Game Informer goes hands-on with a full dungeon from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and notices some key changes when compared with previous Zelda games.

With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild just a few weeks away, Nintendo is starting to pull back the curtain to let gamers know what to expect from the highly-anticipated open world game. That’s one of the reasons the Big N spoke to Game Informer for its latest cover story and now, the publication has published some new details about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s dungeons online.

By now Nintendo has shown off plenty of Breath of the Wild‘s numerous shrines during its various Treehouse live streams – these shrines are more akin to mini-dungeons with just a few puzzles to solve in each one. Game Informer says it had the opportunity to play through a more traditional Zelda dungeon as part of its cover story, which included a much larger series of interconnected rooms and a boss fight.

The exact location or story behind the dungeon is still a secret for now, but there are some new details for fans to be aware of. It’s been clear for a while that Nintendo set out to make a different kind of Zelda this time around, and that apparently includes the game’s dungeons, which seem to do away with many longtime series conventions.

Most notable is that the dungeon played during the demo was not designed around discovering a new item. In the dungeons of past games, Link has often run into a roadblock that impeded his progress until he found a new item, like the Hookshot for example. This new item was then almost always used to help expose the final boss’s weak spot, but apparently the dungeon on display did not offer up a new item.


Other differences discovered in the Breath of the Wild dungeon when compared with past games include:

  • There’s no compass available, with series producer Eiji Aonuma stating that players will not get lost inside Breath of the Wild‘s dungeons because the final goal will usually be seen right away. “You won’t get lost. You just have to figure out how to get there.”
  • The dungeon map is now a 3D layout instead of being split between floors, but specific locations like locked doors will still be noted.
  • The dungeons are smaller. To be clear, a dungeon will be significantly larger than a shrine but the design should be more straightforward and not make the player feel like they’re stuck in a labyrinth.
  • Smaller dungeons do not imply easier difficulty. Game Informer’s writer ran out of arrows during the boss fight and had to switch tactics to bring the bad guy down, meaning players will want to make sure they conserve resources and are fully prepared before going into battle.
  • There’s a new puzzle mechanic centered around “malice,” although it’s unclear if this will be in every dungeon. Malice is a poisonous, sentient liquid that attacks Link but can be cleared away to solve puzzles.
  • Link can also use switches and the Sheikah Slate to control the dungeon, tilting it in various directions to open up new paths.

That’s a lot of information to digest and it’s likely fans are only going to get more from Nintendo as Breath of the Wild‘s release date approaches, alongside the launch of the Nintendo Switch. While the lack of a new item or compass in each dungeon might turn off some traditionalists, this could be a pretty exciting change of pace for the franchise. It certainly sounds like Aonuma was given free reign to come up with something truly unique and different for this Zelda game and we can’t wait to find out more.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches March 3, 2017, on Nintendo Switch and Wii U.