Exploring the Changes in Hyrule’s Classic Locations
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the massive sequel to Breath of the Wild, builds upon the sturdy foundation of its predecessor. However, fans were divided before its release, wondering whether Tears of the Kingdom would feel like a new game or an expensive DLC add-on, considering it reused the same Hyrule map. Luckily, the former turned out to be true. While Tears of the Kingdom does reuse the map, it introduces new areas like the Sky Islands and a vast underground world. Additionally, the surface world has also undergone significant changes. Ruins falling from the sky and the spread of gloom have transformed old locations. It’s not just the visuals that are different; the people and races of Hyrule are coping with these changes in their own unique ways.
To give you a better understanding of the similarities and differences in Hyrule between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, here are comparisons of seven classic locations. Take a look at how they appear in both games, with Breath of the Wild’s version on the left and Tears of the Kingdom’s on the right. This will give you a sense of the changes that have occurred in Hyrule following Calamity Ganon’s defeat, though there are still plenty of surprises to discover in the sequel.
The Shrine of Resurrection
Breath of the Wild begins with Link waking up in the Shrine of Resurrection, overlooking the beautiful Hyrule landscape. In Tears of the Kingdom, you can revisit this location on the Great Plateau, but you’ll notice significant changes. The layout around the iconic opening cliff is different, and the Shrine of Resurrection itself is gone. However, you can still stand on that memorable cliff and enjoy a similar view of Hyrule. Just keep an eye out for the floating islands and adjusted cliff sides.
Kakariko Village has undergone the most radical transformation between the two games, apart from the floating Hyrule Castle. The arrival of the Sky Islands has left the town surrounded by ring-like ruins. The village now features new wooden pathways that lead researchers to the ruins. This small twist creates the sense that life has dramatically changed for the villagers.
Compared to other locations, Zora’s Domain has experienced the least amount of change. It looks fairly identical in Tears of the Kingdom, with the grand fish structure overseeing a series of winding walkways. One notable difference is the absence of a shrine that used to be inside the domain. The central statue, depicting a Zora champion, has also been replaced to reflect a new hero. Overall, the Zora kingdom remains unaffected by the spread of gloom, although the race is facing water issues.
Gerudo Town undergoes an intriguing change in the sequel. At first glance, it looks the same, with the trees and stalls positioned as before. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice a significant difference—there are no people in the streets of Tears of the Kingdom’s Gerudo Town. This is due to the Gerudo people hiding as a result of the story. This change adds an intriguing dynamic, allowing Link to witness how the race has adapted to life in a sort of fallout shelter within the deserted town. The good news is that Link no longer needs to disguise himself as a Gerudo to enter the town gates.
The Lost Woods
The Lost Woods, appearing in both games, looks similar, but not without new secrets to uncover. Navigating to the center of the woods requires a fresh approach that will challenge Breath of the Wild players. Upon arrival, you will discover that the Korok’s home has been heavily affected by the poisonous gloom. To snap the Deku Tree out of its eerie trance, you will need to find the source of the problem.
Eventide Island was one of the most memorable locations in Breath of the Wild. It was a deserted island that acted as a massive shrine after Link got stranded there. However, in Tears of the Kingdom, the island has undergone a complete transformation. Link can now safely navigate to it to complete a different quest line. As you can see in the screenshot comparisons, the island is now overrun with monsters, making it their base of operations. Nevertheless, a big secret is still hidden on Eventide Island, making it one of the best locations in the sequel.
At the heart of Hyrule lies the massive Hyrule Castle, which plays a significant role in both games. As you can see, there have been major changes to the castle and its surroundings. In Breath of the Wild, the area around the castle was dangerous, filled with poison and Guardians ready to attack Link. However, in Tears of the Kingdom, a thriving town has been built in that space, transforming it into a safe spot for Link to observe the castle and make some gear purchases. Oh, and one more thing—Hyrule Castle is now floating in the sky! You’ll soon find out the reason behind this fascinating change.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is now available on Nintendo Switch.