January 25, 2018
One of the most common criticisms leveled at Breath of the Wild is that it lacks true, proper, Zelda-style dungeons. The Divine Beasts certainly don’t match the profile of dungeons from prior Zelda games, but they are as close as we get in Breath of the Wild. As part of his fantastic Boss Keys video series, YouTuber Mark Brown breaks down the design of BotW’s Divine Beasts.
Mark Brown has established three categories which Zelda dungeons can fall into: lock & key, puzzle box, and gauntlet. He categorizes the Divine Beasts as puzzle box style dungeons. This is mostly due to the fact that the player has to manipulate something within the dungeon (or sometimes, the entire dungeon itself!) to solve the puzzles. This most closely resembles dungeons like Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple, Twilight Princess’s Lakebed Temple, and Skyward Sword’s Skykeep. These dungeons are all about examining how the various rooms in a dungeon are interconnected, and how changes in one area of a dungeon affect a different area. Mark Brown also briefly discusses how the Divine Beasts differ from traditional Zelda dungeons in sound, aesthetic, and flow.
If you have any interest in analysis of the design of Zelda dungeons, I highly recommend you check out Mark Brown’s Boss Key video series. You can watch his entry for Breath of the Wild below, or click here to view it on Youtube.