If you’re like a lot of people playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, you might still be trudging through the first area of the game. Players have reported spending four to seven hours in the tutorial section, which is a fairly surprising amount of time for anyone who just wants to jump into the main campaign or find their way to hot Ganondorf.
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The tutorial area is much larger than it was in Breath of the Wild, which allowed you to peace out as soon as Link grabbed his paraglider. A Kotaku staffer who recently played through the first game estimates that it took him around two hours to get through BotW’s tutorial. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in TotK. As soon as you’re past the opening cinematic, you’re dropped into a series of sky-loft islands. In order to advance to the meat of the story, you have to find and complete four shrines. While this doesn’t sound too horrible, you have to use your Ultrahand to build unique gadgets for navigating the islands. So it requires a lot more popsicle stick engineering to get to places compared to BotW, which was a lot more lax about gating players from exploring its open world.
The tutorial area contains four mandatory shrines that will test your ability to use the Ultrahand’s glowy abilities. They’re not out in the open, either—the final shrine is hidden, and it takes a bit of ingenuity to find it. Contrast this with BotW, where a streamer had accidentally skipped the tutorial shrine and finally figured out how to parry 95 hours into her run. That won’t happen to you here, because the game won’t let you leave until you master the art of gluing 21 logs together.
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“200 hours in BotW and I struggled like a madman on the tutorial,” wrote one Redditor who completed the tutorial in four hours. Two other players spent seven hours in the tutorial. Another spent 10 hours. While most of the challenges are navigation-related, some players are struggling to stay alive against the soldier constructs that still wander the Great Sky Island. Even players who enjoyed TotK admitted that the Great Sky Island outstayed its welcome, or was just really unintuitive about pointing players where they needed to go. One player recommended actually following the quest log in order to avoid being trapped in the tutorial area for all eternity, though it’s still possible to get stuck or throw away hours mucking around with zonai builds.
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Besides, I don’t want to prop open a guide while I explore TotK’s open world. That’s anathema to everything that I adored about BotW: The feeling that adventure was everywhere so long as I was looking for it. The sequel’s tutorial area feels more gated in its early stages despite its massive size, and I’m just hoping that the game changes drastically once I get off this damn island.