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Why does BOTW get so much credit for basic open world elements?

Guilty_AI

Member
I didn't say you couldn't use them. I said they were largely superfluous. The gif of the player beating the Ganon Lynel is an excellent example of this. None of the content in the game rose to a point where it required you to dig that deep into the games systems to beat any of the content. You can use fire to create updrafts and score a headshot on a goblin; or, you can just go up the side of the tower it's sitting on because it's not the big and there aren't any other enemies around. Superfluous.
You say that, but plenty of times i just came up with solutions using those systems completely naturally. I wasn't forcing myself to think "clever" solutions, i just thought those were the most efficient ways with what i had at hand. Be it using a random fire sword i picked up to protect myself from the cold, or beating up enemies with a rock and telekinesis.
Maybe its because you're a more careful type of player? The kind that prefers preparing properly before setting out to difficult places? That would explain why your playthrough felt more conventional.

But the interesting thing is this goes back to my point about how two people can play the game in completely different ways.
 

Spukc

Member
...Yeah, you got no idea what you're talking about lmfao
enlighten me lmfao
point me towards that amazing android tablet with all the good apps for graphical design / music creation.

this apple is only marketing bullshit is getting kinda old. esp after the huge evolution in laptop space with their arm based laptops.
 
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Majukun

Member
you can find many of those ingredients, not all, in toher open world, but they are definitely cooked differently, which is what makes the game feel different
 

Marty-McFly

Banned
BOTW is a polished physics playground

They didn't change all of open world structure but they improved on a lot of it by allowing complete freedom.

moving around the world feels slick and polished instead of clunky and labored like a lot of competing open world games.



source.gif
 
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Spukc

Member
BOTW is a polished physics playground

They didn't change all of open world structure but they improved on a lot of it by allowing complete freedom.

moving around the world feels slick and polished instead of clunky and labored like a lot of competing open world games.



source.gif
going back from BOTW to horizon zero dawn felt awful freedom of movement
 

Majukun

Member
I'm just gonna say it. If other games tried that, they'd be called "directionless".

In other words, I honestly feel like Nintendo gets lots of free passes on glaring omissions and over praised on stuff thats not really all that unique.

But its Nintendo, and I'm happy with that.
define "directionless".

because the game has a pretty clear objective that flashes on screen the moment you leave the tutorial

the game is definitely emergent gameplay sometimes brought to a fault and sometimes not enough (aka rest of the game vs the ending), but it isn't lacking direction more than any other open world game out there.
 

daveonezero

Member
I think some of the love hate is that they changed so many common conventions up. Instead of stamina you have weapons degrade. Instead of rain not doing anything but looking different in this game it changes everything.

Equipment while simple actually means something be it a weapon or armor.

Simple food can change a combat encounter.
going back from BOTW to horizon zero dawn felt awful freedom of movement
I've heard this and most people say the exact opposite.
 
It’s like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Grab a sample from every song you like, add your own stuff and put a spin on it and you’ve got yourself one of the most praised modern albums. I think both BotW and Twisted Fantasy are quite good, if somewhat overrated.
 

Spukc

Member
I think some of the love hate is that they changed so many common conventions up. Instead of stamina you have weapons degrade. Instead of rain not doing anything but looking different in this game it changes everything.

Equipment while simple actually means something be it a weapon or armor.

Simple food can change a combat encounter.

I've heard this and most people say the exact opposite.
horizon launched earlier then botw.. i loved horizon... but i stopped playing because well botw.. Then 400 hours later i went back to horizon..
i could not play it anymore.
 

Buggy Loop

Member
The same was being said back then on the first Halo game. "wHAt MaKes it So greAT? manY gameS BefORE Did THiS pArt Or ThAT part BeFore halO".

As if you can really judge a final product by a bunch of keywords on a checklist.

Having played almost all open world games, they all feel quite static. Like this is your playfield, but barely anything you do or that we do (like weather effects) will affect the scenery we created. They take shortcuts in simplifications. Let's not forget the dreaded white/yellow paint rocks or objects that tells braindead players "you can jump here!". Not to mention the towers. It was often compared to ubisoft towers, which could not be further from the truth. In BOTW you unlock the topology of the nearby area, you USE the tower to visually see and mark with beacons interesting places to visit. It doesn't just spam your map with 500 markers of shit collectibles/quests which then becomes a GPS fetch quest.


These are old ass comparisons with Horizon zero dawn, a game i played on PC recently but, can't quite seem to bother finishing even though I'm probably a good 80% through it. Zelda is just oozing with little details. Not even counting the crazy shit you can do with the chemistry engine.
 

TLZ

Gold Member
One thing I see alot since BOTW came out is "this is the breath of the wild of______". It reminds me when everything was the skyrim of _______ or dark souls of ________. But as someone who played breath of the wild why does it seem to get credit for elements that seem to be pretty common in open world games. Open world games with freedom of choice isn't new...shadow of the Colossus, Skyrim, even the witcher seems to have equal if not more unique open world elements, but being that zelda is an influential franchise, and it adopted a popular game design philosophy it gets a ton of credit for inventing them even tho it existed. Maybe I'm over analyzing but it now seems any game with the "you can play how you want" is automatically breath of the wild of its genre.
Same reason Nintendo get credit for innovation. They simply use a tried formula and put their own spin on it. And it worked.
 

Topher

Gold Member
The same was being said back then on the first Halo game. "wHAt MaKes it So greAT? manY gameS BefORE Did THiS pArt Or ThAT part BeFore halO".

As if you can really judge a final product by a bunch of keywords on a checklist.

Having played almost all open world games, they all feel quite static. Like this is your playfield, but barely anything you do or that we do (like weather effects) will affect the scenery we created. They take shortcuts in simplifications. Let's not forget the dreaded white/yellow paint rocks or objects that tells braindead players "you can jump here!". Not to mention the towers. It was often compared to ubisoft towers, which could not be further from the truth. In BOTW you unlock the topology of the nearby area, you USE the tower to visually see and mark with beacons interesting places to visit. It doesn't just spam your map with 500 markers of shit collectibles/quests which then becomes a GPS fetch quest.


These are old ass comparisons with Horizon zero dawn, a game i played on PC recently but, can't quite seem to bother finishing even though I'm probably a good 80% through it. Zelda is just oozing with little details. Not even counting the crazy shit you can do with the chemistry engine.

Opinions. I played many hours of BoTW and couldn't stand it anymore. I love HZD though. I just found it to be more fun.
 

wOs

Member
I think it's mainly two things and that's the ability to climb pretty much anywhere and the physics made it so anything you tried seemed to work which was cool. That said I think it's overblown the greatness of it period. Shit boss fights, empty environments, and not many enemy types.
 

ANDS

Thought gaf was racist. Now knows better, honorary gaffer 2022
You say that, but plenty of times i just came up with solutions using those systems completely naturally. I wasn't forcing myself to think "clever" solutions, i just thought those were the most efficient ways with what i had at hand. Be it using a random fire sword i picked up to protect myself from the cold, or beating up enemies with a rock and telekinesis.
Maybe its because you're a more careful type of player? The kind that prefers preparing properly before setting out to difficult places? That would explain why your playthrough felt more conventional.

But the interesting thing is this goes back to my point about how two people can play the game in completely different ways.

All of this I did; I wouldn't consider that engaging with the systems on a deep level. All of that is pretty surface.


. . .or we could compare things that both games are actually trying to do: combat, dungeons, character progression, etc. Someone brought up WITCHER 3 earlier in the thread and I would put HZD alongside that: sure BOTW is more reactive to the players physical actions in the game, but the reward is largely what you make of it. W3 and HZD has the reward baked into much of what you do as a baseline, while still encouraging you to explore, discover and giving you freedom to engage with the game on your own terms. I don't have to crack open either of these games to go "Wow, I can't believe I was able to do that."
 

01011001

Member
Because all those other games are fake. BOTW is true open world. there are no "leading" aspects. You can run straight to the end if you are good enough. all t hose other games are linear games with illusion of being open ended and do anything where as BOTW is truly both. you can interact with the world anyway you want with its physics and true open ended gameplay.

this!
BotW has a TRUE open world, with TRUE open ended gameplay. the world around you is also extremely interaktive and the interactions between different items and objects makes for really cool ways to achieve goals.

small example, you get to a room with electrical wiring, but there is a gap that needs to be closed in order to close the circuit and get through a door... now you can find maybe a metal box somewhere and move it over... or you can be clever and get a metal weapon out of your inventory, drop it on the ground and move it to just the right spot to close the circuit and get through.
 

farmerboy

Member
define "directionless".

because the game has a pretty clear objective that flashes on screen the moment you leave the tutorial

the game is definitely emergent gameplay sometimes brought to a fault and sometimes not enough (aka rest of the game vs the ending), but it isn't lacking direction more than any other open world game out there.

I don't think you've understood what I was saying.

I'm claiming that if other games were as open ended as BOTW, as the poster I was responding to claimed, critics would call them "directionless".
 
Completely false, during BotW they specifically said they were heavily looking at Western RPGs for influence.

To answer the OP, nobody makes games like Nintendo does. They focus on details and gameplay that other companies gloss over. While companies think graphics are what makes a game, Nintendo is focusing heavily on gameplay systems while using graphics that suit their more modest hardware. Haters will laugh at this explanation, and those who get it will just nod their heads in understanding. There is a reason Nintendo is number 1 in games right now across the globe. Nintendo games are more fun.

Edit: Note what I said and the reactions coming through. :messenger_tongue: It's funny to tell people how they are going to behave before they even do it. So transparent and easy to predict.
Real crystal ball there man. People disagreeing with u must make u a Clairvoyant
 

daveonezero

Member
The same was being said back then on the first Halo game. "wHAt MaKes it So greAT? manY gameS BefORE Did THiS pArt Or ThAT part BeFore halO".
Halo is a good analog. Bungie did something with enemy design, visual feedback, sound etc. A lot of that magic is in BOTW.

The reward isn't so much "in game item" as it is just the fact you can and will go and do thing you didn't know you could do. Then you start to feel good just about reaching the top of a mountain or finding a cool weapon cash you can return to later.

Instead of making a "build" (clicking a few stat boxes and skill trees) like a typical RPG you might go on an actual run where you kill a few specific enemies and collect a few items you need to prepare for a different section of a map.

It really just flips things upside down. I think that is jarring to some players.

none of these make a game better, and the majority are largely similar except maybe the fire spreading.

And can you see how damn barren BOTW is, its extremely empty.
They do make a game better imo. They create a better more understandable set of rules and systems that can and will be used all game. They create options. Small details make a game "feel" better and really put you in that place.
 
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RoadHazard

Gold Member
A lot of it has to do with many open world games being janky as hell and playing like shit. BotW plays amazingly, it just feels so good to be in that world. It also has that brilliant physics/chemistry engine, where if you think something should work it almost certainly does. Also, the climbing and hangglider, which combined let you go basically anywhere you can see. BotW has a sense of freedom that no other open world game has ever given me. Nintendo calls it an "open air" game, and that's pretty spot on.
 
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bender

What time is it?
I've played most every open world game design. BOTW is probably my favorite open world since Morrowind. All the systems work well together and give the player a set of tools that lets them be creative. The world feels hand crafted. It excels at giving the player a since of exploration and discovery. It nails traversal.
 

Tranquil

Member
I think that breath of the wild.

In my opinión I praise the new elements of zelda... I feel it like a Reboot of the saga.

And there are wonderful elements that i like.

- The art style graphic
- The personality of princess Zelda
- Is the first Zelda with acting voice.
- The old school elements where you have to find the Best way to Discovery the story.
- The Ost that is composed with piano as elemental music.
-And you are free to Discover how to reach the final boss.

And there are more elements of Different games.... SoTC is a masterpiece, Gravity Rush is the epitome of gaming industry in my opinión.

And Zelda breath of the wild.... Is a game made it with love and personality... Like Gravity rush saga.

So this elements make the game is so special.
I wouldn't exactly describe princess Zelda as having a personality. Very one note throughout the game.
 

balgajo

Member
Breath of the wild gets credit because of the "chemistry/physics engine" and the freedom to use it, no other open world has that. Still unbelievable people don't understand that simple fact. Even red dead redemption 2 doesn't have that.


This is the video for you and for the people that still don't understand or want to understand.
While I agree that this system is where BOTW shines(and it's superb), the possibilites it brings(emergent, multiplicative gameplay) is something that GTA does for decades(since 2d ones). To the point where I never bother to finish the story, just playing with the systems is enough for me.

Because those "basic features" have been absent from open world games since Morrowind.
Try playing The Witcher 3 without the map markers and that BS Witcher Sense. The game becomes a pain in the ass to get through.

Breath of the Wild is arguebly a much better game when played in Pro Mode.
This is also why Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is my GOTY of 2016. Both games have true freedom. Not that fake freedom typical open world games give you, the ones you mentioned very much included.
You describe my experience with Skyrim. It has an introduction section analogue to BOTW but after that the game encouraged me starting my own adventure with total freedom. While I got really frustrated with the bugs it still is one of my favorite open world games. Agree with you about Witcher 3 tough.
 
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Lethal01

Member
I'm guessing this thread came about today due to Elden Ring and people comparing it to Breath of the WIld.
I think it's worth remembering the miyazaki said that Breath of the WIld was his favourite open world that he played while researching for Elden Ring.
If you think people are just stupidly drawing comparisons out of nowhere I hate to inform you that you're the blind one here.

Miyazaki interview where he mention BoTW as his favourite open world

none of these make a game better, and the majority are largely similar except maybe the fire spreading.
And can you see how damn barren BOTW is, its extremely empty.
Nah, these small things made breath of the wild much more fun for the hundreds of hours I played it.
 
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RoboFu

One of the green rats
I'm just gonna say it. If other games tried that, they'd be called "directionless".

In other words, I honestly feel like Nintendo gets lots of free passes on glaring omissions and over praised on stuff thats not really all that unique.

But its Nintendo, and I'm happy with that.

no they give Nintendo a chance because Nintendo are geniuses at what they do.
those other games and devs are not on the same level.

If those other games were open ended they would suck yes .. not because the critics said so but because they wouldn’t know how to make the games fun. They all have the same direction.. push graphics and cutscenes. They would never ever say “ cut back on graphics so we can push physics and interactivity”. Well maybe they would now that Nintendo has shown them how. is it a surprise that the new god of war is the best one now that they copied the Zelda oot formula?
 

Mozzarella

Member
I agree, Breath of the Wild was amazing open world game that innovated in the genre instead of copy/paste, but people are going too far with labeling it as the father of open world gaming.
 

Kenpachii

Gold Member
Because the game isn't boggled down by endless text and story garbage that games moved into.

It revolves purely around exploration and self discovery straight from the start.
 
No offense to Nintendo or Zelda fans but personally to me I think it's quite an overrated game.

I tried multiple times to get into it but the constant weapon breaking got very annoying for me so I just stopped caring for it and moved on.

Hopefully BotW 2 fixes the issues I had with the first game and ill give it another shot maybe then.
 

Ezquimacore

Member
While I agree that this system is where BOTW shines(and it's superb), the possibilites it brings(emergent, multiplicative gameplay) is something that GTA does for decades(since 2d ones). To the point where I never bother to finish the story, just playing with the systems is enough for me.
gta's open world system is extremely scripted even when you're free roaming, things are there but apart from cars and guns you can't interact with anything else. While on botw people are literally creating planes when that's not even part of the game, to give you an example.


 

Lethal01

Member
No offense to Nintendo or Zelda fans but personally to me I think it's quite an overrated game.

I tried multiple times to get into it but the constant weapon breaking got very annoying for me so I just stopped caring for it and moved on.

Hopefully BotW 2 fixes the issues I had with the first game and ill give it another shot maybe then.

Anyone trying to force someone to like a game is an asshole. So is anyone who dismisses people loving a game as being blinded by nostalgia, or not playing other games.

BoTW has tons of things I see as flaws(Not weapon breaking), it did a certain combination of things that other open-world didn't often do and even more rarely did they do them all together. Some people see the things it did "right" as being extremely good for all open-world games.

So I definitely don't think the game is overrated. While it not be the best in the world in every element what people loved about it was very justified.
 
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People really can't tell the fundamental differences between BOTW and something like Far Cry?

Come on.
Trolls. Trying to rewrite history. Suddenly one of the best games ever made only got good scores because no one has played an open world game before. Doesn't even deserve a real response.

OP if you actually want to know why its highly regarded then watch some reviews of the game.
 
Because BotW does so much stuff under the hood that, unlike most open-world games, makes the landscape feel alive. The systems at play in the game work wonderfully together: rain, heat, cold, wind are all massively interactive conditions that affect the player and NPCs alike. It creates so many opportunities for unique experimentation and rewards players for thinking outside of the conventional open-world box. If you push and poke at the games seams, it'll push back.

I'm not being hyperbolic when I say this game ruined other sandbox games for me, and seriously highlighted how superficial the majority of them are 🤷‍♂️
 

balgajo

Member
gta's open world system is extremely scripted even when you're free roaming, things are there but apart from cars and guns you can't interact with anything else. While on botw people are literally creating planes when that's not even part of the game, to give you an example.


I'm aware of all this stuff(played easily 500+ hours of botw). Though it's the kind of thing that GTA and Minecraft are also known for.

For example, on GTA you can point a gun to some drive waiting on the red traffic light and some of them try to run away and run over some pedestrian on crosswalk causing some traffic pile up. You can make people fight near the subway line causing one of them to fall and be killed by the train. It's full of those possibilities that happens combining a lot of systems in place(tbh the only reason I spent a lot of time playing them because rockstar mission design sucks imo).

In Minecraft you can simulate a fucking processor....XD
 
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DonF

Member
CTRL+F systemic. No matches. WTF, Gaf??

BotW is not only open world but its also one of the BEST systemic games. You get only a handful of tools, and you dont get any new ones in the whole game, that means that you start just like how you finish and you can actually go straight to the end and finish it.
Most mechanics of the game make sense and everything works splendidly. If you think about it, you can most likely do it. Use a metal rod in a storm to attack enemies, you can do it. Set grass on fire, go ahead. "respect" an enemy by not showing weapons and keeping distance? Go for it!

Its not a simple open world game, its a systemic open world no handholding game. Its great!

The game has one tutorial and off you go. Damn, open world staples like GTA have tutorials until hour 20.

All of that in one awesome looking package. Its one of the greats!
 

brian0057

Gold Member
CTRL+F systemic. No matches. WTF, Gaf??

BotW is not only open world but its also one of the BEST systemic games. You get only a handful of tools, and you dont get any new ones in the whole game, that means that you start just like how you finish and you can actually go straight to the end and finish it.
Most mechanics of the game make sense and everything works splendidly. If you think about it, you can most likely do it. Use a metal rod in a storm to attack enemies, you can do it. Set grass on fire, go ahead. "respect" an enemy by not showing weapons and keeping distance? Go for it!

Its not a simple open world game, its a systemic open world no handholding game. Its great!

The game has one tutorial and off you go. Damn, open world staples like GTA have tutorials until hour 20.

All of that in one awesome looking package. Its one of the greats!
This, so much.
I will even argue that Breath of the Wild is one of the best immersive sims I've ever played.
 

Aldric

Member
One thing I see alot since BOTW came out is "this is the breath of the wild of______". It reminds me when everything was the skyrim of _______ or dark souls of ________. But as someone who played breath of the wild why does it seem to get credit for elements that seem to be pretty common in open world games. Open world games with freedom of choice isn't new...shadow of the Colossus, Skyrim, even the witcher seems to have equal if not more unique open world elements, but being that zelda is an influential franchise, and it adopted a popular game design philosophy it gets a ton of credit for inventing them even tho it existed. Maybe I'm over analyzing but it now seems any game with the "you can play how you want" is automatically breath of the wild of its genre.
I mean this kind of post is exactly why the discourse around Breath of the Wild has become so poor online, it has devolved into an endless succession of bad faith "pfffft yeah like BotW invented burning grass amirite" arguments coming from the same people who for some reason have a giant chip on their shoulder about Nintendo being one of the most influential companies in the industry.

I'll try to address the subject even if I have no illusion about the kind of reception my post will get but basically the point is an influential game isn't necessarily one that invents a mechanic or does something entirely new for the first time but moreso a title that puts familiar elements together in such a way it creates a template that'll later inspire others, and to illustrate that I'll take the example of Dark Souls.

I think not a lot of people would disagree about Dark Souls being one of the most iconic and influential games of the 2010s. It has entered the collective imagination of players worldwide and has spawned countless clones. Some of its design elements have impacted games that don't directly copy its entire formula too, so it might be surprising to claim that the fundamental mechanics and systems that define Dark Souls have all been lifted from other titles: the weighty combat with an emphasis on uncancellable animations forcing you to commit, the risky healing mechanic and the stamina bar are all lifted straight out of Monster Hunter. The interconnected, labyrinthine level design with unlockable shortcuts, elevators connecting different areas, emphasis on environmental storytelling and exploration loop bringing you back to a safe starting area can all be found in the Metroid series. The corpse run is an obvious mainstay of the MMO genre since at least Everquest in the early 2000s and of course the Z targeting and heavy use of shields in combat evoke Ocarina of Time.

Having listed all of that it'd seem particularly idiotic to then act as if the blatant soulsclones released afterwards weren't inspired by Dark Souls but instead by Monster Hunter, Metroid or Everquest. Technically, in the pettiest, most nitpicky way it's correct, but in reality it's obvious it's Dark Souls that became the template all these games followed because it's the game that put all these elements together in such a way it became a reference for a lot of people.

So what does BotW do that all these other open world don't which justifies the praise? Well the obvious answer, which everyone should know at this point if they were arguing in good faith is that BotW brought down the walls associated with the genre and went all in with freedom left to the player which manifests itself in multiple ways:

-One of the stupidest criticisms leveled against BotW is that it has "Ubisoft towers". This is of course an idiotic statement specifically because BotW avoids the problem generally associated with Ubi towers which is the myriad of activity icons popping up on the player's map once activated. In BotW activating a tower only gives you the general topography of the region, even the names of places aren't shown before you visit them which means that cartography becomes a gameplay element: it's the player who has to pay attention to his surroundings, use his eyes to scout for points of interest in the distance (the entire point of a tower) and annote his map with markers he'll place himself. Instead of being put on a treadmill of amusement park style activities you get to choose where you go and what peeks your interest. The game leaves agency to the player.

-Speaking of scouting for points of interest, the map design is perfectly conceived to allow for navigation by sight only. There's no waypoint or magical GPS system and the bare minimum of map markers. The player is expected to carve his way through the world just by looking around and the world design does an amazing job guiding him by placing landmarks of varied size and shape throughout the map. The map is so well designed that a little known fact about Hyrule is that you can see every single main regions from the cliff on the Great Plateau at the very beginning, can pick and choose one of the large landmarks and follow the direction towards it to reach the associated region: Death Mountain brings you to Goron Village, the Great Deku Tree to the Master Sword, the Dueling Peaks guide you towards the start of the main quest etc. Even if this kind of design has already been used in open world games, to my knowledge it's never been used so extensively and efficiently in a map of this size.

-The map itself is constantly alternating between plains and more elevated mountainous regions, it's remarkably vertical and "chaotic" in the way a natural landscape tends to be and yet it doubles as a perfect playground because, like other things in the game I'll come back to later it's perfectly laid out to synergize with the traversal mechanics and the aforementioned "exploration by sight" philosophy. The way you can climb every surface isn't just a gimmick, it's a fundamental aspect of what makes the game so liberating compared to other open world games because climbing a mountain isn't just a marketing argument, it's at the core of the entire gameplay loop: you climb a wall (which is neither restricted like in every other game that have clear climbing spots nor automated because you have to manage your stamina and spot parts of the cliff where you can rest beforehand), use the vantage point to find something you want to check in the distance and then parasail or shield surf to it. You constantly go up and down freely in a way that has never been done before and you're always engaged and in total control of your actions throughout (again, no map markers or waypoints, just your eyes and mind).

-And finally and most importantly the game simply grants the player an insane number of possible interactions due to the "multiplicative" nature of its gameplay. By that I mean that it's not simply that the game has a staggering number of mechanics, which it does, but mostly the way these mechanics interact with eachother and end up having multiple uses in multiple context: in BotW the same mechanic can be used at the same time for combat, traversal and puzzle solving, like how the parasail can obviously make you move faster but also allow you to drop bombs from above or execute a dive attack or help you gain enough height by riding an ascending air current which then allows you to activate bullet time bow shots which allows you to land critical headshots on enemies which stuns them which makes them drop their weapons etc etc etc. The game's systemic design is simply vastly above what the competition offers and I don't see how anyone could deny it, console war shitposting notwithstanding.

So to sum up and mercifully conclude, BotW identified what the main draw of an open world was which is obviously its open nature and gave players more options and more freedom than anything done before thanks to a complete lack of handholding, gameplay based on unrestricted exploration, a trust placed in the player to navigate the world by sight and choose his own path by himself and incredibly solid synergy between world design and core mechanics. You can spend your days impotently screeching about how Just Cause 3 did aerial traversal before, or how immersive sims are nothing new, or how GTA already allowed players to find their way through the level design itself but as my Dark Souls example showed that'd be missing the forest for the trees. Breath of the Wild is the game that took these elements and put them together in a coherent whole that became the new standard of the genre for millions of people, including the creators of one of the most lucrative hits of the past few years in Genshin Impact. You're free to delude yourself it's all a fanboy conspiracy to the tune of "it's ok when Nintendo do it" until you're blue in the face but that won't change the game's overwhelmingly positive reception and its already solidly established place in the gaming pantheon. Cope, as kids say.
 
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ultrazilla

Gold Member
One thing I see alot since BOTW came out is "this is the breath of the wild of______". It reminds me when everything was the skyrim of _______ or dark souls of ________. But as someone who played breath of the wild why does it seem to get credit for elements that seem to be pretty common in open world games. Open world games with freedom of choice isn't new...shadow of the Colossus, Skyrim, even the witcher seems to have equal if not more unique open world elements, but being that zelda is an influential franchise, and it adopted a popular game design philosophy it gets a ton of credit for inventing them even tho it existed. Maybe I'm over analyzing but it now seems any game with the "you can play how you want" is automatically breath of the wild of its genre.

The magic of BOTW is that going anywhere and exploring on your own usually leads to the player finding something hidden or important to the story. The BOTW developers
nailed the essence of what Miyamoto said about the very first Zelda.

From the Miyamoto Zelda Wiki(yeah it's Wiki but he's mentioned this a million times) Miyamoto's inspiration for Zelda

During his childhood, Miyamoto enjoyed exploring the countryside and hillsides around his home, which inspired the creation of The Legend of Zelda.[1] He joined Nintendo in 1977, where he began developing arcade games. Shortly before starting development for Super Mario Bros., Miyamoto began developing The Legend of Zelda as a launch title for the Famicom Disk System.[2] Since then, he has worked as the producer of every game in The Legend of Zelda series.

BOTW I feel is exactly how Miyamoto felt back in his childhood with exploring the local countryside and discovering neat things. The sense of freedom, magic, discovery, adventure, excitement...it hits on
all those emotional feelings when exploring Hyrule. That's the magic of BOTW and why it's now used as a comparison to other open world games.

Cheers.

i'm drunk as a mother fucker
 

Lethal01

Member
I'm aware of all this stuff(played easily 500+ hours of botw). Though it's the kind of thing that GTA and Minecraft are also known for.

For example, on GTA you can point a gun to some drive waiting on the red traffic light and some of them try to run away and run over some pedestrian on crosswalk causing some traffic pile up. You can make people fight near the subway line causing one of them to fall and be killed by the train. It's full of those possibilities that happens combining a lot of systems in place(tbh the only reason I spent a lot of time playing them because rockstar mission design sucks imo).

In Minecraft you can simulate a fucking processor....XD

BoTW, GTA and Minecraft all have systems that interact with each other.
In terms of the number of systems and how many things those systems can interact with.

Minecraft is a 9/10, Zelda is a 6~7 10, GTA is a 4/10.

Zelda didn't invent it or anything, but it does it much better than other open worlds.
 
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Lethal01

Member
I mean this kind of post is exactly why the discourse around Breath of the Wild has become so poor online, it has devolved into an endless succession of bad faith "pfffft yeah like BotW invented burning grass amirite" arguments coming from the same people who for some reason have a giant chip on their shoulder about Nintendo being one of the most influential companies in the industry.

I'll try to address the subject even if I have no illusion about the kind of reception my post will get but basically the point is an influential game isn't necessarily one that invents a mechanic or does something entirely new for the first time but moreso a title that puts familiar elements together in such a way it creates a template that'll later inspire others, and to illustrate that I'll take the example of Dark Souls.

I think not a lot of people would disagree about Dark Souls being one of the most iconic and influential games of the 2010s. It has entered the collective imagination of players worldwide and has spawned countless clones. Some of its design elements have impacted games that don't directly copy its entire formula too, so it might be surprising to claim that the fundamental mechanics and systems that define Dark Souls have all been lifted from other titles: the weighty combat with an emphasis on uncancellable animations forcing you to commit, the risky healing mechanic and the stamina bar are all lifted straight out of Monster Hunter. The interconnected, labyrinthine level design with unlockable shortcuts, elevators connecting different areas, emphasis on environmental storytelling and exploration loop bringing you back to a safe starting area can all be found in the Metroid series. The corpse run is an obvious mainstay of the MMO genre since at least Everquest in the early 2000s and of course the Z targeting and heavy use of shields in combat evoke Ocarina of Time.

Having listed all of that it'd seem particularly idiotic to then act as if the blatant soulsclones released afterwards weren't inspired by Dark Souls but instead by Monster Hunter, Metroid or Everquest. Technically, in the pettiest, most nitpicky way it's correct, but in reality it's obvious it's Dark Souls that became the template all these games followed because it's the game that put all these elements together in such a way it became a reference for a lot of people.

So what does BotW do that all these other open world don't which justifies the praise? Well the obvious answer, which everyone should know at this point if they were arguing in good faith is that BotW brought down the walls associated with the genre and went all in with freedom left to the player which manifests itself in multiple ways:

-One of the stupidest criticisms leveled against BotW is that it has "Ubisoft towers". This is of course an idiotic statement specifically because BotW avoids the problem generally associated with Ubi towers which is the myriad of activity icons popping up on the player's map once activated. In BotW activating a tower only gives you the general topography of the region, even the names of places aren't shown before you visit them which means that cartography becomes a gameplay element: it's the player who has to pay attention to his surroundings, use his eyes to scout for points of interest in the distance (the entire point of a tower) and annote his map with markers he'll place himself. Instead of being put on a treadmill of amusement park style activities you get to choose where you go and what peeks your interest. The game leaves agency to the player.

-Speaking of scouting for points of interest, the map design is perfectly conceived to allow for navigation by sight only. There's no waypoint or magical GPS system and the bare minimum of map markers. The player is expected to carve his way through the world just by looking around and the world design does an amazing job guiding him by placing landmarks of varied size and shape throughout the map. The map is so well designed that a little known fact about Hyrule is that you can see every single main regions from the cliff on the Great Plateau at the very beginning, can pick and choose one of the large landmarks and follow the direction towards it to reach the associated region: Death Mountain brings you to Goron Village, the Great Deku Tree to the Master Sword, the Dueling Peaks guide you towards the start of the main quest etc. Even if this kind of design has already been used in open world games, to my knowledge it's never been used so extensively and efficiently in a map of this size.

-The map itself is constantly alternating between plains and more elevated mountainous regions, it's remarkably vertical and "chaotic" in the way a natural landscape tends to be and yet it doubles as a perfect playground because, like other things in the game I'll come back to later it's perfectly laid out to synergize with the traversal mechanics and the aforementioned "exploration by sight" philosophy. The way you can climb every surface isn't just a gimmick, it's a fundamental aspect of what makes the game so liberating compared to other open world games because climbing a mountain isn't just a marketing argument, it's at the core of the entire gameplay loop: you climb a wall (which is neither restricted like in every other game that have clear climbing spots nor automated because you have to manage your stamina and spot parts of the cliff where you can rest beforehand), use the vantage point to find something you want to check in the distance and then parasail or shield surf to it. You constantly go up and down freely in a way that has never been done before and you're always engaged and in total control of your actions throughout (again, no map markers or waypoints, just your eyes and mind).

-And finally and most importantly the game simply grants the player an insane number of possible interactions due to the "multiplicative" nature of its gameplay. By that I mean that it's not simply that the game has a staggering number of mechanics, which it does, but mostly the way these mechanics interact with eachother and end up having multiple uses in multiple context: in BotW the same mechanic can be used at the same time for combat, traversal and puzzle solving, like how the parasail can obviously make you move faster but also allow you to drop bombs from above or execute a dive attack or help you gain enough height by riding an ascending air current which then allows you to activate bullet time bow shots which allows you to land critical headshots on enemies which stuns them which makes them drop their weapons etc etc etc. The game's systemic design is simply vastly above what the competition offers and I don't see how anyone could deny it, console war shitposting notwithstanding.

So to sum up and mercifully conclude, BotW identified what the main draw of an open world was which is obviously its open nature and gave players more options and more freedom than anything done before thanks to a complete lack of handholding, gameplay based on unrestricted exploration, a trust placed in the player to navigate the world by sight and choose his own path by himself and incredibly solid synergy between world design and core mechanics. You can spend your days impotently screeching about how Just Cause 3 did aerial traversal before, or how immersive sims are nothing new, or how GTA already allowed players to find their way through the level design itself but as my Dark Souls example showed that'd be missing the forest for the trees. Breath of the Wild is the game that took these elements and put them together in a coherent whole that became the new standard of the genre for millions of people, including the creators of one of the most lucrative hits of the past few years in Genshin Impact. You're free to delude yourself it's all a fanboy conspiracy to the tune of "it's ok when Nintendo do it" until you're blue in the face but that won't change the game's overwhelmingly positive reception and its already solidly established place in the gaming pantheon. Cope, as kids say.

I think we got OP all wrong, Clearly he's just a Zelda fan in disguise getting us warmed up for when BoTW 2 comes out.

But yeah, at this point I think every open world would be better if they applied as many of the lessons learn from BoTW as they can to their games.

Even if they can't implement the chemistry system or need to be abit more structured. Just learning to encourage real exploration and how to constantly distract players from their destination simply with interesting terrain would be a good step forward.
 
Feel safe in knowing that I feel the same way, and lots of other people do. The thing that makes it a minority opinion is that BOTW is more accessible to more casual gamers so they take up the majority. It doesn't mean that you're wrong, Witcher 3 is the vastly superior games full stop. Better story, tons of exploration, questing is more interesting, combat is probably worse overall but in BOTW all this dynamic creative combat/ability usage that people flaunt is unnecessary and most people don't use it like those creative youtubers/tiktok clips.
Witcher 3 is the overrated one IMO. I feel that many people who consider it the best WRPG missed the classics like Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape: Torment.
 

bender

What time is it?
The same was being said back then on the first Halo game. "wHAt MaKes it So greAT? manY gameS BefORE Did THiS pArt Or ThAT part BeFore halO".

Salty PC warriors who championed the "FPS don't belong on consoles". Nothing really matched the size of Halo's maps with the exception of the Delta Force games. Those were fun in their own right but Halo's physics and fantastic AI (only really matched by FEAR) made for a really entertaining sandbox. The original Halo is a GOAT and that's coming from someone who's been with the genre since its' inception.
 
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Notabueno

Banned
Nah man I think GTA V is the better open world game tbh
GTA V had a well crafted open-world in it's context (and we can also appreciate the simple crowd AI. given the horrendous ones we find in even the most recent OW games), but it didn't change or invent anything and uses a pretty much obsolete formula today as far as interactions and campaign go.
 
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