Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Master Trials DLC
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
One of the best games released this year has finally come out with its first iteration of DLC in a year’s worth of planned content. Breath of the Wild’s The Master Trials introduces new items and challenges to the open world Zelda experience but is it enough to satisfy the fan base after the initial release.
If absolutely nothing else it felt fantastic to have an excuse to dive back into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I haven’t touched the game for probably a couple of months despite often wanting to simply due to the ever-nagging feeling of having other things to play. New fresh content allows me to allocate this feeling to the DLC pack and for that alone, I feel I’ve received my $30 worth.
That being said when I first delved into the content provided I felt at best whelmed with what’s on offer. The item packs include a lot of fun throwbacks to previous games and while the aesthetic is cute most of the items aren’t very useful and the quests to go find them are simply arbitrary fetch puzzles.
Included in the DLC are Midna’s Helmet, Phantom Armour, Tingle’s Armour, Majora’s Mask, the Korok Mask, and the Travel Medalion. The first four serve as clothing which have bonuses to help improve some of your skills or special defenses. Unfortunately, the equipment statistics are all generally quite low and are unable to be upgraded, so beyond being a fun nostalgia kick almost none of these outfits have any real use unless you’re quite early in the game. The Korok Mask, on the other hand, will shake when Link is in range of a hidden Korok which may assist in finding all 900 of the bastards and the Travel Medalion is also a useful addition allowing players to drop a fast travel point at will.
Whilst these latter items do definitely have their uses the Travel Medalion in particular almost feels as though it should have existed in the game from the beginning, or if not certainly seems to deserve a grander quest behind it than simply digging up a treasure chest.
Upon entering the world for the first time after downloading the DLC the game will inform you of some new quests added to your itinerary. Unlike a lot of my experience in this Zelda game, it verily points you in the right direction with hamfisted hints which lead the player to more of the same. For most seasoned players there’s more than enough information to easily understand the general locations for the various new items but none of it really feels like a quest. There’s no skill or objective to overcome, simply go the obvious area and rummage around until you can pinpoint the actual location. I’d have almost preferred they had simply dumped them all in an easy to locate chest, rather than have me ruin my newly unlocked map trail with added arbitrary fast traveling.
The Hero’s Path is another inclusion in the latest DLC and while perhaps the smallest is also one of the most interesting. Rather than an item or quest this feature allows players to view their traveled path in the game for up to 200 hours of gameplay. The map will draw out a green path right from Link waking up in the starting area to wherever he finds himself now and includes all of his deaths and fast travels along the way. Watching my playthrough I was horrified at how much I fast travel and amused at the places I was going remembering my various adventures across the open world. Players can gain all sorts of insight into their game habits, whether they’re happy with them or not and it also gives a clear representation for areas unvisited on the map to aid in future exploration.
In regards to more missions, the Trial of the Sword will also be added to your list of quests and Link can venture back into the Korok forest to return the Master Sword from where it came, for an opportunity to increase its power. After plunging the sword back into its pillar Link is teleported to another reality in which he is stripped of all his possessions and presented challenges. Those familiar with one of the games best Shrine Quests, Eventide Island, will have an understanding of what this challenge entails only at a much smaller scale.
The Trial of the Sword is compiled of 45 challenges which increase in difficulty as Link goes through and whilst you can keep your upgraded hearts, stamina and rune abilities relying on only the items the game drip feeds you through the gauntlet will put even the most experienced players through their paces. There are only two checkpoints throughout the challenges and dying at any point will set you back to the last one you encountered, or remove you from the trial if you’ve yet to get that far. What’s great about this quest is it builds on the concept of using everything you’ve learned throughout the game rather than allowing you to rely on your stores of food and leveled up armour, however, for many players only allowing two checkpoints will make for a frustrating experience rather than a fun one.
The final addition included in the first DLC is the Master Mode. This new play mode is now an option in the start up menu and will grant players a new save file from the beginning of the game. In this mode, enemies are all a level up from what they appear and recover health when not damaged for long enough periods of time. However, this is not your average hard mode as Nintendo have made changes beyond the usual to make for a greater challenge. The world itself has been shaken up slightly, with boss tier enemies found in new locations (including a Lynel in the starting area) as well as floating platforms throughout the world holding both treasures and dangers to keep players on their toes.
Having difficult and demanding additions is a great way to reward players who may be a little bit bored with the rest of what Breath of The Wild has to offer since it’s launch earlier this year but it does mean that this latest installment doesn’t really offer much for those who weren’t looking for more difficulty from the game. The Trial of the Sword while clever and fun often falls on the side of frustration and with its limited checkpoints and thus time requiring nature may well be unachievable for many players. Couple this with a hard mode which seems to have truly gone all out on being just that and the very aptly named Master Trial’s DLC will likely leave some players behind.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a fantastic game and the addition of its first DLC pack only adds to it. While many of the items are mostly silly and will be useless for most players, the Korok Mask, Travel Medalion and Hero’s Path addition to the map will allow for greater exploration and item finding for those looking to knock a few extra points off their completion. The Trial of the Sword is wickedly challenging while still having some very clever design and the Master Mode adds difficulty in ways beyond simply increasing the strength of monsters. That being said this DLC pack doesn’t exactly contain something for everyone and those who are after more story driven content will just have to wait for the Champions Ballad which was included in the price and will release later this year.
|Trial of the Sword|
|Most of what's included in the Master Trials DLC is well thought out and implemented. The new and challenging levels and modes are controller breakingly difficult and give a good sense of achievement when completed, however, may well be unplayable for some due to difficulty and time requirements. The addition of the new map tracking functionality allows players to explore new areas as well as reminisce on old adventures, while the item collection included is mostly gimmicky and boring to unlock. A bit of a mixed bag but no doubt worth it for anyone wanting to squeeze some more out of this fantastic Zelda title.||3.4 3.4 ( on 5 rating)|