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The Case for Traditional Dungeons in Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

Author : Xeniareny515
Publish Date : 2021-04-29 10:45:46
The Case for Traditional Dungeons in Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came up with all kinds of brilliant innovations for the Zelda franchise. The game's combat is completely different -- Link isn't limited to a sword anymore, and can collect way more interesting options for armor and weapons than ever before. On top of that, Link's Sheikah Slate is a unique way of stocking him up with a wide range of tools, and the cooking system offers players lots of choices for buffs and healing items. Breath of the Wild also famously rewrote the dungeons system. Instead of exploring abandoned temples, conquered palaces, and looming fortresses, it was up to Link to free the Divine Beasts from Calamity Ganon's grasp.

The Divine Beasts were a great cycle of dungeons. Exploring robots the size of castles is one big reason that Breath of the Wild is so memorable. These animal-like machines always loomed over Link as he went through the story arcs leading up to them, promising a climactic confrontation. However, not every Zelda fan was perfectly happy with the Divine Beasts. What they provided in a unique setting for dungeon crawling and boss battles, they fell short in as far as the traditional Zelda dungeon experience is concerned. The Divine Beasts worked for the first Breath of the Wild, but the sequel might want to turn back to the usual model of dungeons instead of rehashing the Beasts.
One flaw of the Divine Beasts that many Breath of the Wild fans agreed on was that they were awfully short dungeons. Although they all had unique puzzle elements, like Vah Ruta's waterspout and Vah Rudania's rotating body, the dungeons didn't last long enough to get a ton of mileage out of their ideas. Fans are used to dungeons being elaborate culminating experience that test their might and reward them with a useful item. The Divine Beasts only do that partway, making use of the Sheikah Slate instead of a signature item. The Beasts introduced some interesting ideas that Nintendo can keep using, but Zelda fans are looking for bigger dungeon crawling experiences.

Another reason the Divine Beasts should probably be left behind is simply that they've been done already. Breath of the Wild 2 may be using the same map, but that doesn't mean Nintendo should just reuse the same dungeons as the first game. Fans will probably be pretty frustrated if Nintendo simply rehashes the concepts for the Divine Beasts in the sequel. If it really wants Breath of the Wild 2 to keep tying into the Divine Beasts, then maybe there's more Divine Beasts to be found that still lie buried. A combination of Beast mechanisms and cavern navigation could make for a dungeon type that blends Zelda tradition while acknowledging BotW's changes.
One reason that traditional dungeons would make sense for Breath of the Wild 2 is that the game seemingly has some sort of relationship with things buried beneath Hyrule. The game's sole trailer centers on Link and Zelda entering some sort of crypt and finding the presumed corpse of Ganondorf just as it awakens. That trailer could be setting up a game focused on ancient places lost to Hyrule's history that Link and Zelda have to unearth together. It'd seem right that, if the game opens with finding Ganondorf's crypt, Breath of the Wild 2 focused on exploring other crypts or underground vaults in search of more forgotten things from old days of Hyrule.

Breath of the Wild thoroughly established that there's tons of buildings hidden beneath Hyrule's surface. The Ancient Shrines scattered across the landscape served as countless mini-dungeons instead of the game offering more meaningful dungeons in and of themselves. Breath of the Wild 2's dungeons might stand out more meaningfully if they were composed of Shrine-like puzzles all put together, not unlike a normal Zelda dungeon. The new game's dungeons could still even involve buried Sheikah buildings. Maybe there's all kinds of Sheikah temple complexes left underground, holding crucial artifacts that Link and Zelda need to keep Ganondorf or Calamity Ganon from returning.

The Divine Beasts weren't bad dungeons by any means. They were meaningful to Link, Zelda, and the Champions as characters, they were extremely memorable settings, and they came with some striking and challenging boss battles. They're also indicative of the way that The Legend of Zelda is in the middle of a rich period of innovation and boundary-pushing. However, there's such a thing as straying too far from franchise tradition. Fans would be more than happy to see some of the creative spirit of the Divine Beasts injected into Breath of the Wild 2's dungeons -- traditional in structure, but still unique in context and design. News on Breath of the Wild 2 doesn't seem like it's far away anymore, so maybe Nintendo will give players a sense of its dungeons soon.


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