The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is nearly out. While this fresh Zelda title is sure to push modern game design further, there are other games worth looking into after players adventure through Hyrule.
Breath of the Wildraised the bar for open-world game design in particular, as well as its in-game systems that dynamically interact. But whether or not they’re BotW “clones,” the next standard for open-world gaming and games reminiscent of Zelda‘s beloved qualities offer similar experiences, such as Immortals: Fenyx Risingand Elden Ring.
10 Immortals: Fenyx Rising
Ubisoft’s Immortals: Fenyx Rising is one of the most obvious BotW clones, but it does a solid job of imitating it. Taking heavy inspiration from Greek mythology, the story follows a mortal named Fenyx attempting to save her brother and stop Typhon after he’s escaped from the Underworld.
Immortals‘ mechanical similarities to Breath of the Wild might be too blatant for some, but for those that don’t mind it, Immortals will satisfy the craving that Tears of the Kingdom will leave behind after finishing it. Its open world feels inspired well enough on its own terms, with combat and character customization sure to keep players busy.
9 Elden Ring
One of the new greatest open-world games ever made, FromSoftware’s Elden Ring is a must-play open-world action RPG in a sea of them. The game has players create their Tarnished protagonist as they’re called back into the Lands Between to restore the Golden Order.
In addition to the developer’s brand of fascinating and subtle storytelling and worldbuilding, Elden Ring offers a similar free-flowing open-world experience. While adopting a more dark-fantasy setting, it’s certain to satisfy genre buffs all the same and encourages experimenting with various combat styles.
Developed by indie studio Shedworks, Sable is a unique open-world game and experience. Players assume the role of the titular young girl as she goes off on a rite of passage to search for a mask to wear and take back to her nomadic clan.
Unlike Breath of the Wild or the upcoming Tears of the Kingdom, Sable‘s moment-to-moment gameplay doesn’t revolve around combat. Exploration is the focus here, which the Zelda titles also emphasize, and also incentivizes players to get creative with how they traverse the open world. Its environments might also differ, but Sable‘s art style and scope evoke a similar sense of awe.
7 Shadow Of The Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus was one of the most revered games on the PS2, and it received a faithful remake during the PS4 generation. Taking on the role of Wander, players travel through a melancholy fantasy world communing with an entity that promises to help him revive his love Mono.
Comparatively, Shadow of the Colossus is a far more minimalist game, but it’s used to great effect by accentuating a sweeping sense of atmosphere akin to Tears of the Kingdom‘s Hyrule. From the breathtaking environment to the resonating score and immersive story, Bluepoint Studios’ remake is the best way to play this game.
Isometricorp Games’ Tunic was one of 2022’s indie darlings. The game puts the player in the role of a charming anthropomorphic fox to free the trapped spirit of another fox. In terms of gameplay, Tunic borrows the core elements of some of the most outstanding 2D Zelda games.
Tears of the Kingdom might be continuing with this ambitious new 3D open-world format, but Tunic‘s style contains the foundation that makes The Legend of Zelda series so memorable. The game features rhythmic combat, puzzle-solving sequences, and exploration-focused progression.
It might go under the radar when compared to Capcom’s usual heavy hitters, but Okami is a timeless and beautifully artistic adventure. The game follows the titular Shinto sun goddess in her wolf form as she attempts to breathe new life and color into a fading world.
Similar to Tunic, Okami captures the spirit of older (mainly 3D) Zelda titles. Gameplay involves real-time combat, platforming, and puzzle-solving—core mechanics of 3D Zelda games from Ocarina of Timeto Tears of the Kingdom. Okami doesn’t feel derivative in the slightest, with its exceptional watercolor art direction completing this world.
4 Horizon Forbidden West
Capitalizing on Guerilla Games’ inventive 2017 open-world action RPG, Horizon Forbidden West is one of the best cross-gen games on PS5. The game continues Aloy’s journey across this anachronistic dystopian world as she tries to save it from another near-extinction event.
Players hoping for an open-world adventure as stunning as something like Tears of the Kingdom should be satisfied here. Horizon Forbidden West takes Aloy to vibrant new wilds in an open world that rewards traversal and exploration. Likewise, the combat system has been improved with far more variety.
Another, very recent indie game similar to the landscapes of Tears of the Kingdom is Awaceb’s Tchia. The game centers around the titular protagonist exploring a vast archipelago inspired by the real-world French territory of New Caledonia.
Tchia is an action-adventure game that tasks players with braving its visually spectacular open world, from mountainous regions to caves and beyond. It also lets players travel the world in several ways, including inhabiting the world’s animal wildlife. Tchia‘s world isn’t without its own identity either, as it’s packed with enticing lore inspired by its real-life counterpart.
2 Pokémon Legends: Arceus
The Pokémon franchise arguably spent years stagnating until Game Freak’s Legends: Arceus injected it with new life. Set in Hisui, players explore the region learning about the Pokémon they’re still trying to coexist with. Mechanically, the game is a hybrid of Monster Hunter and Breath of the Wild.
Legends: Arceus‘environments are a series of semi-open-world sandboxes to catch and battle Pokémon in different climates. The way Legends: Arceus mixes turn-based combat and real-time action along with exploring the natural locales should make for an engaging time after going through Tears of the Kingdom.
1 Death Stranding
Though a more unconventional title, Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding is a similarly open-world experience all its own. Players take Sam Porter Bridges across the post-apocalyptic United States delivering supplies to isolated colonies and helping them reconnect to wider civilizations.
Death Stranding is a bizarre, complex story that fans of Hideo Kojima would expect, but its emphasis on open-world traveling is worth noting. The crux of Tears of the Kingdom will be how players interact dynamically with Hyrule, and Death Stranding applies that concept in its own way.
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