The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Has Revived My Enthusiasm

Now that I’ve had a little time to rest, recover, and try to avoid obsessively rewatching the new trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, I think I’m ready to write about just it. I was tempted to do that yesterday, but I was so overwrought from everything going on that I couldn’t handle even just being excited about something. I had to put it out of my mind (and stop trying to preorder the Collector’s Edition) so I could calm down and try to get some rest. I didn’t really get much rest (since every other part of my life is still a stressful mess), but I’ve managed to collect myself enough to say that I’m super excited to see what the game is going to bring to the table. I mean, it looks like Link loses an arm right away and then gets that cool, clawed tech arm that seems to be an expansion on his Sheikah Slate abilities, so I can only hope it will keep getting better from there.

The biggest shock was hearing Matt Mercer do some of the voice over. I’m not really a fan of the English dub of Breath of the Wild (I just don’t really like the breathy sort of delicate voice of Princess Zelda, for one thing). Something about it just feels off to me in a way that I find incredibly uncomfortable. I’ve mostly played BotW with the Japanese voice cast, after my initial play-through (since the option to change the voices didn’t show up until after I was finished with that), so I don’t know if I can really atriculate why the voices feel wrong other than that they seem to lack the sort of emotional authenticity I’d expect of someone in the situation of the character the voice is coming from? Or maybe it’s just the accent being so pish-toshly British in a way that feels out -of-sync with how the voices have always sounded in my head as I read through the games.

With Matt Mercer’s voice hidden throughout the game, I expect that’ll either keep me playing the game with the English voice cast or else it’ll feel too weird and I’ll flee back to the Japanese voice cast immediately. No telling which it’ll be until I actually start to hear his voice in the game. I might do at least one play-through in English, if only to appreciate what they tried to do and see if my odd sense of the wrong-ness of the voices has changed or gone away. I’m willing to give anything a try, once. Plus, if the game is even half as good as Breath of the Wild was, I expect I’ll be playing through it three or four times. One of those could easily be an English run.

Beyond that, that, I’m really excited about the darker look to the game. I don’t know if it was accentuated for this latest trailer, but it feels like it has some heavier, scaried vibes to it. Like you saved the world in the first game only for things to somehow get worse in the second. I may be extra excited about this aspect of the game because it reminds me of Majora’s Mask, and the darker tone that game had than it’s direct prequel, Ocarina of Time. I’m hoping the game will feel similarly, in terms of both being a darker improvement that built on the previous game and grappling with some heavier themes.

Which might be asking a lot since Breath of the Wild dealt with themes of loss, rebuilding, and how second chances don’t negate your first failures (along with a host of other themes like the weight of expectations, the price of heroism, and the way we’re often strongest when we’re trying to protect someone else). I’m not sure there’s really a way to best that, and I will be absolutely blown away if they can somehow top the passive, environmental storytelling of BotW. There are still places in the game that, even after almost 600 hours, I’ll stop when the background music strikes a few familiar notes and I recognize the place I’m in as some ruined mirror of a place I loved to visit in a past game.

I will say that, after watching that trailer, I’m less worried about the expectations I’m bringing into the game. After all, nothing in that trailer is anything that I expected. I was so caught off guard by everything we were shown that it blew everything I’d been carrying away. Now I’m just excited to play the game and then, a week later, celebrate the wedding of two of my dearest friends. Even if this doesn’t mark the start of a pretty great period of my life (or at least the end of am awful one), I’m sure that ten day period is going to be pretty stellar.

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