The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom’s Tearslike its predecessor Breath of the WildIt is a huge game filled with an incredible amount of things to do. It must be overwhelming—but in a turn, it’s actually helping me break one of my most compulsive habits.
I’m busy. Not abnormally — no more than you are, probably — but life is filling, you know? I have a to-do list for work and a to-do list for everything that isn’t working. I have a precious little time for myself and a million things I want to do with it; I have bloated lists of things to watch, read, and play that I will never keep up with. I have applications for recording movies, TV, games and books. I feel compelled to improve. I am reducing my free time.
Some of these habits are generated by games. Think sprawling open-world games that parse their massive maps and epic narratives into an easily digestible structure of objectives, checklists, and collectibles. (My friend calls them “UbiJobs” after the framework of recent Assassin’s Creed games.) World of Warcraft It is basically an endless to-do list in video game form. It may feel like work, but it’s also satisfying, and gives you a sense of accomplishment and mastery – so you have to give it a try in life. App designers loving micromanagement of everything from pocket money to watching movies certainly learned from this design school as well.
Photo: Nintendo EBD/Nintendo
With me, the habit of turning everything into a checklist began to consume games that I ostensibly discourage. Until recently, it was the big game in my life Octobt Traveler 2, is a classic RPG with eight parallel story events that is light on sub-objectives and tracking systems, and this leaves the player with a lot of freedom in how they approach it, beyond having to keep up with the leveling curve. However, I found myself making lists for them in my notes app: improved order to tackle quests in, dungeons ordered by recommended level, items to track down, etc.
None of this bodes well for my time with The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom’s Tears. But, just like I was six years ago Breath of the WildI’m amazed at how much the game encourages free form, organic play, real exploration, and real adventure.
In the evening, I launched it with maybe two or three goals in my head – clearing some shrines I spotted, heading to the next temple, and exploring a new part of the depths. Three hours later, I was only halfway toward my first goal, having had many surprising adventures and made many surprising discoveries along the way. I’ve done things I wouldn’t have on any list: remove a Battle Talus disguised as a Bokoblin (and turn her heart into a hammer), participate in a skydiving competition, hunt down falling star shards, and rank up the cutest seals. I followed my nose, playing with a curious, experimental, and free-spirited style, and didn’t worry about making progress. I let one side path (like exploring a cave) meander exhilaratingly into another (like building a vehicle to push a stranded Korok back to his friend), taking me farther off the path I had planned. You have just been present in the amazing world created by Nintendo. Frantic and fun like Kingdom Tears It could be, in fact you can call it conscious.
Photo: Nintendo EBD/Nintendo
How did Nintendo’s team led by Eiji Onuma and Hidamaru Fujibayashi do it? I wish I knew – as many game designers do, I’m sure. Breath of the Wild It’s often called an influencer, but over the past six years, there’s been a noticeable lack of games that have been able to emulate it, especially in this regard. Few AAA open world games can successfully hide the spreadsheets on which they’re built. If it were easy, we’d have more games that could make us feel like this. But there are few clues.
Kingdom TearsThe world map looks effortlessly natural, yet designed with an unwavering focus on sightlines: there’s always a view, and within that view, there’s always something to look at. This is paired with a visual design that emphasizes readability at a distance, with crisp silhouettes and colorful highlights to catch the eye. With all the clever physics systems, it feels like a busy living world, but it’s also important that it feels like one too, and that’s where the painstaking craft of Nintendo’s artists comes in. All of this was true in Breath of the Wildand all this is doubly emphasized by the striking verticality of the Kingdom TearsIt is a world of three layers of surface, sky and cavernous depths.
Then there’s the diversity of this world and the level of craftsmanship in its construction. Unlike many open-world games, this one doesn’t feel like a landscape filled out of a box of cookie-cutter content types. Each enemy camp, minigame, or cave system is unique, and seems to arise organically from the landscape: those bokoblin driving a treasure chest across the wilderness in a wagon seem to have somewhere to go. I wonder what they carry? Why is this heavenly island in the shape of a giant whirlpool? You are drawn to these POIs, not by the map locator, but because they look interesting; You’ve never seen such that before. In this context, even Kingdom TearsThe scariest combos, like the Korok Seeds, don’t present themselves as a to-do list, because they (in the hundreds!) have been very carefully embedded into an already rich world, rather than being sprinkled on the map like many share bait.
Photo: Nintendo EBD/Nintendo
The new cave systems are a great example of how this can be done Kingdom Tears Constantly misleading you. Their attractive entrances are not portals to the small dungeons that will send you back in the beginning when finished. Instead, they lead you down winding underground paths, usually far from where you’re headed. Eventually, you climb to the top of a new hill, with a new view, and uncover new things to investigate.
If you want to immerse yourself in more Kingdom TearsSpartan Pro’s interface removes most of the HUD elements. in its default form, tears It provides plenty of information – but with the exception of one pulsating quest marker on the mini-map, none of it relates to what to do next. There are the map pins that you set yourself (perhaps using your telescope to survey the landscape), and there are the time, weather, temperature, your health, abilities, and your geographic coordinates. Meanwhile, the task tracker is rather primitive, and can only be seen in the menu.
This tells you what Kingdom TearsSoftware developers believe that it matters: where you are and what conditions and tools you have at your disposal. no What should you do. That, as with so much in the wonderfully unpredictable Discovery Engine, is up to you. With their technical ingenuity and fun, the developers have given me permission to stop improving, stop achieving, stop ticking things off my checklists, and just try the game they made.
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