Though The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom did an excellent job of reimagining a familiar Hyrule, the changes made to Eventide Island seem to have overlooked the potential this notorious location had following on from Breath of the Wild. As one of the game's more interesting and challenging shrine quests, Eventide Island was a testament to players' wits and ingenuity to prove they had mastered Breath of the WIld's various abilities, mechanics, and strategies when stripped back to the very basics. But The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom falls short of attempting to deliver the same challenge, leaving the island as little more than optional exploration.
This could be because Tears of the Kingdom's introduction of Zonai devices or Link's Fuse ability added an intricate layer of mechanics the challenge would have to account for, but this shouldn't have stopped Nintendo from capitalizing on the opportunity to double down and test players' mettle once more. Beyond a shrine, a King Gleeok, and a few rewards such as a Sage's Will or Midna's Helmet, what Eventide Island offers is limited and undermines its original purpose. With three different map levels, new abilities, and many new enemies, Eventide Island could have been Tears of the Kingdom's defining trial for players.
Tears of the Kingdom's Shrines Took Over Eventide Island's Role
In Breath of the Wild, players would encounter various shrine challenges that pitted them against Guardians of varying difficulty. To likely not repeat itself, Tears of the Kingdom seems to instead coopt the idea behind Eventide Island which empties the player's inventory and tasks them with defeating a shrine's worth of Constructs, with each shrine utilizing a certain gimmick respectively. While this does mean that Tears of the Kingdom's shrines can explore a player's understanding and ingenuity with its various mechanics and abilities, it did mean that Eventide Island could no longer present its original challenge.
This too could also avoid the potential criticism that between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom Eventide Island remained the same, but arguably it could have accomplished what the various new shrines could not. By introducing an area that allowed players the freedom to approach the challenge however they preferred, Eventide Island could have been the ultimate test of all Tears of the Kingdom's elements in unison. This could have been easily achieved by limiting the number of available Zonai devices or rationing the resources players have to use, cook, or fuse to enhance themselves or their gear.
Eventide Island Could Have Reflected All Tears of the Kingdom's Changes
Given that the original Eventide Island was limited to just the island itself in Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom had the opportunity to expand this area significantly. Not only could it have introduced sky islands above Eventide as part of the trial, but even the game proves this could extend to the Depths as well with a self-contained area below. By incorporating these three areas as part of the trial, Tears of the Kingdom could have seen players take on the challenging journey going from ground level up to the sky islands and then into the Depths below as a natural progression.
This would reflect the same approach Tears of the Kingdom's new labyrinth puzzles have, which sees players tackle the labyrinth on the ground first, then in the sky, all before diving into the Depths for a final enemy encounter. Crucially though, Eventide Island would have served as more than just a puzzle and ultimately rewarded the player with a scaling challenge of beginning from nothing before becoming a force to be reckoned with by its conclusion. Similarly, just as the player improves, so too would the enemies. They could start from basic Bokoblins before graduating to more difficult foes such as Gibdos, Constructs, and other mini-bosses.
Despite Changing, Eventide Island Has More Potential For Tears of the Kingdom
For its original role, Eventide Island was a complex shrine quest that required far more time and effort from players than arguably any other shrine all for the same reward. Though this was never a major criticism for Breath of the Wild, it might have felt underwhelming to some players if they underwent a more extensive ordeal for another shrine quest. Nintendo seems to unconsciously acknowledge this, as players will need to clear out dangerous Tears of the Kingdom enemies and encampments before accessing the shrine, meaning that, unlike Breath of the Wild, they will have their full inventory at the ready to help during combat.
In fact, many of the things to do and rewards to be gained on the island are optional but worthwhile to interested players. Midna's Helmet, for instance, is both fan service and Gloom-resistant, while the Sage's Will helps toward enhancing the Sages' strength. This does strike a better balance than forcing players to "complete" the island fully, but this could have inspired a better reward overall should Eventide Island have retained its purpose from Breath of the Wild. Instead of just one Sage's Will or a self-referential armor piece, Eventide Island could have offered something significant for its completion.
What this reward will remain uncertain, but given that less intensive quests give players the Fierce Deity armor set and sword from Majora's Mask, then Eventide Island could have offered more than just Midna's Helmet from Twilight Princess. For instance, its final reward could have been the Ancient armor set from Breath of the Wild, albeit with its proficiency modified due to the game's absent Guardians. Alternatively, it could have introduced an all-new armor set, such as one which boosts defense as a Barbarian armor counterpart or one which increases attack for in-air combat.
The last remaining option for Tears of the Kingdom's interpretation of Eventide Island could have seen it become its very own optional dungeon. The "boss" encounter with King Gleeok, the area extending between multiple levels of the map, and its self-contained nature are all hallmarks that make Eventide Island the ideal candidate for dungeon material. There's a chance this potential could be explored for future DLC, but in the meantime, players may have to settle with the unassuming leftovers of Breath of the Wild.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available now on Nintendo Switch.