So, ok. Hyrule Warriors came out a while ago (I mean sm4sh came out last week so it doesn’t even count as “new” any longer jkhsfa), but nonetheless I gotta sing its praises. I gotta write about this phenomenal game. It’s a good game, what else is there to say? So much. So, so much. Also before I begin this, let me tell you I’m a huge Zelda nerd. Everything I say is biased, but in the best manner. I JUST. I JUST LOVE AND ENJOY THE SERIES AND WANT YOU ALL TO DO THE SAME.
First off, the obligatory “what is Hyrule Warriors” question. I mean, it doesn’t follow the typical Zelda game formula of dungeons, overworld navigation, and puzzles. Though at the same time, it’s not the typical Dynasty Warrior formula of button smashing and more button smashing. The game is more or less a giant game of capture the flag. Keep your base safe while successfully taking control of the map while simultaneously trying to keep your army from losing their momentum and fighting enemies that come your way. On paper it doesn’t sound that exciting, though added with fast paced action, satisfying combos, epic boss battles, and phenomenal music, it makes for a deadly combo.
The game is admittedly a bit short story-wise, but what it doesn’t have in length it makes up with it through all the side things for you to do. Also, which game not only lets you play as Ganondorf, but lets you kick the hams off an army of endless Gorons. This game.
This game does. And it’s glorious.
The story follows Link, Zelda, Impa, and Lana in their quest to save Hyrule from the threats against the castle and the very kingdom. The game allows you to play through different places and times throughout the Zelda series including the out-of-timeline Hyrule Warriors universe, Twilight Princess’s twilight-ridden land, Skyward Sword’s Skyloft, and even Ocarina of Time’s probably base of Death Mountain (I mean seriously it’s really ambiguous). Though, of course, not fighting no game would be complete without the ability to plot and follow through with the downfall of Hyrule. And not only go through with it, but actively SEEK out the fall of the princess’s kingdom. At that moment, you ARE the evil ginger-locked magician. You NEED that kingdom to fall before your awesome might! And once it happens you realize…
It was you. You brought about the fall of the very kingdom you were so actively trying to protect throughout the entire game. That success and moment of pride is quickly diminished and you realize just what it is you’ve done. What you’ve done to the royal family and the entire kingdom…painful. Anyways, as I mentioned, you can play not only as Link, but as Impa, Sheik, Lana, Ganondorf and way more.
Each character you can play as has a special type of fighting ability and even though you end up playing through each level multiple times. The diversity and character weapons and even the speed, strength, and defense all vary which bring a fun new element to each level, especially when you’ve upgraded your characters enough to have each different combo and the ultimate attack. Not to mention wailing on enemies feels really good. There’s something about bashing hordes of enemies that makes you feel powerful and like nothing can stop you. Absolutely nothing. Not even the giant bosses that you face. And there are quite a few bosses throughout the game.
Ok, so the bosses! First we have your typical run-of-the-mill bosses that you’re used to seeing. The enemies that you need that super special item to beat. Yeah, we’re talking about the Queen Gohmas, the King Dodongos, and the Manhandla. Then we get the not-so-typical Argorok and even the huge The Imprisoned. The diversity is intense right? WELL WAIT A MINUTE THERE’S MORE. Because you’ll find yourself facing off not only against the characters that you know and love (such as Darunia, Lana, and even Princess Zelda herself), but also the new characters Wizaro and Volga. And let me tell you right now, they are BEAST. It’s amazing.
The skill level of facing these characters is definitely higher than the cannon fodder you typically face, though the payout and satisfaction is that much higher when you finally land the finishing blow. And then in certain levels, there are multi boss battles. So you’re there protecting your base, trying to gain control of most of the map, AND facing bosses that are going to destroy your entire army if you don’t get there fast enough. It’s enough to keep your heart pumping.
Speaking of heart pumping, there’s nothing more exciting than the music to really set the tone of the game. Like, seriously it reminds one of those remastered rock remixes of Zelda themes populating the internet, only these are official and these are enough to make anyone pee their pants it’s that amazing. Although the music is typically more hardcore than typical Zelda music, there’s still a nice diversity and I’ll find myself replaying a stage JUST so I can fight with that ambient music playing in the background (and ok I enjoy beating up Gorons, they’ve always just been really creepy to me).
Each piece of the story brings you to a different map which makes for plenty of diversity in the stages. In total there are 14 stages which many of which you can play as multiple players (and out of story mode you’re able to play with every character and it’s even encouraged). Each stage comes with its own requirements for completion, its own music, and different maps. That is fun, though in my opinion what is most fun is seeing the different areas of Hyrule in a new way. Yeah, we just witnessed Skyloft in all of it’s watercolor goodness, though we get to see it in a completely different form. Twilight Princess’s Palace of Twilight is remastered and gorgeous. No longer do we need to strain our eyes with GCN graphics. Although the gamecube is great, it’s always nice to see the areas in a new way. And the Sealed Grounds. Oh dear sweet Hylia, it’s gorgeous.
While the story is short, there’s plenty of replay value. Plus all the upgrades and different ways to play just through Story Mode. There’s an extra mode which plays with small missions you must complete. Yeah, ok. Big deal. HUGE DEAL. The entire map is a throwback to the old-school original Zelda game and your overworld character sprite is literally game sprites or recreated sprites from the NES days.
The controls are very straightforward and easy to pickup. Really as long as you know where the B button and Y button are, you’re pretty much safe. The only complaint really about the game is the way to switch out your items requires you taking your hand off the control stick and physically using the directional pad to change it up. Now, maybe it’s my tiny baby hands, but I found it to be a bit difficult to run around and change my item at the same time which often led to me getting punched or kicked or bit a few times.
With all the game’s content, how in the world could they POSSIBLY make it any better!? Why, adding DLC. While most DLC released in Japan hasn’t made it’s way state-side as of yet, there’s already $20 worth of preorder DLC available on the download shop. While most of the content is strictly for show, there’s the added addition of more fighters for you to play as. Mainly the three new characters added for the game: Cia, Wizaro, and Volga. And the added bonus of being able to get the special Dark Link skin if you preorder (for a slightly hefty price of $20 (WHICH I DID END UP BUYING DAY ONE…). But there’s just SO much that’s coming out, how in the world could you possibly just NOT buy it? That’s blasphemy. BLASPHEMY I SAY.
All in all, the game is a huge display of fanservice. There’s enough fanservice, in fact, to make any hardcore Zelda fan feel faint. Though after brushing aside the game’s obvious fanservice ways, there’s a genuinely fun and enjoyable game that any gamer, Zelda fan or otherwise, can easily enjoy and find themselves immersed in for hours at a time. While loving every minute of it. Even now while I’m writing this I’m trying my hardest not to just up and play more.
And as that concludes my review of Hyrule Warriors I hope anyone reading this is at least a bit more hyped over the game, especially considering Hyrule Warriors is officially a week old and considered old news due to the amazing SM4SH that’s out. Though still, to all the nay sayers, that brings a tear to my eye. Give the game a go at your local game shop and have yourself a grand old time