Zelda: BoTW Vs Horizon: Zero Dawn – My Apology

I remember watching the Video Game Awards last December and being blown away that Horizon didn’t win GOTY. This was before I started playing Zelda, but I couldn’t figure out how another game – as esteemed as it was – could even come close to what I experienced playing Horizon.

I guess the first thing I have to say is, “I was wrong.” I heralded Horizon: Zero Dawn as the best game of 2017…and I was wrong. Everyone else was right. Zelda: Breath of the Wild deserved the praise – hands down.

Not to say that Horizon wasn’t an amazing game – it is. I think I’ll play it again this year. The storyline, the combat, the graphics – it all added up to be an immersive and exciting experience. I couldn’t see how anything else would stack up. I didn’t want to.

I mean, look at Horizon. You get to override and mount robotic dinosaurs! You can match them head to head in a fight to the death! That was probably my favorite part of the game: taking over some big robot and watching him lay waste to whatever was in the area. I’d stand off in the corner making bets with myself waiting to gather all the materials once the fighting had ceased.

Zelda…well I guess it’s safe to admit that it’s just the better game. Horizon had the story. It had the everything that you needed to be completely enthralled, but Zelda had something else. Something different.

I’m not too crazy about the damsel in distress trope. This one seemed to be different. I felt more connected to the people and the funny little personalities each tribe had. Not in a way that was emotional, but more like…”Hey you weird looking fish dude, sure I’ll risk my life to save you. Oh and thanks for the clothes, I’ve always wanted to swim up a waterfall. You rock!!” I really felt like I was saving a kingdom and their people.

I have to give it to Horizon. The female protagonist taking on the world – she don’t need no appointed champion to help save her. Perhaps that’s why I clung to the notion that Horizon was the better game. It’s the generation of female empowerment! Why don’t the video game people see that!

In the beginning, I found it hard to decide what about the gameplay of Zelda made it so much more well liked than Horizon. It took a many hours and a few shrines before I could come to the conclusions on my own.

While Horizon did have it all in an open world sense, Zelda did it better by giving me options. Horizon was not linear by any means, but there was only one way to solve something. In Zelda, you could solve a puzzle multiple ways. There were times I needed to get help and found that I completed another part of the puzzle a different way than the guide explained. The fact that a game would allow such freedom and the player could still come to the same solution is powerful.

I still have not finished the storyline of Zelda. I’m almost done. I have all the Divine Beasts and my Master Sword. I could take on Calamity Ganon at any point. I don’t want to though. I don’t want it to be over. I want to find every shrine, take down every enemy. Do you ever get that anxiety before the final boss? Sort of the cross between wanting to beat him because you spent all this time preparing but also not wanting to because that means the game is over.

So here I am, riding my horsie (I named him fred) around on different paths, searching for baddies that respawned during the blood moon, and trying to find more Korok seeds so I can get Hetsu to do his sexy dance for me again. I’m glad this game isn’t in real time or I fear Ganon probably would have taken over by now.

breath of the wild

I will be extremely sad when this game is over. I’ve already put 50 hours into Stardew Valley and beat Mario Odyssey. The Nintendo eShop is turning into something similar to the Steam store where there are just a mass amount of games released all the time and none of us know what to play next. I’m going to miss just toting around my Switch and being able to conquer evil on my subway commute while the person next to me pretended not to watch.

Maybe in 30 some odd years and 19 games later, someone will say the same thing about Horizon. Being the new kid on the block, I feel it just didn’t stand out against it’s mature sibling. For all intents and purposes, I didn’t start Zelda until this past January so Horizon was the best game I played in 2017.

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