Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The Champions’ Ballad DLC Review

Hyrule is beckoning once again! Following the lack of content in the Master Trials DLC, the Expansion Pass has come into its own with The Champions’ Ballad. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was already a massive game, but with a ton of new Shrines to explore, another Divine Beast to conquer and the epic Master Cycle Zero to ride, the Hero of the Wild certainly has his hands full.

It’s been nearly a year since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launched for Wii U and Nintendo Switch. However, it’s time to return to the land of Hyrule for a new quest! After the slim amount of content released in the Master Trials DLC earlier this year, The Champions’ Ballad is finally here and it’s packed with content.

After conquering all of the Divine Beasts, a message from Princess Zelda instructs Link to return to the Shrine of Resurrection for a new challenge. There you’re rewarded with the One-Hit Obliterator; a trident-like weapon that can kill any enemy with a single blow, but unfortunately drains Link’s health down to a measly quarter heart when held. It’s an interesting trade-off that forces you to carefully consider your every move in a way that the base game does not. However, the Obliterator is quickly disposed of after taking out a handful of enemy bases on the Great Plateau before unlocking the next segment of the DLC. It was certainly a relief to restore my health, but I would like to have seen more done with this interesting constraint placed on the player.

 

 

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Link is then tasked with travelling across Hyrule to complete certain tasks related to each of the four Champions. There are a total of four per Champion and each are provided in the form of riddles by Kass the Bard. These often involve ingenious time trials or tracking down specific enemies. Unless you’ve committed Hyrule’s sprawling map to memory, it’s certainly a challenge tracking down each task. But after completing all of a Champions’ missions, you are rewarded with a short cutscene exploring their backstory. They certainly aren’t substantial additions to Breath of the Wild’s story, but each cutscene is filled with lore that provides a much deeper look into the fan favourite characters Revali, Urbosa, Daruk and Mipha.

However, the real meat of the Champions’ Ballad is all the new Shrines. After completing each of Kass’s tasks, a brand new Shrine emerges from the ground. This means that there are 20 new Shrines for Link to venture through. These aren’t just enhanced versions of Breath of the Wild’s original Shrines either, each features a brand new puzzle to wrap your head around. That isn’t all though as there’s also another Divine Beast to tackle. Although we won’t spoil any of the details, fans will be pleased to know that they’re in for a hefty challenge! On completion, you’re awarded with the Master Cycle Zero. While some Zelda purists may complain about the idea of Link riding a motorcycle, outside of Mario Kart of course, it’s pure bliss to zoom across Hyrule at such speeds.

 

 

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There’s also a bunch of new cosmetic items scattered across Hyrule. Unlike The Master Trials, none of the armour introduced for Link in The Champions’ Ballad carries any exclusive abilities. Nevertheless, these nostalgia-filled Legend of Zelda themed costumes will certainly please any long-term fan. Notable additions include Ravio’s Hood from A Link Between Worlds, the Island Lobster Shirt from Wind Waker and a full Phantom Ganon costume from Ocarina of Time. Link isn’t the only character blessed with new armour in The Champions’ Ballad either, as the new Ancient Bridle and Saddle offer serious upgrades for your four-legged friend. While the Ancient Bridle usefully increases your horse’s speed, the Ancient Saddle is superb as it finally allows players to instantly summon a distant steed to their location. And of course, these can all be found in chests across Hyrule, so get hunting!

The Champions’ Ballad is everything a fan could want from the Zelda DLC pack. The new Shrines and Divine Beast alone add a solid six hours of content to the gigantic game, so, if you’re dying to return to Hyrule, the Expansion Pass is a necessity.

9/10

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22 comments

  1. Finally get a cape & it’s part of OoT Phantom Ganon’s armor. That’s disappointing but oh well. Stopped reading after the one hit kill weapon was lost. That’s one too many spoilers for me. lol

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  2. TIP: you can actually locate the trials for each of the four champions by standing in the circle of the monuments and using your camera to get a better idea and then switching between that and the map.
    Can’t wait to get this bike

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      1. Your example of a proper Zelda style dungeon is the most universally despised Zelda dungeon in the franchise? It epitomizes everything wrong with Aonuma style level design. Puzzles that aren’t tricky but tedious to physically perform, unintuitive layout with extremely similar aesthetics throughout, very few interesting interactions with normal enemies, a mess of small keys and normal locks that if you don’t already know the exact path through can force you to back track to every single room multiple times looking for the key you missed, etc.

        That BotW doesn’t have these things is one of the best things about it.

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      2. No Water Temple. I hate the tediousness of those as they stopped being fun after Ocarina of Time. I prefer a temple more along the lines of… Hm… Let me get back to you on this. xD

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      3. There was this one temple in Majora’s Mask which temples generally felt pretty epic due to that whole feeling of moving through a real time schedule and because they were so damn huge. But I’m taliing about the one at the beach with the pipesystems. I remember being pretty much blown away by it, not sure why, it just felt superclever and pretty deep at the time.

        I’m prety sure that after BotW, Nintendo will totally go back to more traditional dungeons and maybe also add some traditional items along the way. Not in a way that would really ruin the open world-feeling, but as a compromise.

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      4. I’m with you man

        I find it funny how the fans have been sucking the franchise’s dick through the years and now because Breath of the wild came out they come out and say stupid stuff like “meh, we never like those anyway!”

        This Zelda was a nice experiment, I hope they combine what they’ve learned with this one with some of the old formula that made us fall in love with the series in the first place

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    1. I hope it is the last if Nintendo isn’t gonna do anything surprising like a post game story expansion or adding New Game+ with a new DLC pack.

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  3. A couple of corrections here. There’s only 3 shrines/tasks per Champion, this means that there’s a total of 12 new shrines for the Champions, and 4 new ones on the Great Plateau, for a total of 16, not 20. Also, there is one new ability on the Ravio hood, but it’s not seen via an ability icon like swim speed or such. Amusingly, its ability increases your sideways climbing speed, fitting considering one of the main mechanics in Link Between Worlds. Finally, the Ancient Bridle doesn’t boost your horse’s speed, it instead adds two spurs to the horse’s maximum count. This means you can stay at your top speed for longer stretches, but your top speed does stay the same. Great article otherwise, and I enjoyed the heck out of this DLC, I’m most definitely looking forward to the next Zelda and seeing how they refine the formula that manifested in BotW.

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  4. From my savegame where I was standing right in front of the final fight against Ganon, I jumped straight to the Shrine of Resurrection and started the Champions Ballad. And from then on I experienced some Bugs like a tower suddenly having no wall, making some weird clipping errors possible until gamebreaking bugs like the camps, that wouldn’t spawn that shrine after beating all enemies.

    Googling around didn’t really help too much despite the indication that there might be some glitch that really has to do with the Ganon-location. The thing is just, that 1. of course my savegame where I beat the game is right in front of the final fight and 2. I don’t have any other savegame now and I’m not really sure what to do.
    Son of a glitch!

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    1. If that spot in front of the room with Calamity Ganon is glitched, I’m glad I moved my Link to his house in Hateno Village when I played the game a little when the first DLC pack released & saved my progress there.

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  5. I was a bit disappointed in the DLC. Searching for the shrines was a bit of a chore. The maps were’t very accurate. And then doing more shrines wasn’t what I wanted. The shrines were a little more challenging, though, which was nice. Battling the same bosses felt lazy also. The end is the best part, which I won’t give away. 7/10.

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