THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD: THE CHAMPIONS' BALLAD DLC
GAMEPLAY/PUZZLE ASPECT - 10
NARRATIVE - 8.5
PACING/PROGRESSION - 7.5
The Champions' Ballad is well worth the price point, an an excellent pickup this holiday season.
Here I am, sitting around with all my friends, and we tune into The Game Awards as we’re discussing potential Game of the Year winners. As soon as I heard that chime from our beloved Game of the Year winner The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I jumped out of my chair and paid immediate attention to what this trailer was about. I’m pretty sure I annoyed everyone with how loud I screamed when I saw it was available tonight, but as someone who lives, breathes and sleeps Zelda, what more can you expect?
*WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Champions’ Ballad DLC gives us a more in depth look at the Champions: Revali, Urbosa, Daruk, and Mipha, and the battles that ensued with Calamity Ganon 100 years ago. Similar to the Master Quest DLC, as soon as you enter the land of Hyrule, Zelda’s overture voice will speak to you with information regarding what you can do. However, to take part in The Champions’ Ballad you must have defeated the four Divine Beasts in regular gameplay. Afterwards, you will be prompted the option to return to the Shrine of Resurrection, from whence you started the game, return the Sheikah slate to the pedestal, and engage in a series of trials.
Without giving away any major details, the first trial involves killing many groups of enemies throughout the land without taking a single hit, as your health drops to 1/4 of a heart. With the negative reception of The Silent Realm from The Legend of Zelda; Skyward Sword, some might be strayed away from participating in this as many believed the Silent Realm was a boring filler for the game. Unlike its predecessor, these trials add a new level of difficulty and sense of accomplishment whenever you defeat these large hordes of enemies. After you defeat the enemies, you then proceed in a shrine challenge, which is the golden achievement of this DLC. Universal praise was given to the creativity and unique aspect of the shrines scattered throughout Hyrule, and I believe that these shrines will truly test the limits of those who wants a true puzzle challenge.
After you complete these hordes you will be prompted to traverse the land to regain your memories, similar to the main story. You can tackle whomever’s story you want first, but each story is well worth the hour progression and puzzle to get to their exceptional cutscenes. You’ll be reunited with our old friend Kass, the self proclaimed Rito bard who travels Hyrule with his accordion spreading music and offering riddles to the challenger. He will aid you a puzzle in which will help you find the hidden shrine, the puzzle that will reveal the hidden shrine, and open the ways to complete the shrine.
After all is said and done, you will be well on your way to completing the rest of the DLC which I will keep a secret, but will say introduces an entire new dungeon (Which I have to say is the most intricate one yet). Afterwards you get a heartwarming ending, and the Master Cycle Zero, similar to the one in Mario Kart 8 (Yes, the Mario Kart universe is now canon in The Zeldaverse), but tricked out to look more like a divine Beast. On top of all this we also get new apparel from even more of past games.
When it comes down to it, Nintendo knows how to give us great DLC. We saw it with Mario Kart 8 which gave us half of an entire game for $15USD, and again with Hyrule Warriors which gave us free updates, new characters, and three incredible story maps for exceptional prices. But on thing that I have the highest respect for, are these DLC packages are always optional. The common practice is that many developers hold the original game back, and release little snippets of DLC after the game has died down a bit. The Champions’ Ballad proves that Nintendo is the exception in this trend. As we saw with the normal storyline, you get all the information you need from the main quest line. This DLC gives us a more in depth look at our beloved champions, and truly show an emotional side, and a more in depth look to their personalities, and how they interact with this phenomenal task they are entrusted with. The Champions’ Ballad is not an integral part of the experience, but a cosmetic that Aonuma and the development staff gifted us with.
To sum it all up, there are a few moments in the DLC where I felt frustrated, and wanted to take a break or give up, but just like with the original game, the sense of accomplishment that you receive after figuring out a complicated puzzle, or an intense battle in which you can’t take a single hit is well worth the money. I do wish that we would have had a little bit more interactivity with the past 100 years, but maybe Nintendo has some more surprises up their sleeves? Whose to tell? After winning Game of the Year at The Game Awards, anything is possible with Nintendo who has had a phenomenal year with Super Mario Odyssey, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild taking home multiple awards, along with Nintendo taking home two themselves with Best Studio/Game Direction.
Don’t forget that The Champions’ Ballad DLC also includes the previously released DLC which includes The Trial of the Sword, more decals, and Master Quest mode which will truly test your limits as a gamer. If you haven’t picked up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild we at Aribaa highly recommend picking up this critically praised title, along with The Champions’ Ballad DLC from your local retailer and/or the Nintendo eShop for $19.99USD. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Champions’ Ballad DLC are available now for Nintendo Switch/Wii U.