The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Link Ascend ability is horrible nightmare fuel if you get stuck

Tears of the Kingdom’s Ascend Ability Is Horrible, Horrible Nightmare Fuel

Link’s Ascend ability is, according to some, the most useful ability in the whole of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. But for me it’s a horrible, horrible nightmare just waiting to happen. And every time I reluctantly use it, I’m convinced I’m about to doom the Legendary Swordsman to, at best, an agonizing death.

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Frankly, I’m baffled that no one else sees it that way. I can’t be the only one who watches Link launch himself through the ceiling and imagines him just… stopping, his twitching legs protruding from a wall of solid rock.

When he emerges from the other side, tapping A is usually enough to free him, but what if, one day, that prompt isn’t there? What if, in trying to solve a shrine, you’d condemned him to spend the rest of his life half in and half out of that slab?

That might sound like an unlikely scenario, but this is a world where, even before the Gloom seeped out of the ground, you only had to breathe on a weapon and it would break. Why should I put any more trust in Link’s Zonai-given abilities?

Why does Ascend give me the chills in Tears of the Kingdom? My love of horror is largely to blame. In fact, it’s probably down to one novel in particular, Darkfall, by Stephen Laws. This was one of the first “proper” horror books I ever read, and it scared the living daylights out of me.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Link Ascend ability is horrible nightmare fuel if you get stuck

It featured a phenomenon, an otherworldly lightning storm, that resulted in people being sucked into the walls of buildings. But instead of just dying, they were somehow preserved, still alive, within the structure.

At least most of them were — a handful were disgorged from the walls, changed. So even if you weren’t touching one of the walls when the Darkfall was in effect, you were in danger of being mauled by some half-human, half-concrete abomination.

It might sound a little Garth Marenghi when I describe it, but it’s a fantastic read and I still dip into it every now and again. Coupled with all the horror media I’ve since consumed, I’m inclined to see the unsettling. If there’s a disturbing angle to be had, there’s every chance I’ll wander down that gloomy mental alleyway.

So, unless a situation forces me to use it, such as getting into a mayoral candidate’s shed, I’ve found myself steering clear of Ascend. Just thinking about it gives me an unpleasant sensation in the pit of my stomach.

The revelation as to the true nature of Ascend should have put me in a better frame of mind. It turns out that, instead of actually clipping through the surface in question, the world is temporarily erased and Link is transported to a dark green box.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Link Ascend ability is horrible nightmare fuel if you get stuck

Instead, I found myself considering an equally terrible fate, entombed alive without the slimmest hope of rescue. What are Zelda, Purah, and the other Hyrulians going to do? Dig into a void that exists outside normal space? So, on top of my previous unease, I ended up thinking about the horrors of premature burial.

I know I’m missing out on all sorts of shortcuts and silly shenanigans. Maybe you’re awestruck by the sheer wonder of Ascend in Tears of the Kingdom, fascinated that you can use it to get the drop on Stone Taluses; I’m thinking about that one episode of Doctor Who but with Link’s face fused to the paving slab.

So for me, Ascend is off limits unless Tears of the Kingdom downright forces me to use it. I’ll never get to fly right up a statue’s ass, and I’ll just have to live with losing out on that experience.


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Author
Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.