Nintendo has revealed the contents of the first piece of downloadable content for the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the reason to get excited can be summed up in two words: Eventide Island.
The DLC, now officially named The Master Trial, focuses on a new area (previously called the Cave of Trials but now renamed the Trial of the Sword) which looks to replicate the best area of the base game, an island where the rules of play are overturned and players have to relearn everything from scratch.
The Trial of the Sword, Nintendo says, is a new series of cage matches, with Link needing to fight through “around 45 rooms” of foes in total. The catch? Link starts without any armour or weapons. The reward for doing so is a permanently powered-up Master Sword, dealing double the damage to every enemy in the game, not just Guardians and Ganon.
Accompanying the Trial is the other major feature of the DLC, a new hard mode. When enabled, enemies are ranked up – red bokoblins replaced with blue, blue with black, and so on – rendering them harder to defeat but upping the rewards for doing so. They’ll also recover health, have better eyesight and hearing, and live on hot air balloons floating around Hyrule. Yeah, that last one’s a bit of an outlier, but “by successfully reaching these planks, players can battle enemies and collect treasure”, Nintendo assures us.
For many, though, the most exciting feature is a small one: the “hero’s path”. Simply put, you’ll now be able to turn on an overlay for the main map which shows your exact movement history for the past 200 hours of play. It works retroactively – good news if you’ve already sunk a working week into the game – and should be useful for working out where you’ve been and where you’ve yet to explore.
In Trial of the Sword, players can awaken the power of the Master Sword by completing a series of battle encounters.
Similarly useful for completionists is a new piece of headgear, the Korok Mask. Hidden somewhere in the world, it’ll shake the controller when you’re near a Korok seed you’ve yet to collect. Gathering all 900 still feels like a sisyphean quest, but marginally more doable now.
As for the rest, it’s a grab-bag of quality of life improvements and cosmetic upgrades, all hidden in various places around Hyrule. The Travel Medallion lets you drop one fast travel location where you want, without relying on a nearby shrine, while new clothes like a Phantom outfit, Midna’s headpiece and a fairly creepy Tingle outfit let you party like it’s 2007, 2006 or 2000 respectively.
The Master Trials will launch this summer, only available as part of the £17.99 season pass.