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

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

The second half of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s DLC landed late last week, fulfilling Nintendo’s promise to get this content out before the end of the year. Dubbed The Champions’ Ballad, this bit of DLC brings a few new items, one large quest chain, and a pretty special way of getting Link from point A to point B throughout Hyrule once everything is completed. All in all, it’s a decent enough addition to the game, but since this content once again takes place prior to the final fight, it might not be enough to draw in those that have finished the game in prior months.

One of the new item additions is the inclusion of the Ancient Horse Saddle and Bridle set. Presented in the same fashion as the many different armor sets from the first DLC, Link will get a quest chain assigned to him that has you seeking out clues to the location of these hidden relics. Both are obtained via chests, and are not particularly tough to find if you pay attention to the description for both. Using the saddle will grant you the ability to summon a horse from anywhere on the map, provided you’ve equipped said horse with the saddle. There are a few unique horses this won’t work on, but it’s definitely a useful thing to have. The Ancient Horse Bridle feels a little less important, giving you few extra boost uses for your horse.

That said, these items are certainly not the “big deal” of this DLC. Instead, this DLC is focused almost entirely on the Champions’ Ballad quest chain. The event kicks off by having Link revisit his original starting point in the game, wherein a new weapon is unveiled that grants Link the ability to kill anything in one hit, while making him vulnerable to the same effect. You’ll tackle a series of battles throughout the starting plateau of the game, which in turn will unveil new shrine locations. Completing all of this with the weapon equipped will grant a new line of quests that are centered around the four champion’s that originally accompanied Link and Zelda on their first adventure 100 years ago.

This entire quest chain serves up 16 new shrines in total, most of which will need to be sought out using limited visual clues. In addition, to trigger the opening of these shrines, you’ll typically be tasked with accomplishing some sort of side goal, like battling a King Molduga. Once you complete a set of shrines in any given area, you’ll also battle against some familiar bosses from earlier in the game, but with new requirements added in to make the fights a little more unique (and sometimes pretty tough). All of this adventuring and questing will likely take you somewhere in the 10 hour range or so to complete.

The whole thing culminates in a brand new dungeon area similar to the other Divine Beast challenges. Which in turn finishes up with an all new boss fight before you unlock the real goal, Link’s Master Cycle Zero. The Master Cycle Zero is basically a motorcycle that can eat items in your inventory for gas, and will propel Link at high speed across all of Hyrule. It’s a really fun addition to the game, and if you’re still hunting down shrines you’ve missed, this should help speed up the process greatly.

The story side of this content isn’t too impressive, however, which is unfortunate since I was hoping for a bit more insight into the individual champions. Instead, you’ll get a small scene at the end of each section being cleared, which is little more than the memory snippets you can opt to seek out in the main game. I was definitely expecting something a bit more revelatory than what we get with The Champions’ Ballad, and that’s pretty much my main gripe with this DLC.

Will there be more, perhaps post-endgame DLC down the road? It seems highly unlikely at this point, but knowing that a new Zelda is likely pretty far on the horizon, maybe Nintendo can surprise us in 2018. As it is though, Breath of the Wild definitely benefits from this DLC pack, and while it might not be a big enough draw for players that have essentially wrapped up the main story, it certainly feels like a nice boon to those of us that have yet to 100% the game.

Note: Nintendo provided us with a review code for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Champions’ Ballad DLC.

Grade: B+