“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is an enormous, excellent game.
Exploring the open world of Hyrule is a massive adventure, with mystery around every corner – and even some mystery flying overhead.
Even so, many players have spent dozens of hours exploring its every nook and cranny. And for those people, Nintendo has good news: There are two major expansions coming to the game, and the first one arrives this month.
It’s called “The Master Trials,” and Nintendo announced on Tuesday morning that it arrives on June 30, with the second arriving in “holiday 2017.” Here’s everything we know.
You wanna know how much it costs, don’t you? Let’s start with the bad news up front: You’ll have to shell out $19.99 for access to The Master Trials.
But there’s good news too! By paying $19.99, you get both of the upcoming expansions to “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” You’re paying for what is called the “Expansion Pass” – essentially a key to unlock both upcoming expansions.
Sadly, there is no way to buy them individually. That said, getting both expansion packs for $10 apiece is a pretty solid deal – many games charge $19.99 for each major addition.
Now, how about some more good news? The Master Trials looks <em>rad</em>. The best thing might be the new Hard Mode.
I know, I know – “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is already a pretty difficult game. I get it. But after 50-something hours with the game, that’s no longer the case. Hard Mode offers crazy people like myself an option to play more “Breath of the Wild” with a greater challenge than ever before.
So, what’s different? Here’s how Nintendo describes the new, more difficult setting:
“In Hard Mode, the ‘ranks’ of enemies in the game are increased (i.e. Red Bokoblins change to Blue), and players might even encounter higher-ranking enemies they wouldn’t find through normal play. Enemies will also slowly recover health in battle, forcing you to defeat them more quickly. They will also more easily spot Link as he approaches them, making these enemies tougher to sneak up on. In addition, floating planks held aloft by balloons will be scattered around Hyrule. By successfully reaching these planks, players can battle enemies and collect treasure.”
Beyond the option of making the game more difficult, there’s another new mode called “Trial of the Sword.” In this mode, you’ll face dozens of waves of enemies. But if you persist, there’s a killer reward.
One of the best aspects of “Breath of the Wild” is the excellent combat. There are dozens of ways to take down any given enemy, and “Breath of the Wild” encourages your exploration of those options.
In the “Trial of the Sword” mode, you’ll enter a dungeon with 45 enemy-filled rooms. Another twist: You start “without any armor or weapons,” and must figure out how to get through. But, if you survive? “The true power of the Master Sword will awaken and always be in its glowing, powered-up state.” Not too shabby!
To be completely clear, that means an end to weapon destructability. No more swapping weapons when one breaks – you can just use the Master Sword in perpetuity. And that is a pretty big deal.
Hard Mode and Trial of the Sword are the two main additions, but there’s a handful of other new stuff. A new mode for your in-game map makes seeing where you’ve been (and where you haven’t been) much, much easier.
The new map setting is called “Hero’s Path,” and it enables tracking of your path through Hyrule (up to the last 200 hours). That means you can see where you’ve been, where you haven’t been, and what path you took. Helpful!
Here’s what it looks like in action:
And, yes, this mode works retroactively – wherever you’ve already gone, this will track (again: up to the last 200 hours).
But that’s not all! There are a handful of new armor sets as well.
Maybe you don’t already have enough armor in “Breath of the Wild,” and you’re hoping for a bunch more? Maybe you’d really like armor that references other “Zelda” games from the past?
Good news: There’s a whole bunch of armor that directly references past “Zelda” games coming to “Breath of the Wild,” from the Tingle outfit seen above (yes, that’s a real character) to the Midna helmet seen here (from “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess”):
And, finally, there’s a new item coming to Hyrule named the “travel medallion.” After finding it somewhere, players can place it once to create a new fast-travel point.
The Master Trials expansion arrives on June 30 as part of the $19.99 expansion pass. It’s said to be available for both the Wii U and Switch versions of the game at the same time.