- Legend of Zelda games have shaped the gaming landscape with their unique ideas, mechanics, and art styles.
- Breath of the Wild brought a refreshing open-world experience to the franchise, but there are other great open-world games like Zelda available on PlayStation consoles.
2021 marked the 35th anniversary of Nintendo’s hugely popular Legend of Zelda series. Over the years, Link’s adventures have helped to shape the gaming landscape; from the terrific top-down 2D title A Link to the Past to Link’s triumphant leap into the third dimension in the critically acclaimed masterpiece that is Ocarina of Time. His last few outings, however, brought with them something a little different: an open world.
The 10 Highest Scoring Nintendo Games Of The Decade, Ranked According To Metacritic
Nintendo had a very strong 2010s with the 3DS, Switch, and Wii. What were the best games released by the company during the decade?
Open-world games were a thing long before Breath of the Wild entered the fray, but few had been able to fill those worlds anywhere near as spectacularly as Hidemaro Fujibayashi and his team. The title came as a real breath of fresh air, although remains one that only Switch and Wii U console owners are able to play. Thankfully though, there are plenty of other great open-world games like Zelda that can also be enjoyed by PS4 and PS5 players as well.
Updated January 27, 2024, by Tom Bowen: Trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes the Legend of Zelda series so fantastic is a surprisingly difficult task. There are, after all, some pretty sweeping differences between its many entries, with each one typically built around its own unique ideas, mechanics, and art style. As a result, different people tend to love the franchise for different reasons, although there’s generally one thing that these people do all tend to have in common: a longing for adventure. It’s a thirst that each of the Zelda games has been able to quench to perfection, much like these other great open-world games like Zelda that are available on Sony’s PlayStation line of consoles.
Metacritic Rating: 75 (PS5)
Sable‘s art style can take a little bit of getting used to, but those who persevere will definitely be glad that they did. It’s a stunning game in just about every sense and shares more than a few similarities with Link and Zelda’s latest outing. This is particularly evident when traversing the game’s massive open world, but can also be seen through some of its many puzzles.
Despite these similarities, however, Sable differs from Breath of the Wild in one key way: there’s no combat in the game whatsoever. As a result, it offers a much more relaxed experience that centers around the joy and wonder of exploration rather than the monotonous task of killing generic creatures. It may not be for everybody, but those who enjoyed traveling around Hyrule in BotW will likely have a really good time with Sable.
- September 23, 2021
Metacritic Rating: 64 (PS4)
Like Breath of the Wild, 5 Live Studios’ Windbound is an incredibly ambitious game that blends together elements from multiple genres. The art styles are pretty similar as well, as too are some of the methods used to traverse each game’s massive open world. Granted, the one found in Windbound is quite a bit smaller and broken up into smaller chunks, not to mention sparsely populated when compared to Hyrule, yet this actually plays into the game’s survival theme pretty well.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, these survival elements bring with them cooking and crafting mechanics; both of which play an important role in keeping the playable character Kara alive. This is going to be vital while playing on the Survivalist difficulty, as dying will send players all the way back to the first chapter. Players can, of course, lower the difficulty setting to lessen the impact of death, which can in turn lead to a more laid-back experience.
- 5 Lives Studios
- August 28, 2020
3 Death’s Door
Metacritic Rating: 89 (Switch)
Some consider Acid Nerve’s Death’s Door to be one of the best and most underrated games to come out of 2021, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s one of the best-written games in recent memory and is able to back this up with wonderful visuals and a fantastic musical score. Granted, at just eight and a half hours, it is a little on the short side, but this should take nothing away from the game’s overall excellence.
The Best PS5 Indie Games, Ranked
The best indie games on the PlayStation 5 find ways to make their budgets count, subsidizing any shortfalls with passion, determination, and will.
In many ways, Death’s Door feels like a crossover between Dark Souls and Zelda, with the title borrowing the tight and rewarding combat of the former and the puzzle and dungeon-oriented progression system found in 2D Zelda titles like A Link to the Past. Thankfully, it’s not quite as difficult as a typical souls-like game, yet should still provide a decent challenge for all but the most skilled of gamers.
- Acid Nerve
- July 20, 2021
4 Sonic Frontiers
Metacritic Rating: 75 (PS4)
At a glance, Sonic Frontiers may seem like a game that is about as un-Zelda-like as they come. However, the game’s plethora of thought-provoking puzzles are actually quite reminiscent of the Shrines found throughout Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, as too is the sparseness of the game’s open world.
Unlike the aforementioned Zelda games though, Sonic Frontiers opts for a more realistic art style, which, in hindsight, was probably a mistake on the developers’ part. It’s still a fun world to explore, even in spite of how jarring it can be at times, with plenty of secrets scattered throughout it for those who aren’t afraid to venture from the beaten track; much like in Zelda games.
- November 8, 2022
5 One Piece Odyssey
Metacritic Rating: 75 (PS4)
One Piece Odyssey feels a little like a cross between Windwaker and more modern Zelda titles like Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. Like the latter games, it boasts a sprawling open world full of wonder and puzzles, while it can be likened to the former due to its visuals and nautical themes.
Granted, One Piece Odyssey will appeal more to fans of the popular anime series than it will to those with no interest in the medium, but the gameplay itself is a lot of fun nonetheless. There are certainly better games like Zelda out there, particularly when it comes to open-world aspects, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had here.
One Piece Odyssey
- January 13, 2023
Metacritic Rating: 68 (PS4)
Much of the inspiration behind Inverge Studios’ charming action-adventure game, Effie, can be traced back to some of the wonderful adventure games of yesteryear. It features great platforming, solid combat, and a wonderfully told story that’s played out by a cast of memorable and well-written characters.
Those expecting a groundbreaking title of the same ilk as Breath of the Wild will likely come away from the experience a little disappointed. Assuming expectations can be kept in check, however, there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had. In many ways, it’s a game that’s cast from a similar mold as Link’s latest outing – albeit, at a smaller scale – and will likely appeal to fans of the Switch title as a result.
- Inverge Studios
- Inverge Studios
- June 4, 2019
7 Darksiders 2
Metacritic Rating: 84 (PS3)
The Darksiders series has gone through many changes since first making its debut back in 2010. There are some pretty big differences between its four entries, but many consider the second of these, Darksiders 2, to be the franchise at its absolute best. The Deathinitive Edition of the game, which was released in 2015 is hands down the best way to experience it.
At its heart, the game is an action RPG with hack-and-slash elements and some wonderfully thought-out puzzles. In this regard, it’s easy to draw similarities between Darksiders 2 and Breath of the Wild, though the tone and color palette of Gunfire Games’ title is often a lot darker. There’s not quite as much to see and do either, although it will still provide completionists with more than 40 hours of entertainment.
- Vigil Games
- August 14, 2012
Metacritic Rating: 92 (PS3)
Hard though it may be to believe, there are still plenty of people out there who have never played Skyrim. Those people are really missing out, particularly the ones who love a good adventure game. There’s an endless amount of things to see and do in the title, and it’s here, as well as through the heavy emphasis that it places on exploration, that the latest entry in the Elder Scrolls series can be compared to a game like Breath of the Wild.
The Best Games With Infinite Replayability
Some games are meant to be played once, others are meant to be played forever. These titles are infinitely replayable.
Granted, there are some pretty big differences when it comes to the games’ respective art styles and their narratives veer off in dramatically different directions too. Even so, the similarities should be both numerous and obvious enough to appeal to fans of the Legend of Zelda series, especially those who also happen to have an interest in Norse mythology.
- November 11, 2011
9 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Metacritic Rating: 84 (PS5)
While on the subject of Norse mythology, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is another great open-world game that’s likely to appeal to Zelda fans. Like Breath of the Wild, its world is beautifully rendered and an absolute joy to explore, and although its gameplay can be both generic and repetitive at times, its excellent storytelling more than makes up for this.
Many people were driven away from the Assassin’s Creed franchise after years of substandard and samey releases, but Valhalla does at least try to reinvent itself a little. Granted, not all of the new ideas land quite as well as Ubisoft would have wanted, but the experience is different enough to provide disenfranchised fans with a reason to return to the series; if only to check out what’s new.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- November 10, 2020
10 Death Stranding
Metacritic Rating: 85 (PS5)
There are times in Breath of the Wild when players can become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the game’s massive open world. This, in turn, can lead to feelings of isolation, as if Link is entirely alone amidst an endless sea of Bokoblins and Lizalfos. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, though certainly a lot less colorful, can often evoke these very same feelings.
In terms of actual gameplay, there are very few similarities to be drawn between the two titles, but for those looking to lose themselves on a journey of self-discovery, they’re both able to scratch the same itch. The online social interactions in Kojima’s epic walking simulator serve in much the same way as those in Breath of the Wild when players do encounter an NPC: a reminder that neither Sam, nor Link, are truly alone, despite what their barren and desolate surroundings might otherwise suggest.
- November 8, 2019
11 Genshin Impact
Metacritic Rating: 86 (PS5)
Genshin Impact took the world by storm when it was released in late 2020 and remains incredibly popular to this day. Sure, it doesn’t offer anywhere near as much depth as Breath of the Wild, but it arguably provides a lot more content thanks to its constant updates and events. Better still, it features a fairly decent multiplayer mode and is also free to play.
The Best Mobile Games Based On Anime
A terrific collection of mobile games based on popular Anime is just a few clicks away!
Microtransactions may tarnish the experience somewhat, but, as in any game, they are optional and are not an essential part of the experience. Gameplay can become a little repetitive too, although this isn’t as noticeable as in other games thanks to the breathtaking environments and charming art style.
- September 28, 2020
12 Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
Metacritic Rating: 66 (PS4)
The first Oceanhorn game looks and plays a lot like Grezzo’s Link’s Awakening remake. It seems to have drawn a lot of its inspiration from the series in general, but it’s far more than just another Zelda clone. It’s fun, looks stunning, and features some fairly decent puzzles to boot. After selling more than a million copies, it even got a sequel.
Released on Apple Arcade in late 2019, Oceanhorn 2 is more Breath of the Wild than it is Link’s Awakening. Both the art style and combat mechanics are reminiscent of the Nintendo game and the story even centers around three sacred emblems that could perhaps be likened to the triforce. Despite being announced some time ago though, a PlayStation port of the sequel is yet to materialize.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
- Cornfox & Bros.
- FDG Entertainment
- November 14, 2013
13 Hyper Light Drifter
Metacritic Rating: 80 (PS4)
The 8-bit art style found in Hyper Light Drifter predates even the very first Zelda title, but while the game looks pretty different from any of Link’s adventures, it can end up playing fairly similarly at times. Combat is fast and frantic and there’s a decent variety of enemies; just as there are in Zelda games.
For as simplistically rendered as the game’s world is, there’s still plenty to explore and players are encouraged to do so by the inclusion of numerous secret areas. The game’s menacing tone will likely remind players of the dark world in A Link to the Past too, although the vastly different art styles make it difficult to draw too many visual comparisons.
Hyper Light Drifter
- Heart Machine
- Heart Machine
- March 31, 2016
14 Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Metacritic Rating: 84 (PS4)
When it comes to fantasy worlds, they don’t get much better than Middle Earth. It’s one of the most fleshed-out realms ever created and is wonderfully brought to life in Monolith Productions’ 2014 title Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. To a lesser extent, the same is true of its sequel as well.
The Legend of Zelda: Forgotten Enemies From The Series’ History
From the Nejiron to the Arm Mimic and Vire, here are some of the most obscure enemies from the history of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series.
The games are both a lot darker than Breath of the Wild and feature combat that is significantly more violent, although there is still a decent amount of emphasis placed on exploration too. The real star of the show though is the nemesis system, which effectively builds the story around the actions of the player rather than forcing them down a narrow, pre-defined path.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
- September 30, 2014
15 Horizon Zero Dawn
Metacritic Rating: 89 (PS4)
Much like the one in Breath of the Wild, the beautiful open world of Horizon Zero Dawn is sparsely populated and this can really help players to become immersed in its beauty as they explore. The game’s machines also bear quite a few similarities with the Guardians found throughout Hyrule, although arguably feature far more creative designs.
For as alike as the two games are though, there are plenty of differences as well. Combat is a lot more well-realized in the PlayStation exclusive and the art style is a lot less playful. The biggest thing to take away though is that both are great games and fans of one of them are incredibly likely to enjoy the other.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
- February 28, 2017
16 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Metacritic Rating: 92 (PS4)
The Witcher 3 is another game that bears a lot of similarities to Breath of the Wild, but once again diverges when it comes to tone and art style. It is very much a darker game; both when it comes to its general subject matter and the violent nature of its combat. The latter is further emphasized by a more true-to-life art style which ultimately gives the game’s world a very different feel than Hyrule.
Those who enjoy some of the more whimsical elements found in the Zelda series might want to look elsewhere, but anyone who likes fantasy, tight combat, and gripping storylines can definitely find those things here. Throw in all of the fantastic side quests and the two DLC packs and this is a game that can keep players busy for hundreds of hours.
Metacritic Rating: 75 (PC)
Anodyne looks and plays like a 2D Zelda game from the SNES era and features some equally eclectic scenes and settings as well. Due to it having been released more than two decades later though, it’s perhaps a lot less visually impressive than those classic Zelda titles once were. That’s not to say that it isn’t enjoyable though, nor that it doesn’t still look great when viewed in the right light.
Indie Games That Are Amazing (After A Rough Opening Few Hours)
Whether it’s hard-to-learn mechanics or slow-moving exposition, these games get off to a rocky start — but the overall experience is worth it.
A sequel to the game was also released a little earlier this year and, much like Oceanhorn 2, it sees a somewhat dramatic shift in art style and perspective. It too looks a lot more like Breath of the Wild than its predecessor, although struggles to measure up to either due to its muted color palette and an overall lack of charm.
- Analgesic Productions
- Analgesic Productions
- February 4, 2013
Metacritic Rating: 79 (PS4)
Many people wrote Hob off as just another Breath of the Wild clone when it was first released, but there is far more to it than that. Granted, the game’s art style is incredibly similar, it’s full of engaging puzzles and it features a silent protagonist, but these things are typically implemented in their own unique ways.
The manner by which the world opens up as players solve puzzles and unlock new powers offers a nice twist on some of the classic Metroidvania titles and combat is both intuitive and rewarding in equal measures. In many ways, the sci-fi setting feels like the perfect combination of Breath of the Wild and the PS4-exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn.
- Runic Games
- Runic Games
- September 26, 2017
19 Final Fantasy 15
Metacritic Rating: 81 (PS4)
Despite being supplemented by patches and DLC, Final Fantasy 15‘s narrative remains a little disappointing. When it comes to gameplay, however, it’s one of the series’ very best entries. Combat is fluid and rewards those who take the time to understand it while the way that Noctis and his three friends compliment each other in battle is incredibly compelling.
One of the most impressive things about the game though is its gigantic open world which made for a welcome change following the corridor simulator that was Final Fantasy 13. It is a lot less stylized than the one found in Breath of the Wild but is every bit as enjoyable to explore.
Final Fantasy 15
- November 9, 2016
20 Immortals Fenyx Rising
Metacritic Rating: 77 (PS5)
Given that it was created by the same team that was responsible for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, it’s perhaps not too surprising that so much care and attention was given to the world of Immortals Fenyx Rising. It’s definitely a lot smaller than the one found in Breath of the Wild, although it is hiding just as many secrets and is a lot of fun to explore.
While still rooted in fantasy, the game also draws a lot of its inspiration from Greek mythology and this can make for some wonderfully interesting encounters. Combat is solid too, although can take a little bit of getting used to when compared to other action-oriented open-world games. Once mastered though, the mechanics are more than fit for purpose.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
- December 3, 2020