Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom are both widely considered to be masterpieces and two of the greatest games of all time. However, the popular opinion is that Tears of the Kingdom is the vastly superior game—but to me? I just simply cannot agree. Its disheartening to see one of my favorite Zelda games constantly tech demo for a game I personally like less... I don't always think bigger is better! Now it's time for me to get knee-deep in controversy in today's article... Breath of the Wild is better than Tears of the Kingdom!
Atmosphere - 7 vs 10
The first thing I liked much better about Breath of the Wild was its atmosphere. Breath of the Wild has a hopeless atmosphere, with much less people to be seen and Guardians rampaging the world. I also thought the Sheikah designs looked so much cooler than the Zonai designs! Without the Guardians, the world felt pretty devoid of peril and tension, and honestly, I had no reason to explore on foot in Tears of the Kingdom because I was just very bored of exploring an ironically more lifeless Hyrule. Instead, I found myself gliding from tower to tower or riding hoverbikes just to avoid having to explore this less interesting world. I really did love some of the ideas of rebuilding society, the highlights being Lookout Landing and the certain sidequest where you team up with a bunch of villagers to take down monsters! However, I just can't really see how the atmosphere of hope is more compelling than the gloomy atmosphere in Breath of the Wild. I still enjoy the atmosphere in Tears of the Kingdom, don't get me wrong, but it is significantly worse. Overall, I'd give Breath of the Wild a 10 in atmosphere and Tears of the Kingdom a 7.
Combat - 6 vs 10
I'll give it to Tears of the Kingdom on this one—it is by far the better game in terms of combat. While I love myself some Thunderblight Ganon, Breath of the Wild has so many less bosses and almost no variety. I will admit, Monk Maz Koshia is my favorite boss in the two games, but Colgera and Ganondorf Phase 2 come very close. With Colgera, Gleeoks, Phantom Ganon, and so many other phenomenal boss fights, Tears of the Kingdom has the best fights in the series—and Breath of the Wild for the most part has some of the worst (especially since Stasis can be used to cheese half of them). Breath of the Wild gets a 7, Tears of the Kingdom gets a 10.
Music - 8 vs 10
While Tears of the Kingdom has a solid soundtrack, not a single song from it comes close to reaching the heights of the Divine Beast themes in my eyes (the Colgera battle theme is the sole exception). I think Breath of the Wild perfectly meshed with the atmosphere, with very little triumphant music outside the Divine Beasts. Overall, I'd give Tears of the Kingdom a solid 8 and, yet again, Breath of the Wild is a ten.
Towers - 6 vs 8
Some might think this is a very odd criteria but I truly believe towers are a huge part of these two games, and deserve to be talked about! Tears of the Kingdom and Breath of the Wild have very different towers and are great for different reasons. I love that the Tears of the Kingdom towers let you rocket into the sky and gain a lot of verticality, but their criteria to open them is much more boring in my eyes. I always loved climbing the towers in Breath of the Wild and how each of them were a different height and surrounded by different scenery! This was definitely much better than shooting Aerocudas out of the sky. Sure, Tears of the Kingdom had different ways to activate the towers, but I thought they were generally a lot more annoying or uncompelling (although the rain-stopping one was brilliant). Also, the towers looked so much better in Breath of the Wild than Tears of the Kingdom so... Also, I loathed the fact that the towers didn't specify the names of the regions in Tears of the Kingdom, this was just so frustrating. Overall, I give Breath of the Wild an 8 in this category and unfortunately, I give Tears of the Kingdom a 6.
Characters - 6 vs 8
The Champions were vastly superior to the Sages. Yunobo was so aggravating, Tulin was cute but annoying, Riju was well-designed but drab, and well, Sidon is absolutely fantastic, but Mipha was more compelling. On the other hand? I liked Daruk's calm wisdom, Revali's incredible sarcasm, Urbosa was bada**, and Mipha was a very interesting character and love interest for Link. In terms of the villain, however, Tears of the Kingdom is the clear winner. Ganondorf is infinitely more intriguing than the soulless amalgamation of Blight Ganons that is Calamity Ganon. However, he still didn't do anything all too interesting or compelling to make me say Tears of the Kingdom had better characters. Also, I found the Old Man to be so much better than Rauru—sorry, but Rauru had absolutely no charming characteristics in my opnion outside of his charm. The only notable new character in Tears of the Kingdom in my eyes was Mineru—I really liked her. I really do like a lot of Tears of the Kingdom characters, but they just aren't as memorable in my opinion. I give Tears of the Kingdom a 6 and Breath of the Wild an 8.
World - 9 vs 10
While I do like the surface in Breath of the Wild better, there's no denying that Tears of the Kingdom has a better world overall. While i think that the Sky and Depths are less interesting and more copy-pasted than people are willing to admit, they are still a very welcome addition to the game. While I truly like the surface better in Breath of the Wild, as a whole, Tears of the Kingdom wins this category with a 10, and Breath of the Wild gets a 9.
Story - 4 vs 5
As much as I like the rest of the aspects of these two games, both of their stories are rather boring and predictable and leave a lot to be desired. I am more obssessed with RPGs than a lot of Zelda fans, so I've played lots of amazing story-driven games... and this isn't the greatest. The stories in these games are so incoherent because of how the story is told, and I can't even remember the plot points by the time I find the next one. Ganondorf and Zelda's mystery make Tears of the Kingdom more focused, but at the same time, the Divine Beasts make the dungeons feel a lot more plot relevant in Breath of the Wild. The Zelda plot twist was so predictable, and while Mineru's plot twist was decent, it wasn't phenomenal. As much as I hate to say this, I have to give Breath of the Wild's story a 4 and Tears of the Kingdom a 5.
Dungeons - 6 vs 9
This might be my most controversial opinion on this list, I thought the Divine Beasts were a bit better than the "traditional dungeons" in Tears of the Kingdom. I love elemental temples in Zelda games, but they were getting slightly stale. While Divine Beasts weren't perfect, I admire them for trying something new! Also, Tears of the Kingdom dungeons still have the Diving Beast terminal system, so they weren't exactly "traditional dungeons." While the boss fights in Tears of the Kingdom were exponentially better, they have absolutely no plot relevance, unlike the Blight Ganons. Finishing the Divine Beasts just felt so much more consequential than finishing the temples, and they felt like a very novel idea for a Zelda game. Beating the dungeons actually had an impact on defeating Calamity Ganon; beating the dungeons had very little impact on defeating Ganondorf. I'm not saying I wanted the Divine Beasts to come back, but I think Tears of the Kingdom could have done something even more unique! But even more important than all of that? Breath of the Wild had the best Hyrule Castle in the series... and Tears of the Kingdom had the worst Hyrule Castle in the series. Tears of the Kingdom's was just an enormous downgrade from Breath of the Wild's, to the point where I felt like I must've been missing something. Without the Guardians to put up a fight and without the very unique weapons scattered throughout, Tears of the Kingdom just had a very drab Hyrule Castle, which was incredibly sad. Overall, as one of the few people who loved the Divine Beasts, I give Breath of the Wild dungeons a 9 and Tears of the Kingdom's dungeons a 6.
Abilities - 9 vs 10
I still stand by the fact that Breath of the Wild's abilities are just as good as Tears of the Kingdom's. The Stasis and Master Cycle Zero runes? I still like those better than any of the abilities in Tears of the Kingdom, as controversial as that may be. While I think the other abilities are much worse than the Tears of the Kingdom, I just think Stasis was one of my favorite abilities in any game ever. Also, nothing buildable with Ultrahand in Tears of the Kingdom can quite compare to how incredible the Master Cycle Zero was. I could literally just spend an hour driving around Hyrule with that ability, it is just that fun. And it is so cool that Link gets his own Divine Beast! Overall, while I think Tears of the Kingdom has a better ability line-up objectively, I just jived much with Breath of the Wild's abilities. TOTK gets a 9, and BOTW gets a 10.
Shrines - 6 vs 9
This is the main reason I wanted to write this article—I needed to talk about how much better I liked the shrines in Breath of the Wild over Tears of the Kingdom. The only thing that holds the Breath of the Wild shrines back from being at a ten are the awful apparatus shrines, but there aren't that many of them, so it is not a big deal! Anyway, I digress. The majority of shrine puzzles in Tears of the Kingdom are either 1) a ____ device or 2) shrines where you build not-so-interesting things with Ultrahand. I do think the proving grounds shrines are fantastic though! But they are still not as good as Trial of the Sword or Eventide Island... and also, unlike most people, I loved the Test of Strength shrines so... yeah, always looked forward to those! There were so many unique ideas with each of the runes in Breath of the Wild and in Tears of the Kingdom? It was almost always based around only Ultrahand. Also, in Breath of the Wild, we get fantastic shrine quests like riding deer, shooting arrow into the sky, sneaking around Kakariko, and best of all? Kass's quests. Tears of the Kingdom just feels so wrong without Kass. Instead of Kass? We get the abominable Sky Crystals, which are so much more boring than Breath of the Wild's shrine quests. While about 25% of the Shrine Quests in Tears of the Kingdom are still solid, the rest are pretty terrible... whereas I can't think of a single bad shrine quest in Breath of the Wild. And some may say "well, there are orbs in Breath of the Wild, why can't Tears of the Kingdom have Sky Crystals?" Well, those orbs had really cool sidequests to go along with them—I would've been totally fine with the Sky Crystals if they had cool quests with them too! Overall, I give the Tears of the Kingdom shrines a 6 and the Breath of the Wild shrines a 9.
With only 10 more points, Breath of the Wild takes the cake. I still absolutely love Tears of the kingdom, and it is my nineteenth favorite game of all time, and my fourth favorite Zelda game! Tears of the Kingdom definitely deserves its praise, but Breath of the Wild doesn't deserve its "hate". Overall, these two are both phenomenal games and objectively some of the greatest games ever made. Have a great day, Zelda fans! Hope I didn't piss anyone off :)
Comment down below for any future article suggestions! Sign up for RPG Ranked for more epic articles! And if you like our website, be sure to donate some money or buy something from our store so we can continue to make top-notch articles for you :)