The Sad Ghost War Between Breath of the Wild And Horizon: Zero Dawn

The frenzy surrounding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a whole new level of fan overreaction, and this is coming from someone who’s seen what happens when you say Uncharted isn’t perfect.

When they’re not busy launching DDoS attacks against outlets that didn’t like the game as much as they did, they’re being really very angry at Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game with very little connection to Zelda but has become a popular target of BotW‘s most delirious fanbabies.

Both games are huge open world experiences, and both are exclusive to particular consoles. This is of course a recipe for disaster where the two games were destined to be compared in the most vitriolic ways imaginable. Plenty of Nintendo’s zealots were furious when they learned of my own highly favorable review, and if you believe them, Zero Dawn‘s fanbase has had an axe to grind against Breath of the Wild for a long time.

The reality, however, is not quite as these wearers of green, pointy, tinfoil-lined hats would lead you to believe.

According to frantic commentary on my Breath of the Wild review as well as various subReddits, nefarious shills for Sony have been abusing Metacritic’s user reviews in order to give Horizon 10/10 scores and crush Zelda with a bunch of vile zeroes.

The process is called Metabombing, an organized effort from unhinged fanbases or edgy online communities (or both) to tank the average user review score of a game they wish to see fail.

“So I guess Jim is going to use this comment section to justify how Zelda fans are toxic and all that, yet he still hasn’t commented on the Metabombing of the Metacritic user score by Horizon: Zero Dawn fans,” wrote one responder to The Jimquisition’s Breath of the Wild review.

This sentiment is not uncommon amongst those Zelda fans who genuinely are toxic, the fans I guess I’ll just call Fucking Slithering Pricks.

Unfortunately for them I can’t do as requested because there’s just not enough evidence to support the claim that Zero Dawn fans are behaving as badly as accused.

But do remember, throughout the rest of this article – I was asked to do this.

Perusing the user reviews for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there is very little evidence to suggest Horizon‘s zealous devotees (I’m sure it has them) have been orchestrating anything of the sort.  Yes, a handful of user reviews that gave Zelda a 0 also gave Horizon a 10. Going over the accounts myself, I’ve been able to spot a grand total of two users that did it.

Both skilly225 and Skyerls-Pidar fit the profile of somebody who is theoretically spiting Breath of the Wild in some irrational attempt to elevate Zero Dawn. Even among those two, only one of them has a clear axe to grind against Nintendo games – Skylerlst is clearly creaming themselves over PlayStation titles and applying zeroes to Nintendo’s output. The other one has rated various Nintendo games highly and claims to predominantly be a PC user.

If we expand the search to 1/10 reviews, we can find some more evidence. Lampiaobr is blatantly on Metacritic for one specific purpose, and AmazedBunion gave Horizon an 8… while also giving Black Ops III a 9/10. They might just be doing their own bizarre thing.

As we go through the 2/10 scores and 3/10 scores, any Horizon in the history of the reviewers seems to evaporate entirely. Meanwhile, the vast majority of negative reviews appear to be genuinely critical of various aspects of the game or are random drive-by shitposts that have no ulterior motive other than to kick the wasp’s nest.

What happens, however, if we flip the script? How many reviewers who gave Breath of the Wild a perfect 10 went ahead and slapped a big ol’ zilch on a scathing writeup of Guerilla Games’ production?

Say hello to Jimmyrustle22, estenoriega, MORJ, Linknlogs227, ivanmd09, navaga, csgopro, and ivand88! That’s just a selection of users who simultaneously wrote reviews issuing a 0/10 for Horizon and a 10/10 for Zelda.

They’re not the only ones, either. Here’s a negative Zero Dawn review from skysayrain that cheerily admits to what they’re doing:

“The game score is way too high,” they said of Horizon. “Don’t have the game will buy it, probably will enjoy it. giving this game 0 out of 10 in the name of Zelda for all those PS fan boys. good day! =)”

The funny thing is, I don’t even have to try very hard to find Zelda‘s piss champions doing exactly what they’re accusing others of doing.

Just clicking names at random I found NooBziN here, while a cursory search for Zelda references brought me ScofieldMoody. You start to be able to spot them at a glance, like if one of them mentions Far Cry Primal and doesn’t seem to be able to say much else of critical value, they might be like Matsepuldveda.

While I had to dig into the twos and threes while trying to find substantial evidence of Horizon fans acting out, I haven’t even left the zero range while talking about Zero Dawn‘s own user review page.

Far be it from me to disappoint my readers – I investigated the accusations of Breath of the Wild Metabombing, as requested, and came away with the opposite image that had been painted for me. Contrary to the claims, it seems less than five Horizon fans wrote negative reviews for Breath of the Wild, and the link (haha) is tenuous even among those.

Meanwhile, Zelda‘s mini crusaders aren’t even trying to hide what they’re doing.

And don’t think the examples I’ve given already are the only ones available.

“They did it first,” is the excuse I’ve seen for the attempted Metabombing of Horizon: Zero Dawn. It looks like, however, those WMDs are yet to be found.

Obviously, we’re talking about a small subset of particularly troubled individuals who have replaced their sense of self with videogames. Most fans of The Legend of Zelda, just like most fans of Sony’s suite of games, are well adjusted adults who aren’t flipping their shit and behaving in the most undignified ways over conflicting opinions regarding entertainment products.

Nobody should ever take Metacritic scores this bloody seriously.

Still, as someone currently in the firing line of these perverse aberrations, I find it particularly interesting that the same hive mind currently shrieking about a one percent dip in Breath of the Wild‘s average Metacritic score can’t help doing exactly what it accuses others of – bombing something else because they can’t handle the idea of anything other than their Precious potentially succeeding.

Such is the zero sum mindset of those who play for the lowest stakes on Earth.

According to what I can see, no war has been waged on Breath of the Wild by fans of Horizon: Zero Dawn or indeed any other malignant force. It’s a ghost war, concocted in the paranoid and erratic minds of an increasingly hysterical collective. Given their recent and continued acts of absurdity, it should not have surprised me that one of their biggest moral justifications for their behavior – while still weak as fuck – was spun from whole cloth.

Metabombing is trivial and hilarious in its crystallization of misdirected, truly impotent anger. It’s why I like to write about it. In this instance, however, the whole situation’s a little sad as well.

I mean, Breath of the Wild is one of the highest rated games of all time, it’s gotten more 10/10s than any game developer should rightly dream of, and it’s performing very well indeed at retail. Most people who have played it loved it. Even I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Yet, with all that going for them, Zelda‘s hardest of hardcore fans are unhappy and unfulfilled because almost unilateral praise is not the same as unilateral praise. Even worse, they’re paranoid with the hair-trigger backlash instinct of a cornered stray.

And ultimately, I think everybody else is just enjoying playing a fucking good Zelda game.

I hope Breath of the Wild‘s shoutiest fans also learn to enjoy playing it one day.

It’s worth it.

Rafael Martins
Guest
Rafael Martins

Fanbases have devolved from sharing thoughts, praises and critics of it’s own favourite game to dissing a competidor and saying how inferior it is. I haven’t played either so far, though I intend to later on, but I’m glad a few other games were left out of this madness while this two were at it.

Matthew Miller
Guest
Matthew Miller
Hello. You get it. This game was shitted on and nintendo in general. Yes I’m a fanboy not deining it. I have a job and hot wife so I have a life.look up horizon zero dawn zelda killer there was blog’s all kinds of shit crapping on zelda before the game was even out and Sony boys brought horizon into it. Not me. I only have spoken truths. And yes when I played the game and esspecially after the reviews you are damn straight I rubbed that salt in. I was very happy that zelda was everything I wanted. I… Read more »
chitown
Guest
chitown

What the hell is wrong with you?

Florent Mounier
Guest
Florent Mounier

that was exactly my reaction…

Matthew Miller
Guest
Matthew Miller

Zelda Botw Game of the year pure and simple. now my wife’s all decked out in her zelda garb and I just lipped my brown boots on….so I gotta go

Josh Lindberg
Guest
Josh Lindberg
I always thought breath of the wild vs horizon zero dawn was an intresting competition, both are highly hyped open world games coming exlusively on compiting consoles. On one side you had a champion video game ip coming out on an necommer platform, Zelda. On the other hand you had newcommer ip coming out on a champion platform, Horizon Zero Dawn. It was fun to make predictions which game would do better both commercially and critically, and It pretty much went down as i predicted it would. Zelda fid better critically but Hotizon zero dawn did better financially because it… Read more »
sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou
there is no comparison between these 2 games, breath of the wild is an average game with tons and tons of issues. how anyone can defend the worst zelda title ever released is beyond me. if you compare it to ocarina of time, a link to the past, and some of the older titles, breath of the wild is shit. if you are truly a fan then you would see this. dont suck nintendos dick when they release boring titles. or maybe they should release a reharshed buggy mess and call it super mario. seems like no matter how shitty… Read more »
Lightpost
Guest
Lightpost
I don’t own a Switch/Wii U but I got to play BotW a lot. I loved how the story is almost non-existent; it takes a back seat by just serving as a background for my adventures, no longer restricting me that much on the things I want to do. I haven’t tried Horizon yet but it does look very interesting and I’m hoping that the story also won’t be a big part of the game but rather, only my curiosity is the main thing that drives the game just like BotW does. I’m really glad that Miyamoto’s real-life childhood adventures… Read more »
sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou
yeah most of my annoyance with the game is the performance issues(technical as well as design flaws) and the boring story, without the wonderful story this zelda to me is just a wattered down skyrim, if i want to explore a world i want it to be interesting and zelda isnt. im telling you right now before you buy horizon, if youre looking for a game that awards you exploring and not giving a fuck about the story you will be very dissapointed with horizon, because it is the story that drives that game, without it the world is just… Read more »
Lightpost
Guest
Lightpost
I heard more about how Horizon is story driven and so I tried watching a playthrough of it; it was emotionally captivating so I think it’s okay for me if the game compels me to push through with the story instead of me checking out things on my own. And it looks like it has a pretty interesting lore behind it that begs to be known. It’s a kinda sad to hear though that my curiosity won’t be rewarded in Horizon since it doesn’t seem to emphasize exploration and the open-world seems to be just a padding or just something… Read more »
sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou
the more i played horizon the more i saw its issues, dont get me wrong it is an amazing game(i had so much more fun in horizon than i did in zelda) but when you are finished with the story and sidequests there is literally nothing more to do, in a game like skyrim there is so much stuff to do and the world feels so alive and breathing its impossible to finish it because everytime you finish a quest 20 more is being spawned. even if by some miracle you manage to do all of them(wich is impossible because… Read more »
Lightpost
Guest
Lightpost

Thanks for your input. What you said is a little disheartening and I hope it won’t be that much of a big deal for me when I finally get to play it.

Still, it does seem like the story will make up for the hollowness you described.

Matthew Miller
Guest
Matthew Miller

I’m showing my face. Only person on here with an actual pic of my self. im not hiding. You r

sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou

i dont particularly care to see peoples faces so why would it be a point? ill be happy to put out my phone number, adress and facebook profile if you want to track me down and talk about the shittieness that is zelda

Tina
Guest
Tina

Edge level maximum.

Matrim
Guest
Matrim

I maintain that Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the worst Zelda title.

Well, there’s the CD-i games, but I don’t really count those.

sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou

the CDI games doesnt count, i havent played zelda 2 so i dont know about that, for me breath of the wild is the worst, then the wii games

Josh Lindberg
Guest
Josh Lindberg

No dude Phantom Hour Glass was the worst zelda game ever. Breath of the wild deserve a place right next Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask

sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou

now i know youre a nintendo shit. how can you defend this broken game?

the voice acting is horrible, the game is a buggy mess, the world is empty and boring, the enemies looks like they are straight from disney, the weapon durability is shit, the UI is horrible, the music is bland and forgetable and the story is mediocre. 5/10

but i feel comfort knowing that no matter how much people cry jim will never change his score and it makes a very entertaining read.

sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou

comparing the masterpieces ocarina of time and majoras mask to a buggy mess like breath of the wild is just fucking disqusting, and you call yourself a zelda fan, shame on you

Josh Lindberg
Guest
Josh Lindberg

Shame on me!? Im not the one acting like an grade A arrogant asshole. How about you go off some where and do some serious personal reflection, trust me you could use it.

sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou

that is exactly what you do by defending this piece of shit game xD it is so fun to watch i need more popcorn… be right back

Matthew Miller
Guest
Matthew Miller

You sound like You haven’t touch yourself yet today.? My pickle is tickled to the absolute brim by this game. Just fapped to it and afyerward me and my wife fucked while dressed as link and zelda. Zelda botwGameOfTheYear

sakorasou
Guest
sakorasou

yeah i knew you fapped to it

Matthew Miller
Guest
Matthew Miller

I fapped to zelda like I never have before. This game has my pickle tickled to the absolute brim. Afterward I made love to my wife while dressed as zelda. Zelda botw GOTY

Banjo Colucius Smythe
Guest
Banjo Colucius Smythe

“Obviously, we’re talking about a small subset of particularly troubled individuals who have replaced their sense of self with videogames. Most fans of The Legend of Zelda, just like most fans of Sony’s suite of games, are well adjusted adults who aren’t flipping their shit and behaving in the most undignified ways over conflicting opinions regarding entertainment products.

Nobody should ever take Metacritic scores this bloody seriously.”

THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. WORDS.

I wish the major news outlets could be bothered to make a similar point more often.

Matthew Miller
Guest
Matthew Miller

Your welcome jim.

Allaiyah Weyn
Member

I gotta stop playing so many prettyboy-filled JRPGs…Aloy from Zero Dawn looks like a man from every angle to me.

Gamerghazi
Guest
Gamerghazi

It is nice to see my post receive such a substantial retort, Mr. Sterling and I do appreciate that you review comments from your audience.

In my defense though, the the metabombing issue was almost a week old by the time I made that comment and even older at the writing of this article. From what I understand of metecritics policy they do delete blatantly partisan reviews.

Regardless if my original claim was correct or not though, you do concede that Breath of the Wild has been metabombed right?

Sirblade26
Guest
Sirblade26
I’m not surprised by this at all. I mean I loved Skyward Sword and I loved it’s swordplay and motion controls and I’ll admit it has flaws, I might disagree it’s the worse Zelda game or the most flawed I mean have you played OOT, MM, WW, TP? Each of them have their buttloads of flaws that would easily rank them as the worst Zelda game ever including controls. But it wouldn’t be fair to say my opinion is objective or correct because it’s also fair to consider or even argue that Skyward Sword is the worst Zelda game because… Read more »
baratacom
Guest
baratacom
I honestly don’t understand how and why this whole situation is happening…. I mean, I get it that both games are comparable in that they’re both open world games with significant improvements for the “open world” genre and both in their own unique way. And yes, I somewhat did compare both, as mentioned, they share enough themes that a comparison is not unthinkable, it’s kinda like Dark Souls vs Skyrim, but considerably closer than those two. After careful research and all, came to the conclusion that I’d be happier with a Switch and Zelda, don’t own a PS4, so it’d… Read more »
Ritch
Guest
Ritch

I have a friend who owns both games. Guess what? He loves both of them, It’s almost like they’re both really good games!

Daniel Moen
Guest
Daniel Moen
To be completely honest, I didn’t notice the parallels for BotW and HZD until Jim pointed them out in this week’s Jimquisition. I just saw that Switch had a Zelda game as a launch title and that Guerilla had a new IP that so many were talking about. I hoped both did well (hoping Zelda can carry the Switch until new games come out for it and that Horizon did well enough to bring in something new and good while encouraging other game companies to make something good and new too) and that was about it for me. I guess… Read more »
GOATmaybe
Guest
GOATmaybe

Nah man. You just have a little thing called common decency.

Chris Chen
Guest
Chris Chen
TotalBiscuit actually covered this subject on last week’s podcast. It’s really the issue of how pop culture is integrated into people’s lives. Many now define themselves based on their interests, and when someone dislikes or even moderately and reasonably criticizes what they are into, they take it as a direct attack to them personally. This is a very toxic attitude to have, but it’s one that exists nonetheless. Also people still are not aware that you don’t follow the 5-point scale. In your eyes, a 7 means you enjoyed the game but not as much as you would like to… Read more »
Domino D
Guest
Domino D

I will have to check out TotalBiscuit’s podcast, but he and you are right. One of our teenage daughters has this toxic attitude you speak of. If we say we don’t like something she does, she considers it an attack on her, so I know first hand that these attitudes do exist.

Ritch
Guest
Ritch

I don’t bother with Metacritic, so a 7 being mediocre is ludicrous to me. In what universe is that mediocre? It’s a scale of 1-10 so shouldn’t mediocre be, I dunno, a 5?

Matrim
Guest
Matrim

People are also conditioned by school to think this as well. 7 out of 10 is 70%, which they think of as a C-, which is a below average grade. No nevermind to the fact that Jim’s metric is completely different (and explained in detail on this site).

Molly Wolfe
Guest
Molly Wolfe
The reason I ignore metascores is because there’s no accountability. At least that’s one thing Steam does right, you can’t review a game without owning it, and the amount of time you played is right there, so your credibility is right there. Sure people try to bomb games there, but who’s going to shell out $60 and play it for hours just to give a game a scathing review? If only there was a way to have a universal console gaming tag across all platforms that kept track of what games you owned and to verify you have the game… Read more »
The Ghost Pirate LeChuck
Guest
The Ghost Pirate LeChuck

So people argue over chunks of plastic now?

I don’t know how we cope with such devastating drama in our lives :/

Graham Maddeaux
Guest
Graham Maddeaux
Oh give me a break already you pompous hypocritical drama queen. It cuts both ways for crying out loud. Then again if you actually want to maintain this label of Sony fanboy Nintendo hater which I wouldn’t even entertain were it not for you going out of your way in the last couple weeks to mount evidence to support the conspiracy theory keep it up I guess. Like seriously talk about an all time how too on how to completely torpedo your credibility for all but your most already ardent supporters in just a couple weeks. The fact that you… Read more »
Derf
Guest
Derf

So you have proof a significant number of HZD players are bombing BoTW?

Or is this just not credible because it doesn’t feed your bias?

DisqJocqey
Guest
DisqJocqey

I noticed the trend and pointed it out, then someone directed me here. Nintendo fans can be some of the most toxic people in the gaming community.

Derf
Guest
Derf

Considering you’re calling a subset of nintendo players toxic it seems that you’re not really adressing the reverse claim that Graham was making. That HZD players were doing the same thing in similar numbers to BoTW.

Jim did a bit of a search and found some who outed themselves in one way but not so much the other. I was just asking to see if it really does cut both ways.

PuceMoose
Guest
PuceMoose

You’re funny. I actually laughed at that.

moved~leaf
Guest
moved~leaf

You’re obsess with Metacritic man.

TimKovich
Guest
TimKovich

Maybe they got deleted (if that happens on Metacritic), but I found at least six examples on Zelda’s page. Not that either side doing it is justified, of course.

gnorf norf
Guest
gnorf norf

i agree with you jim. i liked breath of the wild a lot, i even bought one of the special additions with all the cool shit with it, yet i’m mad people who liked the game are lashing out like this. besides, metacritic scores and all that never really matter. in fact, if you’re reading this, check out the user scores for cory in the house.

Gold
Guest
Gold

They’re just games. Things to entertain us. Why do people take these things so seriously?

Flowey
Guest
Flowey

It happens because, emotionally and socially stunted manchildren tend to place way to much of their identity into little inanimate objects. It happens because their pathetic/pitiable lives are so devoid of any meaning that they will worship anything that gives them any meaning in their sad unfulfilled lives.

randall miller
Guest
randall miller

i dont know if i trust Flowey guys.

Artemiy
Guest
Artemiy

This comment section quickly becomes so meta.
I’ve seen the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl here, and now this.
…I actually wanna write a Squirrel Girl & Jim Sterling fanfic. 🙂

Flowey
Guest
Flowey

What ever do you mean? This flower speaks the truth.

Thanatos
Guest
Thanatos

Remember, this is the fanbase that went apeshit over an 8.8 review score of Twilight Princess.

Sirblade26
Guest
Sirblade26

Which is incredibly pathetic because I would have given it a lower score. I mean an 8.8 is pretty fucking good.

Forest F. White
Guest
Forest F. White

I do appreciate when a headline matches the central theme of a story, and I think “sad” is the most appropriate adjective for this whole affair. We thank god for Jim Sterling, but he is not a god himself (that we know of). If he dislikes your favorite game, it doesn’t change the fact that it is your favorite game. You get to have any favorite game you want. It’s like your birthday. No one can take it away.

cycopl
Guest
cycopl

It’s sad that you had to write this article, Jim. Maybe it’s the cynic in me speaking, but I feel like Nintendo fanboys have a lot more at stake with Breath of the Wild than Sony fanboys with Horizon. Breath of the Wild is pretty much the only thing carrying Switch sales at the moment and insulting (or not wildly praising) Zelda can be seen by some people as an attack on their $350 investment.

Dradeeus
Guest
Dradeeus

“Such is the zero sum mindset of those who play for the lowest stakes on Earth.”
God damn, that is a beautifully scathing sentence. XD

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