Combat Improvements Needed In The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom

One of the most exciting features Nintendo hasn’t explored in trailers yet for Tears of the Kingdom is combat. Breath of the Wild broke the mould in so many ways for the Zelda series, and it’s combat was pretty good. However, there is still room for improvement and today I want to have a look at a number of ways Nintendo could improve the combat in the upcoming Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom.

Before we get into today’s topic, I’d like to hear from you related to the combat. What did you like about Breath of the Wild’s combat? What didn’t you like? And how would you like Nintendo to change combat for Tears of the Kingdom?

Combat in Breath of the Wild was improved many times over when compared to other most recent Zelda entry, Skyward Sword. Link had a range of weapons he could use, plus the runes on the Sheikah Slate, and the nice additions of the slow-mo mechanic allowing Link to jump in and flurry-rush opponents for that big DPS. We’re only a few months away from Tears of the Kingdom, and Nintendo haven’t really spoken about or demonstrated combat at all for the upcoming sequel. We’ve seen Link in battle only for a few seconds, as he’s seen using a new flame throwing device attached to his left arm.

Enemy Variation

While Breath of the Wild was very good in many aspects, the variation of the enemies wasn’t enough. There were the Bokoblins, Moblins, Lizalfos and Skal-versions of them too. These were your main enemies that attacked you on the ground, weapon in hand. Lizalfos were quicker than Bokobolins, and the Moblins were often bigger, and more tricky. We had Keese to worry about from the air, Octorok who could attack us from range and also Chuchu, who are similar to slow blobs of jelly trying to attack you. Wizrobes would often offer more of a challenge in the early statges of the game, then you had the more challenging Lynels and Guardians, who could kill you very quickly if you weren’t careful.

Given the main enemies you encountered on a regular basis had two arms and two legs, holding weapons, the combat started to feel very similar after tens of hours. It was most likely implemented this way because of the weapon varation added to Breath of the Wild, and the need for Link to throw away degraded weapons and pick up new ones from his enemies to continue fighting. In Tears of the Kingdom I’d like to see more variety in the enemy types. Currently we have 4 varieties attacking Link with weapons and it’d be good to see Nintendo bump this up closer to 10, while varying on different enemy types too. It’d be good to see more non-humanoid enemies too, multiple arms, multiple weapons, and given the amount of Malice in Tears of the Kingdom, then we could see a few mutations.

Aerial Combat

We know that much of Tears of the Kingdom will be spend in the sky, either traveling up and down, or exploring the newly formed Sky Islands above Hyrule. A great addition to combat would be the ability to fight in the sky.

Details of a Nintendo patent have leaked detailing aerial combat in Tears of the Kingdom. Nintendo haven’t yet shown any of this off in trailers, which means they could be waiting for the right moment, or perhaps the mechanic has been cut. I think they probably haven’t shown this yet, rather than it being a cut feature.

Looking at the patent we have three states. Vertically downward, with the character diving and pointing the bow and arrow directly down. We have a second state where you are diving diagonally down towards a target. We then have a third state where the Link is upward relative to the reference direction.

In Skyward Sword, we could battle in the sky while on the back of the Loftwing, but this patent suggests more complex aerial battles. We have also seen Link on the back of a sky wing, or some vehicle used to travel great distances in the sky. So far we have only seen Link land on it, but fighting on the back of it could be another thing entirely.

Fall Damage

One thing that didn’t seem fair in Breath of the Wild was Link’s ability to take fall damage, but enemies seemed immune from this. You could find yourself fighting against an enemy and knocking them off a great height, and they’d simply stand there and have the same amount of health as when you knocked them off. However, if the same thing happens to Link then he would most likely die from the fall, unless you had a lot of health. Nintendo should have a look at this feature in Tears of the Kingdom, especially given much of the action is going to take place in the sky, and the opportunity for knocking enemies off platforms from high places is likely to happen on a regular basis.

Parrying and Countering

One of the most important skills to get the hang of in Breath of the Wild when fighting is the flurry rush. If you get your timing just right and dodge at the right moment when an enemy is attacking you, combat will go into slo-mo and you’ll have the chance to rush forward and get in lots of big damage hits, effectively taking out your opponent. While this is useful, it gets stale quickly when taking on beefier enemies. It would be good to see a wider range of combat moves. This is one of those areas the Zelda team could learn from the Elden Ring team at From Software. Elden Ring emulated Breath of the Wild in many ways, and it’d be good to see the Zelda team at Nintendo lean into slightly more complex fighting mechanics. I don’t think Tears of the Kingdom should be a Souls-like game, however, I do think it could benefit from more complex combat. Much like the enemy variation, after a while in Breath of the Wild the combat gets very samey, so it’d be good to mix it up a little bit.

Weapon Durability

Weapon durability is a hot topic in the Zelda community and it’s a divisive topic. There are pros and cons to having weapons break. It definitely promotes using a variety of weapons, in a series where we’ve clung to the sword, or the master sword for so many years. I’d like to see weapons be more durable, so we can have more of a relationship with the weapons. I don’t mind them degrading, and it’d be good to see the ability to repair or clean weapons come into the game as a feature. Rather than have weapons break, I’d like to see different rarities of weapons, still promoting the idea of getting new weapons and investing in weapons. One of the most frustrating things about Breath of the Wild was getting into a fight, and then your favourite weapon to break only seconds into a fight.

Link’s Arm

Link has a changed right hand, which appears to have magical abilities, demonstrated by rewinding time and sending the spiked ball back up the hill towards enemies. It looks like Link is controlling this with his arm. We have also seen Link use a flame throwing attachment, but on his left arm rather than his changed right arm. This could mean we’re about to get attachments for Link’s arms, or different tools to use. This has been shown off before in Legend of Zelda development artwork and concepts, and hopefully Nintendo are about to bring those back into Tears of the Kingdom, and demonstrate their creatively when it comes to Link’s arm abilities.

Hand-to-Hand Combat

One way of improving combat would be the ability to allow Link to out down the sword and attack with his fists and feet. I don’t think Link has ever been able to attack without a weapon in his hands. It’d be interesting to see Link being able to throw a punch, or kick an opponent, maybe even throw sand in their eyes to gain an advantage in a fight. It doesn’t scream honour to me, Link at the moment feels like an honourable fighter, someone would stand in front of their enemies, bow, and then go into combat. It’d be interesting to see Link without a sword and slap around some enemies, and if Nintendo implemented this in Tears of the Kingdom, then it’d certainly be a unique first.

Dual Wielding

I’d like to see Link dual wielding weapons. This would mix up combat and then some. Rather than holding a sheild and sword, why not two swords? Or perhaps a sword and a dagger. Or maybe even two shields? I don’t know why you’d want to do this, but I would love to have the option to have more than one weapon in Link’s hands at the same time. I wouldn’t expect Link to be able to manage two heavy weapons, however, when we’re talking about Swords, Daggers and maybe Sai’s, then Link could go on the offensive. Combined this with more complex attacks and that would really mix up the combat.

Let me know in the comments what you want to see from the combat in Tears of the Kingdom.

That’s it for this look at Combat Improvements Needed In The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom. For more Zelda content like this check out Triforce Times on YouTube and subscribe today.

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