After spending potentially hundreds of hours adventuring around the new open-world version of Hyrule, there comes a time when the player must venture forth into the belly of the beast and challenge Ganon for the fate of the kingdom. Zelda games have always been partially defined by their various versions of the final boss battle with Ganon, with some titles standing out clearly above others based on how they structure the epic encounter between Link and his sworn nemesis. While Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom share plenty of gameplay mechanics and an art style between them, their respective boss fights against the Zelda series’ big bad couldn’t be more different.
Considering that Tears of the Kingdom is built on the foundation laid by Breath of the Wild, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that its version of the final boss encounter with Ganon would be superior, but that’s not necessarily true depending on how you like your Ganon fights. Sometimes Ganon is a humanoid warrior that expertly skilled with a blade, while other Zelda games envision the Demon King as a hideous beast. Interestingly, Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom cover both of these bases while also featuring some varying mechanics in terms of how players ultimately end up successful in the final showdown.
Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom: Ganon Side-by-Side Comparison
Although both games feature a climactic boss battle with the series’ notorious antagonist Ganon, the ways that each game goes about presenting the villain are quite different from one another. For starters, Breath of the Wild refers to Ganon as “Calamity Ganon” since his meddling in Hyrule brings about the Age of Calamity and the downfall of civilization. Tears of the Kingdom, on the other hand, refers to Ganon as “Demon King Ganon”, which is true to his position as the reincarnation of Demise. Outside of naming conventions and the role each Ganon plays in the games, there are some other key differences between the two Ganon fights.
|Characteristic||Calamity Ganon (BotW)||Demon King Ganon (TotK)|
|Boss Order||Final (with two forms)||Final (with two forms)|
|Primary Mechanic||Flurry Rush; Finding Weakpoints||Flurry Rush; Riding a Dragon|
|Can Fight Early||✅||✅|
|Help from Princess Zelda||✅||✅|
Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom Ganon Fight: 5 Must-Know Facts
Here are 5 must-know facts about the Breath of the Wild Ganon fight versus Tears of the Kingdom‘s
- Calamity Ganon is the first phase of the final boss battle in Breath of the Wild, followed by Dark Beast Ganon. While both of these fights represent two phases of the same being, Ganon is more of an amorphous force in BotW and less of an actual person.
- Although both Ganon fights require Link to use several of the abilities he’s mastered along the way, the most important single ability in both fights is Flurry Rush. This is the ability that Link can trigger after executing a perfect dodge. Dosging at just the right time slows down the world around Link, allowing him to land a flurry of blows against his opponent.
- After the first form in each Ganon fight, Ganon transforms into a beast. In Breath of the Wild, this beast form is in the shape of a giant evil boar, while in Tears of the Kingdom he takes the form of a dragon. In both of the second phases, Link must use his movement abilities as well as his combat abilities to emerge victorious.
- For all of the many challenging enemies that are present in Breath of the Wild, the Ganon fight presents itself as being somewhat anti-climactic. Players receive hints to cleanse the Divine Beasts, and successfully doing so for all 4 of them reduces Calamity Ganon’s health by half.
- Princess Zelda helps Link during the second phase of the Calamity Ganon fight (Dark Beast Ganon) by giving him the Bow of Light. This allows Link to shoot light arrows at Dark Beast Ganon’s weak spots.
Ganon in Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom: Malevolent Force vs Sentient Antagonist
Breath of the Wild presents Ganon as a malevolent force, something to instill fear and dread but also not presenting as a walking, talking sentient being. Instead, Calamity Ganon is the manifestation of Ganon’s desire to control Hyrule and corrupt the Champions and Divine Beasts. In comparison, Demon King Ganon from Tears of the Kingdom is Ganon as we’ve come to know him for more than 35 years. He is a fearsome, red-haired warrior who is adept with a blade and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of ultimate power. Link’s showdown against Demon King Ganon in Tears of the Kingdom gives personality to an otherwise faceless threat in Breath of the Wild.
Calamity Ganon vs Demon King Ganon: Differences in Mechanics
The first phases of both games’ Ganon fights are somewhat similar in that Link will be heavily dependent on using each games’ combat mechanics to be successful. The most important of these is the perfect-dodge Flurry Rush mechanic, which allows Link to narrowly escape harm and then quickly deal large chunks of damage. The second phases, however, are where things begin to diverge. The second phase of the Ganon fight in Breath of the Wild essentially boils down to riding on a horse and waiting for weak points to emerge while shooting them with Light Arrows. Conversely, Tears of the Kingdom sees Ganon transform into an evil dragon who Link must then fight from atop the Light Dragon.
Breath of the Wild vs Tears of the Kingdom Ganon Fight: Cinematic Spectacle vs Adequate Challenge
After giving Link a plethora of new abilities that change the gameplay from its predecessor, Tears of the Kingdom strips things back to just the essentials in the final battle against Ganon. As a result, the boss fight represents a pure one-on-one combat challenge in its first phase, and it ranks as one of the more challenging encounters in the game. Breath of the Wild favors spectacle over challenge, making it feel like it’s almost more difficult to lose than it is to win. That said, for what it lacks in challenge, the Ganon fight in Breath of the Wild more than makes up for it with cinematic and narrative flair.
Both of the newest Zelda titles are two of the best games in the series, and each of their final boss fights against Ganon are fitting conclusions to the epic adventures they contain. That said, the battle against Demon King Ganon in Tears of the Kingdom feels not just like the final boss fight of that game, but like the final boss encounter against Ganon in the Age of Calamity, finally righting the wrongs that led to Breath of the Wild‘s plotline. As such, it’s a much more satisfying conclusion and one that is worthy of the Hero of Time.