The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a massive game. You can easily lose yourself in the game just trying to figure out where to go next. For some, that’s part of the appeal. For others, that can occasionally be quite frustrating. We’re here to help the latter group today.
Specifically, we’re going to be covering two topics: how to beat Tears of the Kingdom as quickly as possible and how to work your way through the main story at a “recommended” pace. Either path will get you to the ending, though only the bravest and best will survive the speedrunning method.
Tears of the Kingdom: How to Follow the Main Story Quests
If you’d rather play Tears of the Kingdom the “right” way by following the game’s main story quests…well who can blame you. Trying to skip the rest of the game is a real nightmare.
To see Tears of the Kingdom‘s main story, you’ll need to complete the game’s main story quests. Here are all 23 main story quests in Tears of the Kingdom:
– The Closed Door
– To The Kingdom of Hyrule
– Regional Phenomena
– Crisis at Hyrule Castle
– Camera Works in the Depths
– Tulin of Rito Village
– Yunobo of Goron City
– The Sludge-Covered Statue
– The Broken Slate
– Restoring the Zora Armor
– Clues to the Sky
– Sidon of the Zora
– Riju of Gerudo Town
– Find the Fifth Sage
– Trail of the Master Sword
– Recovering the Hero’s Sword
– Secret of the Ring Ruins
– Guidance from Ages Past
– A Mystery in the Depths
– Impa and the Geoglyphs
– Tears of the Dragon
– Find Princess Zelda
– Destroy Ganondorf
The list above is presented a rough recommended order of completion. However, the majority of the game’s main quests can be completed in any order that you wish.
Looking for a little more info? Here is the recommended main story progression order for Tears of the Kingdom in terms of where to go next:
– Great Sky Island (Tutorial)
– Lookout Landing
– Rito Village
– Goron City
– Zora’s Domain
– Gerudo Desert
– Lookout Landing/Hyrule Castle
That should lead you into the endgame, which should be pretty self-explanatory once you reach it. Just know that you will obviously need to farm resources and gear along the way in order to survive some of the challenges that you’ll face by following this path. As such, be sure to complete what Shrines and sidequests you can in order to work your way to the endgame.
Typically, The Closed Door, To The Kingdom of Hyrule, Regional Phenomena, and Crisis at Hyrule Castle will be completed first. Those are the quests that get you through the tutorial and allow you to acquire the paraglider. Similarly, Find Princess Zelda and Destroy Ganondorf will always be the last quests you complete (even though Find Princess Zelda is one of the first ones you receive). Find the Fifth Sage through Tears of the Dragon can also only be completed after clearing the four main temples, which is why they are presented in the order shown above. Other than that, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to how you complete main story quests and in which order.
Interestingly, it also seems that you can only get Tears of the Kingdom‘s full ending if you complete the Find the Fifth Sage quest. Otherwise, you will not see what is best described as a post-credits scene. However, we’ll cover the narrative/lore implications of that scene another day.
How to Beat Tears of the Kingdom
To beat Tears of the Kingdom, you technically only need to defeat the game’s final boss: Demon King Ganondorf. Much like Breath of the Wild, it’s possible to do that very early into the game. Unlike Breath of the Wild, you can’t quite do it from the very start of the game, though. You have to complete a few required processes first.
Most notably, you can’t beat Tears of the Kingdom until you’ve completed every shrine in the Great Sky Island starting area. These shrines give you your core set of abilities, which you will need to reach the final boss. If there is a way to glitch through this entire starting area and go right to Ganondorf, it hasn’t been discovered yet.
Once you have completed that tutorial area, you’ll need to go get the paraglider. Again, there may be a way to skip this part of the process, but it hasn’t been discovered yet. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to acquire the paraglider. This guide will tell you how to do that.
With the paraglider in hand, head to Hyrule Castle. However, Ganondorf isn’t in the castle. He’s in the area below called Hyrule Castle Chasm. You’ll need the paraglider to dive into that chasm and safely land in the area below. There, you’ll find a special area called “Gloom’s Approach.” This is an incredibly dangerous area filled with some of the toughest enemies in the game and environmental hazards. It’s meant to serve as Tears of the Kingdom‘s final challenge, and it certainly does just that.
I should pause here for a second to clarify a few things:
– This area will take you to the final boss. However, most of the things in this area will kill you in one or two hits if you’re just starting out. Certain environmental hazards will also kill you nearly as quickly without the right resistances/special items. Only the best of the best players will be able to survive in this area at the start of the game.
– While not strictly necessary to reach this area, you will need to farm some weapons and other basic items before you can beat the game. After all, you’ll need something to fight the bosses with. At a minimum, you’re looking for several melee weapons, a bow, arrows, and some health/resistance items. While you can acquire a few high-end items in this area, you don’t have a chance of earning them without going into this part of the game with basic gear. Be sure to come in here moderately prepared.
– Finally, if you’re skipping to this area at the start of the game, you will need to defeat four minibosses before you fight Ganondorf. These are basically slightly modified versions of the temple bosses you “skipped” earlier in the game. The bosses are presented in a “boss rush” format, meaning you have to fight one right after the other. It’s similar to Breath of the Wild in that respect. Of course, these bosses are much more difficult if you skip to them early in the game since you won’t have as much gear when you take them on as you normally would.
Once all of that is done, you’ll finally be able to fight Ganondorf. Demon King Ganondorf is a three-phase fight, and each phase offers its own mechanics. The first two phases see you fight Ganondorf toe-to-toe. Annoyingly, some of Ganondorf’s attacks can lower your max heart level, which is a big problem if you happened to skip to this part of the fight. However, by dodging his attacks, blocking his counters, and counter-attacking when you’re able, you can eventually get him to his third phase.
The third phase is quite interesting. It’s basically an elaborate interactive cutscene that sees you ride the Light Dragon, acquire the Master Sword, and fight Ganondorf’s Demon Dragon form. You can actually acquire the Master Sword before this, though you obviously skipped that part if you’re following this method from the start of the game.
Regardless, you’ll just need to jump off the Light Dragon, glide onto the Demon Dragon, and target the Demon Dragon’s glowing weak points. Avoid the Demon Dragon’s basic attacks, destroy all the weak points, and you’ll eventually reach the game’s ending.
Does all of this sound incredibly difficult? Well, it is. However, it’s not possible. A speedrunner already managed to beat Tears of the Kingdom in about an hour and a half, and they did it via a variation of the technique described above. If you’re looking for some more tips on how to farm the necessary items for this process, this video of their run is probably your best resource.