The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a perfect video game, so how could Nintendo hope to top its success? By making the world even bigger, of course. Although its sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, uses the same map, it triples the world size by adding new areas to explore above and below Hyrule’s surface.
With all the added elements working on top of what came before it, Tears of the Kingdom can feel overwhelming at times. The multitude of new abilities to learn, controls to memorize, and strategies to utilize make Tears of the Kingdom an entirely new experience from Breath of the Wild. So before you can comfortably explore the world, here are a few tips—from PCMag and IGN(Opens in a new window)—to help get you started on your quest to save Hyrule once again.
1. Get the Glider Before Exploring
Breath of the Wild’s glider was an innovation that let you travel anywhere. However, Tears of the Kingdom does not give it to you upon completing the initial tutorial sequence. You might be back in Hyrule, but you are not ready to explore.
As IGN notes in its Zelda exploration guide(Opens in a new window), it’s best to follow the initial questline by visiting Lookout Landing, talking to Purah, and checking out Hyrule Castle before trekking out into the world. Once you have done all this, Purah will finally give you the glider. You are now free to explore without worrying how you will glide through the skies.
2. Fuse Anything and Everything
In Tears of the Kingdom, all metal weapons have become rusted and weak. That means you must make do with a lot of junk. That’s fine, because you have the Fuse ability to create your own weapons.
It may be tempting to carry your junk swords around until you can find something worth fusing, but the superior strategy is to immediately merge them with the materials you find. That way, you have better options when your favorite sword breaks in combat.
You can check the materials to see what will give you the best bonuses and special abilities. For instance, amber adds a +4 boost to your weapon. A ruby only gives you a +1 boost, but turns your weapon into a fire rod. You can even merge your weapon with a rock to create a hammer capable of damaging breakable walls.
If you don’t like the merged weapon, you can easily undo it. Select the weapon or shield in your menu and choose Destroy Fused Material to get rid of the material you added to the base item. For more, check out IGN’s guide on how to use the Fuse ability(Opens in a new window).
3. Visit Skyview Towers and Shrines Early On
You should focus on visiting as many Skyview Towers as possible before going off on your own. By unlocking these towers, you gain access to that region’s map data. You can then make more informed decisions about the area, and where you want to go.
Skyview Towers, as well as shrines, serve as vital warp points that let you quickly move between regions without doing so on foot. This can be extremely helpful if you are trying to complete a particular quest, find items only available in certain locations, or just need to backtrack.
4. Save an Arrow, Throw a Bomb Flower
Along with merging materials onto swords and shields, you can also use the Fuse ability to create more powerful arrows. Fuse a fire fruit to create a fire arrow or turn a bomb flower into a bomb arrow. You can also fuse a keese eyeball to an arrow to create a heat-seeking missile.
Little is sacred. Tears of the Kingdom gives you ample opportunity to restock any collectible you come across. However, arrows can be precious commodities. If you have a chance to conserve arrows, do it. One easy way to accomplish this is to throw materials rather than shoot them.
If you hold down the R button, you will prepare to throw your current weapon. Instead, press up on the D-pad to choose another item. Throw a fire fruit to burn a pile of leaves or toss a dazzlefruit to stun your enemies. Exploring the dark underground segments requires a lot of brightbloom seeds, so tossing them will significantly save your arrow count.
5. Break the Rules With Planks and Logs
Video games are all about rules, but Tears of the Kingdom is all about breaking them. Thanks to the Ultrahand ability, you can stick any objects together. This is helpful when you need to reach a high spot, and there is a large collection of logs and planks nearby.
In Breath of the Wild, emphasis was put on the ability to climb up nearly every surface. If you had a big enough stamina wheel, you could climb to the top of the tallest mountain in Hyrule. Although that mechanic is still present in Tears of the Kingdom, the game emphasizes construction more than climbing.
If there is an area that is proving hard to reach by conventional means, the title wants you to do whatever you can with the material around you to make it work. That means sticking together boards of wood, tree trunks, and whatever else you can find to get across a body of water or climb up a sheer cliff face. If you can imagine it, the game wants you to try it.
6. Sort Materials For Easy Access
If you want to make more powerful arrows, you need to fuse individual arrows in the heat of the moment. While aiming with your bow, press up on the D-pad to open a quick menu with all your available material. It’s a simple process, but one that becomes overwhelming before too long.
The major friction here is that the menu shows every single type of material you own—even ones that don’t do anything special when bonded to an arrow. That means the more materials you collect, the longer the menu becomes. If you are constantly using bomb flowers, fire fruits, and brightblooms with your arrows, hunting down each entry in the menu becomes tedious.
Your best bet is to filter the menu so you can more easily find the right material. With the menu open, press Y to change filters. If you filter by Most Used, you won’t have to constantly go searching for your favorite combinations.
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7. Return Projectiles With Recall
The Recall power lets you freeze time and send objects back through their path of motion. Although this is primarily used to ride falling rocks back up into the sky, it can also be used in combat—if you’re quick enough.
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The next time you are in combat with an enemy who wields a bow, use Recall to freeze time while their arrow is still in the air. Select the arrow, and it will sail back along its trajectory and damage the moblin who fired it. This can be of particular use if there is significant space between you and the enemy, and have plenty of time before the arrow hits. For more, read IGN’s guide on the Recall ability(Opens in a new window).
8. Repair and Buff Your Weapons
The Zelda games’ weapon durability has been a hotly discussed topic since Breath of the Wild. While Tears of the Kingdom mitigates the issue somewhat by letting you fuse and unfuse weapons, it also introduced a new mechanic for repairing and buffing your weapons, shields, and bows.
In order to do this, you must travel to the fiery Eldin region and locate an octorok enemy. Drop a piece of equipment nearby and let the baddie suck it up. Just like in BOTW, the octorok will spit the item back out at you, only now it will be repaired and be given a random buff. IGN has a guide on how to repair and buff weapons(Opens in a new window), and where you can find specific octorok enemies.
9. Reference Recipes
Link does a lot of cooking while exploring Hyrule, but how exactly are you expected to remember which ingredients go best together? Tears of the Kingdom has recipes, a feature that Breath of the Wild sorely needed. Now, if you want to make a certain dish, all you have to do is reference the recipe and enjoy.
You can view your recipes if you press X in the Food menu. From here, you view cards that show the material that went into each dish or elixir. If there are multiple combinations that make the same food, hit the Y button to see every version of the recipe—some may turn out better than others. It’s also worth noting that you will get the recipe for any dishes that are given to you by NPCs.
Tears of the Kingdom also lets you do the opposite. Open the Materials menu, select an ingredient and choose Select for Recipe to see every disk you have made with that material. IGN has a cookbook guide(Opens in a new window) with all the dishes and elixirs you can make in the game.
10. How to Upgrade Your Zonai Battery
Perhaps the most interesting—and confusing—addition in Tears of the Kingdom is the Zonai energy cell that Link receives. It powers the Zonai devices you build, but you need to go through a few steps in order to upgrade your battery and get more energy cells.
The process works like this: Mine Zonaite from Zonaite deposits, then trade them to a forge construct for crystallized charges. You then take these crystalized charges to a crystal refinery to be processed into a new energy cell. Note that the items known as Zonai charges are only used for temporary boosts to your battery capacity.
The process is more complicated than this simple explanation. You need to collect three pieces of Zonaite to exchange for one crystalized charge, and you need 100 crystalized charges to create one energy cell. For more detailed help, check out IGN’s guide to upgrading your battery(Opens in a new window).
Note: IGN is owned by PCMag’s parent company Ziff Davis. For more help getting through Tears of the Kingdom, IGN has a full walkthrough(Opens in a new window) available, complete with an interactive map
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