The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom can be overwhelming with all the choice it gives you. It gives you so little guided direction when you fall to Hyrule’s surface that you can straight up miss crucial tools like the paraglider if you wander off on your own. If you find yourself trapped by your own indecision and don’t know where to start, worry not. We’re here to talk about which order to tackle the four temples.
The objectively correct answer is the Wind Temple in Rito Village. Each temple gives you a new ability thanks to the sage you’ll fight alongside in each story quest. You can take these new skills out into the rest of Tears of the Kingdom’s world, but not until you finish the temple itself. While navigating the Wind Temple, the Rito archer Tulin gives you a gust maneuver that propels Link forward while he’s gliding. I can’t tell you how many times I was able to cross great distances only because of this move and I didn’t even need an endless flight exploit. Having it throughout my journey through Hyrule was invaluable, and I’m happy I lucked into it by heading to Rito Village first.
Really, nothing is as useful as Tulin’s ability from the Wind Temple, but Sidon’s ability at the Water Temple in Zora’s Domain definitely has the most universal utility of the remaining three. Here, you get an ability that gives you a water shield that will protect you from one hit, and can be used to sling a water-based projectile with a swing of your melee weapon. The projectile I can take or leave, but the shield definitely helped me in a few fights in the temples that followed.
On top of Sidon’s ability, you’ll also get the Zora Armor, something that not only lets you swim up waterfalls, but also helps you in traversal, as well. It’s more situational than Tulin’s gust, but it’s still good to have for when you come across a waterfall that leads up to an otherwise unreachable sky island.
The abilities you get at the Lightning and Fire Temples are novel, but they don’t have the same application as Tulin and Sidon’s. Yunobo and Riju’s abilities are really neat, and have some combat uses, but when it comes to what will help you most throughout the game, they aren’t as high on the priority list. So the Fire and Lightning Temples can probably be tackled in whichever order calls to you, but you will get some good weapons and loot during the Gerudo quests that might be helpful later. So if you’re really unsure about which to handle first, maybe head over to Gerudo Town first, then Goron City and handle their respective temples.
Broadly, Tears of the Kingdom lets you approach these temples in any order, but after you’ve played them all, it’s pretty clear which are worth prioritizing and will help you both in other temples and every other quest and goal you have in Tears of the Kingdom. So whatever you choose to do, just know that you should have gone to the Wind Temple, and not going to it will just make the game worse for you on purpose.