Upon retrieving the Master Sword and journeying into the world, a voice will express itself within Link’s mind revealing to Link that the Master Sword is incomplete and that in order to imbue the sword with its true splendor, a trial has been imposed upon Link which he will need to overcome. The Trial of the Sword can be accessed where the Master Sword once rested. The challenge constitutes of a series of floors which Link will need to progress through by defeating all the enemies that reside within that floor. Each time all the enemies are cleared from the floor, Link is able to move on to the next floor. If Link dies during the Trial, the player has to redo the Trial right from the first floor and start over.
What makes the Trial of the Sword so challenging is that at the start of the Trial, Link is stripped of all his weapons, shields, bows, arrows, armor, champion abilities, materials and food. Apart from the runes, stamina and hearts Link has attained up to that point, the player has to completely fight their way through the floors with the items they procure during their descent and the skills they have tempered through their adventure. The finality nature of the Trial makes progressing through the floors extremely tense as you are cognisant of the health, weapons, arrows, materials and food exhausted through the battles on each floor. It is infuriating when death greets you and the Trial has be restarted, especially when you make it deeper into the Trial to the final few floors and a mistimed dodge or block spells your undoing. But despite how unforgiving the Trial can be, the experience is exhilarating. Having to overcome such a challenge primarily with the skills you have attained up to that point and the familiarity you have of the mechanics driving the battles on each floor, it creates a scenario where the player does feel that they are earning the right to wield the Master Sword and the power it will be awaken after the Trial.
Within the Trial of the Sword, there are three trial levels to clear – the Beginning Trials, the Middle Trials and the Final Trials. The player can only progress to the next difficulty trial after clearing the previous difficulty and as expected, with each progression of difficulty, the Trial attempted brings with it harder challenges and more unforgiving scenarios to test yourself on. For me, the most tense floors were the Hinox battle in the dark forest setting in the Middle Trial and the Lynel fights in the Final Trials. Battling a Hinox in the dark when one hit from it can kill Link really forces you to the edge of your seat during that experience and with the Lynel fights, they are always a challenge. That final level in the Final Trials though, what a complete riot. The player is thrown right into the deep end as they enter the level and while managing their focus on the fodder Bokoblins on horses and the Guardian Turret, they have to combat the White-Maned Lynel. It was a brutal experience the first time. Taking your eyes of the Lynel for a few seconds to focus on the Bokoblins was disastrous and so to was focusing on the Lynel and not focusing on the Bokoblins. I died during my first attempt. On my second attempt, in addition to my bombs to take care of the Bokoblins, I also used arrows to defeat them and Stasis to freeze the Lynel to temporarily to buy myself precious seconds. Hilariously, I never knew Ancient Arrows can one-hit kill organic targets. I knew they were powerful against the Guardians but given their rare nature, I never used them against Organic enemies up to that point. After mounting the Lynel and attacking it, I used the Ancient Arrow against it during the dismount and that one arrow completely annihilated it (well three arrows as the Savage Lynel bow equipped split that one arrow into three). Once the White-Maned Lynel was dealt with the rest of the Bokoblins and the Guardian Turret were straightforward to clear.
The feeling of clearing the Final Trails was rapturous. After having spent a good part of the past two days trying to clear the Trial of the Sword, it felt amazing having succeeded. And with the Trial of the Sword complete, I was rewarded with the awakened Master Sword with its true abilities unlocked. Apparently with the Master Sword’s true power awakened, it is now able to stay within its powered-up state permanently. I have yet to confirm that but to have a weapon that does not exhaust itself after a certain amount of uses, how exciting. I love the Master Sword and can’t wait to use it more going forward. What a blast the Trial of the Sword was.