Tears Of The Kingdom Probably Won’t Fix A Long-Running Zelda Problem

TOTK could avoid BOTW’s mistake of wasting a controller button during Zelda combat by borrowing from Age of Calamity controls.

The upcoming Breath of the Wild sequel The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom could improve upon an existing Zelda combat feature, but this seems unlikely. As an open-world exploration game, combat was only one aspect of gameplay, as plot advancement heavily relied on 3D platforming, puzzle-solving, and meddling in NPC’s daily affairs. Breath of the Wild also had to be playable on both the Nintendo Switch and the Wii U gamepad, further restricting combat control options. The Wii U gamepad’s controls resembled those of the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, but this prevented full utilization of the motion control possibilities for Switch users in tabletop and TV mode.


As a Switch exclusive, Tears of the Kingdom could integrate the Nintendo Switch’s HD Rumble feature and motion controls for smoother combat. The left shoulder button was for both targeting and guarding, as well as deploying Daruk’s Protection – dodging and Flurry Rush could be activated outside of Focus mode, but Perfect Parrying and shielding required the player to maintain Focus mode. To remain focused on an enemy, players had to hold ZL, and they couldn’t change their target – Focus mode automatically locked on to the nearest enemy and had to be pressed again once that enemy was defeated to lock on to any other remaining enemies.

Related: BOTW 2 Could Add New Horse Exploration & Mounted Combat

TOTK Might Keep BOTW’s Clunky Combat Targeting System

Link fighting a group of Bokoblins in Breath of the Wild.

Similar to the L-targeting and Z-targeting of previous Zelda games, in Breath of the Wild, players could enter Focus mode by pressing and holding the left shoulder button for the duration of their combat encounter. However, among the numerous Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity‘s combat differences from BOTW, improved Z-targeting was the most significant. Z-target combat was revolutionary when it was introduced in N64 Zelda titles and still has its uses in Breath of the Wild, but players shouldn’t have to constantly depress a button to remain locked onto an enemy when other games achieve the same effect with a single button press.

Separating BOTW’s Z-Targeting From Guarding Improves Combat In Age Of Calamity

Hyrule Warriors_ Age Of Calamity Gets 50-Minute Stream At TGS This Weekend

In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, clicking the right analog stick once lets players target a major enemy (though not horde enemy like BOTW‘s Focus mode does). If multiple major enemies are in the vicinity, players can switch their target with the right stick, and clicking the right stick again takes the player out of lock-on combat. Thus, for a solution, Tears of the Kingdom could borrow combat mechanics from Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity since Age of Calamity already adapts existing BOTW gameplay and powers. Players still hold ZL to shield and parry in Age of Calamity, but they also get a happier alternative timeline and single-click targeting.

Players can also click the right stick in BOTW, but doing so makes Link look through the Sheikah Slate to set pin markers, even in the middle of combat. Clicking the left stick in BOTW makes Link crouch, which isn’t an option in Age of Calamity. Still, the open-world exploration players expect from TOTK involves stealth sections that would benefit from keeping core gameplay mechanics from both BOTW and Age of Calamity. Even though some players are theorizing BOTW 2 is an Age of Calamity sequel, not a BOTW sequel, there’s no reason for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to integrate gameplay mechanics from only one of these two games.

More: Every Way Age Of Calamity Could Make BOTW 2’s Story Even Better

Source: Nintendo of America/YouTube

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