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NateDrake
Member
(03-18-2017, 11:49 PM)
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Great write-up.

I now hope no site take your comments to make some outlandish headline or article.
cireza
Member
(03-18-2017, 11:49 PM)
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Having finished the game, I agree with pretty much everything OP said.

The main problem of open-world (and games) for me can be summed up easily :
- is it fun to do what I am asked to do
and
- is the reward up to the task

If you can check both of these conditions for everything that happens in your game, then I can tell you that I will have a blast playing it.

BotW kind of fails here, because navigating through the world is not always fun (not saying that it is always bad either), and the most important problem is the second part : the rewards are not good enough.

Why spend time killing a powerful mob (breaking weapons in the process) if it is only to get some other weapons ? This makes this task useless.

Why play this sanctuary if I don't get anything significant out of it ? The shards used for life/endurance are of no significance once that you have enough of each.

So there is room for improvement.

By the way, I really enjoyed Ori on Xbox One.
DeanBDean
Junior Member
(03-18-2017, 11:49 PM)

Originally Posted by thomasmahler

So why do I think the world is too large? Because of a lack of varied content. That's always the problem with Open World Games - What good is a huge world if large parts of it are fairly empty with nothing for you to do? I'm honestly sick and tired of developers proclaiming that the world of the game they're building is x times larger than the world in their previous game - That's only a great thing if you also scaled up your team by a lot in order to be able to fill that world with super fun content, which is most often not the case. Me just having to traverse longer distances that a designer didn't even touch doesn't mean the game is more fun, in fact, the opposite is usually true, which games like No Man's Sky have proven very well I think. Just running around in boring areas with little to no interactivity is just not fun.

So I pretty strongly disagree with your last sentence there, although mainly because "fun" can be a vague word that means lots of different things to different people. A video game is not just gameplay, its a collision of architecture, music, art, animation and gameplay. Pressing forward on the control stick and managing a very simple stamina meter may very well be boring from a gameplay perspective if that was the only thing involved in a game. However, the vistas in this game, to me at least, are simply stunning and a reward to me. Even when I'm pressing up to go up a hill or mountain and I can't see very much, I am anticipating the beautiful view I will see from the top. So the simple gameplay may not reward the player with more interesting gameplay, but it does reward them with some beautiful landscape architecture and composition. The game makes me feel like I'm on a grand adventure, even if that's not necessarily fun (although I find it to be).
spekkeh
Banned
(03-18-2017, 11:50 PM)
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I agree on variety. Overall the world feels a little bit too big. Not by a lot, but one or two areas could've been omitted and merged with others. I don't really agree the world was designed separate from the population of things to do however. Throughout the world feels very auteured to me. The areas are not built for the sake of creating a realistic large environment, but to create little vignets or backgrounds for things to happen. I feel there's very little wasteful space. It's just that after sixty hours of exploration you're kind of reaching the limits of the gameplay variety sustaining itself. That's where I am now and I decided to make a push for all the main quests.

That said, with all other games I have this after 10 hours.
Waldo Lydecker
Member
(03-18-2017, 11:52 PM)
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I share many of OP's feelings towards open world design. All open world games feel so samey. I also think that when you opt for an open world you should do it more extreme and get rid of silly handhelding, so:

- no fast travel
- no easy pointers in the distance telling EXACTLY where to go
- no checklists where the main- and all the sidequests are easily summed up, complete with destination markers and explanations

Those three things namely rob an open world from an open world feeling and approach. It makes an open world feel far too constructed and programmed and causes the loss of an organic, realistic and independent feel to it and makes it more a programmed hub from where you will have to do always the same, boring side-quests that lack any form of imagination and kill any form of exploration.

It could benefit more from the soul of the early game days where people drew their own maps of game worlds and dungeons.

And maybe the greatest problem of open world games with side quests design is that it lacks a great sense of urgency. It shouldn't be realistic to postpone a main quest with a great sense of urgency to do sume silly sidequests.

LET ME MAKE CLEAR THAT:
1 I haven't played Zelda BOTW
2 From what I have seen of it, to me it looks likes one of the better designed open worlds in a game I have seen
3 My observations are geared more toward open world gaming in general
Last edited by Waldo Lydecker; 03-19-2017 at 12:03 AM.
Wayoshi
Junior Member
(03-18-2017, 11:52 PM)
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Couple small rebuttals that don't really change anything, but still:

-On combat shrines, the way you block their spinning charge attack can vary, at least in major tests of strength. Water field? Set up a Cryonis block. Metal blocks? Gotta use Magnesis and hold it. It's a small touch but at least that varied.

-I noticed several electric shrines in Gerudo, which matched that Divine Beast's specialty. If you follow the main path, one of the first shrines you come across in that region is an introductory electric one, then it gets more complicated from there. I'm pretty sure some basic and then really complicated fire / torch shrines were in Death Mountain's main path too. So I have to say at least for those two regions there was some theming
Robobandit
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(03-18-2017, 11:52 PM)
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I totally agree about the shrines and the dungeons. I'd have liked more traditional Zelda style dungeons.

Though I will say that I liked that they put puzzle elements in the open world, especially the shrine quests that are riddles that you need to solve and then do certain things in the environment to make them appear.

As for the world itself, I actually appreciated that they didn't fill it to the brim with things to do. I liked that the towers didn't reveal what was on the map, just showed where various locations were but didn't give any clues as to what I would find in a given location.

For me, just climbing to the top of a tower, seeing something in the distance that looked interesting (be it another shrine or a weird glowing light I hadn't noticed on a previous day or a fragment of a fallen star) and then going there was an immensely pleasurable experience for me. I always found something that I felt was worth the trip.

I played over 70 hours and completed the game with 55 shrines completed and I still want to dive back in and explore the other things I missed. I didn't even find eventide island in my 70 hours! I felt like everything I found was my own discovery, rather than a list of things to do. I turned on the "pro mode" HUD, ignored the main story quests and just explored the world.. and had a blast doing it.

This was the first open world game I've played in a very long time that made me feel as though there were no limits to what I could achieve. If I had the stamina, I could climb anything and go anywhere.. and I had an internal drive to do just that, just for the sake of doing it.

I totally agree about your UI complaints, btw. They definitely could have done better with that whole aspect, especially the breaking game flow switching weapons complaint.

Here's hoping they do better with the next one.
Spirited
Mine is pretty and pink
(03-18-2017, 11:56 PM)
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Originally Posted by Waldo Lydecker

- no checklists where the main- and all the sidequests are easily summed up, complete with destination markers and explanations

For this point at least I feel Zelda does it pretty well. Many quests gives you no destination markers and instead tells you direction (via north/south/west/east and telling you about landmarks or by way of riddles) and then through the explanation of what you're supposed to do and the given directions you'll have to complete the quest by your own merits.
maxcriden
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(03-18-2017, 11:56 PM)
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Originally Posted by lt519

Funny reading this, considering I'm not sure which of the three are my favorite game of all time, BotW, SMW, or Ori.

Thanks for the insight, fun read.

It's a tough call for sure which of the two games I prefer, personally. As you know my wife and I played Ori thanks to your kind recommendation in January and we absolutely loved it. The movement in the game just feels so damn good, and every inch is immaculately crafted and packed with something to find, discover, or cleverly traverse. I almost feel like it's impossible to compare with BOTW. I like BOTW a whole lot and find it addictive to discover what's around the next corner, and the same goes for Ori, but the way each game goes about it is entirely different. BOTW is partly focused on interaction with the changeable systems of the environment almost and Ori is partly focused on the moves and abilities and while you have elements of each of those in both games I feel oddly Ori feels more like the traditional Nintendo game to me than BOTW does. Like the way you move and feel playing and explore feels like the evolution of what the three original Metroid games were going for. BOTW does feel like a 3D take on OG Zelda for sure, but as a 2D platformer fan Ori almost feels more like what I usually look for in a game, delivered consistently at an exceptionally high quality. BOTW has more to see and do, but the actual movement in the world doesn't feel as special to me.

I'm not sure how much sense this makes as it's pretty stream of consciousness, but I guess my only point is to agree with you that it's difficult to compare the two (and that I'm still amazed just how good Ori is - any 2D Metroid(vanished) fan should find a way to play this game - I got an XB1 for like $70 and if this is the only game I love on it I'll be totally thrilled I got one). Anyway, thanks again for the recommendation!
Chezzymann
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(03-18-2017, 11:56 PM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Have you finished it? I completely agree that the white space is very, very important and ALTTP as well as Zelda 1 or Links Awakening have a lot of that too, but even in that white space, they usually managed to put little secrets like lifting a bush to find a hidden cave or other cool things in there. With this open world design, it often goes way too far and you just end up with vast landscapes of you just running and climbing with little to no interactivity.

There's a very fine line between 'white space' and 'white space that feels like wasted space'.

In my opinion it has enough of that, I was wondering around in the mountains and found some pretty cool snowball puzzles that lead to shrines. There's generally a even spread of that stuff across the world, but yeah you have to go through a couple minutes of blank space to get there. Its not that bad for me.
JBuccCP
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(03-18-2017, 11:57 PM)
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Definitely agree with the enemy variety being poor and the main dungeons lacking in variety and complexity. I would love for the next one to mix in some traditional dungeons. Enemy wise it's amazing when you come across something for the first time but eventually you realize most enemies in new regions are just re-skins of stuff you've already seen.

I thought the overworld was spaced pretty much perfectly. It's large enough to make things feel vast and like you're going on a journey but small enough to never become drudgery. This is one of the few open world games where I love just moving around and being there. Personally I have never been a big fan of 3d zeldas, they're not bad but I never finished one and always preferred the top down games (Except for the DS games, we don't talk about those. BOTW easily tops the list of 3d Zelda games for me.
Creamium
shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup
(03-19-2017, 12:01 AM)
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I agree with most of your criticisms. I would've been ok with the world being 25% ish smaller if I had a few extra trademark Zelda dungeons. I like the Beasts and get what they were going for, but they're not complex enough. Even though the shrines offer some good puzzles, they're no replacement for a real dungeon.

My favorite moment in a Zelda game is the beginning and ending of a dungeon: being overwhelmed at first and maybe getting stuck for a while, to actually getting the boss key and figuring it all out. My favorite moment as a kid was entering the forest temple in OoT: it wasn't straightforward like the kid dungeons and there was an eerie theme welcoming you. It was like the dungeons grew up together with Link. I miss those classic dungeons in BotW, even though I absolutely love the game.
Minishdriveby
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:01 AM)
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I don't actually mind the weapon quick select as the quick select lets you select from all weapons in the inventory (I have 15 slots available right now), so it wouldn't work as well if it were a Dark Souls quick select where you're only scrolling between 4 weapons at max.

I agree with a lot of your points though, especially the main dungeons which just are kind of boring. Hell, after 60 shrines I've just been finding them (getting the map icon) and not bothering to enter them because the simplistic puzzles they offer are just a means to an end for me to add a fast travel point and get some orbs to add to stamina, detracting from what I really want to be doing, exploring the landscape. The shrines that are great are the shrines that you don't need to enter, i.e. Shrines that require solving a challenge in the world.
Last edited by Minishdriveby; 03-19-2017 at 12:06 AM.
bomblord1
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(03-19-2017, 12:02 AM)
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While variety is one thing I pretty strongly disagree on it having too much empty space. They absolutely nailed that aspect every trip from a to b feels like a journey and I'm hard pressed to go down a trail a minute in any direction and not find something new and exciting that catches my eye even if I have to travel a bit to get to it. They really did a great job of packing something noticeable into every trip.

The presence of open space creates a certain feeling of travel that packed content simply does not recreate well. I may find nothing over that next hill or ridge but Nintendo has managed to make just getting there engaging in and of itself.
Last edited by bomblord1; 03-19-2017 at 12:12 AM.
Saint Gregory
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(03-19-2017, 12:02 AM)
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Originally Posted by EloquentM

thats because it wasn't an oversight. It was a decision to save time.

An awful decision, they should have trimmed time out of the 900 korok seeds instead.

Originally Posted by Conkerkid11

I just don't really feel like most of the sidequests are rewarding enough. They felt like exploring the various islands in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword, in that they really just rewarded you with rupees you really didn't have any use for.

No, no, no. I'm saving up for a major, major extortion purchase right now, I need every rupee!
Meffer
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(03-19-2017, 12:03 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Have you finished it? I completely agree that the white space is very, very important and ALTTP as well as Zelda 1 or Links Awakening have a lot of that too, but even in that white space, they usually managed to put little secrets like lifting a bush to find a hidden cave or other cool things in there. With this open world design, it often goes way too far and you just end up with vast landscapes of you just running and climbing with little to no interactivity.

There's a very fine line between 'white space' and 'white space that feels like wasted space'.

I feel that's wrong. I think BotW has white space done right. You need these quiet moments to help pace the gameplay so you can breath in the surroundings to notice anything that catches your eye and decide where to go next. Often I would notice odd things like lone stones, a weird ditch one time and odd flowers and I had to figured out that the solution is. The white spaces help clear my mind for what comes my way again.
And this the first open-world game that I actually had fun doing everything that it provided. It doesn't shove the content to your face but rather it leaves you find the content through interesting visual design.
Last edited by Meffer; 03-19-2017 at 12:06 AM.
kitchenmotors
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(03-19-2017, 12:03 AM)
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There is something important in having empty space in a world like this.

I think just trying to shoehorn in a bunch of towns or cluttering the space with items for the sake of filling it up is the wrong way to go about it. The world is big, but it's immersive. The wrong way to go about using empty space is something like No Man's Sky. Zelda is the complete opposite and I never felt bored by exploring.
WordsintheWater
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(03-19-2017, 12:08 AM)
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All those reasons outlined there is why for me it's not even game of this generation, let alone all time. The sidquests are pretty bad, the world takes a lot of time to traverse, things like rain slowing me down from climbing something, the shrines are getting stale after completing about 36 of them, the 2 "dungeons" I've done so far are probably the worst I have played in the series, and the boss fights have been boring as well. I really like the game, but I don't even think it touches OoT for me. Once I finish it I will be able to put a better perspective on this, but right now it sits as an 8/10 for me.
thomasmahler
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(03-19-2017, 12:08 AM)
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Originally Posted by NateDrake

Great write-up.

I now hope no site take your comments to make some outlandish headline or article.

I got quite a few beatings for being outspoken on GAF already, so friendly journalist who reads this: Please don't manufacture this into a "Moon developer hates Nintendo/Zelda" sorta article. I love Nintendo, I love BotW, but I feel like GAF is filled with bright people that love games, so we should talk about how to make even better games and breaking down one of the best games that have shipped recently is a good exercise we can all learn from :)

I can't wait for the inevitable Mark Brown video on Breath of the Wild. I hope he picked up on some of the stuff I criticized in the OP :)
Jpop
Guest
(03-19-2017, 12:09 AM)

simply because I'd never want to design a game that way. I think it's wrong to start with a huge landscape and then try to shoehorn a ton of content into it versus building really strong content in smaller chunks and then putting it together to ensure that every inch of the world truly feels well designed.

They didnt shoehorn content into the world, if you read any of their developer insights on the game.
dampflokfreund
Junior Member
(03-19-2017, 12:10 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

I got quite a few beatings for being outspoken on GAF already, so friendly journalist who reads this: Please don't manufacture this into a "Moon developer hates Nintendo/Zelda" sorta article. I love Nintendo, I love BotW, but I feel like GAF is filled with bright people that love games, so we should talk about how to make even better games and breaking down one of the best games that have shipped recently is a good exercise we can all learn from :)

I agree with this. What are your thoughts on the stoy? I found it to be a bit lacking, to be honest. Missing surprises and twists. Could be more structured.
piflavoredpie
Junior Member
(03-19-2017, 12:11 AM)
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I think Nintendo actually had a very great way of dealing with trying to make sure there wasn't too much empty space in the game. They took a week off every once in a while to have the entire development team play through the game, PLUS they had a map tracker to record where every player went and which directions they tended to head towards, which meant they could analyze which areas were lacking in the "oh that's interesting, I want to go there" factor and therefore add something to remedy it.
jb1234
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(03-19-2017, 12:13 AM)
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I agree completely with the OP but I'll admit that I'm not one of those people who enjoys exploring huge landscapes just for the thrill of it. I need a purpose, a goal. Exciting things to discover and shines, seeds and enemy camps aren't nearly enough, especially in mid-game once I figured out how repetitive they all are.
Zemm
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(03-19-2017, 12:15 AM)
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I agree with most of what you've said including the part where BoTW is still a great game. I mean I think it's a legit 10/10 game but there's even still room for (tiny) improvement.

Off-topic: Can you please somehow get Nintendo to allow you to make a new 2D Metroid?
sanstesy
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(03-19-2017, 12:16 AM)
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Solid write-up!

Originally Posted by NateDrake

Great write-up.

I now hope no site take your comments to make some outlandish headline or article.

Speaking from experience, non? 😉
andymcc
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(03-19-2017, 12:17 AM)
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I think it's interesting that LTTP is your favorite. Does it encapsulate your "fun-per-inch" mentality? Because I've read (and agree) with pointed criticism that it feels the most empty of 2D Zelda titles when it comes to world map(s). Additionally, dungeons aren't usually that well themed relative to their geographical designation (and often pretty same-y square rooms to boot).
Crayolan
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(03-19-2017, 12:19 AM)
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I agree with a lot of what you're saying, except:
-Koroks: I thought it was cool to be rewarded for exploring every inch and just generally being observant. I also loved finding new Korok puzzles 50+ hours into the game after I thought I had them all figured out, and some of them were even like little minigames.
-Shrines: They could have definitely used visual differentiation, but the puzzles actually were different based on the area you were in. The Hebra region was full of wind puzzles, the Eldin region was full of fire puzzles, the Gerudo region was full of electric puzzles, etc. These also served to help prepare you for the puzzles in the dungeons of their respective regions.
-Dungeons: I felt the dungeons were weaker as a whole in this game, but not because they were different. Naboris was the best dungeon in the game because it was actually pretty complex and felt like it had a sense of progression (move inner parts>use electricity>move to top). IMO, Naboris is one of the best dungeons in the series, better than a lot of standard 3D Zelda dungeons. If the dungeon puzzles were all as complex as that one, they could be great, but most of the rest of them were pretty simple and short. Maybe if they made it more of a challenge just to get to the map, and treated the map like they do the dungeon item in standard Zelda dungeons, it'd help to create a sense of progression and emulate that feeling of "now those puzzles make sense" you felt when you got the dungeon item in previous Zelda games.
Zia
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(03-19-2017, 12:19 AM)
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Originally Posted by gschmidl

Even Witcher 3, probably the greatest open-world game we currently have

Heh...

Nice write up. Hard to disagree with most of what you said, but I was just talking today about how there's absolutely no wasted space thanks to genius signposting. Completely disagree on that point.
LizardKing
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(03-19-2017, 12:20 AM)
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I disagree with most of what you said. Honestly it feels like you just don't like open world games. For most of the problems you had with it BOTW addresses these things much better than any other open world game. I also think themed shrines would limit variety not increase it. I also loved the short dungeons and breaking up the puzzles into many shorter ones rather than the old way of doing things. Maybe you just prefer the old style of Zelda games?

And really it's pretty harsh to critique a repetitive element in a game with many varied elements. Especially when every single game in existence has repetitive elements. The vast systems they've created ensures varied gameplay and many different ways to approach one thing. Repetitive things are there yes, but they are intended to be repetitive and filler. Because doing something is better than nothing. That's why they also aren't in your way either. That's not the meat of the game.
Last edited by LizardKing; 03-19-2017 at 12:25 AM.
Five
Banned
(03-19-2017, 12:21 AM)
In principle I don't agree with the "fun per inch" motto. There's a certain verisimilitude in having such a large world that you're overlooking in this critique. Having such a huge expanse feels more like a place you could actually go, not the Disneyland ride highlight reel equivalent.

But that's just on paper. In practice BotW fails this because nobody lives in any of the space. You're trying to tell me this great kingdom exists in a giant reach with basically only three functioning towns, one of which is supposed to be a secret? Or that each of these other highly evolved races exist only in a single small town with maybe half a dozen civilian domiciles each? After finding Kakariko and Hateno I was hoping to find a dozen other such villages, but nope.

I think BotW does open world for the wrong reasons. The more empty space there is in the game, the more relatively exciting it is when you actually find something. Every time I find a new stable I'm elated because finally the game actually has something for me again. And that's well and good if the experience you're supposed to be having is that of a pioneer, but Hyrule is a kingdom several thousands of years old by this point so it makes absolutely no sense.
Malus
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(03-19-2017, 12:22 AM)
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I have mixed feelings about the "empty space" thing. I love dense games (Skyward Sword is still my favorite Zelda :p) but I do enjoy the idea of a long arduous journey from one place to another. I see a tower in the far away distance and along the way I'll rescue some NPCs, gather some loot, maybe make some unexpected discoveries etc. Some of my favorite memories of the game come from those kinds of mini adventures. Plus I enjoy the sense of scale.

Sure sometimes I didn't find anything of note, but even then I can at least enjoy the unique scenery. A little overworld music would make those emptier moments less tedious.
Hero
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(03-19-2017, 12:22 AM)
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Fun per inch I don't think really is applicable to open world 3D games. You have to get a sense of scope and if you fill it with stuff just for the player to do, it becomes a collectathon. Oddly enough, your criticism on the Korok seeds goes against your own beliefs. There are 900 of them not to encourage people to get them all but rather there is a density in the world so that players will stumble upon them no matter what path they choose.

Also there is no such thing as a perfect game. Tetris is perhaps the closest thing.
Akuun
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(03-19-2017, 12:23 AM)
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Good points. I feel like Nintendo actually followed something similar to your "fun per inch" principle because I think every part of BoTW's world gives you something to find at a fairly consistent pace. You never go very far in one direction before you find something that catches your eye. Wherever you go, there's always a camp, a Korok puzzle, a group of wildlife to hunt, or something. It's just that I think they expanded the tolerance of your principle to something more like "fun per foot" instead.

I 100% agree about the lack of enemy/activity variety though. While you always find something wherever you go, you are often doing something from the same pool of actions. It's just less telegraphed than those of other open world games because there are no icons flooding your screen. The game is excellent and very well designed, but there's no denying that there is a fair amount of repetition in the game. I haven't finished the game yet (1 dungeon done, probably at least 20-30 hours in now) but the more I play, the more obvious it is that I'm doing very similar things over and over. I'm still enjoying myself, but the repetition is definitely there.
andymcc
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(03-19-2017, 12:23 AM)
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Originally Posted by Five

In principle I don't agree with the "fun per inch" motto. There's a certain verisimilitude in having such a large world that you're overlooking in this critique. Having such a huge expanse feels more like a place you could actually go, not the Disneyland ride highlight reel equivalent.

But that's just on paper. In practice BotW fails this because nobody lives in any of the space. You're trying to tell me this great kingdom exists in a giant reach with basically only three functioning towns, one of which is supposed to be a secret? Or that each of these other highly evolved races exist only in a single small town with maybe half a dozen civilian domiciles each? After finding Kakariko and Hateno I was hoping to find a dozen other such villages, but nope.

I think BotW does open world for the wrong reasons. The more empty space there is in the game, the more relatively exciting it is when you actually find something. Every time I find a new stable I'm elated because finally the game actually has something for me again. And that's well and good if the experience you're supposed to be having is that of a pioneer, but Hyrule is a kingdom several thousands of years old by this point so it makes absolutely no sense.

gerudo city?
balohna
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(03-19-2017, 12:26 AM)
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As a developer it feels like "they put a ton of time and polish into everything". I really can't criticize much about it, because on top of all the love put into the world, it's also somewhat of a technical marvel.

As a player I can find things that could be better in a perfect world, but as a developer it already exceeds what I would have expected.

Most of the OP's stuff isn't "oh wow you really needed to be a developer to notice that", just sounds like personal preference feedback.
bounchfx
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(03-19-2017, 12:28 AM)
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great writeup, and I agree with much of it.

honestly BOTW has made me more stoked for where they go from here than anything else. It's a HUGE departure from other zeldas and even a lot of other games and I'm sure they learned a ton. They fucking knocked it out of the park their first try like this, so imagine the next game?

not to mention that other games will take from it too
Pachinko
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(03-19-2017, 12:29 AM)
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Those are all very well put points and I agree with them too ! The game is a bit hard to control at the worst of times , the UI should have had another pass and the world could have been made a bit smaller or conversely , had more variation in it's dispersal of tasks.

Everything involved with moving around the game world takes just a bit longer than it should. Horses could gallop twice as fast (not more spurs, just a faster movement speed) and links stamina gauge while running (at least on a path) could deplete half as quickly it could alleviate many of these issues.

Much like OP though, I'm really REALLY liking the game as it is , Nintendo really got themselves onto something special here.
Thin White Duke
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(03-19-2017, 12:29 AM)
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After taking a bit of time to read the OP I definitely do agree with some of the valid criticism and points mentioned.

I do think that--going forward from here--future Zelda games that may follow this have a lot of potential to improve upon the elements we've seen at hand.

A solid write-up, sir.
Yam's
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(03-19-2017, 12:30 AM)
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I agree with all your points. The game lacks variety for how big it is. But I think this feeling will mostly occur to people who fully try to explore it. I've seen a lot of posts from people who finished it without doing all 120 shrines and in less than 50 hours. If you don't care about seeing it all, I can understand how you wouldn't be bothered (yet) by the lack of variety.

I think they didn't design the game for completionists in mind, thus the repetitive korok seeds and combat shrines. There's no reason to have more than 3 combat shrines if you expect everyone to clean all 120 shrines. At first I thought it was to make sure everyone would get some combat tutorial wherever they chose to start their adventure but the way some basic combat shrines are placed doesn't make sense with that in mind.

However by putting a bit of everything everywhere you make sure people who don't aim for 100% map completion will see it all. Korok seeds are in that sense an easy way to reward random exploration. I think this was lazy and I stopped doing them once I could carry enough weapons, but I understand why they did it.

But the moment you go for full exploration, the lack of variety is hard to discard in my opinion.

The fact they give you everything right at the start doesn't help either. You have nothing to look forward to throughout the game once you leave the tutorial. You won't find any new tools, power or anything. So rewards for exploring or quests are quickly lacking. Without gating any area, they could've added tools that would have changed the way you fight or travel.

Camps and skulls were not done well either. Too often you can simply fire up the explosive barrels and finish them off by rushing into the melee. I was also disappointed to see you cannot cut the trees/wooden piles camps are built on.

As for dungeons, I didn't necessarily miss them as big puzzles house, but rather as indoor areas to explore. I got my fill of puzzles in the game so that wasn't an issue however I dearly missed indoors structures. The game lacks different layers. You can climb that's great, but it's like the world doesn't have any bigger structures than a castle and houses. Exploring temples, ruins, caverns, etc would have been enough for me. I didn't needed the old dungeons, just exploration of more structures. It would have been a lot more rewarding for me to find these kind of places while looking everywhere rather than yet another korok puzzle or some weapon I won't ever use.
LizardKing
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:30 AM)
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Originally Posted by andymcc

gerudo city?

So there's 8 full blown towns not 3 lol. Way off. goron city, zora's domain, rito village, korok village, gerudo town, lurelin, kakariko, hateno.

And then there's many smaller settlement areas like the bazaar, tarry town, camps and all the stables. And people traveling randomly. He's pretty off base.
Last edited by LizardKing; 03-19-2017 at 12:52 AM.
Eolz
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:31 AM)
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As a game dev, and more specifically a designer, I disagree with the most part, but some parts are hard to disagree with.
I don't think you can analyze and critique all games the same way to be honest, and some of this doesn't really work by comparing it to other open world games. It's really more of its own thing, and it works really well like this for the most part.

edit: added the game dev and designer part (which I am) just to say that, but honestly, I don't think this brings anything special to the table outside of being able to think about how much work they truly put into this, and how some stuff might actually be easier or harder than some think. I don't think a critique is necessarily better or worse depending on the job, seen some industry members behave worse than some posters here, and some posters here (or elsewhere) smarter than some designers out there. The main difference is the experience obviously, as well as a more precise understanding of the production.

edit2: and I don't mean that in a bad way!
Last edited by Eolz; 03-19-2017 at 12:42 AM.
drotahorror
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:33 AM)
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Not gonna lie, if not for limited inventory slots and korok seeds, I would never explore as much as I do. But that's also one of my drives to explore, I WANT to expand my inventory and find them seeds. Exploring feels worth it to me, and a lot of it comes down to the korok seeds.

It really is crazy to think of how much extra play time the game has given me because I want to explore for seeds. I would think that's quite a few peoples motivation to explore too, but maybe not.
Kai Dracon
Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
(03-19-2017, 12:33 AM)
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Here's the thing about the "fun per inch" idea. The critique of BotW's overworld in this case seems to come from the perspective of simply not liking any open space that doesn't involve a direct game mechanic or crafted scenario. This space is therefore viewed as wasted space.

From my perspective, this negative space is not always a bad thing in an open world game. Open world games get a bad rap a lot of the time because many of them don't have a layout that uses negative or open space intelligently. IMO, BotW benefits from its open space and uses it, in most areas of the overworld, in a smart way. There are moments when it is entirely calculated for Link to be striding over a long, rolling hill amid waves of grass without anything specific going on. There are many such areas of negative space in the game that are carefully positioned to function as vistas and breathing room between active areas of the open world.

In general, I found the overworld in BotW to be laid out better than the majority of open worlds I've played. The way that key landmarks are distributed and designed to create tantalizing sights is impressive. (The glowing red towers yet to be activated really drive this home.)

One thing I do agree with in this critique is, yes, variety. I'd wager that in this area Nintendo simply ran up against the practical difficulty of populating a large world with a variety of truly distinct creatures and scenarios, thus fell back on the "subspecies" and "different tribe" style of reusing enemy types. While this is a flaw in the game and the player does really feel it at certain points, I also think that it's secondary to what the game was really intended to accomplish. That being, mood and a feeling of being lost in a large and natural world.
Stereogatari
Banned
(03-19-2017, 12:34 AM)
This thread has me excited for how good the next mainline Zelda is going to be after they refine these negatives.
OrbitalBeard
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:35 AM)

Originally Posted by Stereogatari

This thread has me excited for how good the next mainline Zelda is going to be after they refine these negatives.

Yep! The foundation is incredibly solid and the next entries will build upon it.
LizardKing
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:37 AM)
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Originally Posted by Stereogatari

This thread has me excited for how good the next mainline Zelda is going to be after they refine these negatives.

I wouldn't count on any developer in existence ever being about to create a game that lacks repetition in an open world. If you try to be a completionist in these games you are going to have repetition. It's not there for one person to run into 100 times. It's there for everyone to run into at least a few.
Neoweee
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:39 AM)
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I can agree with some of the problems and points, but they feel like pretty minor complaints compared to if the game ever required me to spend time doing something I don't want to do. If you don't like something in the game, then you can essentially ignore that said thing to a very large extent. I think that is going to lead to the game having a very low rate of players bouncing from it. I did almost 0 Side Quests (but a lot of Shrine Quests), less than half the shrines, and only two dungeons, before beating the game. Some people actually really enjoyed each of those, and spent a bunch of time doing them. Good for them! It's an open-world game with essentially 0 bottle-necks.

World is too big/empty? Just stick to the roads and main quest lines.

Don't like Side Quests? Just don't do them. They're mostly there to breadcrumb to new areas or new mechanics. I strongly disagree about their quality if you are including Shrine Quests in that category, because a whole bunch of those are outstanding pieces of game design.

I actually agree with Dungeons, though. Their central gimmicks are cool, but Shrines kind of ate their lunch in terms of overall prevalence. I think the series could easily go with larger, very hard dungeons that the player is encouraged to leave and return to over the course of the game. Like the central tower in Spirit Tracks, if the progress and sections weren't gated.

Originally Posted by Stereogatari

This thread has me excited for how good the next mainline Zelda is going to be after they refine these negatives.

Don't count on it. Negatives in Zelda games aren't universally agreed upon. If people don't like emptiness in their overworlds, for example, then we might end up with Skyward Sword 2, where the overworld is essentially just another dungeon filled with puzzles.

People disiked the lack of exploration in OOT and MM, which led to the large, empty ocean of Wind Waker.

People didn't like the changes made in MM and Wind Waker, so we got Ocarina of Time 2 in Twilight Princess.
Last edited by Neoweee; 03-19-2017 at 12:45 AM.
MosquitoSmasher
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:41 AM)
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Originally Posted by thomasmahler

Oddly, no. While we have some pretty big projects in development , I'm not at all interested in making open-world games. There are certain systems that we might draw some inspiration from and there's one system that coincidentally is shockingly similar to a system we've been designing (down to UI layouts, etc.), but overall I don't think BotW makes us change direction in any way.

I'll always be more interested in designing with our 'fun per inch' principle, trying to make perfect experiences, perfect level designs where you'd have a really hard time trying to figure out how to improve upon it... Not saying we reached that goal just yet, but that's certainly our aspiration :)


Oooooh do tell us more about those projects. :)

I know you can't, but would you say we can look forward to E3? :D
Five
Banned
(03-19-2017, 12:45 AM)

Originally Posted by andymcc

gerudo city?

Gerudo city is very small and the only place in the whole world where Gerudo live. There are not enough vai in the city to support the ecosystem. None of them (afaik) are farmers or builders. The one school in the whole city is just a place to learn about voe. It's a fun place to run around but it doesn't present a believable world, and presenting a believable world is the only excuse for a map as large and empty as BotW has.


Originally Posted by LizardKing

So 4 full blown towns not 3.

And then there's many smaller settlement areas like the bazaar, tarry town, camps and all the stables. And people traveling randomly. He's pretty off base.

They're not full-blown towns. Besides maybe Hateno town, they're villages at best, and none of them have nearly enough infrastructure to avoid economic collapse.

(also I'm not a man)
Last edited by Five; 03-19-2017 at 12:48 AM.
Sub Boss
Member
(03-19-2017, 12:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by Caelus

From a development perspective, the identical shrines seem like an efficient way of offloading specific puzzle development without necessarily worrying about integrating them into the world. Aside from the motion controlled ones which seem oddly coded, the puzzles themselves beam with ingenuity, cleverness or straight up ludicrous fun in messing with the physics. I welcomed the very short but sweet shrines as a quick means of getting the spirit orb.

Also worth noting that the shrine quests are technically not visually identical, even if the location you get the spirit orb from is.

I definitely do want more shrine quests and more integrated dungeons (akin to Hyrule Castle) in the DLC/successor games.

This.
Im no developer but you don't have unlimited budget and time to create 120 shrines in the overworld wich most players wont ever see, with well designed puzzles along everything else. The team had a proper goal and they achieved it. Their goal was not for the shrines to look unique or diverse,but to challenge the player and entertain him/her.

The korok puzzles,camps,shrines,towns are part of a whole and it speaks very well of Nintendo that despite these flaws (of repetitive activities) BotW is considered one of the best open world games ever created.

The dungeons are the same,its a way to create something different while limiting the budget and time needed a bit.after all Breath of the Wild is the largest Nintendo game ever made.

While there are certainly improvments to be made,specially in the monster variety i dont agree with all of what this thread says. Its very easy to point at little variety,or some repetitive activities when the game offers so much to the player.
Those things are well noticed by Gaffers on th ot and other places already.

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