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

Notabueno

Banned
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.
I haven't watched this conference yet, but your example doesn't even scratch the surface of what Nintendo has crafted and designed in terms of open-world structure for BoTW.
 
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Kamina

Golden Boy
Botw does a lot of things right, especially when it comes to open world. Some things unique to itself while others are shared with other games.
If i can cite one game as sole example for me statement it is easier and quicker.
 

Fare thee well

Neophyte
I understood everyone's complaints of BotW, especially as a longrun Zelda player. However despite that and my even longer experience with openworld on pc, the game just felt refreshing and filled a lot of hours for me. Maybe it was the climbing, maybe it was the atmosphere, the gliding, or just the notion of discovery? I don't feel qualified to explain it tbh.
 

ProudClod

Non-existent Member
The short explanation is that, unlike most open world games, it is a cleanly designed game with excellent base mechanics. Every mechanic is important to the core gameplay loop, and feeds into everything from combat to exploration.

Furthermore, the mechanics are all very simple.

You have health, stamina, a temperature gauge, and breakable weapons. And you can go virtually anywhere as long as your health, stamina, and temperature allow you to (and you have a decent weapon to defend yourself).
  • You can go fight the final boss right after the tutorial area -- but pretty much everything is going to one hit you (so you need to become more powerful) and the axe you get in front of the first fire isn't going to cut it.
  • You can go to the volcano right from the start, but you'll die from heat (and will need to farm some special items to survive the heat OR do the quest to get the heat armor).
  • You can climb any mountain you want but might freeze to death at the top (so you'll need to constantly start fires / carry a torch / eat hot peppers / find some warm clothing).
While some of the mechanics can be likened to Ubisoft (climbing towers to open the map) -- BOTW does it SO much better because of it's game design and mechanics. In a Ubisoft game, every tower / outpost is exactly the same. The challenges are the same. The enemies are the same. They all blend together and become repetitive tasks.

In BOTW, however, even the simple things like towers are all slightly different. Some of them are only accessible by climbing mountains and navigating through storms. Some are closed off with vines that you need to clear. Some are too tall to climb on your base stamina (without some stamina food, that is). Some are protected by enemies that will snipe you from a mile away. None of them are exactly the same, but all of them are accessible if you just take a second to think your obstacle through.

And all of this minute to minute experience is bolstered by amazing mechanics and design:

1. Excellent traversal mechanics
  • Go anywhere and climb anything
  • Shoot up and glide to quickly get around
  • Stamina system makes climbing and gliding actually rewarding (as opposed to spamming the jump button)
2. Rewarding exploration
  • Spotting and tracking down new shrines
  • Unique, fun trials scattered across the map
  • Literally hundreds of korok seeds hidden through the world with fun little puzzles
  • Dozens of secret areas, cracked walls, etc.
  • Difficult, unique enemies hiding in far-off / difficult to reach places
3. Logical and fun game physics
  • Grass? Trees? I should be able to cut that... whoa!
  • Explosive barrels? I'll just hold my arrow over a fire and... whoa!
  • A raft with a sail? I wonder if I can use my korok leaf to propel it... whoa!
  • Lighting hitting everything around me? Unequip your metal equipment... whoa!
  • Freezing in the mountains? A torch should be able to warm me up... whoa!
  • Shit, out of arrows. I should be able to use magnesis to wallop the enemy... whoa!
  • It's raining in the middle of a battle? Would be cool if I could use my shock arrows to kill everything... whoa!
  • Ice blocking my path? I wonder if I can use my torch here... whoa!
Again, the mechanics are very simple, but everything works together so well and acts to build more immersion and cohesiveness to the experience. It's not a bunch of random mechanics that turn into their own separate mini-games. Everything is about how you interact with the world and environment, and you're never taken out of the experience.

If you compare this to any other open world game with a critical eye, you'll realize that these so-called "basic" and "logical" mechanics are missing from all other open world games.

Sure, Assassin's Creed lets you climb. But you can't climb everything, you're constantly blocked by invisible walls, and there's absolutely nothing rewarding about holding a button to parkour and scale a wall after the first 5 minutes of gameplay. There's no sense of accomplishment at all. The simple introduction of a well-designed stamina mechanic changes a boring, rote skill like wall climbing to something that's rewarding and fun.

Sure, you can go /mostly/ anywhere in games like Skyrim and Fallout, but spamming jump at a weird angle to get up a mountain feels janky -- not fun.

And outside of Half-Life 2 and Portal, there are nearly no games that use physics to the same satisfying extent as BOTW. And certainly not open-world games, which tend to have absolutely laughable physics.
 

NinjaBoiX

Member
As others have said, I think it was more the freedom and agency the world afforded, along with the robust physics being integral to how you interacted with it.

It really did feel unique in that sense to me, and I’ve played a lot of open world games!
Correction....

Gravity Rush 1, 2... And BOTW... Are true open World 🙂

Sun Gravity Rush
 
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Heimdall_Xtreme

Jim Ryan Fanclub's #1 Member
As others have said, I think it was more the freedom and agency the world afforded, along with the robust physics being integral to how you interacted with it.

It really did feel unique in that sense to me, and I’ve played a lot of open world games!


[strike]Sun[/strike] Gravity Rush

Gravity Rush is life ❤️
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
Yeah it's quite amusing to see people who believe that botw invented open world games or any gamey mechanics that was already existent pre-2017...
 

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
The short explanation is that, unlike most open world games, it is a cleanly designed game with excellent base mechanics. Every mechanic is important to the core gameplay loop, and feeds into everything from combat to exploration.

Furthermore, the mechanics are all very simple.

You have health, stamina, a temperature gauge, and breakable weapons. And you can go virtually anywhere as long as your health, stamina, and temperature allow you to (and you have a decent weapon to defend yourself).
  • You can go fight the final boss right after the tutorial area -- but pretty much everything is going to one hit you (so you need to become more powerful) and the axe you get in front of the first fire isn't going to cut it.
  • You can go to the volcano right from the start, but you'll die from heat (and will need to farm some special items to survive the heat OR do the quest to get the heat armor).
  • You can climb any mountain you want but might freeze to death at the top (so you'll need to constantly start fires / carry a torch / eat hot peppers / find some warm clothing).
While some of the mechanics can be likened to Ubisoft (climbing towers to open the map) -- BOTW does it SO much better because of it's game design and mechanics. In a Ubisoft game, every tower / outpost is exactly the same. The challenges are the same. The enemies are the same. They all blend together and become repetitive tasks.

In BOTW, however, even the simple things like towers are all slightly different. Some of them are only accessible by climbing mountains and navigating through storms. Some are closed off with vines that you need to clear. Some are too tall to climb on your base stamina (without some stamina food, that is). Some are protected by enemies that will snipe you from a mile away. None of them are exactly the same, but all of them are accessible if you just take a second to think your obstacle through.

And all of this minute to minute experience is bolstered by amazing mechanics and design:

1. Excellent traversal mechanics
  • Go anywhere and climb anything
  • Shoot up and glide to quickly get around
  • Stamina system makes climbing and gliding actually rewarding (as opposed to spamming the jump button)
2. Rewarding exploration
  • Spotting and tracking down new shrines
  • Unique, fun trials scattered across the map
  • Literally hundreds of korok seeds hidden through the world with fun little puzzles
  • Dozens of secret areas, cracked walls, etc.
  • Difficult, unique enemies hiding in far-off / difficult to reach places
3. Logical and fun game physics
  • Grass? Trees? I should be able to cut that... whoa!
  • Explosive barrels? I'll just hold my arrow over a fire and... whoa!
  • A raft with a sail? I wonder if I can use my korok leaf to propel it... whoa!
  • Lighting hitting everything around me? Unequip your metal equipment... whoa!
  • Freezing in the mountains? A torch should be able to warm me up... whoa!
  • Shit, out of arrows. I should be able to use magnesis to wallop the enemy... whoa!
  • It's raining in the middle of a battle? Would be cool if I could use my shock arrows to kill everything... whoa!
  • Ice blocking my path? I wonder if I can use my torch here... whoa!
Again, the mechanics are very simple, but everything works together so well and acts to build more immersion and cohesiveness to the experience. It's not a bunch of random mechanics that turn into their own separate mini-games. Everything is about how you interact with the world and environment, and you're never taken out of the experience.

If you compare this to any other open world game with a critical eye, you'll realize that these so-called "basic" and "logical" mechanics are missing from all other open world games.

Sure, Assassin's Creed lets you climb. But you can't climb everything, you're constantly blocked by invisible walls, and there's absolutely nothing rewarding about holding a button to parkour and scale a wall after the first 5 minutes of gameplay. There's no sense of accomplishment at all. The simple introduction of a well-designed stamina mechanic changes a boring, rote skill like wall climbing to something that's rewarding and fun.

Sure, you can go /mostly/ anywhere in games like Skyrim and Fallout, but spamming jump at a weird angle to get up a mountain feels janky -- not fun.

And outside of Half-Life 2 and Portal, there are nearly no games that use physics to the same satisfying extent as BOTW. And certainly not open-world games, which tend to have absolutely laughable physics.
Well said. The comparisons to Ubisoft's systems highlight the huge gulf in design competence.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
Big brains like this is why we can't have good conversations about botw here.
Don't get mad if not everyone is okay with that "insert title of a game" of the wild thing that some of you do in literally every topic of every open world game, it's grating after a while.

Botw had his merits and unique features, but some of you acts like botw invented videogames...

You can do all the good conversations you want mate, nobody is gonna stop you :lollipop_blowing_kiss:

I really don't wanna fight over botw :lollipop_grinning_sweat:
 
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gundalf

Member
I think it’s because the general Zelda/Nintendo audiences haven’t played a lot of open world games (if they’ve mostly played on Nintendo systems), so maybe it’s more new to them.

BotW doesn’t do a lot original but it has a neat physics system that very few open world games bother to implement. That alone makes it seem more unique.

Not going to lie, besides the very first Assassins Creed on 360, BOTW was my first proper open-world-adventure game* and it left a huge positive impact on me.
So totally understandable that others who played many open-world Ubisoft titles or Sony's offering with Horizon:ZD, weren't left much impressed by BOTW.

*I do not count games like FarCry, GTA or Skyrim, those have a very different concept and feel how you traverse and experience the world
 
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In my experience, I've recently sold my switch and got a PS4 Pro so I could try some new games. I'm replaying Ghost of Tsushima and while I think it's an amazing open world game, for some reason, I miss BOTW. That game was pure joy, felt like a relaxing experience and I have many great memories of it.

I loved it so much that I'm thinking of now selling my PS4 Pro so I can get a Switch. I really loved the game.
 

BadBurger

Gold Member
I think maybe it's more that this was the first open world that was fun to merely exist and experiment in, and wasn't rather defined by whatever "static" assets the developers placed. You know towns, NPC's, all that. Scripted stuff.

Personally, as a huge open world fan, I liked the world and experience of BotW, very-nearly loved it, but I do think others before and since did it better.
 
I think it’s because the general Zelda/Nintendo audiences haven’t played a lot of open world games (if they’ve mostly played on Nintendo systems), so maybe it’s more new to them.

BotW doesn’t do a lot original but it has a neat physics system that very few open world games bother to implement. That alone makes it seem more unique.
At the risk of upsetting anyone:

I think a lot of Nintendo fans play Nintendo almost exclusively. And Nintendo consoles have traditionally missed a lot of third party games.
 
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.

Dude, I was one that wasn't exactly a fan of how sword combat was dumbed down from OoT; I'd have hated if the game required me to think like an insane troll or a physics master every time I ran into a puzzle or a moblin. Going all TaoPaiPai on a tree is fun but if that was the expected and only way to break into Ganon's tower I'd be frustrated as heck. I was actually glad when normal/realistic solutions and solutions that are standard for Zelda games worked (Though, on the other end, the Yiga Clan hideout went too far with that and felt way too baked. insta-death before you can react as a penalty for being caught was way too much, the bananas are such a cheapsauce weakness that you feel no incentive to do anything different, and the boss should be able to be damaged more outside the obvious vulnerable moments.)
 

iHaunter

Member
I have 100+ hours in it. There's no excuse for having so few enemy types with different shades. This game has bee in development for how long?
 

Tg89

Member
Skyrim, Witcher and BotW are all very very different games. Outside of them all taking place in an "open world" they're absolutely nothing alike. Share almost no mechanics or systems, the way your interact with the world is nothing alike, etc. SotC honestly isn't even close to any of them, not sure how that made it there as a fourth example.

Just bunching a bunch of shit together because it's open world is incredibly reductionist.

The main differentiating factor with BotW is the true openness of the world combined with the tools they give you to actually explore + the physics. It's by far the least rigid of the three to explore and the most satisfying "playground".
 
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I only see this from Nintendo fans and I see it a lot. The obvious answer is that BotW was the first true open world game a lot of nintendo hardcores had ever played. Since then any open world game on switch is referred to as the "botw of..". I've seen arceus legends constantly referred to as botw pokemon when it does literally nothing tjay botw did well.

BotW is unique amongst open world games and pushed the genre meaningfully forward. Most ppl just dont understand why.
 

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
The short explanation is that, unlike most open world games, it is a cleanly designed game with excellent base mechanics. Every mechanic is important to the core gameplay loop, and feeds into everything from combat to exploration.
This. At the end of the day, it's a well designed game.

Skyrim on the other hand, has tons of stuff that exist simply to add volume.
Marriage for example, it serves no purpose at all and doesn't blend with any other type of interaction that the game offers.
 

JCK75

Member
I don't recall any game that gave you the level of freedom to traverse the open world that BOTW gives.

Skyrim if you see it you can go there, so long as you're willing to walk for 30 minutes to find the right path that will let you get there (areas around Markarth.. Jesus F'ing christ with the limitations of how you can get to where you need to go).

BOTW - got my stamina up, climing this mountain!
 

Tg89

Member
I don't recall any game that gave you the level of freedom to traverse the open world that BOTW gives.

Skyrim if you see it you can go there, so long as you're willing to walk for 30 minutes to find the right path that will let you get there (areas around Markarth.. Jesus F'ing christ with the limitations of how you can get to where you need to go).

BOTW - got my stamina up, climing this mountain!

Hey, you could also choose to spend an hour awkwardly shuffling up the mountainside in Skyrim.
 

JCK75

Member
Hey, you could also choose to spend an hour awkwardly shuffling up the mountainside in Skyrim.
Oh I did every time, and when you spend like 20 minutes trying to get up and you can't quite get there due to an incline that would otherwise be easily traversable.. it's so frustrating.
 

daveonezero

Member
Well said. The comparisons to Ubisoft's systems highlight the huge gulf in design competence.
You can't see half a dozen towers in a sightline in Ubisoft game. That is a huge difference. I was always awed at how that looked in BOTW. You can get shots where you have a bunch of towers and other points of interest in a single shot. And then BOTW makes it interesting to get to each place.
I have 100+ hours in it. There's no excuse for having so few enemy types with different shades. This game has bee in development for how long?
I agree. There are some things that could be mixed up more and hopefully they work on this. AS it was they still did a decent job of being effective.

I hope they go a bit crazy with this in BOTW2. Remix things like packs of mobs. Maybe "tribes" that have different abilities. Just spice it up a bit. Add maybe more variations and also more types and species.

I'd also like to see more weapon variety and types of weapons in the next iteration. Again more special moves or unique abilities for each weapon or type.

This. At the end of the day, it's a well designed game.

Skyrim on the other hand, has tons of stuff that exist simply to add volume.
Marriage for example, it serves no purpose at all and doesn't blend with any other type of interaction that the game offers.
Exactly and it makes just traversing an enjoyable experience. Even if it is simple. There may not be a "item" reward at the end but just getting there is usually enjoyable.
 
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Lethal01

Member
At the risk of upsetting anyone:

I think a lot of Nintendo fans play Nintendo almost exclusively. And Nintendo consoles have traditionally missed a lot of third party games.

There are huge slews of people who have played tons of open worlds including BoTW. It's crazy to think Nintendo fans are SO disconnected they haven't played open world games over the last decade. Infact most of the praise for BoTW is specifically about what it does BETTER than other open world.

BoTW isn't praised because the people playing it have not played other open worlds, it's praised because people played other open worlds, then played BoTW and thought it was way better at the things they valued(Environmental Exploration/interaction).

I don't know how years have passed and people can't admit that despite them not liking the game overall, BoTW atleast did a unique combination of things that made it stand out.
 
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Lethal01

Member
I have 100+ hours in it. There's no excuse for having so few enemy types with different shades. This game has bee in development for how long?

Now, this is totally fair complaint, but I think the issue may be that the development time needed to be spent on getting the world and physics system right before they could work on getting monsters to work in it.
 
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Soodanim

Gold Member
BOTW's strength was the world's systems. Heat, cold, fire, ice, water, electricity, wind, materials, and the interaction between them all. If you take that (great) system away, it's an big empty world with very little gameplay variety that misses what people like about the rest of the series and discourages combat by making encounters a net loss. In one way it's something to look up to, but in many other ways it's something to avoid like the plague.

If I make a comparison between Elden Ring and BOTW, it's because it's taking a Souls game and giving it map/crafting/sneaking/horse systems, when combined are exactly what Zelda added with BOTW (without the aforementioned system, of course). It's not a positive or negative comparison, it's just a comment on a trend.
 

Tazzu

Member
Nintendrones only play Nintendo games. They play an open-world game and all of a sudden its so innovative.
 
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daveonezero

Member
I find saying its "basic" to be a disingenuous argument. Also saying it must only be good because Nintendo Fans like it and didn't play other open world games.

Also why do we have this thread every few weeks? makes you think.
 

daveonezero

Member
For some reason BOTW is really hated here in GAF. So we annal threads of people shitting on the game.
It is either hating or "99 new things"

They devolve into the same thing. A divisive discussion on a really well thought out game that isn't for everyone.
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
It is either hating or "99 new things"

They devolve into the same thing. A divisive discussion on a really well thought out game that isn't for everyone.
That would be fine but the amount of hate BOTW gets in GAF is unnatural, it treated almost as if it’s the worst game ever created.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
The open world is the core of Breath of the Wild, and it's fun moving around but I agree with OP can we stop over hyping that the land of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild is unique? It’s no question a top 10 game of all time but let’s get some traditional dungeons.
 

S0ULZB0URNE

Member
The open world is the core of Breath of the Wild, and it's fun moving around but I agree with OP can we stop over hyping that the land of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild is unique? It’s no question a top 10 game of all time but let’s get some traditional dungeons.
Dungeons missing is the only noteworthy issue I have.

The open world is incredible.
I have spent countless hours exploring it.

Gliding to the tops of mountains that looked unreachable was so rewarding.
 
Same reason Apple gets credit for all of their "innovation".

By taking premature/preexisting concepts and polishing/refining them into an overall package that beats the competition?

BOTW combines many different elements in a very cohesive way that makes the overall game something special. The controls and combat are tight. The exploration and overall freedom makes the world feel massive and alive. The story (which is the weakest part) is still great and full of emotion. The puzzles are satisfying and compelling. It's the whole package and how well it all connects together.

I sold my Switch but will be buying an OLED or whatever the best version is once BOTW2 drops.
 
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Mozzarella

Member
That would be fine but the amount of hate BOTW gets in GAF is unnatural, it treated almost as if it’s the worst game ever created.
Didn't the game reach the finals in that poll about GOTG? if i remember correctly.
I dont think its hated but its probably not loved as much it usually is in other places.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
Dungeons missing is the only noteworthy issue I have.

The open world is incredible.
I have spent countless hours exploring it.

Gliding to the tops of mountains that looked unreachable was so rewarding.
Exploring the mountains is a forgotten aspect of breath of the Wild, 70 % is shrine praise well those are winners. I know breath of the Wild is the thing right now but if you play immortals it’s game of the year worthy.
 
BotW’s open World is only rivalled by RDRII’s World. Both games have that wanderlust exploration which constantly rewards you with secrets, ingredients, loot, upgrades, story elements, side quests and overall pure enjoyment in just the basic aspect of exploration.

In a time where so many open World games were boring, BotW was a breath of fresh air with a World you actually wanted to jump into and explore.
 

Zannegan

Member
It doesn't. It gets credit for how it remixes those elements with the one or two things it really does do head-and-shoulders better than the competition--player agency and the naturally interconnected gameplay systems. It's similar to the way Half Life 2 was lauded, not just for having a physics system, but for how fully and creatively that system was used in gameplay, and how much agency players were given to use those tools to find unconventional solutions to the usual shooter problems.

Anyone coming in here to drop the braindead argument that BotW fans must only have played Nintendo games before is either kidding themselves or trolling. I've been playing open and semi-open worlds since the PS2, or the N64 if you count OoT etc. as open world, and BotW still felt like a breath of fresh air.
 
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