Daily Debate: How Would You Turn the Divine Beasts Into Better Dungeons?
Posted on January 27 2023 by Heather Beard
Breath of the Wild took the traditional Zelda mold and flipped it on its head. Probably the biggest thing missing from Breath of the Wild were traditional dungeons. In lieu of dungeons like Eagle’s Tower, The Water Temple, or Ancient Cistern, we were given four dungeon-like beasts to tame and free from the control of Calamity Ganon. They worked more like larger Shrine puzzles in which the player had to unlock four terminals to reach the beast’s heart and then challenge its respective Blight Ganon. Traditional dungeon they are not, though, so how would you make the Divine Beasts into better dungeons?
After all this time, I feel like I might be one of the few out there that actually semi-like the Divine Beasts as Breath of the Wild‘s dungeons. I found it unique, but I definitely felt like they were lacking in some difficulty. Out of the four Divine Beasts, I felt like Vah Naboris was the most challenging. Naboris had a complex puzzle to solve that spanned the whole beast, and Thunderblight Ganon, I felt, was the most difficult of the Blights to fight. The Divine Beast system really had a lot of promise, but the lack of enemies to face, a mini-boss, and some more complex puzzles made them forgettable when you consider all of the awesome Zelda dungeons out there.
The Divine Beasts increasing in difficulty would automatically make them better dungeon experiences for me. I want to see more enemies and a mini-boss thrown in somewhere. There was nothing more terrifying than hearing a door lock behind you, when you know the only way out was to defeat that mini boss to proceed forward for a treasure chest or a coveted key. Even in Master Mode, I felt like the Divine Beasts were a little too easy. They felt too straightforward, and even on my first playthrough, I did not find myself getting lost or confused. I felt like there was too much handholding.
Another improvement I could have wished for was more challenging puzzles. I’m not talking Water Temple hard, but I wanted to use my brain a little bit more. Being able to move each Divine Beast in a special way made for some cool puzzles, but often times they were not that hard — like maneuvering Vah Rita’s trunk to extinguish a fire. There were other times when a puzzle could easily be skipped, but breaking the game in and of itself is a nice challenge too. Overall, finishing the Divine Beasts did not have the same satisfying quality to them like other dungeons in the series. If Tears of the Kingdom takes the same model as before, I can only hope that they are more difficult.
What do you think though? How would you turn the Divine Beasts into better dungeons? Let us know in the comments below!
Heather is a Senior Editor at Zelda Dungeon and has been a member of the ZD team since 2019. She is a graphic designer, artist, and a nerdy mom to an awesome little boy. When she isn’t re-reading her favorite books or watching anime you can find her curled up with her fat cat, Mandy-Lynn.