There was some controversy regarding the Divine Beasts — and, I suppose, the shrines — in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild replacing the traditional dungeons. Many fans of the franchise miss the traditional dungeons and, I’ll admit, it was a bit jarring to me as well to have the Divine Beasts instead. I’m probably in the minority here when I say that I wouldn’t mind if Divine Beasts, or mini-dungeons, were featured in future Zelda games instead of the traditional dungeons.
I did enjoy the Divine Beasts and the Shrines. It was a nice change of pace. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the dungeons or temples in the other Legend of Zelda games. There aren’t nearly as many dungeons in the games as there are shrines, but they’re all unique from one another and can take some time to complete. There’s a lot of exploring involved and once you get to the end, it’s satisfying.
It can be satisfying to explore and complete the Divine Beasts as well. The Divine Beasts are, essentially, a big puzzle with a boss at the end. They’re the reward after exploring the main area of the over world and, unlike the traditional dungeons, you have more freedom of how to complete them. Traditional dungeons tend to have the obligatory dungeon item, no matter how awesome they are, while Divine Beasts give you more rein on how to defeat them.
True, though while you have more freedom, they’re usually smaller. There are a lot of shrines and, after completing a bunch of them, you start to repeat some ways to go through them. You get a new item in each dungeon while you only have the Sheikah Slate to get through all the shrines. Also, each dungeon has an awesome boss at the end while the Divine Beasts had a different form of the same boss. Plus, there’s only four of them. In other Zelda games, there’s usually about seven give or take.
I disagree that you “only” have the Sheikah Slate in order to help you get through the Divine Beasts and the shrines. You do also get plenty of different types of weapons — swords, clubs, axes, various arrows, the paraglider — to help you navigate the Divine Beasts and shrines, as well as the abilities compacted into the Sheikah Slate. It’s an extra challenge that the weapons and shields break as well. Having four Divine Beasts and over a hundred shrines, most with unique puzzles with multiple ways to solve them, makes up for the seven or so traditional dungeons.
Fair enough, but because the weapons break so often it’s harder to hold onto your resources if you have trouble at a certain spot. Also, I like quality over quantity. I enjoyed going searching for the shrines and all, but again, I like the variety of the dungeons. The Divine Beasts were the same except they were different shapes. The puzzles are cool, but there are no stakes. There are no enemies to really get through or anything. You just wander around until you figure it out. There’s a lot more to do in the dungeons.
Being able to have all sorts of different weapons, abilities, and ways to complete a Divine Beast — or shrine — gives you more replayability. The Divine Beasts did have some enemies, and the stakes were the Champion’s ability that you gained after defeating whatever Ganon-Blight was at the end of it as well as helping you against Calamity Ganon in the final match. Not only that, you can explore the Divine Beasts and the world in whatever order you want. It’s not linear like traditional dungeons, giving you more freedom and ways to explore and go through the story however you want.
I see your points, but I still think the dungeons are better than the Divine Beasts, as clever as they were. I guess we’ll let the readers decide this one.