Battle of the Open World: Skyrim vs. Breath of the Wild
Hey. You. You’re finally awake. You were trying to cross the border, right? Walked right into Nintendo’s ambush. Same as us.
If you’re anything like me, you’re a sucker for open world games. There’s just something about open world games that tickles us to the bone when we start it up. That feeling of a vast, wide open space, ready to be explored to your heart’s desire.
What sights await beyond the mountain? A plethora of dangers to brave within every dank, dark cave or dungeon. Materials abound to discover with which to temper my growing arsenal of tools. Whose untold story is there to discover? The mind races with possibilities.
And today, we’ll look at two dearly beloved open world games and put them head to head to see who will come out victorious. On one corner, we have modern classic, Skyrim. On the other hand, we have a game with a pedigree that traces back to age of giants, the latest installment to the Legend of Zelda series, Breath of the Wild.
We’ll be judging these games from three aspects: world, lore, gameplay.
Exploring The World
The Icy Tundras of Skyrim
Approximately seven and a half years ago, Bethesda bestowed to us mere mortals a game that would satiate our hunger for exploration. That game was the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series: Skyrim. It follows the story of you, the Dragonborn, who was destined to defeat Alduin, the World Eater, and rid Skyrim of the tyrannical dragons once and for all.
When Skyrim first came out, it entranced everyone who played it. The massive world you were thrust in was a major part of that love. However, by today’s standards that world is probably teeny, especially with the games that have come out in since then. Games like The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption 2 have insanely huge maps. But back then, what Skyrim did was enough to reel players in, immerse them into the world, and instill in them a sort of wanderlust.
What could’ve inspired this feeling? Matt Carofano, art director of Skyrim, stated in an interview that they purposefully and strategically placed grand vistas to leave the player’s jaws dropped in awe.
For instance, the wide open fields that sprawl out before you. Rivers, streams, and greenery dot the land. The silhouette of a town slowly approaching your view. On your first journey to Bleak Falls Barrow, you approach the quest marker and you’re faced with ancient masonry, towering before you, covered in snow and partially obscured by fog.
The fact that you’ve only explored a small portion of the map at this point only suggests a promise of more to come.
The Remnants of the Kingdom of Hyrule
It was just two years ago that Nintendo released their latest addition to the Legend of Zelda series. It was a groundbreaking title in the series as it ditched the traditional linear gameplay of previous titles to bestow upon the player freedom that was unheard of in preceding games.
You play as Link, slumbering in the Shrine of Resurrection, only to be awakened by the voice of Zelda. She beckons, awaken and fulfill your destiny.
And then, Link makes his way out of the shrine and, lo and behold, a sweeping panorama of the colorful land of Hyrule. Mountains, cliffs, plains, forests, and valleys as far as the eye can see. In other words, a vast land ripe for exploration.
You reach your first tower and activate it. Consequently, the tower grants you a map of the surrounding region. Upon further inspection, you notice that where you currently stand only encompasses a small fraction of the whole land. The explorer within shudders with glee and anticipation.
Breath of the Wild didn’t only implement an open world style, it made changes to accommodate its open world nature.
For example, jumping and climbing are now in Link’s arsenal. Because of this, exploration is further fostered. See all those mountains you saw when you first left the Shrine of Resurrection? Ever wonder what lies atop? Well, you can find out. It’s certainly better than going up steep inclines and randomly pressing jump hoping it works. (Looking at you Skyrim)
In other words, exploring isn’t confined to walking around. This opens up a plethora of possibilities.
Immersing With The Lore
Peering Into The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls are artifacts of unknown origin that’s said to contain vast knowledge of future and past. The price to pay for peering within is madness, blindness, maybe even death. Apt metaphor for the price you pay for attempting to peer into the depths of the lore of the game itself.
Remember the feeling of seeing Bleak Falls Barrow that first time? For the explorers among you, the experience likely filled you with curiosity. Who built these? Why are they now abandoned?
After that, you go on hoping to find answers. You converse with the locals in town. Each of them tell a story.
In Whiterun, for instance, you hear of the mighty Companions. Their crew is steeped in rich history tracing back to when the Nords first stepped foot in Skyrim. Because of your predisposition towards great legends and, of course, becoming somewhat of a legend of your own, you join them.
As a result of joining these people, you also learn of their dark side, they are werewolves. Because of this, you learn of lycanthropy and the Daedric Lord Hircine.
In short, the lore of Skyrim is a swirling rabbit hole.
The more you know about lore, the more pop up. The myriad quests you take does a great job of conveying the overarching world of Tamriel. For example, in enrolling in the College of Winterhold, you experience the life of a mage. In turn, you find out not only the status of mages within Skyrim but also learn about how the world outside Skyrim views mages.
The library in the college also provides volumes upon volumes of knowledge about affairs within and outside of the province of Skyrim. In addition, it provides information not only of more current events but of those long past.
Oh God There’s So Much To Talk About
We haven’t even scratched the surface about Elder Scrolls lore and we haven’t even touched up on Zelda and its lore and its god-forsaken timeline. When you’re like me, still writing at 3AM but have to wake up at 7AM, you’ll likely just give up and sleep. But I need to finish this article… Uhhhhh…
Have you heard of a game called Apex Legends?
Apex Legends: Cool, Severely Underhyped
So Apex Legends is a great game by the great folks at EA. You guys know about EA right? OF COURSE YOU DO. Apex Legends is a battle royale game! It’s an extremely popular game and it’s 【ＦＲＥＥ】.
So you’re dropped into this island. Why are you dropped into this island? Who cares? You’re here to kill fast and eat ass.
Anyway, you’re dropped into this island with two other players. Can you play solo? No. You’re gonna be stuck with a team of randos or some bot spouting beep boop gibberish in the text chat. So gets some friends or get ＦＵＫＴ, 【ＮＥＲＤ】.
It’s fortunate, then, that Apex has a really good ping system for communication because… HAH! Talking? To random people on the internet? No thx.
Anyway, like most battle royale games, you’re dropped in with no way to defend yourself. So, unless you fancy bringing a karate chop to a gun fight, you better scavenge some weapons fast.
What do you do with these weapons? Do some rootin’ tootin’ cowboy shootin’. There are 20 squads of three with 60 players all-in-all. Your goal is to mow them down and prove to all your sweaty neckbeard friends who’s the Apex predator. (haha get it xD)
What Apex brings to the table that differentiates it from other battle royales is its hero selection. When you’re out on the field, you’re not just Generic-Target-Practice McGee.
You’re a unique hero that other players will also probably pick, especially if you’re Wraith. Aren’t you special?
Each hero has a specific skill set that helps them in battle. This adds a layer of frustrating the hell out of your enemies that isn’t build-a-tower-like-a-scared-octopus-farting-ink-at-its-predator.
For example, Bangalore, when in a pinch can deploy a smoke screen to conceal the team’s presence. Not unlike an actual scared octopus farting ink at its predator.
Another aspect of the game that’s unique is the equipment. There’s a variety of guns to use in game. Further, there’s a variety of upgrades available to said guns. It really distracts you from getting headshot from lord knows where by a cheater.
I dunno, really. EA, I just promoted your game – so can I at least have da monies?