Saturday, July 13, 2019
A decade ago, when I was still actively blogging about MMORPGs, the idea that I could record myself playing let’s say World of Warcraft and people would watch that seemed ridiculous. Today there is Twitch, and YouTube is full of “let’s play” videos as well. And even I am sometimes watching. Usually in order to learn how to play better, because that is easier achieved by watching than by reading an explanation. But recently I also watched somebody on Twitch playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time. Which at the same time made me want to play that game again, and had me realize that it wouldn’t be the same.
World of Tanks, which I have mostly been playing this year, has more or less infinite replayability. Even if you end up with the same tank on the same map, the actions of the other 29 players in the battle won’t be the same, so the battle will be different. The replayability of a game like Zelda is a lot more limited, because it is a game of exploration and discovery. Once you have discovered something unexpected, like drawing a bow next to a fire and discovering that this turns your regular arrows into fire arrows, you can’t unring that bell. On the next playthrough you will still know this, and be unable to have another “wow, discovery!” moment. The second playthrough of Zelda is necessarily much less exciting than the first. If I want to recreate those moments, I either need to wait for Breath of the Wild 2, or play a completely different open world exploration game, and then I can’t think of one as good as Zelda. Still I’d probably have more fun playing one of the newer Assassin’s Creed games that I haven’t played yet rather than playing Breath of the Wild again.
The great thing about Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is that a) you can go anywhere you want due to the climbing mechanic, and then b) there will be something there to discover. Most other open world games either have lots of areas you can’t go to, blocked of by visible or invisible walls, and/or you can get to the top of the mountain and find that there is nothing interesting there. In Zelda there would be at least a small riddle up there that rewards you with a seed, used to enlarge your inventory. I haven’t really found another game since Zelda that does this as well.