The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has its first DLC pack available for download (although you have to grab both as a season pass; they’re not available separately). The first pack is called Trials of the Sword, and we got our hands dirty with it to see why it was worth heading back into Hyrule to fight the good fight.
The Trials of the Sword DLC is actually a whole bunch of new things added to the game, not just the trials alone. The first few are a collection of new items to help Link on his journey. Some of the items are fairly simple to find. Others, such as Majora’s mask or Tingle’s outfit, will take a bit of a trek to obtain. The more exotic items also confer some fantastic bonus abilities on Link so they’re worth the trek to find.
The second feature is a new map feature called The Hero’s Path, which shows you exactly how you’ve travelled on the map (to a maximum of several thousand steps, after which the trail starts to erase from the beginning to make way for new steps). This feature is supposed to help you figure out where you’ve not explored yet. I’ve used it a number of times to fuel further exploration, and it’s actually crazy just how much you can miss out on when you’re running from Shrine to Shrine collecting orbs.
The Trials of the Sword pack also includes a new “Hard Mode”, which features tougher enemies and a single save file. Not only are the enemies harder to kill, they also regenerate health if you decide to leave them alone and come back later, making killing them much more of an imperative than before. And if that weren’t enough, enemies are also more keen-eyed, and the base, weak enemies have all been upgraded to the next rank of power. Then, to top things off, there are new, more powerful foes to face, as well as balloon-hoisted platforms from which you may be sniped at any point, so it pays to keep an eye on the skies as well as the ground around you.
And then there are the trials themselves, a series of rooms that you have to get through from scratch, sans any weapons or armour that you have collected. On the other hand, you do keep whatever hearts and stamina you may have obtained during the course of play, so starting this trial as late as possible is the wisest move. It helps that you need to have unlocked the Master Sword to even start these (and you need a minimum of 13 hearts for that in the first place), and the trials are started from the Korok forest, throwing you into over 40 levels of pure hell. Or pure adrenalin, depending on how you like you challenges. The trials have some checkpoints within, but restarting from those means you lose whatever arms and armour you managed to collect on the way. The reward is worth it, I hear: an upgraded Master Sword. I have yet to complete the trials myself; they’re definitely a challenge of note.
Is the DLC pack worth it? Well, it’s difficult to tell without the second pack’s release, but as it is, there’s a lot of challenge and new fun to be had for those who think they are done exploring and found Hyrule a bit tame. Should you get it? If you like your challenges raw and in your face, then definitely, otherwise I think it wise to hold off until we know what the second pack contains. We will score both packs once the second one releases.