The Legend of Zelda: Gauntlet of Fates is the latest entry in the Legend of Zelda action RPG series developed by Revelation Heroes Entertainment as part of their partnership with Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch and Nexus. Development began in late 2017, and the game was released in 2018.
Gauntlet of Fates follows the lead of its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, by giving players an open world to explore with a vast array of features, while returning to the previous games more linear story-telling, but also has heavier RPG elements. It also departs from many of the previous games story-telling, by having a much older Link who has already battled and beaten Ganondorf. Its overall tone is also generally less upbeat than most Zelda games.
As with its predecessor, Breath of the Wild, Gauntlet of Fates features a fully open-world, though rather than allowing the player to go through the game in any order they choose, the main plot is linear, but the open-world is filled with a slew of random encounters and side-quests, as well as several secret areas to discover.
Taking control of Link, players explore the kingdom of Hyrule with actions such as running, climbing, swimming, and gliding with a paraglider, although he is limited by his stamina. Link once again acquires key items which are used to explore the environment, though many of them are optional or serve multiple purposes. Players can also obtain various food and materials, such as meat from hunted animals, wild fruit, and parts from defeated enemies. By cooking combinations of food or materials, the player can create meals and elixirs that can replenish Link's health and stamina, or provide temporary status bonuses such as increased strength or weather resistance. Link is now also capable of crafting weapons.
Link is once again is able to learn and cast spells, many of which have uses in and out of combat. Casting spells costs mana, which slowly recharges when not in use. As Link progresses through the game, he will earn experience points, which eventually leads to leveling up. Unlike other games, levels act more like a rank system, being recognized by NPC's in the game who will then grant access to new services and goods. Levelling up also gives a small boost to Link's base damage, ensuring that as the player progresses through the game they will gradually become stronger in combat. Link is now also capable of unarmed combat, which he can improve by training, wearing certain armours, or drinking potions.
Weapon degradation returns, though only weaker weapons and shields like Bokoblin Clubs or Rusty Swords break when they reach zero 'health'. Instead of breaking, most weapons and shields become 'degraded'. Degraded weapons deal half their usual damage, and degraded shields cannot block any damage. Degraded weapons and shields can be repaired manually by Link using materials, or for a small fee at a blacksmith. Legendary weapons such as the Master Sword cannot be repaired in this way, but instead slowly fix themselves over time. Link can also equip various different pieces of armour, though each armour set serves a unique purpose and has a set defence value.
For the first time, Link can also ride multiple animals, each with unique abilities; the horse, Epona, the great stag Denaius, the bear king Shandala, the elderly turtle Petra, or the lone wolf Moro. These animals can be made stronger and faster by training them or buying equipment for them. Link can also unlock fast travel points in the form of camping stops and inns. Link can also fast travel to properties he has bought, which range from houses to farms, many of which passively provide income or other bonuses for Link. Link is also able to find pets which will aid him in combat.
The open world is also much more populated than in Breath of the Wild, with multiple towns and settlements for Link to explore, take on side quests, and make new friends. NPC's inhabiting these settlements include merchants, quest givers, and potential allies who may provide aid to Link in other ways. The Zora, Gorons, Gerudo, Hylians, Sheikah and Rito all return alongside new races, each with their own unique architecture and societies.
Years ago, the latest reincarnation of the hero Link claimed the master sword and defeated the dark lord Ganondorf in battle, narrowly avoiding death in the process. However, to do so he ignored the warnings of Zelda and did not reclaim the Gauntlet of Fates. Zelda warned that the veil of death would not likely hold Ganondorf, and he may return. Scarred from the battle and not wishing to live the life of a hero, Link fled to live in the woods.
Ten years later, Link has built himself a hut in the forest, surviving off of the bountiful crops and the plentiful beasts to hunt. During a hunt (which serves as the game's tutorial), Link is able to track and slay a deer. Before he can claim his prey, however, he is attacked by Ursadan, the game's first boss. It is a boar that has been corrupted by a dark influence.
Returning to his abode, Link is haunted by nightmares of his duel with Ganondorf. Link is incapacitated by Ganondorf, who gloats by grabbing Zelda, scarring her face when she retaliates.
Link is awoken by a soldier, who announces the arrival of the Queen of Hyrule. As Link steps out, Zelda, obviously older than when Link last saw her, sends her guards away. She tells Link that Ganondorf's soul has returned, and he will soon have a physical form with which to terrorize Hyrule. Link refutes her, stating "I'm not a hero anymore." Zelda makes a final plea for Link to meet her at Hyrule castle town. After additional coaxing from Nil, Link and Epona ride to Hyrule.
Return to Hyrule
|Link||The latest reincarnation of the legendary hero, Link thought he had completed his quest when he slew Ganondorf 10 years ago. Now 26 years old, Link hasn't seen civilisation in a decade. Haunted by his encounter with Ganon and vague memories of his past lives, Link reluctant to finish what he started a decade ago.|
|Queen Zelda of Hyrule/Sheik||Her father having been killed by Ganondorf, Zelda has long struggled to be both the Priestess of Hylia and the Queen of Hyrule. With Link refusing to take up his appointed role, she has also taken the time to hone her already considerable skills so she can defend her kingdom personally as the warrior Sheik.|
|Malon||Link's childhood friend, Malon runs her families ranch while her father drinks and gambles in Hyrule Castle Town. Having been mostly alone since her friend entered seclusion, Malon retains many of the characteristics she held as a child. She provides support to Link and will look after his animal companions when they are not by his side.|
|The Hero of Ages Past/Nil||A manifestation of Link's past incarnations, the Hero guides Link on his journey by offering advice and guidance when requested, similar to previous companions. In fact, the Hero will mention the likes of Navi, Fi and Midna.|
|Denaius||Link's deer companion|
|Shandala||Link's bear companion.|
|Moro||Link's wolf companion. Moro is a large white wolf who lives in the forests, and will join Link if he proves himself worthy.|
|Petra||A wise old sea turtle that will carry Link across bodies of water.|
- The game contains numerous references to the Studio Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, such as the name of Link's wolf companion, Moro. The first boss was also inspired by the film.