One of the defining characteristics of the Zelda series is its dungeons. Dungeons act as a capstone for the trials Link faced in each region, rounding out the player’s experience before they move onto the game’s next chapter. They tend to have intricate puzzles, unique theming, and a collectible item to compliment the theme. This item becomes a permanent part of Link’s inventory and is typically used defeat the boss of the dungeon it’s found in.

A frequent complaint about Breath of the Wild, however — even from diehard fans — is its lack of dungeons. Now, that isn’t to say that it didn’t have dungeons at all, rather it lacked traditional dungeons and opted instead for Divine Beasts. Divine Beasts are Sheikah mechs that roam each of Hyrule’s major regions and, while they are still dungeons in a literal sense, many fans don’t feel they qualify as proper “Zelda dungeons”. So, what makes the Divine Beasts so different, and do they really deserve all of the criticism?

A big difference players will notice right away is the Divine Beasts’ lack of distinct themes. Even though they reside in incredibly unique locations, they all feel the same. They all have the same mood, the same means of progression, the same swirly Sheikah pattern on the walls and floors. Most of the assets are shared across all Beasts. This just sucks a lot of the enthusiasm out of trekking out to the Divine Beasts because you know that you probably aren’t going to see anything new or interesting.

They also lack collectible items. Because they can be tackled in any order the player chooses, the puzzles are limited to the abilities Link starts the game with and unique mechanics that are bound to each Divine Beast. So, by not following the traditional path of find the item, find the boss key, use the item to kill the boss, the Divine Beasts don’t fit the typical mold.

One thing that the Divine Beasts really have going for them is their puzzles. The puzzles aren’t terribly difficult, but they are incredibly unique for the Zelda series. Each Divine Beast in its entirety is a puzzle as well as a tool for solving that puzzle. Use Vah Ruta’s trunk to direct water flow to move platforms for traversal or solve puzzles. Rotate the cylinders in Vah Naboris to open a path forward and make certain chests accessible. Every Beast has a central mechanic like those mentioned and that alone sets them apart from the dungeons in nearly every game in the series. So, despite the perfectly justified complaints, the Divine Beasts still have a lot going for them, and being able to control parts of the Beasts is certainly one of them.

So, are the Divine Beasts really that bad? Are the complaints justified? Will opinions on the Divine Beasts soften with time? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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