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Friday, December 1, 2023

I Don't Think I'll Ever Play Breath of the Wild Again

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I feel oddly heartbroken to think I'm probably never going back to Breath of the Wild now that I have Tears of the Kingdom. Breath of the Wild has been my favorite game since it came out, and I put 150 hours into it during my first play-through, and in the lead up to Tears of the Kingdom, I put in another 45. That's a lot of time spent, and I loved every second of it, and even on my second play-through I was still finding places and little drops of joy I had missed the first time around. It truly was my most beloved game.

Just hearing sound-effects from Breath of the Wild would send a wave of fondness through my body. But now that I've been playing Tears of the Kingdom, I don't think I ever need to go back. I can't think of any game that improved on its predecessor so much as to make it feel obsolete, but that's what Tears of the Kingdom has done for me.

I can't think of any other game that improved on its predecessor so much as to make it feel obsolete


There are examples of new versions in a franchise making the originals feel obsolete. Sports games in particular spring to mind. But it's not the same. The excitement of a new sports game is mostly down to roster updates, a few new features, some improvements on what already works, and improvements to the simulation. No one wants to go back and play Madden '12, for example. Thrift store video game sections are a great real-world example of this.

I can also think of games where I skipped the original but the follow-up fixed all the problems. Assassin's Creed, for example. Its first entry was OK, but the second game was amazing. Needless to say, I never did play that first one, but I played many after, and even went back to some of them (notably Assassin's Creed III when I reviewed the remake).

But Breath of the Wild… it's different. That being said, the idea that it could be replaced at its top spot wasn't something I ruled out. I'm a Nintendo fan, obviously, but I try to maintain a sense of realism. I knew very well Nintendo, or another developer, could build something better, something that captivated and delighted me more. But I just assumed Breath of the Wild would move down a spot in my mental "best of" list.

Tears of the Kingdom turned out to be the game that moved Breath of the Wild from its top spot, but it didn't move it down, it moved it off the list.

I cannot imagine going back to Breath of the Wild now. I just can't.


I cannot imagine going back to Breath of the Wild now. I just can't. I had just assumed Tears of the Kingdom would join it at the top, but Tears of the Kingdom does everything so much better. I really do agree with our review, where Tom Marks said it makes the first game look like a rough draft.

It kind of makes me sad? It's weird, because I shouldn't feel sad about it, but I've had this attachment to Breath of the Wild since its release, and it sat at the top of my favorites list for so long and second-place wasn't even close. And now it seems irrelevant to me, a game I still love and enjoyed more than any other game before, and for six years after.

I also can't really explain it. Breath of the Wild is so amazing! But Tears of the Kingdom is everything I loved about Breath of the Wild, but moreso. It's the same world, sure, but it somehow feels completely different and new. I'm constantly being surprised by it. Nintendo took everything I loved about the original and just turned it up a few dozen notches, and the result is a game I can't stop playing, at the expense of a desire to return to the first.

Tears of the Kingdom is truly something special, there's no doubt about that. With other game sequels, developers improve on the previous iterations shortcomings and build on the original worlds and introduce new ideas. Tears of the Kingdom, on the other hand, improved on what made the original amazing. It built on a winning formula in a way that no one could have imagined, and in creating this fantastic and wild new world, the original has now been made irrelevant to me, as far as wanting to ever return to it. It's an incredible accomplishment, but it oddly, one that makes me feel a little sad.


Seth Macy is Executive Editor, IGN Commerce, and just wants to be your friend. You can find him hosting the Nintendo Voice Chat podcast.

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