My To-Play List Before Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom!

When The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom launches on May 12th, it seems likely that all of my gaming time (and most of everyone else’s) will be put into it for the foreseeable future afterwards. I mean, that new trailer is incredible! Therefore, I’m currently finishing off a bunch of my in-progress games beforehand – one of which is directly relevant to Tears of the Kingdom.

So for this post, I’m going back to my “To-Play List” format which I started a few months ago – it’s an ideal way to list the games I’m currently absorbed in, and talk about my progress through them so far! Writing posts like these has been an effective way at motivating myself to get through my backlog without getting distracted, and hopefully you all get something out of them as well. Subsequently, I hope you enjoy this post; and I’d also love to know which games you’re playing in the comments below! Let’s get into the list, then…


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Let’s start with a game obviously connected to Tears of the Kingdom! As I mentioned in my #LoveYourBacklog post, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a game I’ve been perennially partway-through ever since purchasing the game in late 2020, but I’ve recently been going back to it, as I’d really like to finish it before Tears of the Kingdom releases. The game is developed by KOEI TECMO, and is in keeping with the 1v100 combat they’re known for in Dynasty Warriors and now the subsequent spin-offs such as Fire Emblem Warriors and the original Hyrule Warriors. The sequel Age of Calamity is set 100 years before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and tells an alternate-timeline version of events.

The story starts with a small Guardian named Terrako, which travels back in time to before the Great Calamity. Its presence changes events, but these are still the same characters we got to know during memory sequences in Breath of the Wild, and its fascinating to be in the middle of how events go down – even if it’s not exactly the same canon as Breath of the Wild. A staple of TECMO KOEI’s Warriors games is having many playable characters, and this synergises well with the many personable characters already established in the world. Of course you have Link, but playing as Zelda, a younger Impa, the four Champions, and many more is a genuine thrill. I mainly played as Mipha as she was my favourite character in Breath of the Wild!

The many cutscenes within the main story missions give us plenty of endearing interactions between all these characters, and I especially enjoyed the more relaxed conversations between the Champions. It allows their personalities to shine more, and it makes the idea of returning to this world in Tears of the Kingdom even more exciting. This is my most positive takeaway from Age of Calamity.

All of this might make you wonder how I’ve never gotten around to finishing Age of Calamity. Sadly, I don’t fully gel with the 1v100 combat style, and I find the gameplay overdone in long sessions. Instead, I tend to pick up and play the game for short segments as a time, and with the huge amount of side quests and errands available, it’s led to me gradually edging through the game at a slow pace. Unless you’re in one of the combo attacks, gameplay (and especially movement) can be quite clunky. Sometimes arenas feel constricting, which is the complete opposite of the revolutionary freedom in Breath of the Wild. Those aforementioned combos look visually bombastic, but after you’ve seen them a few times, they lose some of their appeal. Age of Calamity does at least bring over the large range of vibrant enemy and location types in Breath of the Wild to shake things up.

I’m now very near the end of the story, which I’ll get around to when I stop getting distracted by all the side quests and unlocking more abilities for Mipha! Waiting for me after finishing the main story are the two DLC chapters contained in the Expansion Pass, containing new gameplay and story content. I’m definitely hoping to fit these in before Tears of the Kingdom as well!


Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly

I really enjoyed Coffee Talk from the Indonesian developer Toge Productions, with my main criticism being that I would’ve liked more content in the first game (see my review here!). So, the newly-released sequel named Hibiscus & Butterfly is the ideal remedy for that. It looks like more of the same, which is a great thing – though I’m sure there are new ingredients and recipes to brew up for the varied range of customers.

Seeing familiar faces from the first game plus plenty of new characters is an enticing prospect. The original Coffee Talk carved itself a unique place in the visual novel genre through its laid-back barista aesthetic and soundtrack, as well as the unique blend of reality and fantasy in the diverse customers you serve. Aliens, werewolves, and plenty more are standard in this world, and I hope the conversations in the sequel are just as intriguing as the first.

This shouldn’t be too much of a time sink, so I’m hoping to fit it in as a nice palette cleanser before Tears of the Kingdom consumes my life next month! Because of this, I might leave it until early May.


Resident Evil 4 Remake

Considering I’m near the end of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and other games such as Coffee Talk Episode 2 shouldn’t take me too long to finish, it’s Resident Evil 4 that will likely be the one I spend most time playing before Tears of the Kingdom. As is well-documented in many reviews and articles on this website, I have become a huge Resident Evil fan over the past few years, so the new remake of the iconic Resident Evil 4 is unsurprisingly high on my To-Play List!

I haven’t started the game yet, mainly because when it released last month, I was in the middle of finally playing Horizon Forbidden West. Once I’ve finished off Age of Calamity, I plan to play through RE4, and I’m excited to do so! Resident Evil 4 is known for bringing Resident Evil into third-person and melding in more of an action tone to the horror, before the series took that further in Resident Evil 5 and then too far in Resident Evil 6. Remaking such a seminal game in the vein of the recent Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 was a bold (if inevitable) prospect, but by the soundbites I’ve heard over the last month, the game has turned out exceptionally well. I’ve avoided too many spoilers about what they’ve kept the same and what they’ve changed, though I’m glad to hear they’ve remedied at least some of the poor treatment of female characters in the original game.

The Resident Evil 3 remake was my favourite game of 2020, so it should come as no surprise that I love the new UI, gameplay styles, and gorgeous RE Engine visuals that the remakes have been utilising. Resident Evil 4 is a full but not overlong game, so I think it’s very achievable to fit this in before Tears of the Kingdom. It’s also very different to Zelda, so should be a good contrast – even if it looks like Tears of the Kingdom isn’t short of some fantasy-horror vibes…


Lost Sphear

Here’s a game that I’ve always meant to get back to, but keep putting off despite being roughly halfway in. Lost Sphear is a classically designed 2017 JRPG by Tokyo RPG Factory, who developed the superb I Am Setsuna (2016) and most recently Oninaki in 2019. I own Oninaki, but have never started it because I feel I should finish Lost Sphear first. In this gap before Tears of the Kingdom, Lost Sphear is a game I’d love to go back to and finish off.

I actually wrote a 10 Hours With… post on Lost Sphear WAY back in January 2018 (which is somehow 6 years ago?!). At the time, I noted that Lost Sphear was a solid adventure with an absorbing story, but did have many generic JRPG elements that made it a bit repetitive so soon after I Am Setsuna. After such a long time away, I think this would be less of an issue for me now. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the crisp colour palette and visuals, with the map that fills in chunk-by-chunk in a really satisfying way.

Just as satisfying would be finishing Lost Sphear and ticking it off of my backlog, so that I can play Oninaki later in the year!


Horizon Forbidden West

Hold on, I hear you say, I though you finally played this and got it off of your To-Play list after literal years of talking about it? Nope, and this isn’t even about the launch of the recent The Burning Shores DLC, as I don’t have a PS5 and the DLC is agonisingly PS5-exclusive. One day I’ll probably get a PS5 and catch up on that. For now, I simply want to go back to Horizon Forbidden West to play the postgame and explore more of the world – and perhaps even get that Platinum Trophy…

To be clear, this is pretty rare for me. Usually, once I’ve finished a game and written something about it, I feel like I’m done with it and I look for the next game to play. However, because Forbidden West is such an incredibly realised world, I want to go back and explore for many more hours. It took me around 60 hours to finish the story, but there’s so much left to uncover, whether it be the dungeon-esque Machine Cauldrons, the challenging Hunting Grounds, or acquiring the rarest gear in the game.

Oh, and there’s of course the Photo Mode which I’d love to play around with even more. Perhaps to make a third Gaming Photo Album to follow on from my first and second sets… ?

Basically, the shortened version of this is that Horizon Forbidden West is phenomenal and will keep me coming back for plenty more hours to come!


Thanks for reading this list of what I’m playing, and what I plan to play in the roughly three weeks before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom takes over my life! I plan for my final post before May 12th to be an update on this list, where I talk about whether I completed these games, and also my developing thoughts on each of them.

As always, I hope you have an amazing day, and I’ll be back next week!

3 thoughts on “My To-Play List Before Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom!

  1. That’s a tall list of games to finish in the span of 3 weeks. Best of luck! I guess the nice thing is that Zelda is going to be a dense enough game that there isn’t really an immediate rush to play it, so you can probably finish up an RE4R playthrough before you start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ūüôā It’d definitely be daunting if I wasn’t already partway through half of them – I actually finished the Age of Calamity story on the weekend. Like you allude to, RE4R will probably be my biggest time investment (I remember the original being around 15 hours to finish for me).

      You make a good point – with such a huge game as Zelda will probably be, it almost feels as though spoilers are less of an issue. I remember how Breath of the Wild became a game players would swap unique stories about, because the big discoveries were the gameplay physics and what you could do with them, instead of the story beats themselves. I’m sure there’ll be a similar situation with TotK!

      Like

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