BOTW vs. Ocarina of Time: Which Zelda Game Is Better?

Nintendo’s long run The Legend of Zelda The franchise has 27 entries under its belt and has sold 52 million games over the past three and a half decades. While some would think that the introduction of nearly three dozen Zelda games spanning original titles, ports and remakes would dilute the series, veterans and new fans eagerly await news on breath of the wildis next. This game is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best Zelda game in history, but is it really better than the beloved classic Ocarina of time?

breath of the wild took the gaming community by storm when it was released nearly five years ago. It was (and continues to be) one of the highest rated games on Nintendo Switch, with an unofficial tag of being the best console launch title in video game history. Many have compared its highly praised and innovative design to Ocarina of time. Both games achieved the unthinkable in terms of delivery, and despite being two decades apart, both served as great examples of how a fresh take on core mechanics can reinvigorate the franchise time and time again. This raises the question: which of these Zelda payments are better?


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Ocarina Of Time led the way with its masterfully composed prelude


Link playing his magical musical instrument in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Many gamers have argued that open-world games wouldn’t exist without Ocarina of time. While it’s true that it inspired the development of other franchises featuring open worlds, the game was more sandbox in nature. However, it featured one of the greatest game worlds of the time, and the fact that it came on a cartridge made this particular technological achievement all the more impressive.

An expanded world allowed the developers to include more characters, unique exploration areas and many secrets in OoT. However, most of the content was locked as the game followed a linear storyline, which was the benchmark at the time. Players could gradually unlock new areas and traverse the game’s vast landscapes with the help of Epona, but fast travel was unavailable.


Ocarina of time was the first to introduce Z targeting, better known as locked targeting these days. This was especially handy when engaging smaller opponents, but required a more versatile approach when fighting bosses. In general, the bosses were complex and required the use of specific weapons and attacks while favoring a strategic and fast attack. These patterns were also reflected in the dungeon and puzzle designs, which instilled a sense of equality of give and take in the end.

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Besides the masterfully designed kinesthetic experience, OoT was known for his outstanding auditory and narrative delivery. Many of his musical scores have become iconic and are directly associated with the franchise to this day. The overarching narrative execution provided players with the opportunity to explore Link’s childhood and adulthood without focusing on the protagonist, but rather on the stories and struggles of the people of Hyrule. It also helped establish Ganondorf’s presence more contextually throughout the game.

Breath Of The Wild Grants The Franchise A Breath Of Fresh Air


Link crossing Hyrule with floating islands above

Unlike its predecessors, breath of the wild took a leap of faith with the franchise formula and adjusted it to fit the modern open-world model. The idea was further expanded to accommodate dynamic weather settings and survival elements, which contributed to the game’s replayability and extremely favorable reception. While the newly introduced concepts weren’t groundbreaking in any form, they were a much-needed breath of fresh air for the franchise.


The overworld design of BotW promoted free-roaming exploration and allowed players to do and go as they pleased, with the quality of Link’s gear and the strength of his opponents being the most obvious setbacks. This groundbreaking setting also called for an overhaul of some core gameplay mechanics, which culminated in the introduction of the ability to jump. Climbing and gliding played a major role in scaling the game’s landscapes, and players were able to quickly travel between different regions freely, provided that points of interest were activated beforehand.

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BotW modernized the franchise’s approach to dungeon design and presented it in the form of shrines. There were plenty of puzzles that required different techniques to complete, but the bosses were somewhat bland and didn’t have many distinctive features that set them apart or required various offensive strategies. In that sense, some of the design choices fell short of player expectations, most notably the in-game rewards system, which often felt lackluster.

Driven by the vision of a true open-world experience for BotW, the developers delivered its story in segments and scattered it across the map. Luckily, critical pieces of information have been streamlined accordingly to ensure they won’t be overlooked unless deliberately ignored. Although the fragmented narrative execution through allies and foes that moved between Link’s past and present made Ganon’s presence in the game almost elusive, it ensured that players would know how to deal with the calamity. in good time.

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Why Breath of the Wild is the best game


Promo art of Link overlooking Hyrule

breath of the wild and Ocarina of time both have done an outstanding job of renaming the franchise by improving the core mechanics and introducing new ones which has taken the gaming experience to the next level. They also succeeded where others had failed and proved that innovation goes a long way. However, the video game industry is progressive and some things don’t age well.

Although it is reasonable that Ocarina of time would appeal to veteran fans for many reasons, with a less engaging and slightly empty overworld, a boring sidekick, and a streamlined combat system, it can’t compete with the upgrades that forged BotWis an exceptional success. Nonetheless, it will always have a rightful place among the staples of modern game design. In a few decades, gamers will probably remember breath of the wild just as affectionately.

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