The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Champions’ Ballad DLC (Switch) Review

We Are the Champions

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been one of the most successful games in the series. Eiji Aonuma and the development team created a vast, open world that resonated with many players. Through their reinventing of the classic franchise, the Breath of the Wild received the honor of Game of the Year at the 2017 Game Awards. But the event had a bigger surprise in store for Zelda fans: Nintendo revealed that the second DLC pack, The Champions’ Ballad, would be downloadable immediately that very same night.

Here’s the Video Version for your viewing pleasure!

Nintendo teased this as a more story-focused DLC, and it’s true to an extent. There are indeed new cutscenes, but they don’t progress the original story. Rather, they give more insight into the history and personality of the Champions, some of Breath of the Wild’s most memorable characters. If you were expecting deep postgame plot, you may be disappointed. Nevertheless, the added scenes were heartwarming and helped me to appreciate the Champions even more.

The Champions Ballad Review Kass.jpg
Whom better to sing the ballad than the best bird Kass?

In truth, the most substantial additions are gameplay-related. Whereas the first DLC pack (The Master Trials) simply added a few extra modes, The Champions’ Ballad provides more of the excellent core content found in the base game. You get to scour the map once again to find hidden locations and complete quests – some of which are novel puzzles, while others are unnecessary minigames. Regardless, fulfilling each requirement unlocks a Shrine. As a fan of the original’s miniature puzzle areas, I was pleased to go through 16 new Shrines, all of which held truly creative and tough trials. My favorites were the complex Rube Goldberg mechanisms requiring precise planning and timing. All of this culminates in a full dungeon that tests your mastery of Link’s magical Rune powers. I won’t spoil the dungeon, but its novel mechanics and fulfilling payoff produce a worthy finale. It took me a good eight hours to finish, which is a decent amount of playtime for what is essentially half of a season pass.

The Champions Ballad Review Shrine.jpg
This DLC pack includes some of the most entertaining shrines.

However, the first portion of the DLC is a frustrating exercise in patience and humility. Before you can reach the majority of content, you must first revisit the Great Plateau…with a twist. You now wield the One-Hit Obliterator, a powerful weapon that kills enemies in one hit…but in turn, one hit from enemies instantly kills you. The steep penalty made enemy encounters downright stressful, especially considering the One-Hit Obliterator needs to recharge after every two attacks. This certainly brought back vivid memories of trying to tactically survive the base game’s opening hours, but it’s still an odd decision to gate progress behind this forced gimmick.

The Champions Ballad Review One-Hit Obliterator.jpg
Infinite Power

The remainder of the DLC adds more costumes, which you must manually locate using clues much like in The Master Trials. Surprisingly, the horse gear is the most useful, increasing your mount’s stamina and allowing you to call it from anywhere. On the flip side, Link’s costumes are little more than cosmetic fanservice, providing only decent bonuses at most. I love Ravio’s hood, but its inceased sideways climbing speed effect is underwhelming. The same goes for Zant’s Helmet which grants unfreezable status, and the Island Lobster Shirt which only offers heat resistance. The Royal Guard Armor would be fine with its charge and stamina bonuses, but since you can’t upgrade it, it quickly becomes outclassed.

The Champions Ballad Review Ravio.jpg
Ravio at your service! Not to be confused with Nabbit!

My favorite was the Phantom Ganon Armor, which in addition to helping you blend in with skeletal enemies, makes you look extremely cool doing anything. It especially looks great while riding the Master Cycle Zero, Link’s new motorcycle. Sure, the bike is somewhat out of place and you have to fuel it with random materials, but cruising through Hyrule on a hot ride is such a rad experience that I didn’t care what it implied about Sheikah technology or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s place in the Zelda timeline.

The Champions Ballad Review Master Cycle Zero.jpg
Bone to Be Wild!

Conclusion

Is The Champions’ Ballad DLC worth it? The previously teased story content may not be the biggest highlight, but the emotional payoffs are heartwarming, particularly if you adore the Champion characters. By far, the easiest way to determine this pack’s worth is to assess whether you liked the shrines and dungeons enough to want more. You actually have to beat the core dungeons to even begin this pack, but I would go a step further and suggest that you also complete every shrine before taking the plunge. In the end, The Champions’ Ballad isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s more of what made the original game outstanding. Since both this and The Master Trials are combined in the expansion pass, it’s easy to recommend the whole set to fans of the core gameplay experience.

What do you think of The Champions’ Ballad DLC? Did it live up to your expectations? Which DLC pack do you prefer: The Master Trials or The Champions’ Ballad? Please share any thoughts or questions you have in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

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15 thoughts on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Champions’ Ballad DLC (Switch) Review

  1. Well done, triumphant hero reviewer! Yet another quest completed! I loved seeing more of the Champions in this DLC pack. The extra cutscenes were well worth it. I felt that the characters were already fairly well fleshed out just from the limited number of cutscenes from the original game, and this adds even more to their personality. I didn’t get to see much of the new shrines or new dungeon, so I can’t comment on those as much, but I definitely need to go back and check ’em out. I do like the new costumes, even they are kinda fluff. I agree that the Phantom Ganon armor is by far the best. And it matches the new motorcycle quite nicely. Is there a Sheikah car out there somewhere? Or Sheikah airship? As useful as the new horse gear is, it’s kinda outclassed by the motorcycle which controls a lot smoother, goes faster, and can traverse more terrain types. At least it’s shaped like a horse, lol. Anyways, this DLC pack is great addition to an already amazing game!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much as always my Champion! 😀 I had a lot of fun with the DLC. I had thought it was going to be some epic post-game finale, so in a way, it doesn’t match up to my hype, but looking back, new shrines and a dungeon are what I wanted more of anyway. It would have been great to have that alongside the story, but I still appreciate what we got with the Champions, whom are some of my favorite characters in the game. The Phantom Ganon Armor, along with the Master Cycle Zero, is such an awesome combination, though! I enjoyed just cruising through Hyrule whacking Bokoblins along the way haha!

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  2. Who says infinity can’t be reached?! Link pulled it off just fine right there.

    Anyway, Breath of the Wild is one of the best games of this decade. I’ll be looking forward to reviewing it once I’m done with the installments leading up to it. I’m also looking forward to delving into these DLC campaigns when I download it again on the Switch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, seeing that infinity always throws me off. So this Obliterator is supposed to be stronger than the Master Sword then? Scratch that, stronger than anything ever?

      Looking forward to seeing what you think of it all. I’m so happy that Breath of the Wild ended up being such a huge part of gaming history, and I hope it continues to mean big things for the series. I hope their next project goes beyond DLC too. Whatever Nintendo has cooking in development next, I eagerly await to know about it, even if it’s not open-world. I’d be interested in seeing a return to a more classic Zelda structure or even a massive 2D open-world Zelda.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Naturally! The Obliterator has infinite power; that’s at least twice as good as any finite power.

        Thanks. I know it will be an interesting one to research; Majora’s Mask certainly was. Breath of the Wild was an instance when the critics, who had been notorious for overhyping games throughout the 2010s, finally gave that treatment to a game that was every bit as good as they said.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m a fan of Infinity+1 myself hahaha. 😛

        I was definitely hyped for Breath of the Wild, but surprisingly not as much as I was for Super Mario Odyssey. So while I was excited, I wasn’t sure if I would like the open-world structure per se. Needless to say, I was addicted to the rich exploration BotW provided, and I’m glad that others shared that sentiment once they got to play it. It’s interesting that you bring up overhyping games this past decade. This year alone has built up a LOT of hype for many games that have received perfect or near perfect scores! I haven’t played every game, but for Nintendo’s 2017 heavy-hitters, I’d say that these standing ovations are well-deserved. This year has simply been phenomenal for games!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wanted to keep the One-Hit Obliterator! I’d rather have that than the motorcycle going through the world slaying lynels. For that part of the trials though, I just saved after each monster’s death to get through it. The new shrines were really fun! I just wish I got a total of 12 spirit orbs to max out my hearts. Being two away is better than three though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Oh my goodness, not filling up my hearts and stamina was perhaps my biggest surprise disappointment from the DLC! It’s set up so perfectly too. We have 16 shrines. Surely, 12 of them will give us spirit orbs. But nope, instead we only get 4. And the rest give us a third of a gift each whaaaaat? Hahaha! Honestly though, I’m just happy to have the shrines and dungeon, and perhaps Nintendo is just saving the last 8 orbs for future DLC. Just maybe.

      I do agree that the One-Hit Obliterator would be an excellent weapon to keep! Imagine playing the entire game with the Obliterator in Master Mode! On top of a motorcycle?! (playing card games too!). That’s clever what you did, though. I didn’t realize at the time that monsters were permanently defeated when I fought them. Instead, I was stressfully sniping enemies with my arrows for a full 20 minutes ha!

      I’m glad you had a great time with the shrines! Do you have a favorite? Mine was the big machine where the giant orb was falling down.

      Thanks again for your awesome comments, FELLOW AMBASSADOR! 😀

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  4. I don’t know…
    I love the zelda series, but I expected more from this DLC.
    The beginning part really irritated me and almost turned me off of the entire experience. I am currently trying to locate all of the different shrines right now and I’m just not feeling it anymore.
    I kinda wish they would have had you play as the different champions in order to learn more about them. I had the feeling that they lead us to believe this would happen when they first announced it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely wish there were more to the story, and I was actually thinking that the DLC would be as you described: playing as the Champions. I love the shrines and enjoyed the Divine Beasts in the core game, so I appreciated that the DLC is more of what I love. But if you grew tired of those from the original, then yes, this is literally just more in the truest sense. And yeah, the beginning was certainly frustrating for me too. That said, I did like the payoffs with the Champions by the end, and the new shrines and dungeon are among my favorites in the game. There’s certainly untapped potential that they probably will never get to regarding the Champions and postgame, but for what it is, I enjoyed my time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot my friend for your support as always! 😀 It’s not quite enough to fill a game, but it’s a good 20%, which isn’t bad considering the lower price. Now we just need DLC that adds Super Smash Bros. and Soul Calibur II to the Zelda timeline!

      Like

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