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.
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.
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.