Horizon Zero Dawn Vs. Breath of the Wild: WHICH IS BETTER?

Script written by Ty Richardson Let’s be honest, whatever we pick, you’re gonna lose your sh*t over it? Best to start writing your angry comments now. Welcome to http://WatchMojo.com and in today’s versus battle we’re pitting The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild against Horizon Zero Dawn to see which open world masterpiece stands supreme! Special thanks to this masochist “Bandicoot95” for suggesting this incendiary topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Horizon Zero Dawn VS. Breath of the Wild

These gorgeous open worlds have a lot in common, yet they’re both distinct and offer something different. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’re pitting two of 2017’s biggest sandbox games against each other; PlayStation’s “Horizon Zero Dawn” vs. Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”.

We’ll be judging our contenders on features both have been praised for upon their releases, and deciding which one is the superior open-world game.

Round 1: Story

In “Horizon Zero Dawn”, players control a young woman named Aloy. After a massacre of fellow tribesman during her rite of passage to join the tribe, Aloy sets out to track down the killers and eradicate the threat of cybernetic beasts. While it gets off to a slow start, “Horizon” takes players through a compelling narrative with intricate details that add to the world and lore. Aloy is an incredibly well fleshed-out character with clear motivations, which makes it really easy to immerse ourselves in the story. With a few more twists along the way as well as a satisfying ending, “Horizon” has left us wanting more from developer Guerilla Games.

Now, “Breath of the Wild” is a more interesting case when it comes to story. Producer Eiji Aonuma stated that players can reach the end of the game without touching any of the main story. Players who do, however, will come across some familiar faces along the way. There are also enough details in the story for players to piece together what has happened in Hyrule. What “Breath of the Wild” suffers from is its heavy reliance on using flashbacks to tell its story, especially when explaining character relationships. It shifts the focus from the present adventure to “Link’s Stroll Down Memory Lane” – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but isn’t as interesting as what’s happening here and now. Plus the ending felt very underwhelming.

Both have memorable characters and moments, but when it comes to storytelling, “Breath of the Wild” relies on flashbacks too frequently. “Horizon”, on the other hand, has more meat to its narrative bone, even if it does start slow.

WINNER: Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon 1 / Breath of the Wild 0

Round 2: Gameplay

The focus on ranged combat in “Horizon Zero Dawn” makes hunting machines engaging and tense, as enemy behavior is what keeps the combat engaging in the first place. Players can choose to play aggressively and attack head-on, pick off enemies one by one while remaining undetected. You can also equip weapons with mods to enhance effects, making your arsenal all the deadlier. However melee combat of the fight feels a little…underdeveloped. Don’t get us wrong; we like the different options of ranged weaponry, but unfortunately, it’s just not as in-depth as it could be

While “Horizon” nails ranged combat, what “Breath of the Wild” has is variety. You’ve got swords, bows, axes, spears, claymores - in other words, there are play styles aplenty with the ability to quickly switch weapons in the middle of combat. Like Horizon, Weapons can also provide elemental effects to help give you advantage in battle. “Breath of the Wild” also has a great physics engine which can manipulate with the rune abilities he gets at the start of the game. Cutting down trees to use as bridges and dropping crates on enemies’ heads has never been this much fun!

This round was a tough call, but in the end, the point goes to “Breath of the Wild”. “Horizon” may have suspenseful ranged combat, but the melee combat is lackluster. Despite the annoying weapon degradation, we’d happily choose a large selection of weapons and attack styles over a heavy reliance on ranged weaponry.

WINNER: Breath of the Wild

Horizon 1 / Breath of the Wild 1

Round 3: Graphics

For Horizon, Developer Guerilla Games, have successfully created one of the most beautiful games to grace the PS4. While utilizing various texture filters, Guerilla’s game engine, Decima, has helped the team develop richly detailed environments. Every camera shot, whether in cinematics or during gameplay, is breathtaking to look at. The game looks amazing on even the standard version of the PS4, but you should see it running on a PS4 Pro, in 4K – albeit, at 30 frames per second – but nevertheless, this is an astounding graphical achievement for home consoles.

As one of the first games to launch on the Nintendo Switch, “Breath of the Wild” served as a great showcase of the console’s power in visuals and draw distance. The game itself also displays some of the most beautiful cel-shading we’ve seen in a Zelda game. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself admiring and taking in the view of the land. However, “Breath of the Wild” suffers from the odd framerate issues. Which is a shame really, considering how immersive and beautiful the world is, that a sudden dip in frames-per-second can take you out of the experience, Nintendo has since released patches that fix these dips in more the intense areas, but at time of writing some infamous areas like the Lost Woods still have very distracting drops.

Both games look spectacular, and have moments and landmarks that make you want to stop killing things and just admire the scenery. The point goes to “Horizon”, though, because of its stellar visuals and consistent framerate. Had “Breath of the Wild” spent more time cooking in development, it may have been a stronger competitor this round. But…those framerates, man…

WINNER: Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon 2 / Breath of the Wild 1

Round 4: Dungeons

The “Legend of Zelda” has made dungeons the bread and butter of the franchise. “Breath of the Wild” makes things a bit more interesting. While you’ll frequently come across Shrines which act as “mini-dungeons”, the most exciting dungeons come in the form of “the Divine Beasts”. Each Divine Beast serves as the equivalent to a boss fight with their own unique puzzles and fights. Once defeated, Link can explore inside it and interact with its mechanical parts to solve more difficult puzzles. It’s tough, its challenging, but, damn, is it so rewarding when you find the solution and head into the final boss fight with a Blight Ganon!

Not to be out Zelda’d by … Zelda, “Horizon Zero Dawn” presents its own take on dungeons called the “Cauldrons”. These locations contain hordes of enemies to fight, data entries and collectibles, and more importantly, overrides. Recovering overrides will allow Aloy to reprogram a machine to fight for her, which is perfect for when you stumble across tougher enemies. However, what the cauldrons lack is diversity. Cauldrons will require heavy exploration, some platforming, and, of course, combat. While there may be a few puzzles scattered in between, they don’t give you the satisfaction when you solve them.

It wasn’t easy to decide the winner of this round. What keeps “Horizon” from taking the victory is how “Breath of the Wild” implements interactivity and changes up the formula with the Divine Beasts. Its creative and the difficulty is what makes it so satisfying when completed.

WINNER: Breath of the Wild

Horizon 2 / Breath of the Wild 2

Round 5: World

The world of “Horizon Zero Dawn” feels alive as you explore the lands. You’ll not only experience typical day & night cycles in different climates and weather, but it’s interesting to see NPCs interacting with the environment in their own ways. Herds of Grazers will tear up grass in fields, Watchers will inspect bushes and rocks, and if you’re lucky, you may see fights break out between some of the more menacing machines. It all makes the world feel organic. Plus, as you’re exploring, you’ll occasionally come across ancient ruins and a data entry or two that explains what the ruin was before it was decimated, adding another layer of environmental storytelling to the game.

If you’re looking for a game world with exceptional interactivity, look no further than that of “Breath of the Wild”. Almost everything in this world is dynamic in more ways than one. The sheer number of things you can do with and to the environment is simply ground breaking and at times it can feel like the world itself is one big puzzle as you find Korok seeds hidden in plain sight. It really feel like this world was handcrafted to the finest detail as well considering how many vantage points the player can find, not only for the view, but also to chart their course. In addition, “Breath of the Wild’s” weather system can affect your actions while you’re fighting or exploring. Some can be advantageous while others…will prove to be less than helpful.

While Horizon’s world is beautiful to admire. Breath of the Wild’s World is a game changer for Open World games as a whole, not only for how much the player can interact with the environment, but also in the way it encouraging players to explore at their own volition, rather guide the way using waypoints.

WINNER: Breath of the Wild

WINNER: Horizon 2 / Breath of the Wild 3

PlayStation may have found its next big original property in “Horizon Zero Dawn”, but Nintendo has won us over with “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” – revitalizing its own franchise and Open World games in ways we could have never anticipated. “Zelda” take it with a final score of 2 to 3.
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