The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom is Nintendo’s Garry’s Mod

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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a sequel done right. Lack of remote bombs aside, everything great about Breath of the Wild returns, alongside a phenomenal new mechanic to channel players’ creativity in the form of Ultrahand. It turns an outstanding open-world RPG into a true sandbox, where players have the freedom to create almost whatever they like.

When talking about sandbox mechanics in video games, we’d be remiss to not bring up the ultimate sandbox of them all: Garry’s Mod. Often referred to as Gmod, Garry’s Mod is a physics game, utilising assets from the Valve library, where you can do virtually anything with the tools you’re given. Whether it’s playing custom modes on modded servers, building ridiculous devices, or creating funny internet videos like it’s the noughties again, that is the essence of Gmod.

Tears of the Kingdom doesn’t quite offer the same level of depth, but the creativity ceiling is tremendously high. The Ultrahand building mechanic, combined with the Zonai devices, grants you the ability to branch out your sandbox creativity for the first time in The Legend of Zelda. From innovative inventions to downright absurd and frankly concerning ideas.

Although the complete creative freedom may sacrifice the element of traditional Zelda-style puzzles, the world supports this by rewarding exploration and giving you precisely what you need, when you need it. It is up to you and your creative ingenuity to figure out what you must do.

If that sounds familiar to another certain sandbox game, that’s because Tears of the Kingdom employs so many sandbox elements with a level of freedom that is comparable only to Garry’s Mod on a gigantic yet accessible scale.

The only thing limiting you is how imaginative and adventurous you can be. Particularly the second, since the biggest difference between the two games is that you need to go out of your way to obtain the fans, wheels, and rockets required in Tears of the Kingdom, mainly from Device Dispensers. In Gmod, everything is at your disposal immediately. So imagine how much effort it took Link to create this colossal, rocket-firing robot, instead of you know, saving Zelda from the pits of despair?

A significant change Tears of the Kingdom has presented is the Korok quests. Instead of being simply tucked away with a puzzle to solve, you must save some Koroks and return them to their friends by any means necessary. And the questionable clips that have surfaced post-launch makes us wonder if returning players are holding a grudge for having 900 Korok Seeds to find in Breath of the Wild… turns out the Geneva Convention is more like a Geneva Suggestion in Hyrule.

We cannot compare Tears of the Kingdom and Garry’s Mod without bringing up vehicles. More specifically, building your own. Once you’ve progressed in your adventure and gathered an assortment of Zonai devices, Hyrule is truly your oyster. That even includes attempting to leave the world, braving unknown frontiers with makeshift rocket ships.

Although I’m sure there are easier ways to get to the sky area in Hyrule, maybe you’d prefer some honest trucker work. Possibly pick up a friendly hitchhiker along the way. Who doesn’t love a nice night time drive through the lands of Hyrule? You can practically see the fireflies and hear John Denver.

The building aspect of Tears of the Kingdom is more than just a gimmick. It’s a testament to how Nintendo thinks up new ways to give the player more control and creative freedom, and in a mainline title with established formulas such as Zelda, that is an admirable risk.

Want more Zelda Tears of the Kingdom content? Check out our guide on how to unlock the Autobuild ability, or we also have a full rundown of the Tears of the Kingdom abilities if you’re wondering what new powers Link has at his disposal.

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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

  • Release Date: May 12, 2023
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
  • Genre(s): Action, Action Adventure, Adventure
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