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The Worst Things The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Made Us Do

"The Legend of Zelda" has a long history, and it's all led to "Tears of the Kingdom." The game picks up the story from "Breath of the Wild" and introduces a version of Hyrule that's greatly expanded and facing its biggest threat yet. Link and Princess Zelda need to use all of their strengths and special abilities to defeat the Demon King, an ancient enemy that's risen to threaten Hyrule anew.

This time around the kingdom of Hyrule is bigger than ever. The mysterious islands floating above the kingdom, along with its surface and deep, hidden caves are populated with all sorts of creatures and characters that Link needs to deal with in one way or another. For the most part, Link gets to play the hero and work to save the day, but every hero's journey is complicated.

Sometimes, achieving your goal as a player means blurring the lines of morality, at least a little bit. At other points, "Tears of the Kingdom" is practically begging you to engage in some awful behavior. Luckily, no matter what you're up to in Hyrule, it's guaranteed to be a blast. If you're wanting to examine the game's moral gray areas before diving in, or you're trying to sadistically relive the cruelest experiences of your playthrough, we're here to recap the worst things "Tears of the Kingdom" made us do, and we're leaving all judgments at the door.

Kill innocent animals

It can be tough to get by in Hyrule, but luckily Link is a survivor. Whether he's climbing mountains or paragliding across the plains, Link has all the know-how needed to get around the wilderness. Unfortunately, survival doesn't just require careful planning and repeated feats of strength. In theory, Link limits himself to only fighting evil creatures across the land, but in practice, thriving in the wild requires Link to kill some animals.

A hero's got to eat, and you need to prepare some hearty meals if you want to keep Link's heart containers full through the toughest of battles. Mushroom skewers can only take you so far, and meat just happens to be the most filling food out there. It's possible to avoid hunting birds or other wildlife, but even the most dedicated vegetarians might find themselves tempted to grab some small animal for an elixir. After all, a single Sticky Lizard is a small price to pay for scaling a mountain in a rainstorm.

Link himself might forego the advantages that come from eating animals, but everyone else in Hyrule won't. Completing some quests might require bending your morals. The Rito are starving in the midst of a mystical blizzard, and is Link really going to deny them some fish? Ultimately the decision is up to the individual player, but we know which way most people will go.

Bother every horse we meet

Hyrule is an absolutely massive kingdom that demands players spend dozens of hours exploring its detailed landscape. In "Tears of the Kingdom" there are more ways to get around than ever before. Thanks to Zonai devices, players can ride in hot air balloons, drive makeshift cars, or just strap a rocket to their shield and see what happens. When it comes to traveling across the surface of the kingdom, though, it can be best to go back to basics and find a horse to ride.

Wild horses dot the fields and hills of Hyrule, and Link can ride any one of them wherever he needs to go. That's not to say the horses are always going to be thrilled by the idea. After leaping onto a horse's back, Link needs to try and calm them down, eventually convincing them to help him save the world. Not every horse is willing to listen, though, and more than once during a playthrough, you're going to get bucked to the ground.

Horses beware: it doesn't end after Link gets his first ride. You can board a number of horses at one of the stables across the land, and since every horse has a different set of stats, there's definitely an incentive to try and capture more than one. Wild horses need to watch their back whenever Link is around, or they might just find themselves riding into battle against a Gleeok.

Scare NPCs half to death

One of Link's greatest assets as an adventurer is his ability to be stealthy. He can crouch down and scout a Bokoblin camp at night, planning out the perfect attack before he makes his move. Then he can sneak his way into position to launch a surprise attack on his enemies. More often than not, the stealthy approach is the safest one, so Link's gotten plenty of practice at sneaking around.

He might have even gotten too much practice because now it seems like he can't stop sneaking up on almost everyone he meets. Link has a habit of approaching NPCs from behind, and whenever he initiates dialogue they cry out in alarm. Poor Daval is looking out over the Hyrule Field Chasm when Link scares him so badly that he almost falls to his death. Despite being told by character after character that he needs to stop sneaking up on people, Link just can't help himself.

Players from Reddit have picked up on Link's uncomfortable habit and turned it into a meme. Some even pointed out that Link's sneakiness doesn't seem to have the same effect on animals since birds and lizards take off the moment he approaches them. The various peoples of Hyrule must not be that tuned into their surroundings. That, or Link is scaring everyone he meets on purpose.

Fly Link straight into the ground

The Travel Medallion might be one of the single most useful items in "Tears of the Kingdom." Much like it did in "Breath of the Wild," the Travel Medallion lets players drop down a checkpoint where they respawn if something goes wrong. This is particularly helpful when you're moving across sky islands, where one wrong move can send you plummeting away from your objective.

Link doesn't start the game with the Travel Medallion in hand, and there's plenty of exploration and questing to go through before it gets unlocked. That can put players in an awkward position. Picture this: You've just spent 20 minutes carefully scaling a collection of islands, using every tool at your disposal to reach a temple in the sky. Just before you arrive, you miscalculate a jump and start falling back to the ground.

In that situation, you've got two choices. Panic smash your glider button, safely float to the ground, grit your teeth, and make the climb all over again. Or, you can press that dive button, smash Link face first into the ground, and respawn at the island you were just at. On the one hand, seeing your favorite hero brutally killed is bad enough when a Horriblin is at fault, but it's much worse when you're the one doing it. On the other hand, 20 minutes is 20 minutes. If Nintendo didn't want this to happen, they would have given us the Travel Medallion on the Great Sky Island.

Break the ancient shrines

Shrines are back in "Tears of the Kingdom." This time around, the shrines clearly have ties to the Zonai, and in particular they're connected to Rauru and Sonia, the first monarchs of Hyrule. The shrines are meant to help Link on his journey by giving him the Light of Blessing, an item he needs to increase his life and stamina. They're also designed to test Link, making sure that he really is worthy of the blessings the shrines bestow.

Because Link's main abilities are tied to the power he gets from Rauru's arm, it makes sense that all the shrines in the game are built around the ability to build, fuse objects, rewind times, and climb through ceilings. Finding the proper solution to any shrine's puzzle takes a deep understanding of Link's new powers and the mind of a sophisticated engineer.

Finding the improper solution to a shrine, however, cuts out engineering and replaces it with pure adventuring skill and a sprinkling of luck. In a shrine that requires mastering the physics of water to hit a target, one player realized that Ultrahand and Recall could get them the momentum they needed. In another that wanted players to build their own carefully balanced roller coasters, it turned out that a bit of "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" would do the trick. We may have been given these new powers by Hyrule's ancient rulers, but we don't have to use them the way they intended.

Make a deal with an unholy entity

The Kingdom of Hyrule is a land of goddesses, where powerful magic offers everyone some amazing opportunities. Not all the magic in Hyrule comes from the goddesses, though, and not all of it is necessarily good. Still, the darker powers throughout the kingdom have their uses, and Link might want to rely on them every once in a while.

During a visit to Lookout Landing's secret bunker, Link can discover a hidden tunnel that supposedly leads into Hyrule castle itself. The path is blocked by rocks, but with some explosive arrows or certain Zonai devices, Link can blast his way into the tunnel. Trapped inside a prison cell along the path is the Horned Statue, which speaks to Link when the two meet. The statue explains that a goddess trapped it here ages ago, and then it offers Link the "A Deal with the Statue" sidequest.

The Horned Statue's origins are anything except clear, but the deal it offers is pretty straightforward. Link can sell either a heart or a stamina bar to the statue for 100 rupees. Then for 120 rupees Link can buy that essence back, but he can convert it into whichever stat he wants. Essentially, the deal lets you swap hearts for stamina or vice versa, for a small fee. The Horned Statue is definitely a useful tool, but we have to wonder what it's real motives are.

Be a menace to Koroks

Koroks are back in "Tears of the Kingdom," but this time around their problems are simpler, and their puzzles are much more open-ended. The Koroks that players encounter throughout the game are traveling the lands of Hyrule, and they're usually traveling in pairs. Carrying around massive backpacks and hiking for hours can be exhausting for creatures who are so small, so players will usually find one exhausted Korok who's been separated from their friend. Bringing the two back together makes for a short puzzle, and the reward is, of course, a Korok seed.

Koroks, like all other organic material, can't be picked up with Ultrahand, but their backpacks most certainly can. More often than not, the easiest solution is to attach the backpack to a wagon or custom-built car and drive over to the Korok's companion. Players have gotten a bit more inventive than that.

Some have built massive spring-loaded canons that can launch a Korok across an entire lake. Others have gone ahead a built a car before attaching the Korok to a wheel's axle rather than letting them take a short rest in the back. Now it's possible some players are working out their frustration after Nintendo trolled them with Korok seeds in "Breath of the Wild," but as long as all the Koroks are being reunited, who's going to complain?

Endanger children

By the time "Tears of the Kingdom" starts, Link is a fully grown adult with plenty of adventuring under his belt. If you count the years he spent in the Resurrection Shrine, this Link is the oldest in the entire series. Either way, he's definitely old enough to decide for himself whether or not he wants to risk his life for the sake of Hyrule, and he's definitely old enough to know that kids shouldn't be asked the same question.

On his way to the Wind Temple, Link stops by Rito Village to check in on its inhabitants. Thanks to a magical blizzard blanketing their homeland, the Rito are all in a tough place. They're running out of food and don't have an easy way to contact anyone else in Hyrule. One Rito in particular, Teba, is extremely worried because his son Tulin flew off into the blizzard, determined to find a way to stop it on his own.

As fate would have it, Link finds Tulin just before he reaches the Wind Temple. Does he tell the young Rito to go home to his father? No, Link enlists Tulin in his assault on the temple, and the two of them stop the blizzard together. Afterward, Link and Tulin return to Rito Village, and Teba tells Tulin that he's finally come of age as a warrior, gifting his son his prized bow as a sign of his new status. Apparently it really is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Lie to Addison

Addison is one of the many quirky characters that Link will encounter on his journeys through Hyrule. Addison has one passion in life, and it's President Hudson of the Hudson Construction Company. He's traveling the entire kingdom to put up signs of Hudson, but he isn't a particularly skilled construction worker himself. Time and time again, Addison finds himself desperately holding onto a sign to prevent it from toppling over.

That's where Link comes in. He can tell Addison to let the sign go, prompting the other man to ask Link if he's going to support the President. Forward-thinking players will have already grabbed some nearby building materials to construct a makeshift support that will keep Addison's sign from smashing into the ground. The rest of us will have no idea what Addison is really asking and will probably try to Ultrahand the sign before it falls. The sound of Addison's heartbroken cries as President Hudson collapses will haunt our nightmares.

The game really sets players up to let Addison down, at least the first time that they encounter him. Anyone without precognitive senses is likely to assume that Ultrahand or Recall will be able to save Addison's sign. Of course, as players on Reddit have noticed, Ultrahand does do the trick, it just needs to be a bit more involved than simply plucking the sign out of the air.

Abandon Zelda

"Tears of the Kingdom" opens with a fairly traditional hook for a "Zelda" game. While exploring some caves and tunnels beneath Hyrule Castle, Link and Zelda accidentally awaken an ancient evil. The world begins to shake, and the ground starts to collapse. Zelda falls into a bottomless pit, and Link dives after her, but he's too late. She disappears – apparently via magical means – and Link himself is saved by the spirit of Rauru, the first king of Hyrule.

After that point Link is, in theory, trying to figure out what happened to Princess Zelda and how to bring her back to his Hyrule. All the main quest missions point in that direction to one degree or another, but that doesn't mean that all of us spent our hours in the game trying to get to the bottom of that particular mystery. There's almost too much to do in Hyrule. From exploring caves and flying out of Skyview Towers, to aiding Koroks and offering support to poor Addison, a million different side activities can distract players from the game's main story.

Almost anyone who picks up "Tears of the Kingdom" is going to spend dozens of hours exploring, side-questing, and building beautifully flawed vehicles. After 50 or more hours flying over Hyrule or digging into its hidden underground cavern network, does anyone really remember what they started out doing? Sure, Link cares about Zelda, but he's also got some more mushrooms to collect and new recipes to discover.