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Expectations on bosses

Joined
Apr 11, 2022
I'm not sure how they could execute this, but I would like to see a boss battle where you actually have to continue traversing as you fight. I would like the open world to play more of a role in boss fights. I think it would be so cool to move through Hyrule castle/castle town as we fight Ganondorf. Jumping over rooftops and running through the streets or something. Or soaring from one floating island to the next as you shoot arrows along the way. Moving from location to location as the fight continues. (Edit: They did something like this with the secret dragon fight in BOTW. That battle is on the right track of what I'd like to see more of).

Again, I don't know exactly how they would pull something like this off, but still, I basically would like for the boss battles to feel more like they are part of the rest of the world, rather than being in their own little space away from everything else.
 
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Obligatory mention of the Zelda formula, but I'm always of the mind that a video game series that has gone on for so long that it has been coined a formula and whose entries can be described as "traditional" is in desperate need of changing.
That's a probematic viewpoint of core video game elements, the more of a reason to address everything accordingly.

Not everything new is automatically better than traditional things. You like Soulsborne games? Now scrap everything related to it very chaotic, change many things - not in terms of progression - and you would basically play a game which has just the Soulsborne name but doesn't actually feel as much as them.

Elden Ring did the right thing of changes; they didn't cut things out completely, the developers improved it. That's why Elden Ring has many new mechanics whilst loyal to the original series. That's how you do it. Not the Ganon Ganons and their mega maximum boring to dead mechanism, sorry but I don't see how it is objectively remotely good tbh.

The biggest difference between the stun-lock stratefy and the weakpoint strategy with every other Zelda boss is that you choose to stun-lock them.
You have not that much of a choice to stun them with an arrow to the face - glowing eyes???? - or hack&slaying them out of existence if there is not much of another creative alternative choice and that's the prime issue: They are simply bland, all humanoid, similar to fight, similar design and similar aesthetics.

I've been very clear in plenty of threads that I think the aesthetics of the Blights are underwhelming, but that they are mechanically more interesting than other Zelda bosses, since they don't follow the same "formula".
I already know what you were referring for and I just told you they are mechanically as bland and uninteresting as their design.

In addition, in terms of design, boss designs are important too, you know? You can't keep the same fighting style to a gigantic boss creature who has a massive defence on its body. Try slaying Stone Talus without aiming his weakspot, try to shot it randomly with the fire rod, it won't work that well. So you can't just arbitrary make "everything go work" coz of "freedom". Restrictions will always be there and they have to.
As I said, a few gigantic bosses, similar to Morpheel, Stallord or other kind of bosses, need a different kind of tactic to be fight off - and that's when dungeon items performed the best. Or make a good hybrid out of both things in which you can use several items against the boss.

Even if you dislike the whole premise of using dungeon items to beat bosses - again, I see no issue in it, just make it more of a challenge like I described in my previous post - because of the lack of challenge or feeling, where is the fun of battling 4 very identical humanoid bosses with identical fighting style? Thunderblight Ganon feels quite different when fighting but even this boss still has too many similarities with the other 3 bosses - that's an issue.

I don't like the idea of a dungeon item being the key to beating each boss, because I think that each boss should be a challenge to fight. It shouldn't come down to the same stunning it three times and then smacking it with the sword routine that they've been using ever since they moved to 3D
That's quite a generalization, you know?

Did you stun Bongo Bongo with the Lens of Truth or the Hover Boots? No. The same with the majority of Majora Mask bosses. The same with A Link to the Past, again. But it kinda started with Wind Waker and Twilight Princess of the specific use of a certain item to beat boss xyz but that's more a battle design issue instead of the formular.

Don't blame the formular, blame the performance. The dungeon boss formular was always presented ever since Zelda 1. BotW has a new physics engine but the bosses are not tied to it at all. And no, the "You're free to battle it as you like" isn't working because again, boss design still matter and there will automatically be restrictions if you fight a gigantic non humanoid boss with some kind of armor, then you automatically have to use other tactics to deal with it. For startes, using the item most common in a specific dungeon.

I also cannot the grasp why some people curse on the "Using one dungeon item for a dungeon = bad" formular, especially when it comes to bosses. Many dungeon items are key elements because they are associated with the dungeon theme itself, so of course it will be a key element to it, just like magnetism in Vah Naboris. And if a specific item is especially effective on a dungeon boss being tied to the dungeon structure and design, I don't see the reason to not implement core or at least many gameplay elements in favor of the item - or in combination to other items being very useful or effective in a specific dungeon.

The creativity is the key, not extra unnecessary restrictions which led to the Ganon Ganons (still the Zelda dev team's biggest mistake imo).

I would much rather have a boss that you just have to outfight versus a boss with a specific win condition that you won't have to think about.
I see this battle (not Zelda):


You have to find an opening to the defence via using the item + the environment to move around the boss and to trigger the button. Now scretch all of that and use the boss battle design you're fond of; now you'd just have a huge enemy to bash on. You have to look out for attacks but when you get the pattern, you basically have to repeat: attack, dodge, attack until the boss is done.
As I said, when the difficulty and enemy AI is highly advanced, like Soulsborne games, it will be a huge challenge - and entertaining - experience of a boss battle but any less performance will hurt this experience a lot. And on games like Zelda and Metroid in which the use of items is crucial, being solely focused on such boss battle designs doesn't do the game justice, it's the contrast.

Until BotW released, I would jokingly refer to Dark Souls 1 as my favorite Legend of Zelda game due to a structure that I more associated with Zelda games.
How does that work?
Dark Souls 1 is a game of its own with its own gameplay mechanics and rules, it is already very different to any other Zelda game since the devs are a bunch of sadists pushing the player through near insanity due to its difficulty, lol. I love the Dark Souls series and although Dark Souls have some things with Zelda in common in terms of gameplay, it is not that wise to compare those games 1:1 and expecting that one game has to exactly work like the other one.

Zelda is popular due to its own unique traits, imo it doesn't even need to be so forcefully about being so open-world focused or changing the formular since its core fandom will always stan the Zelda games for its unique traits. But of course, BotW was a fresh start to improve the series, I agree but it really went overboard with the whole "You can do whatever you want to do in the game", ie directly going to the final boss. It hurts the narrative quite much.

But this is off topic. What I mean is, Dark Souls has a very focused gameplay, focused on weapon arts, attack pattern, skills, enemy ai and world building, meanwhile Zelda is more about exploration, a vast variety of items to use with different environmental functions, adventuring, unique themed dungeons, many puzzles, puzzles tied to the dungeon interior and its design and needing specific keys to solve puzzles - you cannot ignore all of that and say "Screw boss battles making a use of this connection! Make Zelda bosses more similar to Dark Souls bosses".
Again to Dark Souls, it wouldn't work that well either if you force the Zelda boss battle formular to theirs. There is a reason why games have to be consistent in its correlation.

Now Dark Souls is my second favorite Zelda game
I am quite curious: What is your top 10 of all Zelda games?
 
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Joined
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I'm not sure how they could execute this, but I would like to see a boss battle where you actually have to continue traversing as you fight. I would like the open world to play more of a role in boss fights. I think it would be so cool to move through Hyrule castle/castle town as we fight Ganondorf. Jumping over rooftops and running through the streets or something. Or soaring from one floating island to the next as you shoot arrows along the way. Moving from location to location as the fight continues. (Edit: They did something like this with the secret dragon fight in BOTW. That battle is on the right track of what I'd like to see more of).

Again, I don't know exactly how they would pull something like this off, but still, I basically would like for the boss battles to feel more like they are part of the rest of the world, rather than being in their own little space away from everything else.
The use of the environment during boss battles is something I'd really like to see as well!
Imagine you are entering a very large space of a boss room with some catapults or some extra layers of ground and you battle a gigantic boss being imbued in very hardened armor and you have to use the environment in your favor to break parts of the armor, ie using the catapult or other kind of things available meanwhile you have to look out for AoE attacks quite often.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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I'm suprised then that you like the blight ganons and calamity ganon, since the only one I thought was actually hard was thunderblight.



Bosses can still be fun that way. Think of koloktos, its creative (you have to pull off his arms and smack his middle), its fun and fast paced, and its a decent challenge. Or Stallord, although easy, is creative, fun, and fast paced. Or Goht (my favorite zelda boss) is creative, fun and fast paced. Or even the helmaroc king, its fun to slam that birds head with the hammer, and it makes good use of the item. I do agree that there are some bad zelda bosses that fit this formula. Overgrown Celia is terrible, as well as Jalhalla, Morpheel, Twilit Arachnid, and many more are all terrible.

Overall, I have mixed opinions on Zelda bosse. There are some absolute bangers mixed with average ones and those that are just plain terrible. I hope BOTW2 introduces bosses that are fun as well as creative.
Don't get me wrong, the Ganon Blights do have significant issues. They suffer from the same problem I associate with the shrines: take one, copy it a bunch, and call it a day. Visually, they're pretty bland. While I have my fair share of issues with other bosses in the franchise, at least they look better aesthetically.

But I do prefer the Blights mechanically. No, they aren't aesthetically pleasing and they suffer from a little bit of copy and paste, but they're more reactive to the player than other bosses in the series. It doesn't feel like they're cycling through two attack animations while I wait for the weakpoint to be telegraphed. They're far from perfect, but I would much rather that we treat them as a starting point and advance from there, rather than fall backwards into "traditional" Zelda bosses.

I don't need a doormat boss that looks cool but just feels like I'm going through the motions. I treat it as a cardinal rule of boss design in something like a Dark Souls or a Zelda that the bosses should be trying to kill you. Just the term boss should imply that this fight is going to test skills and reflexes that you've learned up till that point, not your ability to map the boomerang to one of your face buttons. A boss can look cool, move cool-y, and still kick your ass. And while I hafe to keep pulling from Dark Souls, one of my favorites (and probably one of the fan favorites as a whole) is the Dancer of the Boreal Valley.



Look cool and kill well. That's all I want from my bosses.
 

The Dashing Darknut

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Honestly they can just up the damage taken and amount of health and the problem’s basically solved

The items have such a cool way to take down the bosses like with the mirror shield against Twinrova, and the ball and chain with Blizzeta

If they up the health, and damage taken, and switch things up, it would be perfect
 

ThatCat

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Honestly they can just up the damage taken and amount of health and the problem’s basically solved

The items have such a cool way to take down the bosses like with the mirror shield against Twinrova, and the ball and chain with Blizzeta

If they up the health, and damage taken, and switch things up, it would be perfect
and make them faster, and less predictable. I would prioritize that over more health
 
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As I said, it's an issue of the difficulty, not the formular. Many Zelda games proved to be very challenging with its boss battles even if you need a specific item to use against the boss.

I can just mention A Link to the Past, again! :crylaugh:
It's not an understatement to say many bosses kicked my ass into rage quit, mainly the bosses in the dark world.
 
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I see nothing wrong in utilizing a boss battle with the kind of gameplay you're capable of, ie using your weapon of choice and item to beat the boss. Mostly, it is a battle to find weakspots as well as aiming towards them. It is not a simple "Smash the f*cker until it is dead!", you have to actively find out how to damage the boss in the first place.

I am a fan of bosses being clearly portrayed as bosses - powerful rare enemies being more unique than the average foes. Metroid did it great, Zelda as well... until Breath of the Wild.

Nowadays I see bosses of many games and I am just seriously bored. It is always the same boring and repetitive hack & slay ****. I'd rather see hundreds of traditional Zelda bosses formular battles instead of one more of the aforementioned bosses. Well, at least in most games, it doesn't require that much of equipment to beat most of those hack&slay bosses, so they're kinda save. But BotW? Hell, the overworld is your playfield of pure experiments of gameplay elements, items and much more supported by the physics engine... Making up one or two gigantic dungeon bosses in which you have to use your actual surroundings and the physics engine, ie throwing rocks with the stasis towards a boss to weaken their defence or some similar stuff, would already be a fine start!

Furthermore, your argument "They should be more of a challenge" can be easily implemented with the traditional Zelda formular as well. Just make the weakspots more tricky, give the boss more HP, make it deal more damage and more unpredictable moves, bring up more weapon varieties as well as the use of specific items - there you have your challenge. A Link to the Past, again, was quite close to it. I knew the weakspot of Helmaroc King, yet it didn't stop the boss to whoop my ass several times.



Arrows + weapon of choice - that's how I beat them mostly.
Due to them being very boring I tried finding out ways to beat them differently; it didn't change my viewpoint that much since Ganon Ganon was still annoyingly boring.



That's actually a mechanism to stun the boss without aiming towards their weakspot whilst giving Ganon Ganon the hack&slay experience.
They clearly regressed this stun formular what you've been criticizing so far.

You know, there were some gameplay mechanism of bosses being weak to arrows... which made the use of the bow against them quite satisfying - until BotW brought up 4 Ganon Ganons with the same mechanism. They are just as bad as the bland Divine Beasts, no love but copy & paste.

I might be really harsh on some core elements of BotW but it is necessary. I view them as huge weaknesses of the new Zelda formular and it needs to be addressed and changed. As I said, it is a clear regression in terms of bosses, especially since they're not even in common with the more unique gameplay mechanism of BotW itself. I loved Zelda bosses because they were so well tied to the physics engine, level design as well as the gameplay. When you battled one boss, you clearly felt the impact of said boss how it is connected to the game, figuratively.



I partially agree, they need to be more tricky but not exactly as similar as those bosses in Dark Souls: bring up more roots from the traditional Zelda bosses while looking out for some gameplay varieties from Metroid bosses or maybe other ones, as long as they stop doing the old hack & slay boss battles, I'm fine with either options.

Also, again, I can just highlight the possibility of the creative use of items here again. You can use items as well to open up the defences, I don't see the issues in here - as long as the boss battle feels creative again... Once again, it works with SoulsBorne games perfectly fine and it is alright since it fits to the gameplay mechanics but Zelda games are still built different (not in terms of quality btw). You can't just demonstrate the players a vast world with very interesting physics engine + gameplay and then throwing it away for the most uninteresting, repetitive and bland looking bosses in the history of Zelda games. Ironically, the DLC boss was a very cool boss - because it was required to use a high amount of the gameplay elements against him; and the monk was just a humanoid boss. Imagine bosses like Gohma, plant based bosses, dragons and other creatures.





VS



Glowing eyeball, glowing eyeball, glowing eyeball, and glowing eyeball + Ganon Ganon, Ganon Ganon, Ganon Ganon and... Ganon Ganon? Another regression!

Hell, even Age of Calamity - a Zelda Warriors game! - brought a more individual design to them:



Man, I can just hysterically cry and laugh about this one, the designs are actually so bad, a Warrior's game surpassed them. Please Nintendo, my heart cannot bear one more of the Ganon Ganon guys in BotW2 anymore. :crylaugh:
You forgot the indestructible Flower Blight Ganon.
 
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I think I highly elaborated my stance on expectations when it comes to bosses but I think this question is also interesting: How many (dungeon) bosses will appear in BotW2? If there are 6 - 9 large dungeons, we might also see 9 individual bosses again.
 

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