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Topic: Why do people like Zelda: Breath of the Wild so much?

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AshleyGamer1995

Forgive me on this question and forgive me when I admit this but, I have never played Breath of the Wild on either Wii U or Switch at all. Well, had a quick go with the Switch version a few years ago, getting a brief idea on how it feels as a new game, but that's about it for me.

I played the well-known Zelda games many times before, like twin NES Zeldas, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. But I feel like asking even myself, do NONE of the early Zelda games as these stand up anymore because of this BotW entry being, you know, much Elder Scrolls style? And I have to say of two things or drawbacks for me - Link's not in his "original" green outfit and hat which seemed to suit him better, and sword weapons being breakable now has disheartened me. :/ I prefer them being invincible like they were in most past Zelda titles, 'cause that way you don't have to worry about repairing them or finding new ones again and again.

And with the revealed sequel being Tears of the Kingdom coming next year possibly, I take it, that will be more better than even Breath of the Wild? Not trying to be judgemental or anything, just asking why people seem to like Breath of the Wild and its sequel more than the simple Zelda games of the past. Come on now, aren't the early games still good, fun and interesting even today? Like why throw them away and always stick with modern games like Breath of the Wild here? Whether if it's just my mind seeing that or not, I only wanted to ask about the "phases" thing in life people go through - at first people like that particular game for the time being, and then a new game comes out which then people move on to that and stick with instead...and so on. I don't know, is that even true? Sorry. :/ I don't wish to be the "R.U.D.E." factor, though. No one's perfect in always speaking right, of course. Forgive me again anyway.

Edited on by AshleyGamer1995

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StarPoint

@AshleyGamer1995 I think the majority of people haven't thrown away the "classic" games in the series, as you say. These games are still heavily talked about and are considered some of the greatest games of all time. I think the older games still bring a lot to the table in terms of mechanics and ideas that weren't necessarily carried over into BOTW. Especially things like dungeons and bosses.

Breath of the Wild is such a unique game in the series that I think it's impossible to make the other games irrelevant. Zelda isn't a series like Splatoon where every sequel basically replaces the older games. I would argue that every single game in the series has a unique twist or idea to it that makes it worth checking out. To answer your question about why people today like BOTW more than the past games, it's because BOTW feels accessible and modern. People are really into the open-world genre these days. Plus, slap the Zelda title alongside it and it's an instant buy.

TOTK is likely going to be a lot better than BOTW. I think BOTW is a masterpiece and is one of my favorite games of all time, but it has problems. Lots and lots of problems. I think TOTK is going to iron out these issues and add new things for sure, but again, I highly doubt it'll make BOTW irrelevant. It's likely going to introduce a new twist to the gameplay that shakes things up and makes it feel a lot different from BOTW.

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skywake

Yeah, I really don't think anyone is "throwing away" previous games in the series. They're pretty much all top shelf games and I think on most fan forums there's going to be furious disagreement about how they'd all rank. I mean I loved BotW, easily the best game on the Switch, but I'm still not entirely sure if I'd put it as my #1 Zelda game. I mean it it might be my #1 but there are others that put up a fair case

In terms of where BotW might fall short? I mean for a start I don't think breakable weapons or the tunic Link wears should even be considered downsides. The tunic is trivial, doesn't matter. The breakable weapons? Well they contribute to a core part of what differentiates from other games in the series. BotW is far more about survival/combat/exploration. You can go anywhere in the game from the start but your gear restricts your ability to push on. Weapons being breakable is a LARGE part of making that work. That entire gameplay loop and the polish it was delivered with is why you could easily make the case for BotW being one of the greatest games ever made

For me there were two main things I kinda missed a bit. Music and the larger scaled themed dungeons. Don't get me wrong, BotW is still top tier and the way it's just one big world is great. But it was at the cost of the larger, themed dungeons. While some of the puzzles were great they were all relatively linear, contained and all more or less looked the same. You could shuffle all the dungeons and other than breaking the difficulty curve I'm not sure you'd notice. There was also not much of "walking past this thing 10 times before discovering what it was for" which I would argue is the main Zelda gameplay loop

And with the music, I honestly don't really recall the music in BotW. There was definitely music in there but other than a few character themes and some very specific moments its job was mostly to blend into the background. Which it did well, which is why its hard to recall any of it. Compare that to other games where I can flick through Zelda music in my head and recall a fair bit. Tall Tall Heights, Fire Temple, Lanayru Desert. If I say Song of Storms here you'll now have it stuck in your head all day

But you know what the odd thing is? If you had asked me before BotW what two things I liked most about Zelda I would have probably said the music and the large dungeons. BotW basically threw that away and we ended up with something that I could easily argue is my favourite Zelda game. And that in itself is a bit of a feat. How many other games, hell how many other anything is willing to take that big a risk with a beloved franchise? If nothing else we should praising BotW for that. But the thing is, it's actually also REALLY good

Edited on by skywake

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AshleyGamer1995

@StarPoint Ah yes, so that made sense. Thanks. : ) I'm definitely into open-world games, too! : D Grand Theft Auto, for instance. In fact I'd been doing San Andreas, one of my old faves, on Steam this past week, and have just finished it today. But I WAS thinking about doing Breath of the Wild some day out there...in case if I like something new to do. : O

Edited on by AshleyGamer1995

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Matt_Barber

I'm rather hoping that Tears of the Kingdom will be the best of both worlds, i.e. we get the huge open world of Breath of the Wild but with Skyward Sword style dungeons within it.

Such a game would be an enormous undertaking to make, as that'd represent a good 80-90% of the work for both games, but they've had nearly six years now so my fingers are crossed.

As for what I particularly like about Breath of the Wild, it's that the landscape feels more organic and interactive, thanks in part to the physic engine but also other design choices. You can climb/glide/swim/shield surf pretty much anywhere without bumping into invisible walls. You also get a free rein, with no areas cordoned off for story reasons, once you leave the Great Plateau.

Go back to a game like Skyrim - which I still enjoyed a lot as it has a stronger story with more quests and weapons that don't break - and the landscape feels a bit one note and like something you're passing through to get to the next checkpoint.

Even games like Genshin Impact and Immortals, which are a lot closer to Breath of the Wild in design, don't quite hit the mark as they feel a lot more generic and lack a lot of the niceties of the physics engine.

Matt_Barber

Maxz

As other commenters have said, I think it’s precisely because BotW is such a departure from previous titles that they actually have more relevance now rather than less. If BotW were just Ocarina 3.0, then going back and playing Ocarina itself would be probably just feel like a downgrade.

Zelda games have generally done a good job of differentiating themselves from each other. If you want the Majora’s Mask experience, you have to play Majora’s Mask. Same for Wind Waker. Perhaps Twilight Princess steps on OoT’s toes a little, but they’re still distinct experiences. To me, Skyward Sword feels awkwardly sandwiched between ‘free roaming’ and ‘linear’ styles of gameplay (the same with Spirit Tracks) but those games both have plenty of fans too, and they at least tried to work in a new gimmick.

So yeah, I don’t think Breath really invalidates anything. But I’m very glad the series moved in that direction, because if I wanted to play the old Zelda games… well, I still can.

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KevRin

For me it felt like a fresh open world game. IMO all the others fell like just a skin of the last open world that releases. For example, if you've played an AC game, you've basically played nearly all of the open world games, but that's just me. Not to mention Zelda BOTW doesn't constantly try to take your money after paying for a 60 + Euro Single Player focused game. Obviously BOTW now has games trying to copy it like Genshin Impact and Tower of Fantasy etc but I feel like it started all and I'm glad I played it before the others I mentioned.

Edited on by KevRin

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SoManyHaveDied

because it's the GOAT
forgive me if this sounds douche-y
but I feel it's not a game, it's an experience

2nd switch game I ever bought and still my favorite, even if i have more hours in splatoon and other games

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chipia

BOTW is a good game but it is definitely overrated. There are many big flaws that reviewers for some reason ignore. It feels a bit like an earlier, unfinished version of a truely great game.

For example the healing system is completely broken. You can carry literally endless amounts of healing items with you and just spam them in the pause menu whenever you are low on health. That makes the player almost invincible and removes all challenge from the combat. Earlier Zelda games got it right, as they allowed at most 4 healing items (heck, in Zelda I and Links Awakening you have in fact ONE healing item at most!), so I have no Idea why Nintendo suddenly switched to such a bad system.

Also the world, while large, often feels too "samey". There are lots of shrines, but most of them have the same graphics, music and enemies. They could have created at least a handful of "themes" for the shrines to differentiate them a bit, for example have 20 "Ice Cave" Shrines, 20 "Dessert Temple" shrines etc. just like earlier Zelda dungeons had different themes.

Also, the world is massive but most of it has the same enemies, and same items (korok seeds and spirit orbs), which gets boring and predictable. Compare that to earlier Zelda titles which had unique enemies in each area and unique items which gave you interesting skills (e.g. Hookshot or Hoverboots)

It's a very fun game, and it had the potential to be truely great, but I think it still needed some more development time to proplerly balance it and add more variation.

Edited on by chipia

chipia

Zuljaras

Because it shows HOW adventure games should work.

You are set to explore a world full of wonders! You have more freedom than linear experiences.

Why do you think so many people like The Elder Scrolls series, Assassin's Creed series, Minecraft? Those games give you freedom, some more than others. But they let you have more choices along your journey and how to approach things.

Also, you do not have to be a Zelda hardcore fan in order to enjoy the game!

skywake

chipia wrote:

For example the healing system is completely broken. You can carry literally endless amounts of healing items with you and just spam them in the pause menu whenever you are low on health. That makes the player almost invincible and removes all challenge from the combat.

You can spam potions and revives in most games so I'm not entirely sure what your point is here. The limit on it is in your ability to stock up on those items. If you're resourceful enough to collect the ingredients for and cook the best recipes? More power to you. That's just another way to approach the game, nothing wrong with it

It's kinda like how Super Mario Odyssey removed the lives system. For people who were decent at Mario games? The 1up didn't really matter because you probably never saw the game over screen anyways. For people who weren't so good? The Game Over screen is basically just an annoyance, the real world equivalent would be like someone force closing word because your typing speed wasn't fast enough. "Haha, you lost your progress!". Is that what makes a game good?.... no....

So yeah, I don't see a game not having limitations put on it as a "flaw" or something that's "broken"

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Snatcher

Oh? this topic was brought back up, don’t mind me, I’m just going to stand to the side and watch… what do I think? Not for me really, but I maybe gotta try it again, other then that, I love the characters and I think the game itself is amazing! Nice world, many, many things to do, sure it’s not perfect, but ai see why people love it as much as they do.

My one problem tho is how people take any game that even works remotely like it and it gets branded a rip off. Despite doing many things that set it apart.

Edited on by Snatcher

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chipia

skywake wrote:

You can spam potions and revives in most games so I'm not entirely sure what your point is here.

There are plenty of games where you cannot spam potions. As I said, it was not possible in earlier Zelda games (most allowed only 4 potions at most, and that's only in the endgame!), neither is it possible in Dark Souls or Dragon Quest(and pretty much any turn-based RPG) and many more games. And it's certainly not possible in any Mario game, so I don't see the point of the comparison.

Also, even if it was true that "most games" allowed potion spamming, that's still not an excuse for using this unbalanced healing system. A game designer should try to make their games BETTER than "most games" and not just blindly copy poor game mechanics because "most games" do it.

skywake wrote:

It's kinda like how Super Mario Odyssey removed the lives system. For people who were decent at Mario games? The 1up didn't really matter because you probably never saw the game over screen anyways. For people who weren't so good? The Game Over screen is basically just an annoyance, the real world equivalent would be like someone force closing word because your typing speed wasn't fast enough. "Haha, you lost your progress!". Is that what makes a game good?.... no....

No, it's very different from the life system in Mario Odyssey. In fact Odyssey still does mostly the same thing old mario games do. For example: You die during the bowser Battle? Then you have to restart it again - "Haha, you lost your progress!"
And YES, that DOES make a game good! It adds tension and excitement, as the player will wonder if they will be able to win a battle. It also makes the game more rewarding, as one feels that one has overcome a challenge through actual skill, rather than through cheesing.

You will not be able to see the ending until you have actually become skilled enough to beat the entire bowser battle. And no, noone will revive or heal you when bowser hits you.

But in BOTW? You can just cheese yourself through battles without any skill as you can heal yourself anytime you get hit. There is no need to learn how to dodge enemy attacks. That feels like the healing items do the work for you instead of the actual player skill.

skywake wrote:

So yeah, I don't see a game not having limitations put on it as a "flaw" or something that's "broken"

I'm sure the system is fine for casual players who dislike skill-based gameplay and don't want a challenge. But given that all the elements for great skill-based combat are there, it seems like a waste of potential to negate all this with an overpowered healing system. I think with a few tweaks to healing they could have made the game more skill-based, while still keeping it accessible.

Edited on by chipia

chipia

Sisilly_G

I had never really played a Zelda game to any length until Breath of the Wild. I played bits of Ocarina of Time 3D, Link's Awakening DX, and Phantom Hourglass, but I hadn't completed any of them. Perhaps I will someday, but I have a hard time committing to games with long running times. I fell in love with BotW almost immediately though. Simply put, it's an exquisitely designed game that gives you the freedom to explore the world without forcing your hand into anything beyond the "tutorial" shrines, so much so that you can go straight to the boss, but the experience as a whole is of course so much more rewarding.

This, Link's Awakening (Switch), and Twilight Princess Picross are the only Zelda games that I have ever completed. Which reminds me; I should also try to complete Skyward Sword before Tears of the Kingdom is released, but I wanted to commit myself to playing Skyward Sword with motion controls, which limits things.

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skywake

@chipia
Having the ability to heal by consuming items doesn't remove skill from the game. It doesn't remove the challenge or make the game "more casual". Having to endlessly consume healing items to get through a fight because you're not particularly skilled? I mean that's a punishment for lack of skill. It's just now instead of the punishment being "you have to restart this area" the punishment is "you're consuming all of these items you put time/effort into collecting/crafting/cooking". And hell, maybe you consume them all and have to backtrack to harvest some more stuff!

I mean, each to their own I guess but if you ask me I think you're kinda missing the point a bit. The main draw of the game is its openness. The way that there is no right order to things, no correct way to tackle a problem. There isn't really any level grinding or locked off areas. It's just, you have limited resources that you can use to go that little bit further or tackle a slightly harder area and get better resources. That's the gameplay loop. Being able to stock up on hearty greens and push through some mini-boss while being otherwise ill-equipped? That's not a flaw, that's part of that loop

It's like when people complain about the game saying that your weapons break and so on. If that's the take away, you've missed the point and its no wonder you don't like the game. Your sword breaking or you consuming your resources, that's the punishment. That's this games "retry this boss". Its lots of little punishments rather than large jarring resets that make you want to quit. That's precisely what makes it a fresh take

Edited on by skywake

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SoManyHaveDied

if BOTW had an estus flask system or even the 20 blood vials like bloodborne gives you, it would be quite the challenge and deter away new players for sure

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chipia

skywake wrote:

@chipia
It's just now instead of the punishment being "you have to restart this area" the punishment is "you're consuming all of these items you put time/effort into collecting/crafting/cooking". And hell, maybe you consume them all and have to backtrack to harvest some more stuff!

Thanks for your answer. It helps. But I have to admit, for me personally this kind of punishment did not work and I know that many people outside of mainstream critics feel the same way. I just shrugged it off when I had to consume healing items, since they are anyways so numerous. I never got close to consume them all.

I guess this is something that depends on player type. Maybe some people respond more strongly to "soft punishments". For these people BOTW may be the right game. But I think that this system could have been tweaked to work for a broader demographic of players. e.g. I think it would be good if only cooked items restore health, so that players have to engage with the cooking system more deeply. Also the amount of cooked food you can carry initially should be more limited (maybe 5 or 10) but may be expanded with Korok seeds as a compromise.

BTW I actually liked the weapon breaking (I don't understand why so many people dislike it), but it isn't really a kind of punishment. It's just a normal and unavoidable side effect of combat.

Edited on by chipia

chipia

OctoKing

What I like about botw is that i can literally go to anywhere I want to after the tutorial. I wasn’t forced to go to kakariko village it was just the recommended place.

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Chaotic_Neutral

@chipia I have never really understood why I couldn't get on with BotW but you have summed it up perfectly - its far to easy in a non traditional way.

I only put around 60 hours into it before getting massively bored and putting it down. It's the only Zelda game I haven't bothered to complete.

I hadn't actually thought about there being no difficulty curve and this beimg the reqson it felt soulless to me. Once I had learned the games mechanics I instantly become unbeatable.
At the point that you can kill anything and go anywhere in a game what's the point in continuing? It's beaten.

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