Some fans would prefer if this list would have been composed of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Breath of the Wild. However, it is hard not to admit that when it comes to the general zeitgeist of the fandom, most favor Ocarina of Time as the classic example for the series. It only seemed natural, then, to pit that against the series’ newest iteration.
We say new even though the game is two years old. That said, it still remains popular and that teaser for its sequel has fans speculating night and day like crazy. So without further ado let’s bash these two juggernauts against each other.
9 Gameplay: Breath Of The Wild
Know what the best thing about Breath of the Wild’s gameplay is? The jump button. There have been items that allowed Link to jump, or more like hop in previous times, but this was the first time in thirty years where there was actually a dedicated button. It is a game changer on that note alone. Jumping gaps and climbing feels terrible with Ocarina of Time now. In many ways it will be hard to go back to more dungeon focused mechanics if that ever happens with sequels.
8 Music: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time has the better music almost by default. That’s because there is barely any music in Breath of the Wild. Every note of music is more situational and environmental, which creates a more immersive world.
It is cool in that way, but immersion does not equate to jamming tunes. Everything about Ocarina of Time’s score is memorable from the songs played on the titular ocarina to the many melodies of Hyrule’s themes.
7 Side Quests: Breath Of The Wild
What we can award Breath of the Wild’s immersive melodies for comes with its world. This category could be represented as either the world, or side quests, but both ideas are essentially the same. The Hyrule of Ocarina of Time is classic, but also claustrophobic. Everything is segmented off and doesn’t create a seamless open world that is begging to be explored. Compared to Breath of the Wild’s activities, it is like an Atari game. More does not always mean better, but in this case it does.
6 Story: Ocarina of Time
While Breath of the Wild did introduce voices for the first time in a mainline title, that did not create a more engaging story. That is a true shame since it was as big a milestone as putting in that jump button. Anyway, a more revolutionary game is Ocarina of Time, which was a big leap forward narratively between that and A Link to the Past. It may not have voices, but it remains great to this day. Maybe one could even call it the best story.
5 Transportation: Breath Of The Wild
On top of Ocarina of Time’s world being segmented and hard to explore, getting around is also a pain. Yes, Epona is a great friend and that later spell for the ocarina can transport Link around. However, being zapped from place to place is a lot easier in Breath of the Wild and it unlocks almost immediately. On top of that, the glider is an awesome way to see the many sights of this dilapidated Hyrule.
4 Legacy: Ocarina of Time
This may be a bit unfair to Breath of the Wild since it has only two years old, but Ocarina of Time has a bigger legacy than it. Besides the N64 release and then the GameCube port, it was also remade and tweaked for the 3DS.
It has simply had more time in the cultural sun for nerds everywhere. It was the tipping point for the series as much as another series was around this time aka Final Fantasy VII. The late '90s were a treasure trove for amazing games that would define generations.
3 Graphics: Breath Of The Wild
Even with that 3DS remake, Ocarina of Time still looks dated. It is better on that hardware as it does smooth over a lot of the N64’s perfections. It’s no longer an ugly polygonal mess, but it also doesn’t hold a candle to Breath of the Wild. Because Nintendo decided to use a cel-shading style for the art, it’s going to continue to look good far into the future just like Wind Waker. Of course, we have a prettier version of that now on Wii U, but both still look great. Point is Breath of the Wild is a true beaut.
2 Companion: Breath Of The Wild
Navi was the first time Link had a constant companion on his adventure. She helped add some context to the situation as Link continued to be silent. On top of that, she also gave players some great clues in case one got stuck. As innovative as Navi was, she was also incredibly annoying. Players’ companion in Breath of the Wild is the Sheikah Slate, which helps when one wants it to and virtually stays silent most of the time. That is exactly how exploring should be met with: silence. It’s a lonely adventure, but someone has to do it.
1 The Winner: Companion: Breath Of The Wild
This may be just because it is still fresh on everyone’s mind even after two years, but the truth is in the pudding. Breath of the Wild is now the better game. Ocarina of Time had its moment in the sun for two decades and now it is time to pass the torch to a new champion. It’s not like the other games between that and this were bad, but they also didn’t have the same clout as Ocarina of Time. There is no question about that. Who knows how long Breath of the Wild will be king? Maybe the sequel will topple it. For now though, all hail this masterpiece.