Tears of the Kingdom and Elden Ring Prove That Open Worlds Should be Dangerous

Though Breath of the Wild utilized a similar concept, Tears of the Kingdom expands upon that idea in ways that ultimately define the experience. After all, Tears of the Kingdom’s Ultrahand, Fuse, Ascend, and Recall abilities are based on the idea of figuring things out. That process naturally involves quite a few failures. Your first homemade airplane likely crashed into the ground or sent you sailing off a cliff. Your first time trying to fuse a found item to a weapon may have not had the intended results. Those mistakes may easily discourage some, but those who take the time to learn from them will be rewarded.

In their own ways, both games quickly establish that your failures are all part of the process. Those failures aren’t just the consequence of your mistakes, though, but the fuel that feeds the flame. If Tears of the Kingdom didn’t let you use Ultrahand to make broken or useless contraptions, the types of successful devices you could eventually craft would be much more limited. If Elden Ring didn’t show you how easy defeat can be and how many forms it can take, then success wouldn’t feel as sweet. Nintendo and FromSoftware didn’t go out of their way to prevent players from making mistakes; they embraced the inevitability of those mistakes and incorporated them into the design of their games.

By doing so, both games are able to get away with putting you in constant danger in ways that other open-world titles (even enjoyable ones) are often hesitant to do. Those other games want you to feel at home in massive, exotic new lands that are often made to look more uncharted than they actually are. They’re Disney Land. Disney Land is a lovely place, but it’s a carefully curated collection of sights, smells, sounds, and activities designed to simulate the experience of an adventure rather than take you on one. 

Elden Ring and Tears of the Kingdom are different. Fundamentally, they want you to buy into the idea that there is some incredible new possibility around every corner, just like so many open-world games try to do. However, both those games realize that such an experience demands an element of danger. Some of those corners have to be occupied by creatures and hazards that will make you realize the hard way that every choice has consequences and rewards.

One of the first enemies I found in Elden Ring’s open world was a boss I wasn’t ready for. In my first few minutes in Tears of the Kindom‘s open world, I ran into a sentient tree with a grudge that was sitting in the middle of what seemed to be a serene field. Call it masochistic, but both of the deaths I suffered in those instances made me feel more alive. Both games immediately made it clear that the dangers in their worlds would not be presented to me on my time or on my terms. Those dangers were natural extensions of open worlds that felt truly alive. They seemed to exist before I even got there, and my presence was not the highlight of their day. Every resource those worlds provided was going to be needed to combat every danger those worlds granted shelter to. 

The harmony between those concepts is what makes open-world games like Tears of the Kingdom and Elden Ring (as well as titles like The Witcher 3, Red Dead Redemption 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and others) so generationally impactful. The concepts of danger and difficulty in video games are often discussed as if they only cater to hardcore fans. Historically, that has sometimes been the case. 

Source : https://www.denofgeek.com/games/tears-of-the-kingdom-elden-ring-open-world-games-dangerous/

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