Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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JWK
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Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby JWK » July 12th, 2018, 7:07 pm

Let me start off by stating the obvious: my title may be clickbait, but I don’t want to offend. Just discuss. This is my opinion and though I’ve been posting here about 10 years, I’m still just a nameless, faceless guy on the internet. Grain of salt and all that.

So, I’m a little late to the party on these two games. I recently bought a Switch (finally...) and Horizon Zero Dawn Definitive Edition hit $20. I started Zelda (Switch) and Horizon (PS4Pro) together. Let me be crystal clear: Breath of the Wild is a great game. It’s unique for a Zelda game, not so much in structure, but in freedom. It has excellent graphics, meaningful progression and engaging puzzles. But let me also be blunt: Horizon is a better game. And not by an insignificant amount.

Why compare these two games (other than I started them at the same time)? They’re closer than you probably realize. They’re both challenging, third person, open world, action/adventure games. Sure, Horizon’s more of a traditional Western RPG, but by the eye test, they’re quite similar. As far as I can tell, Horizon is better than BotW in the following areas: combat, story, graphics, traversal, skill acquisition, immersion and enemy variety. None of those are insignificant, but the first three— combat, story and graphics— create a world that is frankly more interesting than BotW. What Zelda does better than Horizon— puzzles, item management (wait, is items breaking really a good thing?), some traversal like floating— is only marginally so, while Horizon’s strengths far outclass the same aspects in Breath. In short, everything from the World to character interactions to combat to small points of quality of life in Horizon seem better to me than Zelda’s.

Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with this; I simply enjoy one game more than another and lots of people feel differently. No biggie. But Breath of the Wild has been touted as a transcendent, generational game and one of the best of all time, while the media looked at Horizon and seemed to say, “Yeah, it’s really good. 9/10.” Am I missing something here? Are people overstating how good Zelda is because it’s... Zelda?

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DaHeckIzDat » July 12th, 2018, 7:37 pm

I still prefer BotW to HZD because there were actually places in Hyrule I could see in the distance and say "I want to go there!" whereas with HZD it's all just... if I wanted to see trees, I'd go into my backyard. This is mostly because there were things to do in BotW's world besides kill bad guys and run toward the next mark on my map, and it rewards you for doing it. If you see a mountain, at the very least there'll be a Korok seed at the top, or maybe even an entire sidequest involving a dragon. In HZD, in the rare event that I saw somewhere I actually wanted to make the effort to go to, there was no reward. It was just another place on the map.

ESauce
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby ESauce » July 12th, 2018, 9:18 pm

I’ve only played a few hours of Horizon Zero Dawn but I feel like that’s already enough for me to disagree.

When i played just a couple hours of BOTW I was already hooked. I played BOTW on Wii U when it came out. I beat in in just a couple weeks racking up over 40 hours on it, which is the fastest and longest I’ve played a game and years. I couldn’t put it down. Just recently I started a new file on Switch. I started around ten and thought I’ll just play for an hour before I go to sleep. Pretty soon it was 3am and I remembered I had to wake up for work at 6.

Horizon Zero Dawn on the other hand, the first time I played for two hours, thought it was fun, and went to bed. Subsequent plays have been an hour or less. I like it but I’m not hooked. Honestly that’s enough for me to say which one is better in my eyes. But in regards to HZD, what does it do that’s special? I agree the combat is good, but what makes it different? It plays like every other action game with a couple of its own flourishes. BOTW combat is a puzzle each time; I find it far more fun and engaging even if mechanically it might not seem as slick. And the graphics of horizon zero dawn are obviously technically better but again it’s just another realistic looking game, albeit with some cool robo-dinosaurs. BOTW has an art style that’s different from most other AAA action titles; it’s more interesting to look at

JWK
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby JWK » July 12th, 2018, 10:34 pm

Some good responses, guys! I’m reminding myself that I brought up an unpopular conclusion to playing both games and I’ll probably be alone on this one.

Typically, I play JRPGs if I want a great story. Western RPGs for me are all about the world and combat. What surprised me the most was just how engaging the story *is* in a genre that tends to not value them. (Bethesda games tend to have fairly ho-hum stories but make up for it with interesting worlds). If ESauce is only a few hours in, I’m excited for you as you start uncovering the world. Aloy has a focus, but so do her enemies. Where did they come from? There are voices and messages that come through... who are they? Where are they leading you? Why is the world so primitive but these robotic animals so advanced? Why do they get more deadly each season (subsequently as you level up)? What were these bombed out corporate buildings for? What was Project Zero Dawn? You make contacts and do main quests to find out and optional side quests to dig deeper. It’s addicting to uncover more of the interesting world.

We touched on combat. If you’re early in the game, it’s good but you haven’t gotten the good stuff yet. You do long rang fire/ice/electric arrows, arrows that break off armor, arrows that possess your enemies, explosive bombs that do heavy damage or cause elemental damage. What type of elemental damage works best on each enemy? Use your focus and find out. Find enemy weapons, shoot them off and use them against them.

As for DaHeckIzDat’s point that exploration in Horizon is only combat and following markers, I’m not sure you made it very far in the game. There are tons of collectibles, people in danger, side quests to complete, skills to acquire (combat, stealth, traversal, etc), camps to liberate, hostiles to kill, cauldrons to complete where you get the ability to override machines and turn them against other machines or use them for traversal. There is tons to do. And sure, there’s trees. But there’s also desert, plains, mountains and the frozen wilds, each with different camps and worlds. Not only is the world big, but it’s dense, filled with enemies. Exploration in Breath of the Wild is pretty sparse in comparison.

You may think it sounds similar to other action/adventure games but it’s an RPG, where inherently you get out of it what you put into it. Frankly, Breath isn’t too dissimilar to other Zelda games... or other action/adventure games *either,* but as with most gaming genres, the devil’s in the details. You don’t get everything a game has to offer at first blush.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DaHeckIzDat » July 13th, 2018, 12:56 am

I made it to the part where you find the dude you saw in your hometown in his hometown, you search another guy's house, and the dude is like "Hey, you'll do this thing for me, right? Kthxby." Still pretty early in the game, but that was when I decided I didn't want to keep playing.

As for the combat, maybe it's just because I suck at shooting in any game, but I don't like having to shoot tiny pieces off gigantic monsters while they run and fly around like a Poochie on crack (wow, there's a dated reference that nobody's going to get). I would waste all my arrows trying to shoot it, and then it'd wreck me.

Sut
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby Sut » July 13th, 2018, 2:25 am

I can’t compare as I’ve not played Zelda yet but I would say HZD gets really compelling. The story and setting is wonderfully unique and unravelling how the machines came to be is fascinating.

It took me a few hours to get into but once I did, I sunk over 90 hours into it. Not sure about the criticism that there is no reason to go anywhere ? There are side quests in more or less every settlement there are 3 lots of collectibles hidden in mountains, lakes, etc. These include a nice Uncharted style climbing system, hunting missions. When you beat a cauldron (dungeon) and get the ability to overide various machines unlocking an extra layer of tactical depth. There are various weapons you can mod along the way.

It’s an extraordinarily great game just give it time to fall in love.

Like I say I’ve not played Zelda yet, but meaning no offence this forum is sometimes susceptible to a Nintendo love in. But there are plenty of opposite views that are in line with JWK’s.

ESauce
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby ESauce » July 13th, 2018, 11:04 am

Sut wrote:
Like I say I’ve not played Zelda yet, but meaning no offence this forum is sometimes susceptible to a Nintendo love in. But there are plenty of opposite views that are in line with JWK’s.


No offense taken, but I think it’s pretty silly when people say that in general. I do love a lot of Nintendo games but it’s because they’re fun! I grew up with an NES and a Sega Genesis. I loved Sonic just as much as Mario as a kid. I’d be just as likely to be biased towards Sonic games but I don’t play them, because they’re not fun anymore. I just like games that are fun.

I can certainly understand not liking the story of Zelda; it’s there just to serve a purpose of getting you to points A, B, C and D. I don’t play most games for the story though. To be honest, I’ve been watching the cutscenes of Horizon Zero Dawn, but most likely I’ll start skipping them later in the game. I just generally don’t find games even with a “good” story to be as compelling to me as a decent tv show. There are just a few games that are the exception and from what I’ve seen of Horizon Zero Dawn so far, I don’t think it’s going to fall in that group. I’ll give it more of a chance, but it’s just not a driving factor in playing for me.

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DrLitch
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DrLitch » July 13th, 2018, 11:29 am

HZD came out only a couple of weeks before BOTW but it ended up that I played BOTW first. Initially I had a difficult time immersing myself in HZD but once I actually broke free of the Sacred Lands and the story opened up, I started preferring it to BOTW. After completing my first cauldron and having so much fun overriding machines (causing massive robot wars) along with the enemy variety, bandit camps, and so on, HZD is perhaps in the top 10 best games I have ever played. The Frozen Wilds DLC reaffirmed my belief that HZD is a masterpiece. I then revisited BOTW when the first DLC came, the game proved more challenging, where the Master Mode should have been the game's default difficulty IMO. Now, quite honestly, I do not know anymore. I had so much fun with BOTW. Yes, the graphics are nothing too amazing, the combat is trivial, the game lacks any real atmosphere, while the story is nonexistent or inconsequential. The little cutscenes that play made me realize I dislike the characters in BOTW while Link has the personality of a block of wood. However, it is worth pointing out Zelda is not an RPG, character development and interaction is not something important to the franchise. Overall, considering that the best games need not be the most polished, I feel both are similarly enjoyable. If I had to rank them at gunpoint, HZD beats BOTW by 0.0001%. On another day I could choose BOTW.

JWK
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby JWK » July 13th, 2018, 2:08 pm

More great points. I like the feedback as both are games I think most people would really enjoy. On Zelda’s story, I can see validity in the criticisms. Unfortunately, as recent Zelda games have opened up their gameplay they’ve retracted the story. At various times, you had motivation to go questing because of your sister or the woman you loved. In Breath you wake up and there’s stuff to do. That’s pretty much your motivation. I actually don’t think this works against BotW, because exploration has gone from being an aspect of a Zelda game to being the whole point. You don’t know what’s out there but you *want* to know. Obviously, it gets deeper as you learn of Hylian legend, and of this thing corrupting the land and this person you were 100 years ago (spoiler? It’s pretty early in the story, so hope that’s ok). Basically I’m saying I don’t see Breath’s meager story as being lazy development but a calculated decision to let the exploration take center stage. Still, I would like to see a future Zelda game take a bit of a risk in telling a more compelling story. That’s a big reason I prefer Horizon. And with little collectibles like vantage points where you can see and hear what “The Old Ones” experienced, it makes it that much more engrossing. I also enjoyed how Horizon had a story based in our world vs Zelda in its own universe. One isn’t inherently better than the other— in fact I’ve historically enjoyed stories in fictional universes more— but this one was just really immersive for me personally.

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DrLitch
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Re: Horizon: Zero Dawn > Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Postby DrLitch » July 13th, 2018, 8:30 pm

I will add, if you are just going to pick up and play and put down for later, BOTW has the lead on this one. You can save everywhere except for that one dungeon near the desert where you had to sneak around. HZD saves are suitably spaced out campfires and you cannot save if there is an enemy nearby. No autosaves outside of a main quest accomplishment. BOTW seems to autosave too much but thankfully keeps at least one manual save if you decide to mess around. Not a big deal but worth mentioning.


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