Tears of the Kingdom’s Tulin is a little sweetie. The young Rito is spunky, determined, and ready to take on the world for the good of his fellow bird people. He has a cute scream/warble that he lets out every time you ask him to gust. And his presence makes me want to deactivate his summoning seal every time I shoot a bird for its precious drumsticks, like an adulterous movie character turning their spouse’s picture down during an illicit tryst. Immersion! So, you know, I like the kid. But he’s no Revali.
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, your toolset always felt a little incomplete until you finished the Rito quest line. Sure, Daruk’s Protection was helpful in a pinch and Urbosa’s Fury was useful for crowd control, but Revali’s Gale changed the game for traversal. The power could be used three times before it needed to recharge and each use gave you a burst of wind that lifted you high up into the air. You could use this to scout the area around you if you needed to find a pesky shrine, or chain three updrafts together and scale a mountain in under a minute. It was incredibly useful. Each BOTW playthrough has distinct pre-Revali’s Gale and post-Revali’s Gale phases, and the latter is much more fun.
So it’s a bummer that Revali’s Gale has been replaced by Vow of Tulin, Sage of Wind. I wrote recently about how much less stamina matters in Tears of the Kingdom than it did in Breath of the Wild, and the removal of Revali’s Gale seems to stem from the same design changes. In Breath of the Wild, you had one reliable way to get up a mountain — climbing. In Tears of the Kingdom, you have many. Hot air balloons, ramps made out of logs Ultrahanded together, using Ascend in a cave, piloting a plane to the peak, et cetera. For that reason, including Revali's Gale might undercut the fun that Tears of the Kingdom is most focused on offering. This is a game that gives you roughly 1,000 ways to get from here to there, and an ability as immediately powerful as Revali's Gale would render most of them unnecessary.
Plus, Revali's Gale might feel like a weird middle ground in this brave, new version of Hyrule. It would take you high enough to scale a mountain, sure. But, if unchanged from the version in BOTW, it wouldn't give you enough lift to reach the sky islands. It would be overpowered and underpowered at the same time. And its function is already fulfilled, to an extent, by Skyview Towers, which shoot Link into the air like a cannonball.
There would be problems with bringing it back, but that doesn't mean I can't miss it. Tulin's gust just doesn't have the juice. I still use it, in the same way you might spam the roll button in an earlier Zelda game. But when you're attempting to travel between islands, his box fan burst won't get you where you need to go. It's good in a pinch — say, if you're ten feet from the closest island with no stamina left — but that's about it.
Nintendo has already patched Tears of the Kingdom to remove glitches (like, unfortunately, the helpful duplication glitch), but if I could have one wish granted, it would be for the developer to extend the distance that Vow of Tulin can carry you. You're a nice kid, Tulin. But you're no Revali.