Zelda Reviews: People Sure Do Seem to Like that New Zelda Game

Games News The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Zelda Reviews: People Sure Do Seem to Like that New Zelda Game

The hot new Zelda reviews are out, and damn are they sizzling. (I don’t know why I’m talking like that; I am sorry.)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom comes out tomorrow (right at the stroke of midnight ET), but the review embargo hit this morning, and in a turn of events that would shock absolutely nobody the esteemed body of videogame critics has agreed that the Zelda game is good. Yep, real good, even. It’s sitting at a 96 on Metacritic, the review aggregation website that people pay way too much attention to, with reviews from 83 outlets factored into the score. That makes it the best reviewed game of the year on any system so far, but it’s still a full point behind 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which means some terminally online weirdo somewhere is probably calling Tears a failure already.

What do the critics actually have to say about the game, though? Well, PCMag–the mag named after a platform the game is not playable on–writes thatTears of the Kingdom is a tour de force”–our second favorite kind of tour. Gene Park at the Washington Post praises the game’s focus on creation as a tribute to imagination and ingenuity, while saying that it “perfects” the franchise. In a review subtitled “pure magic,” Keza MacDonald of the Guardian is enchanted by the game’s massive, immersive world and the freedom it provides the player, crediting it for helping her find fun amid the stresses and responsibility of adult life. And over at Gamespot Steve Watts raves about pretty much every aspect of the game, hinting that it might be the best Zelda yet without ever saying so.

Those reviews are all scored as a 100 on Metacritic, along with dozens of others. Not every review is quite as positive, though. In a 9.75 out of 10 review (rounded up to a 98 on Metacritic) that is inexplicably drawing condemnation from Zelda zealots who haven’t even played the game yet, Game Informer’s Kyle Hilliard writes that he adores the new game and the additions it’s made to the formula, even if it’s not quite as special as some of the earlier games in the series. In a four star review for Eurogamer (out of a total five stars, making this one of the lowest scoring reviews on Metacritic at an 80) Edwin Evans-Thirwell praises the game greatly, only lightly knocking its focus on collecting resources, which he says runs counter to Breath‘s “relative austerity.” Meanwhile, in an unscored review at The Verge, Ash Parrish gets a sense of diminishing returns from Tears, saying that it tries to capture the wonder of Breath but mostly just reminds the player how good that game was.

There’s only one scored review that Metacritic doesn’t classify as positive, and that comes from the website Gfinity E-Sports. It’s tagged as a 60 on Metacritic, but Josh Brown’s words read more negatively than that. His stance is an easy one to understand: if you didn’t like Breath of the Wild, he says, you probably won’t like Tears of the Kingdom, as it’s a true sequel that iterates on its predecessor instead of going off in a new direction like almost every new Zelda game has done. There are Zelda fans who didn’t love Breath because of the changes it made to the series, and Brown seems to be one of them, so it’s no surprise he didn’t like Tears. It’s safe to say people who feel that way about Breath are in the minority, but it doesn’t make their opinion any less valid or reasonable. Not everybody likes everything, and games criticism and the industry as a whole would be much stronger if more writers disagreed with the supposed consensus and went harder on the games that they write about.

So that’s what people are saying about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Maybe we’ll have something to say about it, too. Or maybe we’ll take that time to write about some arcade shmup from 1989 instead. The future is limitless.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will be available for the Switch on Friday, May 12.

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