- Tears of the Kingdom expanded on the world of Breath of the Wild with diverse maps and storytelling emphasis.
- The presence of Korok seeds in the game helps Link’s progression, but the Koroks’ potential to contribute to the story isn’t fully utilized.
- Future Zelda games should delve into the customs and cultural norms of the Koroks to make Hyrule feel more interconnected and vibrant.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was an advancement on Breath of the Wild in almost every way. The three-tiered map with the Sky Islands and the Depths gave the space so much diversity, and the greater emphasis on storytelling made it feel like more than just an update on the 2017 game. However, there were some elements that remained the same, for better or worse.
Hyrule itself wasn’t substantially different in Tears of the Kingdom, nor was the art style. Another thing that was reminiscent of the previous game was the way players progress and get stronger, with Korok seeds going a long way to making Link’s journey easier. However, the Koroks’ presence feels underutilized once again, and future Zelda games should give them more time to develop, as they always give something good to the story.
One Armor Piece in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Suggests It’s Time to Change Link
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom allows players to change Link’s appearance somewhat, but one item could be the spark for more customization.
Koroks are Little More than a Collectible in Tears of the Kingdom
Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom using expansive open worlds means that there has to be plenty of things to do and curiosities to uncover while exploring all corners. Skyview Towers, shrines, memories, and teardrops keep the player entertained and do more than enough to justify the nonlinear setting. However, the pair of Switch Zelda games go even further by offering a whole photography section and Korok seeds to make sure people can squeeze every drop out of the experience.
The Korok are the most represented race in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, with over 1900 found across both games
The latter is particularly useful, as Korok seeds are used to expand the weapon, shield, and armor inventory slots to give players more resources to handle the often-criticized weapon degradation in the game. It’s a necessary inclusion, but also one that can reduce the Koroks to nothing more than a means to progress in the game, instead of showing that they have as much of a place in Hyrule as the Zora, Rito, Gerudo, and Goron.
The Korok are a Proud and Historic People
The Korok are descended from the Kokiri, a race that was a part of Ocarina of Time, adapting to the Great Sea by adopting their leafy form to help them traverse the new landscape. In The Wind Waker, they live with the Great Deku Tree on one of that game’s islands, where once every year a ceremony is held so that the Great Deku Tree can produce seeds to hopefully kickstart Hyrule’s resurgence. The Korok are introverted, but very charming, and have a close connection to Zelda lore, which isn’t adequately explored in Breath of the Wild or its successor.
Zelda Needs to Give the Korok More Life in Future Games
The Wind Waker wonderfully developed the Koroks as they take center stage in the Forbidden Woods dungeon. Link is joined later in the game at the Wind Temple by the Korok Makar, who turns out to be the Sage of Wind and a major component of the game’s charming story. The Koroks have more to offer Zelda than just being a collectible curiosity, and their customs could elevate the next Zelda game by showing that the people that inhabit Hyrule are truly culturally diverse, no matter how unassuming they seem.
The Koroks made their debut in The Wind Waker in their current form, but the Kokiri made their first appearance in Ocarina of Time in 1998.
It would be a stretch to say that the Koroks have the capacity to be at the center of the next Zelda offering, whatever that may be, but their place can be a lot more substantial and impactful than it was in Tears of the Kingdom. It was a shame to see that they hadn’t been developed further from how they were presented in Breath of the Wild, but as the series is moving on to something different from the previous Switch masterpieces, the time is now to finally give the Koroks their flowers.
The Koroks are Disconnected from Hyrule’s Other Races
Outside of Hestu being in Lookout Landing in Tears of the Kingdom, players never see the Koroks interact with other races, or integrate in any way. Because of this, nothing is revealed about their customs or cultural norms, and they fail to have the same impact on world-building as other races. It’s something that future games should address, showing how their nuances can contribute to a Zelda world that truly feels communal.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- May 12, 2023
- Rated E for Everyone 10+ for Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes
- How Long To Beat
- 59 Hours