The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most beloved Zelda games to date, and with good reason.

The story is compelling, the game world is beautiful, and the gameplay loop is second to none. Even the music is incredibly soothing and magical.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has a lot to live up to, and fans have been anxiously awaiting its release ever since the announcement.

To help you decide whether to pick up Tears of the Kingdom or not, here are all the differences between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom.

Please note, this article does contain minor TotK spoilers.


One of the key differences that you’ll notice when playing Tears of the Kingdom if you’ve played Breath of the Wild is that it should perform a lot better.

While Breath of the Wild is undoubtedly one of the most memorable games that Nintendo has created, it’s fair to say that the performance wasn’t perfect all the way through.

This is largely due to the fact that the game was originally created for the Wii U before being moved over to the Nintendo Switch. It was still a very high quality game, but Tears of the Kingdom should outshine it in terms of performance and user experience.

The gameplay in Tears of the Kingdom looks incredibly smooth and combat looks very fluid, so you’re sure to notice the difference if you’re a Breath of the Wild fan.


Some folk may have been wondering whether they needed to play Breath of the Wild before picking up Tears of the Kingdom, and while I’d encourage people to check out the former when possible, it’s not actually a requirement.

In fact, choosing which Zelda game to play first is not as important as it might seem at first glance. The majority of the games are great standalone titles.

TotK is technically a direct sequel to BotW, but according to the Nintendo team, the game has been created in a way that suits both first-time players and experienced Zelda fans.

There are catch-up mechanics of sorts in terms of lore, with in-depth character profiles that give players a run-down of what the characters have experienced in the story so far. It’s a great feature that helps to make the game more accessible.

The story in Tears of the Kingdom should be a lot more detailed and immersive than Breath of the Wild, too.

Tears of the Kingdom has been promoted as being non-linear in terms of exploration and dungeons, but with a slightly more linear story than its predecessor.

It should have a much more cohesive narrative, avoiding the majority of the time-skip story elements that Breath of the Wild had.

If you enjoy story-driven games that still let you explore and track down treasures and puzzles, you’re sure to get a kick out of Tears of the Kingdom.


Gameplay in Zelda games is always memorable, and Tears of the Kingdom looks like it has an incredibly satisfying gameplay loop.

There are lots of new abilities for Link to use during the game, which include:

  • Ascend. Ascend is a movement ability that allows Link to travel vertically through space and objects, which is useful for exploring caves or getting around obstacles.
  • Fuse. Fuse is a utility ability that meshes items (like stones, mushrooms, or smoke bombs) with weapons to create interesting attacks and stuns.
  • Recall. Recall is a combat ability that allows you to reverse the trajectory of objects that are coming towards you. For example, if you’re in a fight and an enemy throws their weapon at you, you can turn the tides and throw it straight back at them.
  • Ultrahand. Ultrahand is a fun utility ability that allows you to create inventions and vehicles from the materials you find in the world. You can use your homemade vehicles to travel around the world.

As with Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom offers a good blend of exploration, action, and adventure gameplay. There’s a solid crafting and cooking system, and plenty of secrets and collectibles for completionists to check out.

The general theme here is that Tears of the Kingdom is really expanding on what Breath of the Wild did.

BotW fans will remember an ability similar to Ultrahand which allowed them to create different vehicles and contraptions. It’s similar, but TotK’s Ultrahand is much more detailed and gives players a lot more freedom.


Breath of the Wild fans may have noticed that the Tears of the Kingdom world looks quite familiar. The two games take place in exactly the same location, with Tears of the Kingdom adding a unique extra layer to the world.

In Tears of the Kingdom, Ganondorf is back and he’s raised Hyrule Castle and the surrounding areas high into the air with the power of the Blood Moon.

This fiendish act led to the creation of the Sky Islands, which is a vast network of floating islands that Link will be able to traverse and explore. They’re high up above Hyrule and add extra depth to the map, while acting as a tutorial zone of sorts at the start of the game.

The villages and settlements in Tears of the Kingdom are much more detailed and elaborate than in Breath of the Wild, yet they manage to feel familiar and cozy, too.

If your favorite thing about Breath of the Wild was the freedom to explore and check out new areas of the map whenever you liked, you’ll be happy to know that Tears of the Kingdom highly encourages exploration as well.

The map is full of caverns, dungeons, and ruins to explore, each packed full of interesting monsters, characters, and treasures.


If you’re a Zelda fan, you’ll recognize a lot of the characters in Tears of the Kingdom.

As mentioned earlier, Ganondorf is one of the main enemies in TotK. Link and Zelda are obviously part of the story in a big way, too.

Some familiar enemies pop up in Tears of the Kingdom, including Bokoblins, Lizalfos, and the mini-boss Hinox. The models have all clearly been updated, but a lot of the actions and abilities feel roughly the same.

There are some new enemies and characters in Tears of the Kingdom, too. This is good, as one of the main concerns that people had about Breath of the Wild is that it didn’t offer much variety in enemies and battles.

What to Do Next

If you’re looking for more Zelda games to tide you over, why not check out which Zelda-like games you can get on the Switch? There are plenty of games that offer the same level of magic and immersion as Zelda games.

Dedicated Zelda fans may want to check out the Collector’s Edition of Tears of the Kingdom and see whether it’s worth it for them. If you pre-order through the Switch store, you can get some extra goodies, too.