Kingdom’s Open World Tears cured my research obsession

The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom’s Tearsjust like its predecessor Breath of the WildIt’s a huge game filled with an incredible amount of things to do. It must be overwhelming, but in turn it actually helps me break one of my most compulsive habits.

I’m busy. Not abnormal – probably no more than you are – but life is filling, you know? I have a to-do list for work and a to-do list for everything that doesn’t work. I have very little time for myself and a million things I want to do with it; I have bloated lists of things to watch, read, and play that I’ll never keep track of. I have applications for recording movies, TV, games and books. I feel compelled to improve. I limit my free time.

Some of these habits are generated by games. Think sprawling open-world games that dissect their massive maps and epic stories into an easy-to-digest structure of objectives, checklists, and collectibles. (My friend calls them “UbiJobs” after the framework of recent Assassin’s Creed games.) World of Warcraft It’s basically an endless to-do list in the form of a video game. It may feel like work, but it is also fulfilling and gives you a sense of accomplishment and mastery – so you should try in life. App designers who love micromanaging everything from spending money to watching movies have certainly learned from this design school as well.

Photo: Nintendo EBD/Nintendo

With me, the habit of making everything a checklist started consuming games that I ostensibly discourage. Until recently it was the big game in my life Octob Traveler 2, is a classic RPG with eight parallel story events that is light on sub-goals and tracking systems, and this gives the player a lot of freedom in how they approach it, apart from having to keep up with the leveling curve. However, I found myself making lists for them in my notes app: improved order to tackle quests, dungeons organized by recommended level, items to track down, etc.

None of this bodes well for my time with The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom’s Tears. But, just like I was six years ago Breath of the WildI’m amazed at how much the game encourages free-form, organic play, real exploration, and real adventure.

In the evening I launched it with maybe two or three goals in mind – clearing some shrines I saw, moving on to the next temple and exploring a new part of the depths. Three hours later I was only halfway to my first goal, having had many surprising adventures and many surprising discoveries along the way. I’ve done things that wouldn’t be on any list: take out a Battle Talus disguised as a Bokoblin (and turn her heart into a hammer), take part in a skydiving competition, hunt shooting star shards, and rank the cutest seals. I followed my nose, playing with a curious, experimental and free-spirited style and not worrying about making progress. I let one side path (like exploring a cave) swing excitingly into another (like building a vehicle to push a stranded Korok back to its friend), taking me farther off the path I had planned . You have just been present in the wonderful world created by Nintendo. Hectic and fun as Kingdom of Tears It could, in fact, you can call it conscious.

Photo: Nintendo EBD/Nintendo

How did Nintendo’s team led by Eiji Onuma and Hidamaru Fujibayashi do? I wish I knew – like many game designers, I’m sure. Breath of the Wild It’s often referred to as an influencer, but over the past six years there’s been a noticeable lack of games that have managed to match it, especially in this regard. Few open-world AAA games can successfully hide the spreadsheets they’re built on. If it were easy, we’d have more games that could make us feel this way. But there are few clues.

Kingdom of TearsThe world map looks effortlessly natural, but it’s designed with a relentless focus on sightlines: there’s always a view, and within that view, there’s always something to look at. This is accompanied by a visual design that emphasizes readability from a distance, with sharp silhouettes and colorful highlights to catch the eye. With all the clever physics systems, it feels like a busy living world, but it’s also important that it feels that way too, which is where the meticulous craftsmanship of Nintendo’s artists comes into play. This was all true in Breath of the Wildand all this is doubly emphasized by the striking verticality of the Kingdom of TearsIt is a world of three layers of surface, air and cavernous depths.

Then there is the diversity of this world and the level of craftsmanship in its construction. Unlike many open world games, this one doesn’t feel like a landscape filled with a box of cookie content types. Each enemy camp, minigame, or cave system is unique and seems to grow organically out of the landscape: those bokoblins wheeling a treasure chest in a wagon through the wilderness seem to have somewhere to go. I wonder what they carry? Why is this heavenly island shaped like a giant whirlpool? You are drawn to these POIs not because of the map locator, but because they look interesting; You’ve never seen someone like that That for. Even in this context Kingdom of TearsThe scariest combos, like the Korok Seeds, don’t present themselves as a to-do list, as they’re very carefully embedded (in the hundreds!) into an already rich world, rather than being sprinkled on the map like many share bait.

Photo: Nintendo EBD/Nintendo

The new cave systems are a good example of how this can be done Kingdom of Tears Constantly misleading you. Their attractive entrances aren’t portals to the little dungeons that send you back to the start when you’re done. Instead, they lead you down winding underground paths, usually far from where you’re going. Eventually you climb to the top of a new hill, with a new view, and discover new things to investigate.

If you want to immerse yourself in more Kingdom of TearsSpartan Pro’s interface removes most of the HUD elements. in its standard form, tears It provides a lot of information, but with the exception of one pulsating quest marker on the mini-map, none of it pertains to what you should do next. There are the map pins you set yourself (perhaps using your telescope to survey the landscape), and there are the time, weather, temperature, your health, skills and your geographic coordinates. Meanwhile, the task tracker is rather primitive and only seen in the menu.

This tells you something Kingdom of TearsSoftware developers believe it matters: where you are and what conditions and tools you have at your disposal. No What should you do. That, as with so much in the wonderfully unpredictable Discovery Engine, is up to you. With their technical ingenuity and fun, the developers have given me permission to stop improving, stop performing, stop ticking things off my checklists, and just try the game they made.

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