Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom does a really good job of pulling off one of the game’s worst intro tropes

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom does a really good job of pulling off one of the game’s worst intro tropes

There are plenty of moments in the game where you lose everything and have to keep going despite your newfound vulnerability. Whether it’s washing up on the shores of Guarma in Red Dead Redemption 2, entering Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s endgame ringless, or losing a large percentage of your health in Bloodborne’s Chalice dungeons. , the developers like to use endgame restrictions on you in order to play with your understanding of the world – and really test your abilities without all those extra bells and whistles you rely on.

What if Tears of the Kingdom had permadeath? Then what ?

But some games do it differently. Instead, they give you a “taste of power”: presenting you with the world as an extremely powerful character, usually with an overpowered weapon or ability, and putting you in a position where you can’t lose (even if you try ). Sometimes the devs think they’re smart in letting you “preview” elements of the game that are yet to come, but more often than not that trope is just a little… overused… at this point.

There is a very video game term for this phenomenon, and it is listed on the Giant Bomb wiki as “Abilitease”. TVTropes opts for the more user-friendly “taste of power”. You can also categorize things like the opening of Assassin’s Creed 2: Brotherhood in the same way; here you slowly lose all your hard-earned gear from the previous game in a cart and horse chase, forced to start over and search for new things. A nice macguffin to tie into various systems and teach you the value of collectathons, or something.

The main purpose of the developers doing this is to teach you how to play – and this is exemplified in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. In the opening minutes, you play as Link, Master Sword in hand, looking every inch the hero he was at the end of Breath of the Wild (set an indefinite amount of time before the events of TotK). All you have to do is walk around and cut your sword a few times, and the game starts up fine. Everything is taken away from you.

The start of the game actually happens very quickly.

There’s no running streak here that makes you feel powerful; there is no idea what will happen some 60 hours later. No, instead we’re given a few glorious heroic seconds before it’s all taken down (again) by a big bad with world-ending powers. Stripped nearly naked and dunked in a dungeon (…again), you’re tasked with leaving, saving the girl, and saving the world. It’s not extended, it’s not extended, it doesn’t stop you from playing the actual game.

A lot of games fall for the ‘taste of power’ set because they’re overzealous with it – this happens in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, before death comes and steals all your gear, scattering it easily throughout the castle. In Darksiders, you start with all eight Life Stones, then you have to go out and collect them. Persona 5 gives you an endgame version of Arsene to play with before taking you back to the start of it all, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole even pokes fun at that trope by introducing you to the game while the kids role-play as only fully-powered fantasy characters before Cartman decides they’re all playing as superheroes now and have to start over.

Link talking to Penn, the Lucky Clover Gazette reporter

The Penn is mightier than the sword? Well not really.

Many of these games drag on for a bit too long and – while it often works as a narrative tool to describe what’s at stake – it can be annoying as a player. It also sometimes goes against tutoring; teaching you how to play with high tier spells and gear instead of the starter guns and crap you get good and early.

In Tears of the Kingdom, this introduction is thankfully short and only serves to contextualize Link and Zelda’s place in the peaceful but dark starting state of Hyrule. You literally kill two things with your Master Sword at full power before being unceremoniously thrown back into greenhorn territory, naked and shivering and ready to explore the fractured, floating world of Hyrule in 2023.

And that’s what we’re all here for, really, isn’t it?

Buy The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom

TOTK is now available on Nintendo Switch! Check out the links below to secure your copy today.


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