Alright, everyone. Here comes the Hyrule Warriors review. To start this off, I feel some of my gaming history should be put out there. First of all, I’m a big Legend of Zelda fan. I’ve played and beat most of the titles in the series and own most of them as well. I’m also familiar with the Dynasty Warriors series. I’ve been playing the series since the second game was released. I don’t jump in on every version of the game and it’s actually been awhile since I’ve played one. I’m thinking my last foray into the series was with Warriors Orochi or Dynasty Warriors: Gundam.
Now, as many of you may have heard or seen in trailers or other media, Hyrule Warriors is not the typical Zelda game. Instead, the game takes the world, characters and other themes from the Zelda series and combines them with the gameplay found in Dynasty Warriors. Being that this is a combination of two games, there are some changes made to the norms of the series.
The biggest change is the core gameplay. At its heart, Hyrule Warriors is all about hacking and slashing through countless enemies in an effort to push back an opposing army and claim victory. However, there are a few additions that make the game feel more like a Zelda title. This includes fighting bosses and using an item that they are weak against to to beat them, getting items from chests and more.
There are several characters available in Hyrule Warriors. This is actually a really awesome feature of the game as most Legend of Zelda titles restrict the player to playing only as Link. There are 13 playable characters in the game and Nintendo will be releasing three more later this month for free.
The character roster in Hyrule Warriors includes Link, Zelda, Sheik (Yes, they are two different characters), Fi, Agitha, Lana, Princess Ruto, Darunia, Impa, Midna, Ganondorf, Zant and Ghirahim. It’s a great cast of characters that stretches across several titles in the Legend of Zelda series and even adds a few new ones to the mix.
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While the game is filled with hacking and slashing, each of the characters have their own play style that keeps them from feeling the same as everyone else. The differences ranged from being able to summon giant books as Lana and smash enemies into them, to summoning extra power as Ganondorf for massive attacks that can wipe out hordes of enemies with ease.
While the characters do all have different attacks, the combos remain mostly the same. This means that players will spend a lot of time pressing the light attack button over and over again with the sporadic addition of a few heavy attacks and a special attack here or there. It can be a little repetitive at times, but not so much that it ruins the game.
Hyrule Warriors offer multiplayer so that two people can team up to take on enemy armies. The catch is that these two players must be in the same room together. That’s right, there is no online multiplayer for the game. This doesn’t bother me much as I prefer a good local multiplayer, but I can see how it wouldn’t sit well with some players.
One of the most interesting things that Hyrule Warriors does with its multiplayer is not forcing players to share a screen. Instead, the player using the GamePad will have their screen displayed on it and the other player will use the TV. I really enjoyed being able to have my own screen in a local multiplayer game and being able to carry it with me, but this doesn’t mean that it was problem free.
While playing Hyrule Warriors on the GamePad, I ran into several issues with a drop in frame rate. There were even times when the screen on the game pad would glitch out and leave me with a frozen image on half the screen while the other half worked just fine. These moments never lasted for more than a few seconds, but it was way too similar to when a game crashes to not freak me out. I even made sure to sit close to the Wii U in hopes that it was just an issue with how far the single was being sent, but it kept happening. I ran into this issue most when there were bosses or a lot of enemies on screen.
The story of Hyrule Warriors tells of a sorceress named Cia that guards the world from evil and doesn’t interact with the people. However, this changes when she falls in love with Link and darkness grips her heart. She starts a war to obtain the Triforce and make Link hers.
The story involves various levels of time travel and traversing parallel worlds to bring all the different character from the Legend of Zelda series together in one game. It’s a really simple story that just happens to be told with Zelda characters. Honestly, it’s a guilty pleasure as a Zelda fan that I enjoyed it as much as I did. However, players not familiar with the series won’t get as much out of it. Also, it’s worth noting that Hyrule Warriors is not a canon story in the official Zelda timeline.
After players have slugged their way through the story of Hyrule Warriors, they still have more to do. There are plenty of collectibles, including weapons, artwork and items for crafting, that can be obtained and the game also offers several different modes to play in. The most important of these is Adventure Mode.
Adventure mode has players navigating a grid-based version of the overworld map from the original Legend of Zelda. Each of the tiles in the grid holds a battle that can be fought and there are also rewards that can be obtained. The battles typically have a certain challenge for them to be completed and players are ranked on how well they did. Earning higher ranks in battles can unlock new parts of the map, extra items for characters and item cards.
Item cards are neat addition to Hyrule Warriors’ Adventure Mode and they really reward players who have played the original Legend of Zelda. Each item card represents an item that is available in the Zelda series. These cards can be used to unlock secrets in some of the tiles on the map. These secrets will unlock a new reward for the player that can be obtained by getting an A rank in the battle set in that square.
There are also several DLC packs that are coming out over the next few months. Obviously I can’t weigh in on them yet, but I wanted to make sure that Nintendo fans know that this doesn’t mean Hyrule Warriors is an incomplete game. All too often we see companies release games that feel half done and then get DLC shortly after their release. This isn’t the case this time around as Hyrule Warriors is a complete game that is sure to offer hours of entertainment to players.
The graphics in Hyrule Warriors are absolutely wonderful. Characters have detailed designs that are new, but still carrying the same feel as a Zelda game would. Preordering the game also got players an extra skin for Link and Zelda and registering the game with Club Nintendo unlocked two more for Ganondorf. Each of these skins are based off of the characters’ appearance in other games in the Zelda series and were a nice gift to fans.
Zelda fans will definitely love the audio in Hyrule Warriors. All of the classic sounds are in the game along with a lot of songs from various Zelda titles. One of my favorite parts of the music was the inclusion of heavy metal remixes of songs from other Zelda games. The game retains the Zelda tradition of no voice acting for characters, but it does have a narrator for story sequences, which allows players to avoid reading too much.
Overall, Hyrule Warrios is a great game. It’s obviously going to appeal to fans of the series more than anyone else, but Wii U owners without prior Zelda experience should definitely add it to their collections. It’s a fast, fun game that’s perfect to sit down and spend a few hours on with a friend or by yourself. The game does have its faults, but they aren’t enough to warrant skipping it.
Hyrule Warrios slashes its way to 4 GiN Gems out of 5!