DLC Title: Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild EXPANSION PASS
DLC Type: Dungeons/Difficulty/Armor
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Price: $19.99 USD
I love the new Zelda game, yet I didn’t review its DLC when it released. I had every intention of diving in once The Champions’ Ballad, advertised as new Story DLC released. When it released, though, I realized I didn’t have any saves at the point of the story where you could do it. I’d started a new file, wiping my old post-game file, and I was still at the very beginning of the game. Instead of trekking through the entire Main Quest again, I just put it to the side.
This week, though, I was inspired to replay the game, from start to finish. As I fought my way through hordes of Ganon’s minions, I remembered the DLC, giving me the perfect chance to naturally play through the game and get to the DLC to not only play it but review it as well.
This might seem a little odd, though, considering this will be a full “Season Pass” review since the 2 DLC packs did not release separately. But let’s not dwell on that. Here is my review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Season Pass!
Despite being advertised as having Story DLC, the Season Pass’s “The Champions Ballad” serves as 95% gameplay and only offers small amounts of actual story, all of which we knew before. So, those expecting to play as Zelda or the Champions and explore a post-game Hyrule will not get that.
Instead, we attempt the same trials the Champions did before the events of Breath of the Wild took place and get a couple minutes of cutscenes per Champion to see their attitude towards their role in the pre-BOTW Hyrule.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these cutscenes as they provide us with a little more background information on the four Champions, plus some nice nods to the many of the characters that Link interacts with in Breath of the Wild. But, for an expansion advertised as being a Story Expansion, there is much to be desired.
The gameplay doesn’t change in the DLC, though there are some rules in place for parts of them. You still play as Link, but with the DLC, you are given new challenges to conquer which will upgrade your arsenal of abilities past what is already present in the main game.
First of all, what exactly does the Season Pass give us? Let’s detail each of the additions made to the game for us to find and play around with:
– Master Mode, a difficult and arranged difficulty mode with special chests and different enemy encounters
– Trial of the Sword: A 45-floor survival challenge to test your skills and upgrade a certain legendary sword
– Several new sets of equipment based on previous Zelda titles
– The Champions’ Ballad: 6 sets of Challenges and Shrines to upgrade your abilities, ending in a new Boss.
Of course, there have been many complaints about Master Mode being DLC. But overall, the DLC adds lots of new side-quests to go through that are all made to be challenging and test not only your combat skills but also your brain with the new shrines in the Ballad content.
Now, I view the special equipment to be there specifically for fans of previous entries of the series. There is one armor set based on the world of Breath of the Wild, but all of the others are equipment seen in games like Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker. Fans of Ocarina of Time, for example, will find much greater joy in running around, dressed like Phantom Ganon than people who entered the series due to the success of Breath of the Wild.
But the meat of this DLC are Trial of the Sword and The Champions’ Ballad. Trial of the Sword is especially interesting as it is a huge 45-floor Survival Mode that is played as a Gauntlet, purging you of all weapons and equipment and is the most difficult part of the game. If you die, you respawn outside of the Trial and if you succeed, a certain sword doubles in base attack power, making easy work of nearly everything you will ever encounter across the entirety of the game.
The Champions’ Ballad, however, is a little different as it is a huge chain of quests It starts in a super-difficult combat trial, pitting you against groups of enemies with a short-range weapon that can one-shot anything, but reduces your health so anything can one-shot you. Complete that and a Shrine Quest opens up.
Beat the shrines and 4 more shrine quests open up, which all have ability upgrades and lead to a final shrine quest with the ultimate “Secret” boss of the game and the much-talked-about Motorcycle that can send you through the fields, mountains, and valleys of Hyrule like you’re some kind of Biker. Even though it’s very light on story, it’s not light on how much stuff there is to do.
And with content in mind, how much does this add? The Season Pass is a good twenty bucks in North America, so how much time will you gain from this new content? I’ll be putting Master Mode to the side, as it’s hardly fair to say that the DLC gets you dozens to hundreds of hours for a new difficulty setting.
To start things off, all of the new equipment have lore items behind them that point you to the equipment locations. Using a guide for most of them, I managed to grab all of the new equipment pieces in around 4 hours. Trial of the Sword adds at least around 3-5 hours, unless you manage to conquer the whole thing in a single run.
And finally, The Champions Ballad. The initial quest takes about an hour to conquer, plus another hour for each of the 4 following quests. Putting in time for the secret boss, that puts the Ballad at around 5-6 hours of time to complete. And all together, doing each of those should give you at least 12-15 hours of running around and doing all of these new quests, though it will likely take you much longer if you decide to refrain from using a guide for all those equipment pieces, as they are hidden very well.
In conclusion, the Breath of the Wild Season Pass has a lot of content, though it's not what we thought. Ballad's take on story elements ended up being very disappointing. Despite this, there's a ton of new content and a bunch of nostalgic equipment and armor pieces that are worlds above what any Amiibo will get you.