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Do you need to play Breath of the Wild before Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?

Tears of the Kingdom might be a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, but you don't need to play them in order.

Link throwing some white Chuchu Jelly at a Boss Bokoblin in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Image credit: Nintendo
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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild. But with six years between their release dates and millions of Nintendo Switch consoles sold in that time, it’s perfectly likely that you never got around to playing Breath of the Wild, or never finished it in time for Tears of the Kingdom.

But don’t sweat, including remakes the legendary Zelda series contains almost 30 games, and you can jump into just about any of them without any prior knowledge other than a passing familiarity with some of the characters (the guy you play as is called Link, Zelda is the princess).

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom still has weapon durability, but you won't care.Watch on YouTube

Do you need to play Breath of the Wild before Tears of the Kingdom?

The simple answer is no, you don’t need to play Breath of the Wild before Tears of the Kingdom.

While the story is a direct continuation of the previous game with some of the same characters and on the same world map, Tears of the Kingdom is relatively self-contained.

Previous encounters with characters from Breath of the Wild are recapped during cutscenes in case you missed them (or played them a full six years ago).

You might have an easier time getting into Tears of the Kingdom if you’ve already played Breath of the Wild though. The physics-based platforming and combat can take some getting used to and, even though that’s part of the fun, you will probably plummet to your doom or get smacked around the head less often if you already know the controls.

However, with that said, Tears of the Kingdom has a brilliant introductory area that does a great job of grounding both new and returning players in the game’s mechanics. There are also plenty of new powers and abilities to master, so even if you’re coming in fresh you won’t be too far behind others with previous experience.

The analogy I like to use comes from another famous Nintendo series, Pokemon. Even if you’ve never watched the original series of the Pokemon anime, you can quickly gather in later series that Ash is friends with Brock and Misty and enemies with Team Rocket.

In Tears of the Kingdom, you can quickly gather that Link is friends with Prince Sidon of the Zora and Lady Riju of the Gerudo and enemies with the Yiga Clan, even if you’re not 100% clued into their history together.

As I said, important story beats from Breath of the Wild that are referenced in Tears of the Kingdom are re-shown during cutscenes, so you don’t need to have played Breath of the Wild to enjoy Tears of the Kingdom!

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