Breadth of the Wild
Fact: Elden Ring is considered by many to be the first title to come along since 2017's Breath of the Wild to truly encapsulate the wonder and adventure of the open world, action RPG experience.
And, while it's still too new to witness the inevitable wave of Elden Ring imitators, 2017 is long enough ago now to have spawned some interesting, let's say homages.
Let's take a look at the top 5 video game titles inspired by Nintendo's flagship adventure.
5) Genshin Impact
Developer miHoYo's open-world RPG boasts the unique distinction of being free for most major platforms (PS4, PS5, Switch, Windows, Android and iOS). Having released in 2020, it takes only a passing glance to begin spotting BotW influences. In fact, many of the enemy designs, behaviors, environments and assets appear to perhaps have been copy & paste jobs from Nintendo's code.
The similarities continue in everything from the paraglider to cooking up ingredients gathered in your journey. However, this isn't to suggest that the entire game is little more than an inferior clone. Genshin Impact falls in a bit more on the RPG side of the coin than Zelda, with the ability to build a party from 20+ available characters and 4-player simultaneous crossplay.
The experience is unique enough to justify giving the game a go, even if you are a diehard BotW aficionado and the free-to-play model means the only risked investment to getting underway is time.
4) Decay of Logos
We'll let you in on a little secret. 2019's Decay of Logos had the potential to be Elden Ring several years before Elden Ring. How so? It took the open-world exploration elements of BotW and combined them with the unforgiving and challenging tactical combat ideals found in games from From Software. You can even mount a horse/yak-like steed along the way.
Holding newcomer developer Rising Star Games from hitting the upper echelon of gaming success is the unfortunate reputation of Decay of Logos to run poorly, suffer drops, glitches and crashes.
Built using the Unity engine, we're convinced that with time and more experienced optimizers in their employ, Rising Star can have a game that can compete with Zelda on all technical levels. Our advice for the next installment would be to secure precisely such a team, take a lesson from Nintendo in easing the player into comfortably learning the myriad of systems and menus necessary for success, and land a major distribution deal. Decay of Logos has the type of potential to become a AAA franchise down the road with a bit of business savvy.
5 Lives Studios brought their BotW-style adventure to the world via all the major platforms and PC back in 2020. Praised for its scope and gorgeous visuals, the general consensus at the time was firmly middle of the road as far as critics were concerned. Why? A vague beginning and repetitive gameplay elements stole away what thunder the visuals and polished mechanics earned.
While Zelda fans will certainly appreciate the survival mechanics and start-from-nothing beginnings, a scarce plot and overabundance of time spent sailing aimlessly across the deep blue yonder result in a fairly lackluster overall experience.
Still, for an indie title often priced below $5, 5 Lives Studios is poised for great things in the future.
2) Immortals Fenyx Rising
Having been developed and published by Ubisoft, Immortals Fenyx Rising represents the most mainstream entry on this list.
Released for just about every platform, Immortals came on the scene back in 2020 and offered up a Greek Mythological spin on the open-world adventure model. Unique to this entry, however, and witnessed again in Elden Ring, players begin by customizing the gender, voice, and appearance of titular hero Fenyx.
Unlike most of the entries on this list, Fenyx Rising received mostly favorable reviews from fans and critics alike, about the biggest complaint stemming from the fact that it didn't offer much in the way of innovations over the aging BotW. However, while there are undoubtedly many similarities between the two games to be found, Immortals leans a bit more toward the platforming angle of the formula, making skills like good jump timing a factor to success.
1) Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
We'll come right out with it, the Oceanhorn series is perhaps the proudest Zelda-clone series on the market. The original Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (2013), developed by Finnish studio Cornfox & Bros, made it known that their primary influence was 2002's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
When it came time for the inevitable sequel, 2019's Knights of the Lost Realm, Cornfox & Bros had no regrets in continuing to use the Zelda franchise for their template. And if you're going to emulate Zelda, might as well go with the latest and greatest.
Oceanhorn 2 is in fact a prequel to the original, set thousands of years prior to the events of the first game. It looks a lot like BotW and plays a lot like it too with emphasis on exploration, treasure collecting, and resource management.
Interestingly, it seems to remain one of the pricier entries on the list to purchase, though it frequently finds itself on streaming services like Apple Arcade.
At the time of its release, Oceanhorn 2 received praise for improving upon the potential of the original, if, perhaps opting to emulate its inspiration a bit too closely at times. However, it seems a hit with younger games in particular who might otherwise find the depth of the actual BotW a bit intimidating.