did where I summoned a tornado beneath me to launch myself into the air?  That’s cool, but me using a sword too many times is out of the question?

At least make the Master Sword live up to the name.  Don’t make it something that has to charge up to be used, let me just use the damn thing.  I know it may not be a sticking point for a lot of people, but when you’re fighting a particularly difficult creature (lynel) and you’re already dealing with dodging every attack it throws at you, I don’t want to have to also consider my weapons evaporating mid fight.  But that’s just me.


A lot of people criticized Breath of The Wild for not having traditional dungeons, which is something I can agree with to an extent.  But what I’d take over those in a heartbeat, is just a better open world, filled with more interesting opportunities.

For instance, the best parts of Breath of The Wild for me was the joy of exploring.  Sometimes you’d find a little korok puzzle, maybe a shrine and more than likely, something that wanted to kill you.  What I want is almost in the vein of what Red Dead Redemption 2 did, and pepper in some interesting random events, as opposed to the obvious traveler would was actually a gang member in disguise.  That one happened all the time, and wouldn’t you guess, it got really old, really quick.

I want more puzzles, more places to explore, more mystery and indirect storytelling.  I want a world that feels lived in and alive with its own secrets to uncover.  I really liked what Breath of The Wild brought to the table, but for a sequel, I need more.


You fought maybe 5 real bosses throughout the entirety of Breath of The Wild, which was fine, but with the exception of the last one, they were all fairly uninteresting.  On top of that, there were only a handful of enemy types the were reused over and over.  I want more variety in the things I have to fight, maybe some more stuff in the mid range difficulty of enemies.  They had different color scales for enemies that would indicate their level of challenge, but that doesn’t scratch the itch for me.  More interesting enemies to fight is what I decree, preferably less things like lynels.

In that same vein, I think the general combat could be better.  When you went head to head with an enemy, you might find yourself in some really thrilling and exciting battles, but if there’s more than one threat near you, you basically need to run away until they stop following you.  I’d like to feel a little more competent when fighting, and little less like a pinata holding a sword.

It’s a tight rope to walk for sure, but ideally I want something that strikes a balance between feeling formidable, and also having challenging enemies.  I have no idea how you’d go about making that a reality, but during my entire play through of Breath of The Wild, I never felt strong, just lucky.  Maybe that’s what they’re going for in the sequel, but I just feel like after the events of the first game, Link has got to be a wee bit more imposing and capable.


Breath of The Wild introduced a lot of new mechanics and abilities that I had a lot of fun with, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have minded a hookshot or a boomerang that didn’t break in it.

The Zelda franchise was pretty good at creating memorable and useful items, but I feel like in Breath of The Wild they axed a bunch of that stuff in favor of these all-purpose abilities you had.  Which to be clear, I enjoyed slowing time and creating ice pillars and stuff, it just felt like a lot of possibilities were left on the table.

I know how challenging it would be to retain the nearly directionless open world Breath of The Wild had, while also providing you with a path to unlocking these helpful items, but it’s possible.

I ultimately want more tools I can use to mess around in the open world while also maybe breaking a few puzzles on my way.  To me, there’s no better feeling in a game then when you see a puzzle before you and figure out a way to circumvent the whole thing.  I feel like I just outsmarted the game or something.

But that’s what I want, more items and tools in my kit to use as creatively as possible.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m sure there are things that I’m forgetting, but these are my kind of gut-check thoughts about what a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild could be.  These are mostly things that I know will never come to pass, but some of them are genuine hopes, like playing as Zelda herself.  And if that one is true, I get to see some of the worst takes on the internet about how “Nintendo is caving to SJW mentalities” or some stupid shit like that, so that’ll be fun.