Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - The Champion's Ballad Review

The Champion's Ballad is the final piece of DLC in the Breath of the Wild Expansion Pass. This is the big one. This is the one with the new story content and dungeon. It’s not necessarily post-game content, but you are required to have completed the original 4 dungeons before starting the Champion’s Ballad quest.

The Champion’s Ballad’s story takes place after you’ve finished the 4 original dungeons, but before you’ve killed Ganon. As soon as you start your game, Zelda will contact you telepathically, and give you the new quest. Zelda is still trying to contain Calamity Ganon, and this DLC does not have anything to do with the story that was hinted at in the 120 shrines ending.

The Champion’s Ballad quest starts at the Shrine of Resurrection on the Great Plateau, where you first start the game. After inserting the Sheikah Slate in the stone where you first found it, a disembodied monk voice will talk to you and start “The Divine Beast Tamer’s Trail”. The trials start with you getting a special weapon, the One-Hit Obliterator. This weapon looks kind of like a 4 pronged tuning fork with shide hanging off it. This weapon will kill anything in one hit, but will also make it so you die in one hit. You must use this weapon to finish 4 new shrine quests and shrines on the Great Plateau. You cannot heal, use any other melee weapon, or unequip this weapon during these trials. You can use all your runes, shields, armor, and bows, though. You also can’t leave the Great Plateau during the trails, or you’ll have to start it over. You won’t have to start the whole trial over if you die during the trials, though. It’s not that hardcore.

In these trials, you’ll go around the Great Plateau and kill camps of enemies to unearth new shrines. These 4 camps are all over the Plateau, and you'll have to put your BotW skills to use to clear them. The One-Hit Obliterator has a short cooldown after 2 uses, so it’s not like you can run in, smack everyone around, and be done with it. You’ll have to use the environment and your runes to your advantage. There’s even a shrine up in the snowy mountains, so you’ll also have to use your cold resist gear or consumables. The 4 shrines in the Great Plateau will put both your puzzle solving and combat skills to the test. They will have you using your runes to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles, and you’ll even fight some Guardians. Each of these shrines will reward you with a Spirit Orb, so you can get 1 more heart container. You’ll be leaving the One-Hit Obliterator in the Shrine of Resurrection when you clear these trials, so the one hit stuff ends then.

These trials on the Great Plateau might seem harsh and unfair, but they’re there to help you relearn how to play the game. Some people might not have played this game in 8 months or so. They really took me back to when I first played BotW, and could die at any moment. I enjoyed the refresher. You’ll definitely be needing these skills for the rest of the trials in this DLC Pack.

Before you open the new dungeon, you’ll have to go through the trails the rest of the Champions went through 100 years ago. These trials will have you traveling to the 4 major areas surrounding the Divine Beasts, and reliving the trials that Revali, Daruk, Urbosa, and Mipha went through to take control of the Divine Beasts, and the battles against the Ganon blights in which they died in.

Once you’re done with the trial on the Great Plateau, 4 quest trackers will appear near the Divine Beasts, and Sheikah pedestals will be waiting for you at these spots. Each column on these pedestals has a piece of a map showing you where you need to go to find the trails that will open the shrines. There is no way to track these spots, and the map looks like an overhead picture, and not like the map on your Sheikah Slate, so even figuring out where these places are on the map is a puzzle onto itself. Once you get to these spots, you’ll be doing a number of different types of quests to open the shrines. Some will require you to solve a riddle, one will have you gliding through markers, like in a Pilotwings game, there’s a sand seal race, and you’ll even fight some world bosses.

The new shrines run the gamut of shrine puzzles and obstacle types. You’ll be doing everything from making ice block stairs, and moving metal blocks around, to shooting bombs out of cannons, and connecting electrical currents. I didn’t notice any new types of puzzles, but the shrines do include more types of puzzles in a single shrine. These shrines do not reward you with Spirit Orbs, so you can’t get any more heart containers.

After you’ve completed the 3 trials and shrines, you’ll relive the battles against the Ganon blights which the Champion’s died in. The twist here is that you’ll be doing these fights with preset armor, weapons, and consumables, like food and arrows. You can still use your runes. These fights might be a bit harder without all your gear, but I think the hardest part was remembering the trick to killing them. After you beat these bosses, you’ll see a new memory similar to the ones in the main game. They are fully voice acted and reveal new details about Zelda’s relationship to the champions. I thought they were very well done, and liked learning more about the Champions.

Once you’ve completed the 4 Champion's trials, you’ll open the new dungeon. This new dungeon is labeled as a Divine Beast, and works like the rest of the Divine Beasts. I’m not sure what kind of beast it is, but the dungeon map looks like a motor, so maybe it’s the Master Cycle’s motor. This dungeon has 4 wings and a new boss. It’s not the biggest, or the most difficult dungeon in the game, but it is really good.

After completing the final dungeon, you’ll be rewarded with the Master Cycle, which I guess is another version of Link’s Mario Kart 8 bike, which is also called the Master Cycle. I wonder which branch of the timeline Mario Kart 8 fits in. The Master Cycle is a rune, and not like a normal horse. You can summon it anywhere you can summon a horse, without the need for the new saddle. You still can’t summon it in the Gerudo Desert, or on Death Mountain, just like with horses. This bike does run out of fuel. You can throw pretty much anything in it to fuel it, though. I’ve been throwing apples in the tank, because Epona likes apples, and this bike has a horse head. It’s a cool reward, but what am I supposed to do with it now? I’m done with the game. I’ve already done all the shrines, quests, and collected 900 Korok seeds. Hmm. I have an idea.

Along with the new main quest, you’ll also get a bunch of new side quests which will reward you with new items, like a saddle that lets you summon your horse anywhere, and Zelda character clothing, like Wind Waker Link’s blue lobster shirt, and Ravio’s hood from A Link Between Worlds. These side quests start by leading you to a journal, which will then update your quest log with hints for where to find all this stuff. All of these side quests are treasure chest hunts, which have you travel around Hyrule. I don’t think hunting for chests is very fun, but at least the items are cool.

This was a great way to finish off the Expansion Pass, and a great send off for BotW. The Expansion Pass is definitely worth the $19.99, for those who have finished the game. Those still trying to beat the original 4 dungeons should probably hold off on it until they get that done.