The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s dungeon design | Boss Keys

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s dungeon design | Boss Keys

Articles Blog


Hi. I’m Mark Brown, and this is Boss Keys – a
game-by-game analysis of the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda series. Except… this game, The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild, doesn’t really have dungeons. Instead, the game’s massive overworld is
terrorised by gigantic divine beasts. There’s Vah Ruta, which is a mechanised
elephant found in Zora’s Domain. Vah Rudania, a weaponised salamander crawling
on death mountain. Vah Medoh, a robotic bird soaring above Rito
Village. Vah Naboris, a hulking great camel found in
Gerudo Desert. And if you have the DLC, the Shrine of Resurrection
opens up to reveal a secret, fifth divine beast. The game has Link disable these beasts in
an epic showdown, and then crawl inside the robots so he can wrestle control of them – and
have them help fight off Calamity Ganon. And wandering around inside these beasts,
you’ll soon realise that they are indeed Breath of the Wild’s take on dungeons: you’ll
find a map, solve some puzzles, fight a boss, and win a heart container. The similarities, though, end there. And in all other ways, they don’t play like
Zelda dungeons at all. The divine beasts are completely open, with
no individual rooms, no delineated floors, and not even any doors unless they’re part
of a puzzle. There are also no key items to find. All of Link’s powers, like magnesis, stasis,
and his bombs, are received at the very beginning of the game. While bows, rods, and special types of arrow
are now just consumable goodies. And the structure is completely different. Inside each beast, you simply need to find
the map terminal, then find a handful of other terminals in any order you like, and then
activate the main terminal to fight the boss. That’s it. No keys, no locked doors, no obstacles to
come back to when you find new items. No sequence of events or anything like that. You might as well chuck my graphs in the ocean
for this game because they’re useless. But. With all that being said, these dungeons aren’t
completely new. You see, what makes these beasts interesting
is that they move. In Ruta, you can move the trunk into 10 different
places. In Rudania, you can rotate the entire salamander
90 degrees. In Medoh, you can tip the bird left or right,
or return it to a flat position. In Naboris, you can rotate three chambers
inside the camel’s belly. And in the DLC dungeon, you can make a central
axel rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. You do this to get around the dungeon, perhaps
tilting the bird to make a cart run down a rail or using the axel to create a spinning
elevator. And you can also use the movement to solve
puzzles, like using the elephant’s trunk to rain water down onto a flame, or tipping
the salamander to roll a ball down a tunnel. This makes them feel closest to the puzzle
box dungeons that I’ve highlighted in past episodes of Boss Keys. Dungeons like the Water Temple in Ocarina
of Time, Lakebed Temple in Twilight Princess,
and Sky Keep in Skyward Sword, among others. These dungeon are about solving puzzles by
thinking globally. They’re about considering how pieces interlink,
how rooms connect, and how mechanisms work. As an example, from Lakebed Temple, water
from this drain will rush into this central room, and if you move the staircase in the
right way it can pour into a completely different room again – meaning that water from one side
of the map is being used to lift a platform on the complete other side. Zelda had some stuff like this in the earlier
games – I’ve talked about Eagle’s Tower in Link’s Awakening, where you send one
floor crashing down into another – but they really started to appear in Ocarina of Time
which was not only the first 3D game but also the game where Eiji Aonuma was appointed as
dungeon director. Aonuma – who is now the Zelda series producer
– used to make Karakuri puppets which are these finely crafted wooden dolls that use
motors, cranks, and springs to move about. He brought this fascination for clockwork
mechanisms into his Ocarina dungeon designs – and it’s been a key part of Zelda ever since. But Breath of the Wild’s take on the concept
has two significant differences to anything we’ve seen in the other games. Number one: the movement happens in real-time. In, say, Majora’s Mask, flipping the Stone
Tower Temple upside down happens in a cutscene. But in Breath of the Wild, the salamander
will tilt up while Link is still running around on top of it. Now there aren’t too many puzzles where
you specifically have to do stuff while the beast moves. I can think of one – there’s a puzzle in
Medoh about tilting to bird to send a hammer flying towards a gong, but tilting the bird
also moves this fan – which shuts this door. So you’ll need to use magnesis while the
bird tilts to keep the fan in place. That’s about it in terms of puzzles, but
letting the player walk around while the dungeon shifts does allows for some interesting player
movement. In Rudania, you can flip the lizard to catch
Link before he falls into Death Mountain. And in Naboris, you can balance on the camel’s
chambers while they spin to get to higher ground. This really adds to the freeform feel of Breath
of the Wild – something that makes the other games feel rigid and stiff by comparison. I mean, in Ruta, the only way to reach this
terminal is to leap off from a high point and sail down, which would be impossible in
the other games where rooms are carefully separated by doors – and, more importantly,
Link can’t jump. The other major difference between Breath
of the Wild’s puzzle box dungeons, and those in previous games, is that you can manipulate
the dungeon from anywhere you like because you make these changes from the game’s map
screen. That’s not the case in a dungeon like Skyward
Sword’s time-travelling Sandship where you transition the dungeon between the present
and the distance past by physically shooting an arrow into this time stone. And that has some interesting consequences. Like, for one, you need to decide what era
the dungeon needs to be in – before you go below deck. Because it takes time and effort to change
timeline, you don’t want to just set the era randomly and hope you stumble upon the
solution. Instead, you want to think ahead and make an intentional plan like “I’m going to go into the present so I can stop this fan and hit this switch”. It’s about encouraging the player to truly
understand the layout and mechanisms of the dungeon, so they can make considered decisions
about how and why they’re changing things in other parts of the dungeon. Consider, then, how much easier the Sandship
would be if you could just travel through time at any moment you like. Consequence two of the distancing the switch
from the mechanism it controls, is that puzzles can be derived from this setup. In my Skyward Sword video I talked about a
puzzle in the Sandship that’s based on the fact that you need to be in the past to open
a door into a room, and need to be in the present to open a door that’s inside the
room – but because the time stone is outside the room, we can’t open the second door
without shutting off the first door! That’s a puzzle! The solution, by the way, is to realise that
you can actually see the time stone through a cheeky grate in the ceiling. But, consider how this puzzle simply wouldn’t
exist if you could easily swap between the past and the present while you’re standing
in the room, just by going into the menu. So, in some ways I do appreciate this change
in Breath of the Wild – to put the dungeon controls into the menu. It makes the dungeon much faster to complete
and entirely removes backtracking. And it gives you that feeling of manipulating
a massive location – without really making you put in the legwork or the brainwork. But it does mean that some puzzles are made
much easier than they could be, and others can be solved by having you just kinda fiddle
around and see what happens. I had this issue in Fez where I overcame a
lot of the perspective shifting puzzles by just hammering the trigger a few times until
things lined up. There are some exceptions in the divine beasts,
of course. Because, some puzzles do require Link to be
in a specific spot before the beast moves – which requires a bit of that all-important
planning. Like, Naboris’ three chambers can line up
to create a powered electrical circuit, which makes the camel’s tail rise up. There’s a nice puzzle where you need to
intentionally break the circuit to lower the tail, then position Link onto the tail, and
finally fix the circuit to make the tail lift up, with Link on it. Also, the camel dungeon is generally just
tougher because the three chambers can be in four different spots making for, what,
64 combinations? So just fiddling around won’t do much – instead
you need to think logically about what you’re moving and why. I like this dungeon a lot, it’s probably
my favourite one in the game. And it has a bunch of good puzzles. I like this one where a terminal is inside
this cage, and so the puzzle is to rotate the chamber so that the cage lines up with
one of the four giant windows on the side of Naboris, and then you can get to it from the outside. And then a special shoutout to this puzzle. So, the goal is to place these two electric
balls on these switches to get access to the terminal. But if you can’t find the second ball – it’s
here, by the way – you can actually use metallic objects like chests, swords, bows, and shields
to send the current over to the other switch. I mean… that’s pretty awesome. And it also goes to show that not every puzzle
is related to the grand mechanism of the divine beast. There are plenty of self-contained conundrums. like this one where you use cryonis to stop
a water wheel at the right time. Unfortunately, though, puzzles are basically
the only thing these dungeons have going for them. Because there are no keys and no locks, there’s
not much in the way of classical navigation gameplay. And combat is almost non-existent, with divine
beasts hiding a few guardian scouts, a few floating skulls, and just one boss – no mini-bosses
or the like. And, yeah, we gotta talk about the aesthetics. This is something that I have never really
talked about much in Boss Keys and I have neglected to mentioned things like the weird
atmosphere of the City in the Sky, the stunning architecture of Skyward Sword’s Earth Temple,
the freaky music of Ocarina’s Forest Temple and, yes, the sheer originality of Snowpeak
Ruins. I do admit, I might have given that stuff
short shrift in my singleminded obsession over structure and gameplay. But Breath of the Wild has proven just how
important that stuff is. Because while the divine beasts themselves
are striking and unique, the insides are almost indistinguishable from one another. All five dungeons use the exact same murky
brown textures and unappealing stonework patterns, and the music is… well the music is actually
quite good but it’s very understated compared to other Zelda games so it doesn’t get a
chance to shine. So, of course, you are right. the way a dungeon looks and sounds does massively
contribute to its overall quality and this is something that Breath of the Wild clearly
stumbles on. Another stumbling point, though, is pacing. Most dungeons have a sort of narrative or
flow to them. The way you slowly climb up The Tower of the
Gods. The way you zig zag back and forth through
the centre of Arbiter’s Grounds before unlocking that big door. The way a dungeon is completely recontextualised
after you finally grab the key item. And moments of completely open exploration
that coalesce into a more linear rush towards the boss. There’s very little of this in Breath of
the Wild’s divine beasts. Ruta has the best flow of the bunch, where
you start down here, then get the water wheel moving and ride that up. And then ride the trunk up until you’re
on the elephant’s head. But for the most part the divine beasts are
completely open and completely non-linear. And yes that can be a bad thing. Sure, I have criticised a dungeon that’s
structured like this for being too rigid – but on the opposite extreme, I will criticise
a dungeon that’s structured like this for being too open ended. You can’t say I’m not fair in my endless
Zelda moaning. And maybe this open structure fits the open
style of Breath of the Wild – but it doesn’t always make for the most memorable or well-paced
dungeons. And perhaps, the divine beasts could have
provided more structure to present a nice contrast to the free-form overworld? I dunno. But what I do know, is that you’ll often
find better pacing in the shrines. So, alongside the divine beasts, Breath of
the Wild features a whopping 120 different shrines which are small, self-contained, underground
challenge rooms. Many of these focus on a single idea, and
explore it from different angles, or escalate the complexity over time. Classic Nintendo level design that I’ve
talked about a lot on this channel. Take a look at Joloo Nah Apparatus, which
focuses on spinning a block in the middle of the room. We start with an easy puzzle: just turn on
all the lights. Then it’s more complex, as we try to blast
four fans at once. Then even harder, as we must light six torches
while avoiding these two streams of water. Another shrine, Blue Flame, offers lots of
small, escalating challenges about moving a blue flame – either by torch or by arrow. Unfortunately, this does highlight one annoyance
with shrines where you can run out of arrows, or have weapons break during the shrine. That’s a pain. I also think two bombs is a really clever
shrine, but the solution is unfortunately made rather obvious by its name. Who made this shrine. Was it you Fi?! I bet it was! So some shrines actually feel closer to traditional
Zelda dungeons than the divine beasts. Take Trial of Power which is a slightly longer,
and rather eclectic shrine with lots of different challenges and puzzles, and it even wraps
around on itself at one point, like a real dungeon. Shrines are also the only place in the game
where you’ll find small keys. I’ve missed you, buddy. But more often, the shrines will feel like
a single room from a Twilight Princess or a Wind Waker dungeon. A quick blast of puzzle solving before you
move on. A cheeky two-step puzzle about scooping orbs
out of a pool of water. Or a room where you connect up electrical
circuits. The vast majority of shrines, 70 of them,
are puzzles. But there are also 29 blessing shrines – which
is basically just a single treasure, as a reward for finishing something in the overworld. And 21 combat shrines, where you fight a guardian
robts. But what they have in common though is that they have the exact same visuals and music. I think they look and sound amazing but anything’s
going to get repetitive after a while. Plus, they just feel so disconnected from
the rest of the game. On top of all this, there’s one more area
in the game that feels like a dungeon – and that’s Hyrule Castle. It’s the ultimate goal of the game, and
is actually a winding, maze-like structure with lots of things we’d expect from a dungeon. There’s loads of combat encounters, there
are small puzzles, there are branching paths and secret rooms. It’s still not very dungeon-esque because
there are no keys, locks, or items, but it might just scratch that itch if the divine
beasts didn’t do it for you. It’s also very open in how you tackle it. There are multiple entry points, from the
front door to a secret cave down by the moat. And you can take a somewhat linear path up
through the castle, which will take you through two fights against Lynels and lots of battles
with guardians – or you can find your own route, by climbing and exploring. I especially like the fact that the dungeon
is completely different if you have played a bunch of the game. Revali’s Gale lets you skip huge chunks
of the castle, and if you’ve got the Zora costume then you can swim up waterfalls and
basically just skip the entire castle. Which maybe, should have been toned down a
tiny bit. But let’s wrap it ip, and get back to the
main event: the divine beasts. And I must say, I’m quite mixed on them. The puzzle box aspect totally appeals to me
– and the general feeling of manipulating these massive locations to move around and
solve puzzles is just aces. And I had great experiences solving puzzles
in all five of the divine beasts. I won’t soon forget puzzles about giant
water wheels, spinning rooms, massive fans, and electric currents. But the dungeons have lots of issues. They’re short. They’re not very attractive. Many of the puzzles are easier than they could
have been. And the pacing is just way off – both due to their
completely free-form nature, and the lack of combat or navigation to mix things up. Plus: all of the dungeons are of the puzzle
box style which means I’m in heaven – but other games have done a better job of having
a mix of more straightforward and more complex dungeons throughout the game. So the divine beasts have some of my favourite
things about Zelda dungeons – but they just don’t nail the concept like I would hope. I’m glad Nintendo tried something new, to fit the bold and ambitious stylings of Breath of the Wild, but they didn’t quite stick the landing. So… I guess that’s it boys and girls. 16 games and 130 dungeons later and Boss Keys
is finally finished. If you were wondering, that was 30 temples,
19 palaces, 9 levels, 8 towers, and 7 castles, plus a bunch of turtles, crypts, mines, bellies,
sanctuaries, divine beasts, trees, woods, and plenty of other things. We’ve seen dungeons that are a straightforward
gauntlet of combat and puzzles. Those that are a complex maze of keys and
locks. And a special handful of massive moving puzzle
box dungeons. There have been terrific bosses, clever puzzles,
memorable moments, and Fi. Ahem. As for Boss Keys itself, well this has been
a weird, interesting, and largely enjoyable project. It’s far from perfect and I would start it from scratch if I could. But, ultimately, I think I learned a lot about
the construction of non-linear, interconnected level design. And that should prove useful in the future… Because, of course, Boss Keys is far from
over. Zelda is not the only series with this sort
of world layout. So I will be back, with my graphs, for season
two. More on that in the coming months. Also, I will endeavour to make an episode
of Game Maker’s Toolkit that wraps up everything I learned from Boss Keys. That was the whole point of this ridiculous
project, after all. Plus, there’s a Dropbox link in the description,
which is where you’ll find loads of graphs and notes and other bits and bobs. I don’t know what to do with them yet. But all that’s left now is for me to collect
the heart container, and warp out of this dungeon. Thanks for watching. Boss Keys Season 1 has been made possible
thanks to the generous support of my Patrons.

83 thoughts on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s dungeon design | Boss Keys”

  1. I beat the bird one without moving the dungeon once and I beat the camel only moving it at the very end by using abilities because I didn't actually know you could move them because I missed the tutorial message, if you can beat one of them by moving nothing it isn't well designed in my opinion.

  2. I like the Dungeons in BOTW, because they are cool and the few puzzles you have to beat are pretty interesting, but they are too short and too few and there are no real enemies inside this things, and the boss battles are easy as hell. I have died more times fighting the centaurs than any boss. Not even the battle with each divine beast before entering the dungeons are hard. When I first saw the divine beasts I thought the battles were going to be much like Shadow of the Colossus, like a puzzle-fight or something, but no. Nintendo, next time you do a Zelda game, get rid of a couple of Shrines and give me a proper thematic dungeon, one that really makes me feel accomplished when I beat it. And stop giving us Bosses with a difficulty for a 5 years old child. My biggest complaint with this game is the dungeons. When they announced the game the first thing that came into my mind was: "Hundreds of dungeons like in Skyrim but all cool as the Zelda ones", and they failed. So yes, this game is not perfect, and even though I think is cool and great and I will give to it a 9 out of 10 and recommend it, I still have the feeling that this is not Zelda.

  3. Are you still working on your GMT Zelda Dungeons video? I can't wait to watch you synthesize this whole series into one big video…

  4. you really should create an .xsd(XML schema) file for those dungeon graphs of yours…static images are nice but XML files of said graphs would be better and tools could be built around them.

  5. I did a bunch of the puzzles he showed in the Divine Beasts WAY differently… I like how all the puzzles in botw have different ways to be solved.

  6. The Divine beasts are why I consider the great plateu, Zora's river, yiga clan hideout, death mountain road, and the tabantha area as dungeons that way there are 6 really fun dungeons with bosses and tons of important items along with a few puzzles (shrines that get in the way when exploring)

  7. This series has been awesome. Really details the whole thing, and makes me think. I'll probably re watch it all again when I go to try and make a D&D world someday.

  8. So I’d have to say twilight is my favorite LOZ game, and I feel like breath of the wild could be better if there was a mash up of styles between breath of the wild and wind waker in this style of the game (most closely related), though I do feel breath of the wild could take a note from the Dark souls series with their weapons/durabilites, as you can run out, but the weapons can be used for a longer time (AKA half a dungeon till the next fire) and they’re also repairable

  9. My only problem with BotW it's it unrealized potential like all the champions that even with the dlc felt not maximized and probably because how Zelda timeline goes in the next one they will be just heroes of another time or doesn't even exist like sages in OoT also the fact that there no post game triggers me I would love to comeback to Kalariko and find Impa happy to see Zelda back or whatever,etc
    I would have love to see how other secondaries and new events open up because Gannon is gone.
    I would love to see how the Hyrule castle gets remodeled (in a event similar to the village but bigger and better overall)
    This game needs more dlc and I know it has already 20$ more for the 2 before but I wouldn't have any problem paying more if it gives me a better satisfaction about beating Gannon besides a symbolic secret ending

  10. The people who actually liked the shitty OoT formula in the comments are rather nauseating. OoT was fine itself, but the games that followed suffered from boring linearity and fanboys and fangirls kept encouraging Nintendo to make more games like this.

  11. labyrinthine dungeons would probably have contrasted too much with the open overworld. in other zelda games even the overworld can be like a maze, so it makes a lot of sense for the dungeons to be equally complex, but finding the main terminal and then the other terminals in whatever order you like? it's like a microcosm of the game as a whole

  12. Maybe its the fact that breath of the wild was my first ever zelda game but i really dont have a problem w the shrines and divine beasts all having the same aesthetic. it all was p clearly to me just.. sheikah technology so i didnt see a reason why they would change up the aesthetic randomly w the shrines or the divine beasts. idk tho maybe there couldve been a reason for it? to me its just well all laptops p much look the same why wouldnt this technology in this game look p much the same?:D lmao idk. i rly enjoyed this video tho! also i gotta say maybe i was a pussy but i had to stop vah naboris at first because the music really creeped me out and gave me anxiety.. i felt like nothing i was doing was right and i was scared out of my mind:D

  13. I personally really like the way the interiors of the Divine Beasts look, but I'll chalk that up to personal preference and me having a love for the murky and strange. However, I think saying that the music inside the Divine Beasts is "understated" and "doesn't get a chance to shine" is…short-sighted. The music from these dungeons are some of the best pieces in the LoZ series in my opinion (with Vah Medoh's interior theme possibly being my favourite piece of video game music ever, at least one of them), and I don't even think they're all that understated. They start out rather subtle, yes, but the slow buildup you get after activating each terminal is fascinating and really adds tension and intrigue to both the music and the dungeon itself. I'd argue that plenty of the most loved classic Zelda dungeon themes are far more understated than these – Stone Tower Temple, OoT Forest Temple, etc. – and that that's not even a bad thing to begin with.

  14. One problem I'd have with the Divine beasts is I would get stuck, and it would turn out there was just a climbable surface I couldn't see.

  15. I think if they had about forty shrines less, and instead used the combat, puzzles and items of those in traditional dungeons that you could stumble across in the world. Imagine if the forgotten temple was actually a temple, like the Fire Temple.

  16. You should start pointing out the puzzles in the graphs as it was an "instant use key" or simply as "puzzle" and just maybe the level of dificulty based in your own perception

  17. Now I want to try graphing the 5 dungeons from CrossCode to see how they stack up. I excited to see Grand Krys'kajo which doesn't have a key item, but branches to let you do either side of the dungeon before the other on each of the 2 floors. (There is a 5th dungeon that's treated as 2, but 1 version is completely linear, and the other is mostly linear.)
    [EDIT] Just did a preliminary mapping of the first real dungeon. Starts off very linear, then starts branching to let you collect the last 4 keys in any order, though each key is in a self contained room.

  18. There is no point in having dungeons for dungeons' sake (even if the Zelda series has always been known for it) – what I loved about BotW's design is the presence of dungeon-like challenges dotted all around the overworld that did not need to be situated in confined spaces like the dungeons in previous games.

    Notable examples include the gauntlet you have to overcome to scale Akkala Tower: I especially like that one because it presented a dungeon-like challange without having to resort to the obviously gamey spaces of Zelda games past. For example I know this channel likes Ocarina's Water Temple, but that dungeon's location, physical space and layout do not make me consider the place a real "temple" by any stretch of the imagination; it came across very obviously as a level designed by game makers to provide a challenge for game players to overcome.

    BotW's design is much more organic, and I think it should challenge our perceptions of what dungeons are, and can be, going forward.

  19. Hey, you ever going to do a round-up episode where you discuss your favorite and least-favorite Zelda games and individual dungeons within Zelda games? For your least-favorites, you could even cite ideas on how they could have been made better or even top-tier. You could talk about near-misses or improvements that could be made on even the good dungeons and what your idea Zelda game would be like. I'm just kind of interested on a final takeaway on all the Zelda Boss Keys episodes you've been able to release so far if that ever sounds like fun to you.

  20. Before watching video; “Man, I can’t wait to hear Mark champion the merits on this master class in dungeon design”
    After watching the video; “Oh. Nevermind. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it contrasts with your own.”

  21. Im surprise you dont talk about the 3 or more labyrith (ok its also shrine) in this last zelda. For me, i was waiting a lot when i discover them, cause i was felling (before making it) that would be replace the dunjon. I was becoming to draw a map on paper and go… but yeah… didn't find again the same sensation like when you find key.
    sorry for my bad english

  22. Finally, something besides blind praise for this game. I love BotW, but it's far from perfect and I love that this video covers the good and the bad.

  23. I found this game to be extremely bland. Empty overworld, non-difficult combat, poor puzzles spread across the whole map, lack of interesting items that could potentially unlock area's of the world. Even the dungeons were some of the easiest Nintendo's ever done.

    Nintendo is good at making games, but an open world game like this is obviously a weak spot. Hopefully with the next game it has more depth.

  24. It's also noteworthy that Hyrule Castle kind of has a traditional mini-boss. You can fight a Stalnox in the jail area that will reward you with the Hylian Shield (which basically plays the role of a dungeon item).

  25. I'm actually surprised by him saying that Hyrule Castle was a great dungeon. I just walked up it looking for the shrine, and I stumbled upon the boss room and beat the game. Was the most anticlimactic thing ever, I guess this is how guiding the player is important, otherwise you'll miss the best parts of the game.

  26. My favorite botw style dungeon is the Thyphlo Ruins. Though there are still no keys, taking away the ability to see outside of a small radius makes it extremely easy to get lost, and if you do get lost there are a ton of fire rods and torches to help you. Using the fire rod as a way to gain a slightly better understanding of where you are was awesome, and on future playthroughs, if you remember where to go, you can skip right to the "boss" because of the open world nature. I just wish you could light up the whole ruins by finding and lighting every torch, that'd be a fun challenge

  27. You ignore how often the beasts require you to go outside which adds aesthetic uniqueness. Also the themed solutions (water, wind, fire, electricity) are visually distinct. Some are more vertical than others, some have massive, wide open spaces, while others feel cramped. There’s definitely aesthetic differences between the shrines

  28. My favorite thing about Hyrule Castle (aside from the music) is that it feels like an actual structure that fits into the world. It's designed like an actual castle, with enemies and broken architecture serving as obstacles. Contrast that with the Divine Beasts, whose interiors were obviously only designed with puzzles in mind.

  29. First of all, I'd like to say I love this series. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into creating each episode. As far as Breath of the Wild goes, I think it's far easier to critique and find fault when examining individual aspects of the game, but the reality is, when viewed as a whole, a lot of things make sense. When you play out the entire game, over many many hours, you don't want to have individual aspects become extremely difficult and tedious. There is so much of the open world that is different and challenging. I think this is why the game makers have certain aspects feel familiar. It would become more frustrating to have to figure out every little piece of the game in order to win. You have to consider the overall size (much larger than many of the games you compared it to during the video). That's just my opinion.

  30. I also liked the shrines more than the Divine Beasts. A big reason for it (that is not mentioned in this analysis) is that you never have access to the Champions' abilities while inside a shrine, regardless of which ones you've unlocked. You can, however, use whatever abilities you've unlocked up to that point while inside any of the Divine Beasts, which makes them even less challenging than they could be. Revali's Gale in particular can completely trivialize some puzzles.

  31. I love this series! Thanks so much for making it!
    It's given me all sorts of great ideas for a dungeon I'm creating as co-GM in a pen and paper RPG. 😉

  32. My top three Zelda games are Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Breath of the Wild! In that order

  33. This was another awesome video. I actually really like the music in the game. The fact that it's so understated, makes it feel more cinematic. It actually swells in combat the more you damage the enemy. It's little things like that that I love about this game.

  34. A lot of games have an overworld and exploration, but what makes Zelda different from other games are iconic dungeons like the forest, water, spirit, lakebed, stone tower temples, and many others…

    Nintendo spend so much time about fixing the overworld progression issues from Skyward Sword that now the rest of the game falls flat.
    I hope that BOTW 2 fixes all of this and nails many elements from the Zelda series together .

  35. Im more if a fan of the Zelda Dungeons that resemble Escape Rooms; needing to solve puzzles to umlock your way foreward but the solutions to those puzzles are scattered around the rest of the dungeon in a scavenger hunt style manner.
    This in turn is why i am greatly fond of the Mansion from the first Resident Evil game; because it may as well be a creepy Zelda-esque escape room but with zombies.

  36. This game was obviously made with the Wii U’s second screen in mind, it’s sad that they ditched the idea just so it doesn’t become better than the Switch version.

  37. Rewatching the series for a good refresher and I was thinking, Instead of the fully free form nature of BotW would it have been better to lean into the zelda 1 feel.
    A major problem I see with this open concept in BotW and link between worlds, is the dungeon design suffers due to the way key tools are given to the player. LBW has you purchasing these items and BotW practically gives you all you need at the beginning, when they could have been found throughout the world tied to side quests or exploration.

    I think devs can be allowed to encourage exploration without reward other than the knowledge of a dead end, similar to how you could find yourself in a dungeon without a needed tool which in turn encouraged exploration to find that tool in zelda 1. Yes this can be frustrating when done sloppily but I think given good direction and a wide breadth of things to explore it can be a more immersive experience.

    Imagine BotW if they cut some of the 120 challenge dungeons and put in "sealing" dungeons that are more complex and connected to their respective divine beast and each uses tools connected to the race that sealed the beast. Where would you find these key tools, with their respective peoples either kept by those still surviving or hidden as they cannot protect them openly, similar to how you get the hook shot in Ocarina of time. After which you still need to do the divine beast like they exist in BotW but with the narrative of awakening them instead of decorrupting them.

    I really enjoy the zelda series and how it blends exploration with story in some allowing the player to truly feel like a novice on his journey to hero and others a grand narrative where the player is guided to their destiny. however I truly detest the idea that a well designed game doesn't have you running into dead ends unless planned, I feel as devs it is our job to encourage players to explore these lands and the best way is to ensure everything you need;items, info, etc… is out there hidden and can be found you just have to explore.

  38. Fun fact: I cleared Vah Nabooris without ever understanding the gimmick, Ravali's gale and a Thunderblade let you skip every single puzzle. Take that as you will

  39. Yeah about that Zora Armour, I ACCIDENTALLY skipped the entire final dungeon. I just found a waterfall and thought "Sweet! Now I won't have to get past that guardian!" and then I just kept swimming up waterfalls until I was outside of the boss room in 30 seconds. Not only did I without knowing that there even was a dungeon to be found within the castle miss the entire thing, but the boss was also one of the most boring and done to death final bosses in the history of Zelda. No Puppet Zelda, Puppet Ganon, or Sword version Ghirahim there, just a reflect >> Slash >> Repeat, boss with an incredibly boring final cutscene as well. Man I really want a Zelda:esque Zelda game again…

  40. Personally I felt the divine beasts and the shrines as moments of pause from the chaos of the overworld. In all Zelda games I always thought "wtf should i do now?" because often there were no indications on what to do next, in BotW i said "wtf should i do now?" only because there were too many things to do, so imagine a game where you have to say "wtf should i do now?" twice.

  41. If the sequel fucks up dungeons the way BOTW did, I'll be really disappointed. The shift away from linear dungeons just killed the appeal of BOTW as a Zelda game. It's still better than Spirit Tracks, but it's firmly seated in the worse half of Zelda games. They nailed the exploration, but the game falls flat on its face in the half-hearted attempt to match the spirit of the series. The copy-pasted-feeling shrines are a disappointment and the Divine Beasts are almost an insult to fans who wanted an actual Zelda game. A really cool experiment, but moving back towards the design of earlier games is necessary for the series to maintain its soul.

  42. Why don't we ever discuss the labyrinths, typhlo ruins, or the lost woods when he have these discussions? I think the Zelda team managed to fit in 4 categories of dungeons in this game: the divine beasts, the shrines, the labyrinths (would categorize typhlo ruins and the lost woods as labyrinths), and hyrule castle.

  43. I think, I might be wrong but I THINK, the point of BotW is that the WHOLE game is meant to be one massive dungeon, rather than a sandbox with several dungeons inside.

  44. I agree with everything in this so much. If the divine beasts were longer like a traditional dungeon I think BOTW would have been a pretty much perfect game. But they just go so quickly once you're in them that it doesn't feel like that much of an accomplishment.

  45. It’s a little weird, but I’m actually quite fond of the look of the divine beasts. I often have a problem in games where the textures are unique, but very similar, and the gameplay isn’t directly connected to what I’m supposed to do. The divine beasts have one look that gives an easy distinction between areas, and give fairly direct instruction of what you need to do without ruining the puzzles.

  46. At the end of the video – after the recap (18:27) – he says there would be another separate video as a summary. But unfortunately this never happened, or did I overlook something?
    Still, I watched the videos multiple times already – I love the channel – the content/topics and everything I can learn from other persons. Thanks!

  47. To offset the bland and repetitive flavours of the Divine Beasts, each one should have linked more story and emotion into them, to keep the player invested. But yes, I would have liked harder puzzles and more combat as well. Excellent analysis video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *