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Tears Of The Kingdom: Things That Have Us Worried About The Zelda Sequel

A handful of gaming journalists have recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" ahead of its May 12 release, and the early reactions have been largely positive. The game aims to be a more expansive and experimental take on the things that made its predecessor, "Breath of the Wild," such a tremendous success. It sounds like the game has accomplished just that, giving players more options and powers than ever before as Link fights to save Hyrule.

However, as the accolades began to roll in, so too did the concerns over the game's overall polish. One common note that arose during playtesting is that the game is complex. There are so many different moving parts that it may be difficult for the game to meet every expectation. Though there's no doubt at this point that "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" is going to be a top-tier (no pun intended) entry, we're still worried about a few elements.

Link's new powers mean complicated controls

Recent gameplay previews for "Tears of the Kingdom" have been focused on Link's new powers, including the aforementioned Ultrahand, the time-bending Recall, and the gravity-defying Ascend. Many of these powers can be used in tandem, such as when Link lifts a log with Ultrahand and Fuses it to a vehicle he's building. The game offers plenty of room for experimentation with these new abilities, but some early reactions have noted that it begins to feel pretty complex.

One of the issues here is that the game has introduced so many new functions, but the Nintendo Switch's controller hasn't changed since "Breath of the Wild." The result, as mentioned by a number of reviewers, is that the game's control scheme ends up feeling a little crowded.

There's a hope that players will have an easier time learning the controls as the game progresses, rather than trying to pick them up all at once, which is what reviewers had to do. 

The amiibo effect

Although not a new issue, some fans have expressed their concerns about the benefits provided by purchasing amiibo figurines. Amiibo collectors love these little figures for two reasons: For one thing, they typically look pretty fantastic. For another, they can be used to unlock special items or cosmetics within some of Nintendo's biggest games. That last aspect has given rise to some controversy, however. 

"Metroid Dread" amiibo allowed players to claim instant refills on missiles and energy, which some saw as offering an unfair advantage and others even felt could break the game. Perhaps more egregiously, "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD" was paired with an amiibo that unlocked fast-travel options in the game, offering a fully different experience to players who managed to get the rare Nintendo toy.

"Tears of the Kingdom" is also releasing tie-in amiibo that will grant players "helpful materials and weapons." Some fans are already concerned that Nintendo could continue the cycle of unfair advantages. Others are excited to see the new cosmetics they can unlock for Link's glider. Hopefully this game's amiibo will be a little less intrusive in their upgrades.

Is Tears of the Kingdom too big for the Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is six years old at this point, which is roughly fifty-zillion in console years. While PlayStation is already trying (and failing) to conceal its plans for an upgraded PS5 Pro model, Nintendo appears to be chugging along just fine with the same ol' hardware. Unfortunately, the brilliant hybrid console has really started to show its age in recent times, especially as developers have provided the platform with more and more ambitious titles. One of the common complaints surrounding "Bayonetta 3" is that it was riddled with lag and stuttering issues during graphically intense action. Early reviews of "Tears of the Kingdom" suggest that Link's latest adventure may suffer the same fate.

In an otherwise excited response, Wirecutter's Arthur Gies noted that performance issues hampered his enjoyment of the title, and that the game's frame rate would drop every time he used Link's new Ultrahand ability:

Insider's William Antonelli noted a similar issue in his hands-on preview, writing, "Using your abilities in crowded areas, running through tall grass, and climbing trees all caused severe lag while I was playing, cutting performance down to about 10 FPS. It's not as bad as other Switch titles, but it's an ugly flaw in what's otherwise a beautiful game." However, other outlets have reported running into fewer frame rate issues, or have even commended the game's stable performance. This makes us hopeful that these issues will be ironed out before the game finally hits shelves, but only time will tell.