A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- The Master Trials is a downloadable expansion to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that the original game is required to play. It contains the same level of violence as the base game, putting players in control of a colorful warrior fighting monsters -- including skeletons, goblins, and giants -- using swords, axes, bows and arrows, and other medieval-style weapons. The primary focus of this add-on is combat; there's little in the way of fresh puzzles, though logical thinking during play is still rewarded. Parents should also note that the new content, which includes a lengthy series of tough battles and a much more challenging Master Mode, is designed to increase the level of difficulty, and that these features may frustrate some younger or inexperienced players.
What's it about?
The first downloadable add-on content for what's arguably one of the greatest games ever made, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD -- THE MASTER TRIALS is focused on delivering improvements to the overall experience, while also providing an increased level of difficulty for avid players. The titular trials consist of three lengthy series of battles which Link begins with no weapons or equipment and during which there's no ability to save. Completing these combat scenarios rewards players with a much more powerful Master Sword. The DLC also introduces a new Master Mode that restricts saves and increases enemy presence and difficulty to better challenge expert players who want to start Link's quest over from scratch. Other additions include new gear and items to seek out, as well as a handful of special features, such as the Hero's Path Mode, which allows players to see the route they've taken over the course of the last 200 hours of play via a point-to-point line overlaid on the world map. Note that the base game is required in order to play this expansion.
Is it any good?
There's little wrong with the first official DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but fans might have hoped for something a little more substantial. Beyond the Korok mask, which makes it easier to find the game's fiendishly hidden Korok seeds, and the travel medallion, which allow players to create their own fast travel points, most of the items introduced in The Master Trials will be of interest only to completionists or those interested in changing the way Link looks. And while the Hero's Path Mode is undeniably useful in terms of figuring out where you have and haven't traveled, it simply eases exploration rather than adding any new places to visit, characters to meet, or challenges to overcome.
The sword trials constitute the most significant new content, and they're surprisingly challenging, due mostly to the fact that you can't save midway through each set of trials. But they don't really add anything in terms of narrative. Ditto for Master Mode, which hardcore players will likely adore for its increased difficulty but which, again, doesn't add much to the world or story beyond more monsters. All of these changes and additions are quite welcome, but players will need to wait for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's second DLC pack in order to get something they can really sink their teeth into; namely, a brand new dungeon to explore and story to experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- The Master Trials is more focused on combat than the base game, but does this increased emphasis on fighting make you feel different during or after playing?
Talk about why you play games. Do you like the challenge and the feeling of satisfaction when you win, do you like exploring new worlds and discovering new things, or is it simply to experience and feel like you're part of an interesting story?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (The cost of this expansion grants access to both the first and second DLC packs for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but the latter won't be released until near the end of 2017.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: June 30, 2017
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Horses and Farm Animals, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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