As much as I adored XC and had a huge amount of fun with Witcher 3, they’re still very linear games, with a handful of options in terms of traversal and combat, broken up by huge expanses of scenery you fall in love with. But beneath that, the mechanics are very simple and repetitive.
BOTW though is so different. A non-linear narrative you piece together yourself, a totally open game that may kick your arse or be a walkover depending on when you come across it, terrain that’s fully traversable and open, multiple options to dealing with situations encouraging you to think on the fly… it literally reacts to you and how you play.
For example, enemy skull fortresses. I’ve stealthed around them, taking out people one by one. I’ve sailed in, cutting the rope of hanging lanterns to blow them up. I’ve set the grass on fire around them and smoked the enemies out. I’ve worn mask disguises, sneaked in and taken them out from behind enemy lines. I’ve waded in with Urbosa’s fury and lightning proof gear, electrocuting everyone. I’ve got a metal door, applied stasis and launched it at the enemies.