I have clocked over 60 hours in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Though, I’ve probably passed 70, now that The Master Trials are here. I haven’t done everything. I beat the game, but didn’t finish the Divine Beast Vah Naboris due to being rubbish at the dungeon’s angles and puzzles. It is a game I have thoroughly enjoyed and explored. Now that The Master Trials are here, it feels like the add-on is doing more than giving me additional things to do. It is as though it is honoring my efforts.
Of course, The Trial of the Sword is part of this honor. That is the challenge mode we talked about earlier. You can’t just walk up to it if you haven’t invested a serious amount of time in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You have to have collected between 24 and 40 Spirit Orbs to have enough hearts to even take the Master Sword in the Lost Woods. Completing this 45 room trial is no easy task, and you really do earn that permanent Master Sword power up when you complete it. By getting that far in the game, you should be in a good place to undertake this mission, and the add-on acknowledges that with the form of the sword you deserved.
The array of equipment awards feel like rewards for doing so well in the game. Many of these pieces of equipment, more specifically Majora’s Mask, Midna’s Helmet, Phantom Armor, and Tingle’s Outfit, have benefits that aren’t always needed for people who have passed the 50-hour mark. Is it nice that Majora’s Mask sometimes makes enemies ignore you? Or that Phantom Armor makes you stronger? Of course. But the quest to head out and find them is what matters, as is knowing you can dress like these famous figures.
Other pieces of equipment are far more helpful. For people who actually like those Koroks and want to collect seeds to increase their inventory, the Korok Mask is a help. You can’t discount the help that comes from having the tracker on your face. The Travel Medallion is even better. If you haven’t already visited the Lomei Labyrinth, it encourages you to travel to that delightful maze. If you have, then it is easy enough to hop down a hole and grab an item that lets you place a single, extra fast travel point anywhere you would like. I’ve been using it to aid in completing side quests that involve photographs. It is so much easier to return to a quest giver that way.
What I found most educational and interesting is Hero’s Path. Which may sound silly. It is basically turning The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild into one of those Family Circus comics where players see where little Billy has traveled and have some idea of what he did in each location. But it is enthralling to see where you have been in the last 200 hours. Getting to see every death, coupled with a shriek from Link, helps you understand how you’ve grown. I loved watching everything play out. It also helped me realize where I still need to go and plan future investigations. It can make someone who might think they have seen it all realize that there is so much more.
Master Mode is the greatest honor and one I am most afraid to undertake. This is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s hardest difficulty level, complete with its own save file. I’ve been able to manage so far, and even reached the Zora’s kingdom, but it is a much more challenging affair. The enemies we face here are so much stronger, showing how much Nintendo respects our intelligence. Their regenerating health is daunting, making it feel like every encounter matters. I feel like everything I did in my standard run was preparing for this moment where every one of my skills is tested.
It seems like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s The Master Trials is an add-on designed for people who feel like they might be drawing near the end. It acknowledges how much you have done, with Hero’s Path and The Trial of the Sword. It rewards you with equipment that makes it easier to tie up loose ends. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to go back into a more difficult version of Hyrule, should the player believe they are ready.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii U.