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Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

"Preview: The Master Trials"

The breakout title that carried Nintendo’s Switch on release, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, will be receiving the first of two planned DLC releases later this month.
Entitled The Master Trials, here’s a rundown of what you can expect.

Hard Mode: One of the most enticing aspects of the DLC, The Master Trials will bring an additional Hard Mode option to the game. Specifically, enemies will regain health and all enemies are powered up by one level, i.e. areas where you would find red enemies in Normal Mode would now feature blue enemies. Consequently the mode will offer a higher maximum level to enemies. Lastly, camps of enemies can be found floating in the sky, defending their own floating platforms and bits of loot. For most players who have sunk a significant amount of time into Breath of the Wild, the addition of a hard mode is a welcome one. Once players learn the attack patterns of enemies and have unlocked a fair amount of heart containers, there is a noticeable drop off in game difficulty that does not scale well later into the game. Although these current additions seem to add little as far as variety of enemies, health regeneration will challenge both the players resolve and their ability to manage their equipment. The question remains whether the feature will be something that can be turned on and off at will, or if players will need to start new save files altogether to access the changes.

Hero’s Path Mode: A new addition to the map, a lighted path will track everywhere Link has been within the last 200 hours of gameplay. The path will offer players an idea of where they’ve been and, more importantly, where they haven’t been. Shrines could be used in the same way before the DLC, but this new feature will make the process significantly more accurate.

Travel Medallion: The travel medallion is a piece of equipment, hidden somewhere in Hyrule, that allows the player to register a custom fast travel location. For the most part, shrines offer nearby fast travel points for most locations that a player may find themselves returning to, but the travel medallion may come in handy for farming tough enemies or dragon components.

Trial of the Sword: Similar to Eventide Island, the Trial of the Sword is a wave-based challenge that offers an upgrade to the Master Sword if you can complete it. At the beginning of the challenge Link is stripped of his equipment, and must defeat consecutive rooms of enemies with only the equipment he can scavenge. If you can complete the challenge, about 45 rooms in total, you will be rewarded with an enhanced Master Sword at all times, similar to it’s power when venturing through Hyrule Castle. For advanced players, the powered up Master Sword may not be an immense reward, but the challenge of scavenging equipment gets at the heart of what made the first few hours of Breath of the Wild so fun, and will be a welcome distraction to add to the long list of those already available.

New Armor Sets: Chests scattered around Hyrule offers two new helmets and two new full sets of armor, which includes Majora’s Mask, Midna’s Helmet, Phantom Armor, and Tingle’s outfit. While the new armor is attractive and definitely aesthetically pleasing (I’m a sucker for Majora’s Mask), there are no details on the actual benefits of the pieces. Later in the game I found myself only wearing one or two sets, so hopefully they find unique niches for these pieces to fill; otherwise they may just feel like bloated additions for completionists.

Korok Mask: Another new mask, the Korok mask jingles whenever players are near a hidden Korok location. Helpful? Probably. But searching for all 900 Korok seeds, even with the mask, and honestly, even with an online walkthrough, seems like a test of patience that just isn’t worth it, considering the reward for finding all 900 seeds (a talisman with no effect that resembles...well… I’ll let you decide). I felt compelled to explore the sprawling world of Hyrule without 900 repetitive and simplistic puzzles to search for and solve. If obtained early on in your travels throughout Hyrule, the mask might be worth wearing when exploring new places, but it seems unlikely this addition will be enough to encourage most players to backtrack for all 900 seeds.

Expansion Pass?: The upcoming DLC, as well as the second pack coming in Winter 2017 can be obtained for $19.99, and by purchasing the pass you can find three new chests in the Great Plateau, including a new chest piece featuring the Switch logo and two “useful items”. Although the new chests seem like a half-hearted attempt to encourage pre-orders, the $19.99 price tag seems reasonable, assuming we can trust the details of the second DLC pack, which will offer a “new original story”, a new dungeon, and more new challenges. Although vague, Nintendo has set up an expectation with Breath of the Wild that whatever content they offer in addition to the original game will be of equally high value.

What We Didn’t Get: Some players will see the first DLC as a disappointment, echoing complaints I share of short main dungeons and underwhelming boss fights. With no new enemy types and no new dungeons, it seems this first DLC pack does little to rectify those complaints. Even with higher level enemies, with more health and attack, veteran players will already be familiar with their attack patterns and have little difficulty dispatching them. Hard Mode may still offer replayability for players willing to start a new file. Do you plan to purchase the DLC? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below

Written by : David Wier

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