Tears of the Kingdom's Final Boss Is a Letdown

A demonic to-do list.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is undoubtedly one of the best games Nintendo has ever created, and easily the best Switch exclusive to date. While the boundless freedom afforded by the game’s systems is staggering, the climactic final boss battle doesn’t quite play into that idea of freedom. The final battle isn’t bad, but when everything else in Tears of the Kingdom is so exceptional, it really stands out by just being pretty good.

Warning: Endgame spoilers ahead for Tears of the Kingdom.

The final stretch before Ganondorf feels like an odd difficulty spike in a game so obsessed with being approachable to all players.


Nearly everything in Tears of the Kingdom is meticulously built around innovative new gameplay mechanics like Ultrahand and Fuse, from exploration to puzzles and dungeons. Each boss battle also revolves around using your new abilities creatively.

Here’s where the big problem with Ganondorf’s battle pops up, as there’s no need to use any of those new skills or sage abilities. It’s a knock-down, drag-out slugfest that relies only on Link’s sword and bow skills.

Ganondorf lies at the bottom of a massive chasm in the Depths, at the end of a path filled with tough enemies like Bokoblins, Lynels, Silver Horroblins, and more. The entire area is filled with Gloom, and any hit from any enemy also inflicts Gloom. The only way to heal the heart Gloom blocks off is by eating food with the right effect. There’s nowhere to catch your breath along the way, no shrine by the final boss battle that you can use to get back if you need to leave.

A tough final dungeon and boss isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel antithetical to the spirit of Tears of the Kingdom, which is that there’s never one “right” answer to anything. In those final moments, it suddenly feels like all that agency is stripped away. Those dozens of hours you spent crafting absurd machines suddenly don’t matter, and the time you spent learning how to effectively learn Sage skills don’t matter either.

The third phase, despite being the simplest and easiest, is the only one that feels truly fitting for Tears of the Kingdom.


The third phase of the fight is easily the most memorable, a visually stunning but mechanically simple section where you fight Ganondorf in dragon form, using unique mechanics that tie into your experience of skydiving throughout the game. This third phase is something that feels unique to Tears of the Kingdom, while the other two phases feel like they could be from any action game.

Tears of the Kingdom is an unforgettable experience in every regard, and despite the narrative highs of the ending, the actual experience of fighting that final boss stands out as painfully average. It’s an odd design decision for a game so hyper-focused on freedom and experimentation. At the very least, maybe it’ll be a lesson learned for the inevitable next Zelda game.

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