While powering through my stack of games that need finishing, I recently stumbled back upon Hyrule Warriors. As a huge Legend of Zelda fan, I sat and awaited its launch and here at Twinstick Gaming we do our best to bring you as much of the news as possible – even if its a little after launch!
When the game was initially released, I purchased it straight away and had fired the game up on launch day. I enjoyed my introduction into this seemingly bizarre mash up of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda universe and the Dynasty Warriors series.
But as many of you will be aware, lots of great games get released at once and sometimes priorities often shift. I wish I had stuck with Hyrule Warriors during my initial outing as going back to it and playing through it again has been incredible fun; it has been a game that I enjoyed more than I expected.
Fans of the Legend of Zelda series (such as myself) should be aware that the normal Zelda dungeons and puzzle’s are not present but this should not dissuade said fans from giving this title a play-through, as everyone will find this game to be exceptionally fun and entertaining with excellent pick up and play value. The format of hacking and slashing your way through hordes of foes and big bosses is the main game mechanic (pretty much the Dynasty Warriors formula for those of you familiar with that series). The game will see you face armies of various enemies, which Zelda fans will recognise from the numerous titles which have appeared in the franchises near 30 year history.
You will play as Link, Zelda, Sheik and many more – with weapons and items all familiar from Nintendo’s adventure series – in areas themed around Hyrule Castle, Death Mountain and beyond. The story revolves around our heroes attempting to defend the land of Hyrule against some familiar enemies and some original characters. The newer characters conceived for this title, will mean that some Zelda fans will have some issues getting their heads around them, as the character designs don’t typically suit or fit in to the regular world of Hyrule. Either way, the evil witch Cia (who is a new character to the world of Zelda) grows jealous of the love she can see growing between Link and Zelda, and intends to plunge the world in to one of darkness and take the Triforce for herself. It’s nothing overly complicated or Oscar winning but with a game such as this, the story doesn’t need to be anymore in depth than this, and you never really feel as though you are missing out. As the story progresses and you make your way through the various locations based on familiar and famous worlds, you will encounter plenty of infamous villains, which will all go towards the ever important fan service for us Zelda fans.
As previously mentioned, the gameplay could be seen as fairly simple but it is incredibly satisfying and somewhat rewarding to string your attacks together in to powerful combo’s and to watch as you decimate wave after wave of enemies. The game never really feels overly taxing however which is perhaps a downside to the title. I found myself progressing through the game at a very steady pace and never found myself stood, still scratching my head on what to do next or having to retry a particular battle due to my failure.
Boss battles do very little to remedy this issue and unfortunately feel as though they are more of a spectacle rather than a challenge to overcome. The gameplay style of Dynasty Warriors continues to ring true with the obvious approach of beating the enemy to a pulp with very little needed to do, to discover an enemies weakness and to then exploit in order to over through your foe. Bosses from the various Zelda titles do manage to retain their appearance though and the scale of the enemy is still present as bosses tend to be humongous and cover over vast areas of the battleground just as you would have encountered them in games such as Ocarina of Time or Skyward Sword.
The Legend of Zelda games are well known for their collectables element and each game has side quests collecting various things such as Poe Ghosts, fairies and Gold Skulltulas – of which make an appearance in Hyrule Warriors. In keeping with the theme from Zelda, defeating enough areas within a certain location of a battlefield will unlock a Gold Skulltula for you to find. The Skulltula is highlighted within a particular area of the map and when you arrive in the designated area, listening for the Skulltula to help you move closer to it and to finally snag the collectable.
One cannot help but commend the joint efforts of both teams for this gaming venture as the fan service continues to pile up. Dynasty Warriors incorporates the Zelda theme at every opportunity, as you open chests to acquire new weapons and items to help you on your quest. Music and sound effects all sound familiar and will fill you with nostalgia, such as the instantly recognisable chime when you open a chest and await your reward.
Hyrule Warriors is undoubtedly a pretty game and although I would not say it is a sneak preview of what a HD Legend of Zelda game will look like, it is great to see some of the beloved characters we have come to love over the years be given some next gen treatment with the usual trio of Link, Zelda and Ganondorf all looking outstanding and with a level of detail we have yearned to see for a long time. Also being a fan of co-op games (as demonstrated in our Kindergarten Co-op series) I was very excited to see that Hyrule Warriors would support 2 player co-op. Sadly, this is only local and although there are some great local multiplayer games out there, it would have been nice to have the option for online multiplayer. Local multiplayer co-op on Hyrule Warriors is fun but does have some issues with some frame rate problems and some graphical assets seeming to have taken a hit to compensate for two players at once even though one player will use the gamepad screen during play and the second player will use the TV.
People looking for replay value from Hyrule Warriors though may be sadly disappointed with not much to offer once the main story campaign has been finished aside from an Adventure mode which is set out in the traditional NES Legend of Zelda format and will have you fulfilling quests and fighting off designated enemies. Throughout the main game however, there is some depth to Hyrule Warriors in the form of a surprisingly complex levelling system. Unlocking of upgrades for your characters and weapons as you progress the campaign for defeating enemies and stages completed, can help to extend the life of the game. You can take up a fair amount of your time looking for ways to improve your load out and your characters. Hyrule Warriors may seem like Dynasty Warriors with a paint job, but it is much more than that. Hyrule Warriors is a game with a soul and does a great job of throwing followers and non-followers of the Zelda series in to the world of Hyrule and will keep those followers smiling and the non followers happy to be a part of a game series they perhaps would never have tried or simply don’t normally enjoy.
Zelda fans will undoubtedly be impressed with every bit of Zelda material they will come across no matter how big or small. From Navi giving you hints and gameplay advice with her infamous “Hey, Listen!” line, to the numerous tunes and tones such as the Legend of Zelda main theme, or the various weapons and of course the characters. Hyrule Warriors is a fantastic Legend of Zelda experience. Made simple – but insatiably fun, which will put a smile on your face and will leave you wanting to go back to decimate one more army with satisfying ease (like some kind of green hat wearing Chuck Norris).