Breath of the Wild brought with it quite the sum of innovative new features to the Zelda franchise, and the arrival of downloadable-content (DLC) to the game is not the least among them. While there will always be those who criticize separately purchasable content in any game, there’s something to be said for Breath of the Wild’s first DLC pack, titled “The Master Trials.” The expansion went live this morning and is accessible over Nintendo’s eShop for $19.99.
The most significant feature of the DLC is probably the inclusion of a higher difficulty setting in which enemies hit harder, take less damage, and regenerate health over time. At least some of them evidently spawn in new areas; the Lynel, one of the toughest opponents in Breath of the Wild and usually not encountered until later in the game, is now patrolling the Great Plateau, where Link first begins his adventure.
Armed with only a tree branch and Link’s own limited abilities, players will be forced to sneak around the Lynel – itself an impressive feat, as the stealth system in Master Mode has also taken a hit. Enemies will now spot Link more quickly as he sneaks around, forcing players to tread more carefully in order to survive.
Observant players will also quickly note the presence of a new airborne threat – sort of. They’re not exactly airplanes, but the presence of bobokins and moblins aboard floating rafts in the sky will certainly prove to be a new challenge in itself. According to Nintendo’s website, these enemies may be guarding treasure chests from players crafty enough to reach them.
The Trial of the Sword provides yet another challenge in Breath of the Wild’s first expansion, though this one is at least optional. Players who seek out the trial will be forced to fight their way through 45 different rooms, each crammed with its own enemies and challenges – all without armor or weapons.
The only way to progress will be to scavenge tools from Link’s defeated enemies and hope against hope that the next room will offer a reprieve from the gauntlet. Those who do complete the trial will be rewarded with true power; the Master Sword will “awaken,” and be permanently empowered with the strength usually granted during fights with Guardians.