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    Why I didn't like BOTW as a Zelda game
    • Hi guys, I don't post here (long time lurking) but as someone who played every Zelda game on release since Majoras Mask I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents -

      It's obvious that Nintendo tried to do two things:

      - Create a seamless open world that placed no restrictions on exploration
      - Deregulate the linear nature of the 3D Zelda gameplay in line with other open world games and Zelda 1

      If you think about it, since OoT both of these elements were trending more and more towards even more heavily linear gameplay in both 2D and 3D Zelda games. The worlds were getting bigger but you had less and less ability to explore or progress through them. Even the Wind Waker, which gave you the most freedom of exploration, still had a very story driven, linear progression through the game.

      Don't get me wrong - linear progression does not equal bad. OoT, MM, Twilight Princess were all linear and amazing. But for me, Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword tilted the balance way too far. The one thing you could do in Twilight Princess and Wind Waker - ride your horse or sail your boat around everywhere - was taken away.

      I started to feel a bit jaded that an adventure game series was being reduced to "go there and do this in this order", and removing the fun and joy of exploration. Spirit Tracks was literally on rails. This was happening at the same time that games like Skyrim were going the other way and allowing players to choose their own adventure.

      A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild were necessary course corrections. I feel like BotW is how Nintendo would have made Ocarina of Time if technology in 1998 had allowed them to do so - free exploration and adventure.

      i dont actually remember very much about most Zelda games made between 2002 and 2011 but I've poured nearly 100 hours into BotW and I'll never forget it.

      I do understand though that if you actually do strongly prefer heavily linear progression and story then you might not like tjis game.
    • Volvagia67 wrote:

      Hows it shallow? I was responding to a post that said its much more than Elder Scrolls and I just named off a bunch of similarities... Am I missing some critical difference between the two games?
      Well, the fact that they don't even belong in the same genre, for one... BotW definitely is a lot more similar to TES than any other Zelda game, but that doesn't make it identical.
      "Can't post that on a Christian forum."
    • I thin MVS makes a really good point actually that Aonuma focuses on one specific aspect of the game and then makes said game revolve completely around that.

      If it's an open world game it needs to be ALLL about being able to do anything from the get go.

      If its story driven then theres going to be almost no freedom in the game at all.

      The older games had a far more balanced approach to freedom and storytelling.
    • I'm glad you returned to that point. I've been thinking on it and I think MVS is on to something too.

      It really seems like post-OoT they really started to focus on one aspect of the series per title more and more.

      Until we end up with SS (all linear) and BotW (all open).

      Granted, BotW is more fun to most because the latter experience is more preferable, but I'll be sad if this is just a new mask of a familiar problem.

      As it stands, I choose to be optimistic and believe that BotW's lack of balance was just growing pains.

      The next Zelda will retain the excellence of BotW, and only bolster it with some of the series' other highlights.
    • BoW feels like a combination of SS, WW, MM, and Z1 to me, and expands on each element it takes from them all.

      BoW expands SS's focus on Zelda as a dynamic character, and the materials-for-upgrades system.

      BoW expands WW's focus on freedom of exploration by replacing the ocean with a more varied landscape, and the whole picking up enemy weapons thing.

      BoW expands MM's use of dynamic NPC actions based on time of day, meaningful sidequests, and a world divided into 4 distinct areas controlled by four distinct races and "protected" by four giants that Link must save.

      BoW expands Z1's permissiveness, non-linearity, and geographical mystery.
    • Sure, but of the things you listed, how many are actual gameplay tenets of the series?

      Characterization, crafting, day/night cycles, and a four-part dungeon structure are spread pretty wide across gaming.

      They aren't of the same fundamental nature as linear dungeon progression vs. open-world, accessible explorability vs. item-locks, or narrative vs. gameplay.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Octorocker ().

    • There aren't too many "gameplay tenets" that span the entire series, really. There's little things that stick around like Heart Containers and musical tones, and there's the pattern of dungeon-to-dungeon traversal that's in every Zelda with varying degrees of allowance as to what you can do in-between. Oh, and I guess items being found in a dungeon. But that's about it. Zelda games change up just about everything else between themselves.
    • I agree with everything OP has said and I would like to add my two cents. I'll preface this by saying playing the game has been an amazing experience. The open world is beautiful, the graphics are stunning and there was a certain sense of awe upon exploring Hyrule. But much as I love the game, I see it as deeply flawed. Two flaws in particular striked me: the exploration and the story.


      Exploring is nice and yet in an odd way, it quickly becomes repetitive. There are only two valuable rewards to be found: shrines and korok seeds. Anything else will be disposable weapons, food or rupees. I stumbled upon a mini-game yesterday, but I didn't bother. I knew it wouldn't net me a piece of heart, an expansion of my inventory or a rare item. I don't need any more rupees or disposable weapons, and yet that's all mini-games offer. I see an overworld puzzle, I know it's a korok seed. I get a side-quest, I know I won't get a piece of heart or an upgrade out of it.

      Free as we are, this freedom comes at a cost. Once you've got the hang of how the overworld works, all element of awe and surprise is gone. You know exactly what you're gonna get before reaching your destination or upon seeing the title of a quest on the screen. In spite of our freedom to get everywhere, how to progress on the heart and inventory front is heavily scripted.

      Most importantly, the vast majority of this world is left unused. Beautiful as the open world is, it only serves to hide korok seeds and shrines. You don't linger for long in any location because the game doesn't require you too. As such, besides Hyrule Castle, no locations have left an impact on me while I still have fond memories of locations from previous Zelda games I haven't played in years.


      On to my second point-- Adventure doesn't come only from gameplay, but also from the story. There is an adventure to be had when discovering a story. TWW and SS set the bar pretty high for me, at least high when it comes to Zelda. TWW for villain and SS for story, but also characters. BotW fails on all three fronts. Calamity Ganon is as generic as villains get, the story is barebone and Zelda is the only well-developed character.

      I was ready to accept a weaker story for the open world. But other open-world games do usually take advantage of their structure to elaborate on the lore, on the races, on the history of the world. Once again, it is barebone in Zelda. I can't think of a side-quest that taught me something interesting about Hyrule. I can't remember a NPC from a side-quest who was interesting. I'm not asking for another Kafei, but NPCs in TWW, TP and SS left an impact on me. I can't remember their names for the life of me, but I remember the characters as they were, their side-quests, their story. There is no such side-quests in BotW.

      Even with no side-quests, most Zelda games so far have added something to the Lore, something which carries over to future and past games alike. Something that you may think about when playing a previous Zelda games, something that will be referenced in a future Zelda game. The entirety of SS was such lore, the flood in TWW, the mythos of the Triforce in ALttP, etc. The Twilight Realm in TP wasn't as strong, but its recurrence throughout the story characters like Midna and Zant helped cemented it as a part of the Hyrulean lore.

      But what of BotW? I can't think of any instances when this game enlarged the Hyrulean Lore. The story is basic and adds nothing. The Guardians and Divine Beasts, I feel, don't have the intended impact as we have seen multiple times ancient technology throughout the series. It's nothing new.

      When I replay X game, I think of the flood that will come, of the cycle started in SS, of the first incarnation of Ganon in OoT. But it simply doesn't feel like BotW is going to alter my perception of other games in any way.


      I'll conclude by saying I hope the next game finds a middle-ground between the freedom of BotW and the linearity of SS. Give us a world to explore, but give us a story to remember. Give us characters to love, villains to hate. I believe ALBW went close to that perfect middle ground, but not quite there. The world had freedom and it added to the lore of the series. The story was full of promise and Hilda had potential. Expand a bit on the characters, on the story and the lore. Enlarge the overworld and add diverse ways to improve Link. And I believe the perfect middle-ground can be found there.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Lorulean ().

    • This game added plenty to the lore. Head to Theorizing if you don't believe me.

      I also think it did an excellent job with story for an open-world. Not because I think it wasn't light on story, but because it dealt with the agency problem in a good way.

      There were no "you must stop Alduin" moments followed by 25 hours of alchemy and crafting.

      Calamity Ganon is there the whole time, you must get stronger, and he's being restrained while you do that.

      But yes, more meaningful collectibles would have been nice.
    • I agree, but to me Calamity Ganon just isn't a good or compelling villain. He's more alike to a force of nature, which fits with the theme of game quite nicely actually, but makes for a poor villain. In OoT and TWW, everytime Ganondorf appeared, he stole the show and the final battle felt all the more satisfying for it. Even in TP, the one on one final duel was made more satisfying through his physical and intelligent presence. Calamity Ganon just doesn't have the presence or character of its predecessors.
    • Honestly, BoW is the closest we've ever gotten to meaningful collectibles.

      Pieces of Heart was the only meaningful collectible in other Zelda games, except for the in-dungeon items which BoW replaces with Runes and cool weapons. BoW just translates pieces of heart to spirit orbs (which can also be used for stamina upgrades). And, shrines also grant fast-travel and rare armor. Puzzles in the shrines aren't particularly great most of the time, but then again, most Zelda games don't have fantastic puzzles, either.

      The incidental puzzles of overworld traversal in BoW are fantastic, though. I love making my own way to get to where I'm going.
    • volvagia67 wrote:

      TLDR; My disappointment stems from BoTW's refusal to incorporate what made past Zelda games so great for the sake of innovation. The result feels [to me] like Skyrim with a Zelda skin and I must ask - what's the point in calling it Zelda to begin with if you're not going to keep the things that make Zelda games unique.
      You know, its funny. When Breath of the Wild was announced, fans were ecstatic because it was breaking the tradition of go to dungeon, get item, use item on boss, repeat method of gameplay. Yet, when they try to break the mold and make something like BotW, it makes it the most polarizing game around.

      I don't disagree with some of the things you said. It doesn't feel like Zelda at points, especially when there is so much to do. And I also agree, if the name Zelda wasn't attached, it would still be a good game. Problem is, it does.

      I think this game does a lot of things right that I hope the Zelda team expands on in future games. I love the open world. I love the less hand holding, and I think this is one of the best ways a game holds your hand very minimally. I love the combat. I love the fact that I feel like Link is getting stronger because I am learning more about how the game works and how it feels to fight. I love that Lynels are STILL kicking my butt (seriously, they take like 10 hearts a swipe).

      I will say that this game is very akin to what Advent Children was to FF7. It is very much a fan service game for the Zelda fans. So many areas are named for older characters and places in the series. Some of the music is remixed from older games. They put so much in terms of theorizing, that hardcore fans are going to enjoy it. Could there be more? Yes. I think if they compacted the map slightly and added more bigger towns rather just the seven that are in the game (that's going off memory, and there could be more) than it could be better. I think the map is too large at points, but I still love exploring it all the same.

      TLDR: OP said some good things. This game is really just a love letter for the hardcores. If it didn't have "Zelda" it would still be good.
      Signature not found. New signature TBD.

      -Lozzie
    • I feel the same way and I think the reason why is the lack of memorable bosses and dungeons.

      If you ask someone why is such and such Zelda game game your favorite the conversation usually involves their favorite bosses, dungeons, and sometimes story. Although this game did have some pretty good shrine puzzles the actual "dungeons" if you can call them that were pretty lame in my opinion. The story was also mediocre at best here.

      That's not to say I think the game is bad. The game play is solid and it is hands down the best open world game I have ever played. To their credit these two things were clearly their main focus and they greatly out did themselves in that regard. It's just missing those key components for me that in my opinion makes a good ZELDA game.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ZeroFox ().

    • logicalpencils wrote:

      BoW expands MM's use of dynamic NPC actions based on time of day, meaningful sidequests, and a world divided into 4 distinct areas controlled by four distinct races and "protected" by four giants that Link must save.
      I would not compare the dynamic NPC actions or "meaningful sidequests" in BotW to MM at all. Sure they do certain things based on time of day and weather, but that's about the only connection in my opinion. I couldn't tell you the name of a single NPC in BotW... or the rewards of any of the sidequests or even the contents of the sidequests. They were all so mind-numbingly bland and forgettable I think I just mentally blocked them out.

      The only quest I remembered was the one involving getting Zelda's white horse.

      Lorulean wrote:

      Lorulean wrote:

      On to my second point-- Adventure doesn't come only from gameplay, but also from the story. There is an adventure to be had when discovering a story. TWW and SS set the bar pretty high for me, at least high when it comes to Zelda. TWW for villain and SS for story, but also characters. BotW fails on all three fronts. Calamity Ganon is as generic as villains get, the story is barebone and Zelda is the only well-developed character.
      Ugh don't get me started on calamity ganon. He is easily the worst incarnation of Ganon out of any of the games. Doesn't say a word, doesn't need a plan... The way they presented him he's just like a hurricane that was bound to hit hyrule sooner or later. Between him and the generic pools of black evilness the disappoint was almost too much.

      Can't compare at all to the evil man of the desert that was Ganondorf in OoT. Then again though, OoT is the only game whose concept art I thought surpassed alttp so maybe I'm slightly biased.

      Lozzie wrote:

      Lozzie wrote:

      volvagia67 wrote:

      TLDR; My disappointment stems from BoTW's refusal to incorporate what made past Zelda games so great for the sake of innovation. The result feels [to me] like Skyrim with a Zelda skin and I must ask - what's the point in calling it Zelda to begin with if you're not going to keep the things that make Zelda games unique.
      You know, its funny. When Breath of the Wild was announced, fans were ecstatic because it was breaking the tradition of go to dungeon, get item, use item on boss, repeat method of gameplay. Yet, when they try to break the mold and make something like BotW, it makes it the most polarizing game around.
      Eh I don't know if I would call it very polarizing. From what I've seen the game is almost universally loved. There's always gonna be some people that have a problem with it like me I guess and that's ultimately just because my standards for the game were very different from what the Zelda team was obviously trying to achieve, I acknowledge that.

      When it comes to new Zelda games, in truth, I always compare them to what I imagined alttp would be (if it was a 3d Zelda game) as a kid and when they're this far off its almost immediately disappointing. And as I played this game I tried to take it for what it was and for some things I could and for others I couldn't, I had fun with the game, I liked it, but I like to think the points I made were fair. I think if they found a way to combine BotW with OoT or MM it would literally be the perfect game for me.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Volvagia67 ().

    • Well I can actually name a few NPCs that stuck in my head after two sidequests, and that is the "son"-gang haha. Bolson, Hudson, Karson, Rhondson and a couple more. That sidequest was better than all sidequest together in any previous Zelda (except Majora's Mask). That sidequest was hilarious, I am not even a fan of sidequests at all, I usually avoid them... but that in particular was a sidequest I actually enjoyed and spend time on. I actually think that that kind of deeper sidequests deserves full voice acting from start to finish (and the entire main quest deserves full VA as well). But random NPCs really don't need it.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by MVS ().

    • Personally, my dislike of Zelda from everything after MM and even BoTW, has stemmed from what I said in this post as well as the video in my signature. Zelda games just don't have good puzzles like MM and the Adventure games that preceded them had. Good puzzles to me mean, a mental-world exploration duality, a world depth to investigate problems and obstacles that need to be unlocked, in the characters and the arsenal interaction with the quest. Any time we hear the word "puzzle," people cling to some primitive idea of a room or block-set, not a whole world or quest of item/story mindbenders in an epic precession that one must figure out and explore.

      The post was edited 8 times, last by guest_15468 ().

    • gladefinder wrote:

      Personally, my dislike of Zelda from everything after MM and even BoTW, has stemmed from what I said in this post as well as the video in my signature. Zelda games just don't have good puzzles like MM and the Adventure games that preceded them. Good puzzles to me mean, a mental-world exploration duality, a world depth to investigate problems and obstacles that need to be unlocked, in the characters and the arsenal interaction with the quest. Any time we hear the word "puzzle," people cling to some primitive idea of a room or block-set, not a whole world or quest of item/story mindbenders in an epic precession that one must figure out and explore.
      I think I wrote something similar to this somewhere in this thread but you're right. This is exactly the kind of thing I mean when I talk about how disappointing the "puzzles" are and the games in general.

      Being able to look at a challenge and failing to overcome it at first or failing to see its significance... making a mental note and then going back to see if you can overcome it with a new item you get later is something I haven't encountered in a game in a long time. The video in your sig is fantastic by the way, exactly spot on.

      One of the things that pissed me off a lot in BotW that I didn't mention because I don't think a lot of people necessarily cared about it was that every NPC that had something interesting to say or something to give you had an indicator next to their name to set you off on a quest. The whole quest system made me feel like I was playing world of warcraft and that talking to NPCs was a waste of time - that I could, nay should, skip through the dialogue and grab the quest so I can get on my way. It seems gone are the days where you talk to interesting looking NPCs and read what they have to say and gather clues or information... I immediately think of the kid walking the graveyard wanting to be like Dampe in OoT.

      Playing games in general these days makes me feel like I might as well just be watching a movie. And despite the freedom we had in BotW I felt the same way because I didn't have to think all too much for that game either.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Volvagia67 ().