10 Things Old Zelda Games Do Better Than Breath Of The Wild

Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Link conducting with The Wind Waker in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

For 30 years, Nintendo and The Legend of Zelda franchise played it safe when it came to the structure of a Zelda game. Even bold entries like Majora’s Mask and The Wind Waker still felt very familiar to Zelda fans. That changed with Breath of the Wild, which sought to redefine what a Zelda game could be. To call Breath of the Wild a success is an understatement. Its 97 Metacritic Score is second only to Ocarina of Time in the Zelda series.

RELATED: 10 Ways Tears of the Kingdom Is Already Better Than Breath Of The Wild

Just because Breath of the Wild broke the classic Zelda mold and found success that doesn’t mean it was the perfect Zelda game. To some Zelda fans, Breath of the Wild fell short of expectations in numerous key areas when compared to previous Zelda titles. There when comparing BotW to older Zelda games, it’s clear the previous titles still have some advantages.



10 No Weapon Durability

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Breath of the Wild is a game of resourcefulness. Link begins with nothing and must build up an arsenal of weapons and aid from the environment around him. Nintendo needed to give players an incentive to try out different weapons, which resulted in the much-maligned weapon durability feature.

After a set number of strikes, Link’s weapon or shield will break, or in the case of the Master Sword will need to recharge. This has been the subject of frustration within the Zelda community and is an issue older Zelda games don’t have. While Link has fewer weapons in old Zelda games, players won’t be inconvenienced in the middle of a fight.

9 Bosses Are More Varied

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Link riding along a column on his Spinner while Stallord's floating head roars in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Another area Breath of the Wild saw criticism was its enemy variety, especially for its bosses. Each of the four dungeon bosses fought in Divine Beasts are Blight Ganons. These Blight Ganons are similar in design, but have abilities based on different elements.

RELATED: Breath Of The Wild: Every Boss, Ranked By Difficulty

Each Blight Ganon fight is structured differently and is reminiscent of past Zelda bosses. However, their designs lack the creativity and memorability of other past Zelda bosses such as Stallord in Twilight Princess or Koloktos in Skyward Sword. Breath of the Wild has other bosses, such as the fun Master Kohga fight, but its primary dungeon bosses leave a lot to be desired.

8 Story

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Link, Zelda, and Groose express their disappointment in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Breath of the Wild is a game where players need to seek out the full story. It isn’t just handed to them. While the present-day story is told through the main questline, the events a hundred years in the past must be found through Memories scattered across the world. These Memories make up a bulk of Breath of the Wild’s overall story, so players are encouraged to find them.

Even with the full story, many Zelda fans still felt Breath of the Wild’s story was too barebones compared to past Zelda games like Skyward Sword, which put a heavy emphasis on its narrative. Not to mention Breath of the Wild’s open-world format creates a slower narrative pace compared to the more streamlined stories in past Zelda games.

7 Memorable Villains

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Skull Kid taunts Link alongside Tatl and Tael in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D

One of the biggest issues with Breath of the Wild’s story is its driving force: the primary antagonist. Breath of the Wild’s main villain is Calamity Ganon, who descends the world into an apocalypse. Calamity Ganon maintains ownership of Hyrule Castle while also imprisoning Princess Zelda.

Calamity Ganon is an imposing force, and few Zelda villains have seen as much success. Yet, Calamity Ganon has little story presence and its final fights were underwhelming. Previous Zelda games have had charismatic adversaries with deep motives. Thankfully, Ganondorf returns in Tears of the Kingdom, which is sure to create a compelling narrative.

6 Partner Characters

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Midna stands next to Wolf Link in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

At the start of Breath of the Wild, Link is all alone. Stripped down to near-complete nothingness. While Link may suit up and make new friends, much of his journey is in solitude. Link doesn’t have a consistent ally to journey with him. Much of his aid comes from his Sheikah Slate. Even Link has fallen into the modern trap of avoiding face-to-face interpersonal communication in favor of technology.

RELATED: 10 Most Iconic Legend Of Zelda Heroes

Partner characters are often a mixed bag within the Zelda series. Navi and Fi may be infamous for their annoyance, but even they grew to be endearing characters much like Twilight Princess’ Midna. Giving the Sheikah Slate a human personality could’ve improved Breath of the Wild’s narrative without giving up much of its theme of loneliness.

5 Different Approach To Music

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Makar plays his Violin for Link in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

At its core, Breath of the Wild is about the world around Link just as much as it is about the conflict at hand. Being the Zelda series’ first true open-world game, Breath of the Wild strives to create a sense of wonderment. Players are encouraged to go off the beaten path and explore, much like one would when going on a hike.

That carries over into Breath of the Wild’s minimalistic approach to music. Breath of the Wild’s sound design focuses more on environmental sounds than a rousing, intense, or upbeat tune. On its own, Breath of the Wild’s soundtrack is masterful, but its implementation in the game itself leaves it more forgettable compared to the catchy tracks of past Zelda games.

4 Less Daunting To 100%

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Hestu celebrates the return of Korok seeds in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A Zelda game doesn’t have to end when the credits roll. There are plenty of things to do, whether it’s getting the remaining Heart Pieces or wrapping up a lengthy side quest. No Zelda game has a more daunting 100% than Breath of the Wild. Players will have only scratched the surface of what Breath of the Wild offers after completing over 100 Shrines and 900 Korok Seeds.

Getting 100% in Breath of the Wild is immensely rewarding, but players who set out to do so will likely find themselves exhausted toward the end. Previous Zelda games had much more manageable requirements for their respective 100%, which makes it easy to want to achieve it a second time.

3 No DLC

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Master Cycle Zero in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild is notable for being the first Zelda game with a full-fledged expansion. Adding content to past Zelda games is nothing new, but that previously took a release on a new console. Not as DLC. Breath of the Wild’s Expansion Pass includes features such as a Trial Mode that can upgrade the Master Sword, the Master Mode difficulty, and new apparel.

The Trial Mode feature can even upgrade the Champions Ballad story, which contains a new Divine Beast dungeon. Link will receive the Master Cycle Zero upon completing that dungeon. Unlike previous Zelda games, fully completing Breath of the Wild‘s story requires a secondary purchase, which can be a tough pill to swallow.

2 Better Dungeons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The entrance to the Forest Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

A major point of contention in Breath of the Wild is how it handled dungeons. Dungeons are one of the most popular elements of a Zelda game, and fans eagerly look forward to them in every new title. Breath of the Wild’s primary dungeons, the Divine Beasts, aren’t as complex nor as thematically interesting as the classic escape-the-room type dungeons of past Zelda games.

RELATED: 10 Best Zelda Dungeons, Ranked

Most of Breath of the Wild’s puzzle elements are reserved for the bite-sized Shrines. Collectively, Breath of the Wild may require more brain power than previous Zelda games. However, there’s just something exhilarating about finally receiving the Boss Key at the end of a normal Zelda dungeon that Breath of the Wild lacks.

1 Items And The Sense Of Progression

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Link using the Hookshot to cross a gap in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Remake

Beyond puzzles, another reason Zelda fans love traditional Zelda dungeons is the unique item they receive in the middle of it. This item is vital to not only progress in the dungeon, but also defeat the dungeon boss. Afterward, that item can be used to reach new areas or find previously hidden secrets.

This gives players a sense of progression. The feeling that Link is getting stronger and that more of the world is opening up. Breath of the Wild still has that to an extent, but most of Link’s items are available early on and few items and abilities, if any, are actually required to complete the game.

NEXT: 10 Weirdest Details In Old Zelda Games


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