Adventurers, please stop what you’re doing. Unless what you’re doing is reading this post – and if you’re reading these words, that probably is what you’re doing since you don’t exactly find these things on accident. A horrible thing is about to happen and I might need your help to stop it.
I am about to play through Breath of the Wild for the second time.
I know, I know. I sound like a crazy person. I swore to myself I wouldn’t do this at least until the new story DLC around the holidays. Yet here I am, staring at my Switch and wondering what it would be like to bring it out of sleep and take on Calamity Ganon all over again in Master Mode.
It started with the latest DLC. There’s a few cute little unlocks you get, piddly stuff that’s more annoying than the reward is really worth. I mean, I’d say the Korok Mask might be an exception to that, but I don’t really love wandering around Hyrule Field trying to find buried treasure that simply amounts to equipment I cannot upgrade and will never wear. Despite not really enjoying that, there’s one part of the DLC I have dived in to and am really loving: the Trial of the Sword.
The Trial of the Sword is effectively Eventide Island on steroids. You are sent through a gauntlet of rooms with different types of enemies in different configurations, and your mission is to defeat them with nothing but your Sheikah Slate and the random nonsense you can scavenge from around the rooms. The Trial has three levels – Beginner, Middle, and Final – and completing each one increases the Master Sword’s attack power by 10 points, to a final level of 60 damage per strike. This means the sword is at full power without having to be near a Guardian or in the presence of Hyrule Castle.
It took me some time to really get a grasp on the Trial of the Sword, but once I did I haven’t been able to think about anything else. I want that fully-powered Master Sword, but for what – so I can defeat Bokoblins even faster? So that Lynels are even less of a problem? The Trials themselves are awesome and the reward you get for them is cool, but I just can’t imagine that there’s any part of this game that’s challenging enough for me to need a sword with 60 power.
Unless I boot up Master Mode.
If you aren’t familiar with the Master Mode DLC, it adds a new layer of challenge to the game by making a seemingly simple but still pretty drastic change – each enemy is increased by one level. Red Bokoblins are now Blue, Blue Bokoblins are Black, and so on. This creates a whole new level of enemy called “gold” enemies that have achieved a level of power never seen in a normal playthrough of Breath of the Wild. Any enemy with a color pattern can have a gold form – and that includes Lynels.
“Okay, so the bad guys change color, big deal.”
Actually, it IS a big deal. One level of difference makes all the difference in the world when it comes to HP. Take the bokoblins, for example. The red bokoblins you meet at the beginning of the game have 13 HP – one more than Link’s starting health meter. They take four to five hits with the basic, piddly kind of weapons you find lying around the Plateau. Blue bokoblins take that starting HP and multiply five and a half times for a base HP stat of 72. If you like me have already delved into the Trial of the Sword, you know how much of a pain it is to kill an enemy with 72 HP using only a sword or spear that does 7 damage per hit.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to get to is that while in the normal game mode there is absolutely no reason to finish all 120 shrines, collect as many Korok seeds as possible, or unlock the full power of the Master Sword, Master Mode might be a different story. In a world where gold Lynels run free and monsters can rain arrows upon you from the sky, the game could truly be challenging enough to where fully upgrading Link and his equipment would be necessary to success.
After playing Final Fantasy XV and Breath of the Wild back-to-back, I was pretty burnt out on open world games and haven’t wanted to touch one since March. But it’s July now and I’ve been enjoying some pretty linear experiences in the meantime (or games like ARMS where linearity and non-linearity aren’t really factors). Additionally, there aren’t any summer games coming out that I am interested in, so I won’t be picking up anything new until maybe late August. So now might be the ideal time for me to enjoy Breath of the Wild again, getting my Master Mode file ready for the new story DLC this holiday.
I guess you could say that I’m hearing the call of the wild!
So what about you, adventurers? Have you picked up the DLC for Breath of the Wild? Completed the Trial of the Sword? Attempted Master Mode? Let me know your own thoughts in the comments, and if you’ve already left a comment trying to talk me out of beginning this journey all over again, know that I wrote this post twelve hours ago and it is probably too late for me now. I can already feel myself reaching for the Joy Cons…