The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide (25 Important Beginner Tips)

Link in the sky
Link enjoying a nice view before possible death

Did you get or are considering getting Tears of the Kingdom? If so, this article will prove useful in providing some advice on getting started on the right foot. As this is for people just getting into the game, I will try to be as spoiler free as possible, but some might slip in. With that said, let’s start at the very beginning.


25. There’s a Lot More Story

Zelda has a sizable role this time around…. just sadly not playable

Most of this article will focus on gameplay elements, but I felt some attention should be paid to the story. As in, letting people know there’s a lot more here than in Breath of the Wild. The tutorial here is full of it, much of it voice acted. A sharp contrast to the barely there plot of its predecessor's early hours.

All of this simply means expect to be spending a bit more on the story than in the previous game. At least it's a good one.


24. And It's Dark

Ganondorf doesn’t look bad for a mummy

And yes, the trailers weren’t misleading. It gets very dark. I can’t say how exactly it compares to Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess without going into spoilers, but let’s just say mummy Ganondorf in the opening is a good indicator. Along with the Gloom covering the land and the underground Depths. 


23. Enemies Are Aggressive

Bokoblins having a party

This is not a game where you can rely on enemies being dumb. It might happen sometimes, but they can and will attack more often than not. You have to outsmart them, and thankfully the game gives you plenty of options for that.

And yes, despite the stock Bokoblin image, there is a lot more enemy variety in this game. And they all have relatively unique fighting styles. This includes some interesting reinventions of Zelda classics, such as Like Like stuck to walls and ceilings and massive Gleeoks of various elements. And they all will attack at a moment’s notice. Thankfully you can use surprise to your advantage. 


22. Shields Have Dropped in Value

Link’s array of shields, for what they’re worth

Back in Breath of the Wild, shields were practically a necessity with the amount of Guardians you’d run into. But with these laser-eyed robots not present in Tears of the Kingdom, the usefulness of shields has gone down considerably. 

That’s not to say they’re useless, they still can be very handy for parrying and just blocking blows, among other things. But I haven’t been running out of them nearly as much in this game, which is probably a good thing honestly. Since I have them when I really need them. 


21. But Bows Have Gone Up

Link must have taken lessons from Revali with how good bows are now

Meanwhile, I’m using bows so much more often. The new Construct enemies being particularly vulnerable to headshots is a big reason why. They can be dangerous up close, but many of them will die to a well-placed arrow (or a couple for the stronger ones).

It's not just them though. Tears has a more vertical-level design than its predecessor in many areas, meaning sniping with a bow is very practical. The game encourages you to pick off the stragglers on the outskirts before closing in on the main enemies. And with the vast amount of arrows you can find with simple searching, this isn’t hard to do.


20. Melee Weapons Haven’t Changed Much But There’s More of Them

Some random early-game weapons, including some fused ones

Melee is the most stagnant of the three core combat areas, not having changed a lot at its core. It's still Breath of the Wild’s combat, Flurry Rush and all. 

The main change is fused weapons (more on that in a bit) and just new weapons in general. Most of these come from the game’s mysterious Zonai, and a lot of them are very solid choices. Although they are largely replacing the Guardian weapons, so not entirely new. Bluish-green and orange instead of glowing blue is new I guess? 


19. Ultrahand Allows for Simple Solutions

Link deciding what to build 

The first new Ability you receive is Ultrahand, a handy mechanic that allows you to attach objects together. You can make bridges, rafts, hooks, or whatever else the game requires for you to progress.

Ultrahand is very much an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master skill. Often the solution is incredibly obvious, with all the materials just sitting there. But other times you can use Ultrahand to bypass a section it was very much not intended for, such as using a long row of logs to climb an unscalable mountain. The limit is truly the limits of your imagination. 


18. Or Crazy Ones

Link has chosen…. oddly 

Especially if you chose to get weird. The above ring of chests and barrels definitely is something someone made. Why? I have no idea, but they made it.

Ultrahand gives you the tools to make pure and utter insanity, and if you want to, go for it. There’s nothing stopping you from using a mech to destroy that Bokoblin outpost or take on a massive Gleeok with something closer to its own size. Tears is a Zelda game at its core, but with this amount of room for creativity, it would be a shame not to use it.


17. Use Fuse to Make Ridiculous Weapons

Ancient robot vs sword with a rock, who wins?

After UItrahand comes Fuse, and it is similar in that it is also combining things. But while Ultrahand was for world traversal, Fuse is (largely) for combat. It allows you to combine many objects with your melee weapons, shields, and arrows for often hilarious but also deadly results. 

Rock sword, bomb arrows, rocket-powered shield? Do any of those sound interesting? Well, those are only a few of the crazy combinations you can make with Fuse. There’s really no real downside to messing around, although do be careful when using explosives not to blow yourself up.


16. Which Increases Weapon Durability 

Practically all of this can be fused with weapons 

The main reason you shouldn’t be afraid to use Fuse? It somewhat restores weapon durability. While I’m unsure of the exact numbers, it will save a weapon that’s about to break and keep it usable for a while longer. Definitely useful when you have something you don’t want to lose. 


15. Ascend Lets You Go Up and Skip Stuff Sometimes

I don’t know how Link is coming out a solid floor but it's useful

Ascend is a cool ability, allowing you to rise through a solid surface as long as the top is flat. And that’s all it does. A cool ability, but at first it can seem limited in use.

Until you look closely in some areas. This ability was reportedly very hard to balance, and it's easy to see why. All it takes is a small sliver of flat terrain and you can skip entire areas if you aim it right. Not something you’d want to do if you want to see everything the game has to offer, but neat to have as an option for sure.


14. Recall Rewinds Time Briefly

An unconventional elevator 

Lastly, there is Recall, which simply reverses time while it lasts. This is mainly used to turn falling rocks into elevators to ascend to the sky islands. Or to climb something that’s normally spinning in the wrong direction. 

But there is definitely more use for this if you explore thoroughly. Remember, it can work on anything moving. That includes like, for instance, a spiked iron ball tumbling down a mountainside. Turning an obstacle into a weapon is fun. 


13. Zonai Devices Allow for Greater Creativity 

Finding your first Zonai device

The Zonai devices are where Ultrahand and Fuse really take off. Fans, rockets, flame emitters, beams of light, there is so much here. And all of it can be attached to weapons or Ultrahand creations, leading to making things work as intended or utter insanity. 


12. Just Be Careful

But they are limited in number

Just keep in mind they’re not endless. They aren’t particularly hard to find if you know where to look, but that’s mostly in the sky. So on the surface or down in the Depths, those limited numbers will really become apparent. 

That’s not to say you should never use them though. Fast travel is a thing, so once you find places to readily get each device, it's simply a few loading screens away. So if you want to travel across a gap with a rocket-powered jet wing shooting fire, go for it. 


11. Shrines and Puzzles in General Will Often Have Multiple Solutions

Finding one of the way too many shrines

Shrines are very much back here, and somehow there’s more of them. Unlike in Breath of the Wild, they will be almost entirely puzzled based though, which feels right with how many enemies the open world has. 

And these puzzles? The game will often suggest one particular method of solving them, but the beauty of Tears’ gameplay systems means you don’t have to do it that way. If you can think of a wacky way to exploit the game’s mechanics and/or physics to solve the puzzle or skip it entirely, give it a try. Either it will work or it will be funny. Or both.


10. Follow the Suggested Story Order 

Rito Village is where the game wants you to go first

After the long tutorial comes to an end, Purah gives you the four main story quests, and through this, you are gently nudged to go to Rito Village in the northwest first. This is solid advice, as you already have a fair bit of what’s needed there, and it's not a particularly difficult area. If you want to follow the intended order, this is definitely first. 


9. Or Don’t 

But nothing is stopping you from starting at the hardest 

…. Or you could go to Gerudo Town in the southwest, the hardest of the four. You will be significantly less prepared for this grueling area, but if you want the challenge, nothing’s stopping you. 

As an aside here, the intended order is a bit finicky in one area. It is very much Rito first and Gerudo last, but Goron and Zora is less certain. If you’re sticking to the official order, just do whichever you’re better prepared for. Or don’t if you want to go that route, there’s no right answer here. 


8. Get a Horse

A horse will help a lot in travel

While it might be fun to mess around with crazy Ultrahand creations, you will be better off with a reliable horse in the long run. It won’t despawn and is probably going to be more consistent at getting you places. The hard part is catching one since these things are fast.

However, if you have save data from Breath of the Wild, you can import your horses as is from that game. Meaning if you used one a lot and maxed out its stats there, it will be just as good here. This is done just by going to a stable and talking to the attendant, provided the save data is on the same console. And just like that, your old horse that hates you is back!  


7. The World Is Familiar to Breath of the Wild

The Surface will be familiar to those who played Breath of the Wild 

This is, at its core, the same Hyrule as Breath of the Wild. The mountains, valleys, strange mushroom rocks, towns, it's all where it was back in that game that’s…. is it really six years old already? That feeling weird aside, this means that people who played that game will find much is familiar here, which can lead to a sense of repetition. 


6. But Its Also Quite Different

But there is a lot of new to discover 

Except not really, as there’s a lot of new. And I don’t just mean the sky and Depths. The surface of Hyrule has new residents in places, new enemies to encounter, and the various Chasms leading into the Depths. 

In a sense, it feels like the old Hyrule with a slightly new coat of paint, but someone dumped splotches of an entire shelf of paint across the land. A lot is familiar, but just when you’re getting comfortable you’ll run into something new. This is a game that will keep you guessing. 


5. Especially with the People

Old faces get new roles along with newcomers

As for characters, a lot of the heavy lifting is done by characters from Breath of the Wild getting bigger roles. Purah, Impa, the successors of the Champions, they’re all here and more important. 

That’s not to say there aren’t new people. 

Ganondorf makes a glorious return after being merely Ganon in the previous game, and the mysterious Zonai have quite an impact on the story. These creatures may seem oddly familiar yet new to longtime fans, and the story around them begs to be seen to its conclusion.

Of one last note here, the people of Hyrule don’t sit idly by this time, some will actually help you at certain points of the game. This is mainly during large battles and the dungeons, so it's a limited occurrence. But cool to see nonetheless. 


4. Beware The Depths

Be very careful down here, there be jumpscares

The third “world” of Tears of the Kingdom is the massive Depths. Stretching out wide beneath Hyrule, this place is at first dark but always exceedingly dangerous. 

The Depths is full of Gloom, both in pools marked on your map and in the form of Gloom-infested enemies. If you take damage from these, said damage cannot be healed by normal methods and will require special food. This can be obtained eventually, but when you first come down here? Nope, so be careful. 

As for the darkness, it is a constant presence down here and makes it possible for the enemies to jump out with a surprise attack. Thankfully the darkness can be dispelled with the Lightroots scattered about the Depths. These are easy to spot from a distance and their light is permanent. So the more you explore, the less you have to worry about needing a light.

Oh, and one other thing: do the small quest chain with Robbie down here. I won’t spoil the reward but I’ll just say it's very worth it for anyone who likes using the abilities. 


3. Always Be Prepared

Plenty of food will allow you to overcome any obstacle

Tears of the Kingdom is not an easy game, and you will often be taking considerable damage. So all that food and materials you come across? Use it.

Experiment and find good recipes. Once you find them and have the necessary ingredients, the game will have an option to autofill the recipe, removing the need to remember the exact items used. 

But if you’re properly prepared with food and weapons, nothing in the game is impossible. Some enemies may very well be stronger than you’re supposed to be fighting at the time, but if you’re skilled enough you can take them down. And if not, simply try again later. All you’ll really lose are the items you used.


2. The Dungeons Are Longer Ordeals

The many dungeons are long and complex

This preparation very much extends into the dungeons. These are the longest single challenges in the game, being large multilayered structures with a boss at the end. There are four main ones with some extras at the end I won’t spoil.

But the main ones do have a companion of sorts in the form of a Champion successor, making them a bit different. And by that I mean puzzles that require another person will appear, giving the dungeons a different feel from the shrines. Greatly appreciated after Breath of the Wild’s samey “dungeons”. 


1. Take Your Time

Link reflecting on his long journey and what’s to come

Okay technically you can rush the game if you want to, that’s a perfectly valid way to play. So if you want to do that, go for it.

But I personally feel Tears of the Kingdom is best experienced slowly, taking your time to experience everything the game’s world has to offer. This is a densely packed world, with surprises around every corner. They might be good, might be bad, but you never know if you don’t explore.

So it is on this note I shall leave you. Whether you’re navigating the tricky level design of the sky islands, exploring the wide open surface, or braving the dark and dangerous Depths, I hope you’re enjoying the journey. For this is a game that does have a great destination, but the way there is just as memorable. 


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Currently Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, Deathloop, Final Fantasy IV, God of War (2018)
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