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Even though I greatly enjoyed my time with this game after a three-year wait, I still felt unsatisfied. I guess that's what I get for setting unreasonably high expectations.
I will say that they hit the nail on the head with the aesthetic and music! There's really good tracks like the main menu and the three Hideki Naganuma songs.
Even with the new mobility options that help you maintain your momentum, I still wish that the trick system was a little more technical than "Press X/Y/B in consecutive order while holding RT". All of the movement styles felt the same because of that.
If you like Jet Set Radio, you would like this, just don't set your bar too high.

possibly the most overhyped yakuza title: aggravating busywork and mandatory side content breaking the pace of the game didn’t help.
the sword type combat in these games hasn’t evolved past KENZAN back in 2008, even with the advantage of this release being a remake that could improve on it. it’s stiff as ever with spongy bosses and horrible balance due to the card system.
the performance is subpar with constant stutter on a modern mid-range processor and a decent graphics card. all of these things point to the lack of effort RGG put into this remake, and the issues it actually INTRODUCED.
the main plotline is somewhat engaging, but when packaged with all of these nuisances it doesn’t matter

this is the type of work you made when you're ready to retire from writting.
i have no doubt Kodaka will fuck it up in the future, but for now, best ending of all time

Kodaka has done it again. How much you’ll like this game is all down to how you read that. I’ve been all in on his bullshit for years now so I’m too far gone. Save yourselves.

an incredible game... until the fatigue sets in.
Maybe playing a 90 hour game in two weeks exacerbates the problem, but man... once the magic and mystique of a new area starts to fade, there's a real "Hey! This is just chores!!" moment.
I wish armor upgrades didnt require grinding dragon parts.
I wish the quests were more unique.
I wish the depths and sky islands had more variety.
I wish the koroks were less repetetive.
I wish every Ultrahand puzzle didnt have a solution lying around nearby.
I wish the shrines were more interesting.
I wish the caves weren't so samey.
That being said: the first 10 hours and the last 5 hours were incredible. Also, I played the whole thing like a full-time job because I was so enthralled. So maybe it is very good, actually.

This review contains spoilers

Tears of the Kingdom is such a difficult game for me to review and rate. My time with this game was amazing. I got about 140 hours out of one playthrough, of which the first 80 hours or so were filled with excitement. That, in and of itself, is very valuable to me. But, the longer I played, the more my opinion shifted towards my opinion on Elden Ring.
Open world games have become very popular over the last few years, and I completely understand why. Players feel like these massive worlds have so much to offer, which makes their investment of 60 to 80 dollars more valuable. Not only that, you have the freedom to do whatever you want and however you want it. To me, that's the absolute best aspect of open worlds; I get to go "WOW what is this!" around every corner.
Afterwards, though, it loses its magic very quickly. Elden Ring, Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom, Skyrim, and so on and so on, all face the same problem: their massiveness and ambition need to be filled up somehow, but the developers do not have enough time to actually do this uniquely for every aspect of the game. Assets get re-used over and over and over again, to the point you actually get sick of seeing them (namely the 1000 new Koroks I could not give a fuck about, as well as the last 80 Bubbul gems without reward). Bosses, main storyline bosses and enemies are copy-pasted in the most random spots, just to fill up the void. NPC's behave very similarly and offer the same type of sidequest for little to no reward, and often these games are poorly optimised as well (TotK suffers from this immensely, more so than needed in my opinion)...All of these reasons make it less likely for me to enjoy playing the game after completing them. The sky islands and the depths in TotK are literally nothing but the same thing stretched out for miles, occasionally rewarding you for exploring them with a cool nostalgic outfit. Major story bosses from all 5 temples are just randomly copied into the depths, which completely remove their magic. 50% of the quests are fetchquests that need to you have 10 of a specific item, which I often already had. About 20% of all 152 shrines are Rauru's blessings. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Now don't get me wrong, open world games always have something great to offer (which is why I rate them highly still). Tears of the Kingdom allows for complete creative freedom with the ability to build vehicles and other contraptions, and let's you play around with a completely new physics engine for which the limit is literally only your imagination and a build limit of about 20 pieces. It is the highlight of TotK by a mile, even overshadowing the other new fun powers the game has to offer. Comparing them to the powers in Breath of the Wild makes BotW look like an early prototype, to be honest, which is now completely killed by its sequel.
TotK improves on many other aspects of BotW as well. The dungeons are far more interesting and unique, both in how they look and play. I'm very glad they brought more traditional temples back from the dead, but with the puzzle elements that BotW used. It feels like a very fair compromise, in my opinion. They also, thankfully, feature bosses that are a lot more interesting. Too bad they get copy-pasted into the depths though. Lastly, the shrine puzzles were so much more creative and fun to solve, mostly due to the vast improvement on the powers you get to play around with. They also removed the combat shrines, which was very welcome.
More importantly, the main quest of TotK is 100x more interesting than the story in BotW. Bringing some of the elements of old Zelda games back was a phenominal move on Nintendo's part, and the story still felt unique to its predecessors despite this. I must say, however, that the voice acting in this game is still god-awful, and at times it made me want to destroy my own eardrums to protect myself from the cringe that is English anime dub. If I wasn't a fan of the Zelda series as a whole, I would have probably hated BotW and TotK for this very reason, just like I dislike most J-RPG's out there. Thankfully, Matt Mercer and the voice actors of Sonia and Riju saved the day a little bit.
The main storyline is again dispersed throughout the entire kingdom, but a little more easily found this time. The memories of Zelda that you encounter all have great significance and are a joy to watch. They made me most excited to keep playing, as well as the anticipation of the finale. And MAN, did they nail the finale in this one. The final fight was incredible and built up excitement in me that I had not felt in a long while.
However, another point I feel needs adressing is the bleak character that is Link, both in BotW and TotK. Link, my guy, you get more excited cooking something new than you do seeing your beloved Zelda again, what is that about? He literally has close to zero emotions in these games. It feels awful, because Link HAS HAD more expressive emotions in past games like Skyward Sword, where he actually cares for Zelda and wants to fight for her resurrection. In TotK, Link doesn't even blink an eye when he finds out Zelda sacrificed her life to become a dragon...Wtf is that? Yes he has always been designed to be stoic and infinitely courageous in the face of danger, but he sadly becomes a dry piece of white bread this way.
Now to the strongest point of all: the OST. Holy shit is the OST absolutely stunning in TotK. Everything fits, from bosses to dungeons to diving from the sky. In addition, the music develops and unvelopes as you progress through dungeons, fights and actions so seemlessly that you are completely taken in by what's happening in the game. A great example of this is the Gleeok fight, a very dangerous fight compared to some of the other mini-bosses found in the world. It starts off frantic and exciting, but completely changes in tone when you get the Gleeok down on the ground. It starts to feel triumphant and heroic, encouraging you to go in and hit heavy. There are also many hints to previous Zelda games in the OST, which I appreciate greatly. It's truly wonderful, and I will listen to it for years to come.
Despite the fact that I have been quite negative throughout this review, I think TotK is an amazing game, for sure. I am glad I got to experience the whole of it blindly and I will remember it fondly. But I cannot give it a perfect score. Sadly, too many small things chipped away at the joy and fun I felt for this game. Maybe open world games are less cut out for me than more flushed out, short game experiences out there.

There exists a version of this game that's my favorite ever, but for every genuinely amazing and astonishing thing ToTK does there's gotta be three ways it undermines itself, wearing all the excitement off. For a game where you supposed make your own fun, more oftent than not you have to drag this fun out with tweezers.

I will be slowly adding to this review, and it will likely end up being really, really long, but my summary is this.
Tears of the Kingdom is Domino's Pizza. I ate it sober, and the critics ate it baked out of their minds. To me, its a greasy bit of open world action that satisfies me, but never impresses. To them, its the best food they've ever eaten.
If you liked Breath of the Wild, this is basically that, but removing the sheikah slate powers with infinitely more impractical ones. Gone are remote bombs and stasis, instead you get the incredibly gimmicky recall and ascend powers. Ascend is a nice get out of jail free card in regular caves, but recall is totally useless outside of puzzles. Fuse is a cool gimmick that bellyflops the execution by making the act of fusing a constant tedious process, thats required to make weapons do damage. 90% of items are useless to fuse because they only affect elemental powers and a static power level.
The Ultra Hand steals the show, essentially being a more unwieldy GMod prop gun. The main problem with this power, along with fuse, is that I expected them to be so much deeper than they are. Fuse only really adds an element or higher DPS to weapons, and ultra hand can build bridges or useless makeshift vehicles for your amusement. To make matters worse, you have to grind up useful interactable props in a gacha machine in the sky. So making your own fun is often prefaced with grinding Zonai cores to trade in.
The other big nut tap I recieved was finding out how weak the dungeons are in TOTK. Theres 4 and a quarter dungeons in the game, and all of them can be beaten with little thought in less than 45 minutes each. The bosses are alright, although too easy with the expection of the thunder boss and final bosses. If there was one god damn thing I wanted Nintendo to fix after 6 years, it was the weak ass dungeons. And they couldn't even do that.
Tears of the Kingdom is stuck in limbo. Its not fresh in the slightest, but it slaps some total gimmicks into a 6 year old game, like a 50 year old lady slapping on layers of makeup. The new powers are now my textbook definition of gimmick, its so face slappingly obvious. They seem like gamechangers for about an hour, before fading into the background for 45. The shrines exist as some form of justification for them, making cool but overly simple physics puzzles involving ultrahand.
The massive underground depths are again, cool at first. But they take way too long to explore, are butt ugly and also don't contain any substancial content. So...from a game design perspective, why even have them? It feels cynical, like making a big, second ugly copy pasted overworld will band aid the severe lack of change.
The sky islands are actually a great addition. They feel fresh, with cool geometry, puzzles and rewards, but there's barely any of them. It pains me to say that, because the thing thats all over the marketing actually works as an addition to good game, and they underdevelop them. What were they doing for 6 years??
And I don't really need to say it, but after reading countless critic reviews praising it, I need to. The story and writing is abysmal. Characters have very, very simple personalities. There's no wit or charm to the very inhuman dialogue, consisting of what feels like robots constantly congratulating each other. Way to go, Link! Zelda for example, is just a shell of a human, she doesn't joke, entertain or even try to do anything but exposition dump, as does LITERALLY every major player in the game.
I have more to say...but I'll break here for now. I wouldn't normally go this hard, but after beating it and seeing the insane 97 metascore, I feel obliged to kind of, put my hands up and say, "what the fuck, people?" Its totally good, fine, and fun enough, but so are Hogwarts and Jedi Survivor. Neither of which are worse or better than TOTK. Its like giving the Mario Movie an Oscar.
Breath of the Wild felt like a special game with a creative vision, Tears of the Kingdom feels like an unnecessary retread of it. And I say that, experiencing the new additions, feeling they aren't very meaty or interesting, and looking back at it from the end. I'm not like the reactionaries on this site who are disappointed and give it half a star. By all means, its polished and impressive by the standards of a Switch game in a post PS5 world. But it's no big shot mind blower like the original BOTW, or Elden Ring. It's not fun enough to beat out Sekiro, Doom 2016 or Hollow Knight. It's not creative or even close to as smart as Outer Wilds, Disco Elysium or Forgotten City. It's a fun mindless open world jaunt, and I'm not pretending it's more than that.

A solid 7.5-8/10 in my book. I feel like it really removed all the issues I had with the previous game but there are some issues. The biggest issue I had is something that ruined my attachment to the story. The memory system is back but they tell a linear story though flashbacks instead of them being mostly self contained like the original but in this game I had a death scene ruined for me because I apparently didn’t find the glyphs in the right order. Scattering random bits of a story around the map in an open world game that has twists to it is just asking for it to be viewed incorrectly. An issue did persist from botw in my opinion and that’s the content bloat. People often praise this game for how much you can do but I have a hard time finding enjoyment out of a lot of it especially the new underground which feels very rushed. There aren’t really many glaring / game ruining negatives here for me and I do wonder where the series is going next but I do worry that the open world style of Zelda could get very stale

Very awesome game! Love the gravity and planet mechanics, just tons of very cool ideas and concepts, Music was amazing, just a splendid jolly whimsical time indeed! The camera kinda pissed me off sometimes though but despite that pretty gud game!

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