Post Game Wrap-up: Hyrule Warriors

Posted: January 23, 2016 in Current Gaming, Post Game Wrap-up
Tags: , , , , ,

Hyrule Warriors - Title

First off, I have never played a Dynasty Warriors title, so when Hyrule Warriors was announced as a sort of hybrid of the two franchises, I literally had no clue what to expect. As more trailers and gameplay segments were released though, it continued to pique my interest, and I ultimately ended up owning it (Thanks, Christmas!). The question is, does it hold up well in the Zelda franchise?

The Set-up:
You are Link…well, initially you are Link. You will eventually be Impa, Zelda, Midna, Ruto, and a whole other cast of characters from all walks of the Legend of Zelda games. An evil force has invaded Hyrule, and you, along with the other good guys, begin a journey to stop it in its tracks. Along with the numerous familiar heroes you’ll control, there are also an equal number of villains that make an appearance, ranging from the “big guys” such as Ghirahim, to more minor foes such as Dodongo and Lizalfos. Each character has a different weapon to use (along with upgrades and weapon augments), and attacks vary, meaning that there is some variety in the combat, which is crucial since this game is VERY combat-centric.

Hyrule Warriors - Enemies

Maybe they just want to talk.

The Story:
The game begins with a large army invading Hyrule in an effort to take Hyrule Castle. The army is led by Cia, a new character, and her generals Volga, a flame-breathing dragon warrior, and Wizzro, an annoying as hell purple clad wizard, reminiscent of the Wizzrobes from the original Legend of Zelda (who were probably his inspiration). Cia is a sorceress, and guardian of the Triforce, maintaining balance. For reasons that aren’t initially clear, she has abandoned her post and is seeking to overtake Hyrule. Link, a trainee in the Hyrulean army, joins the battle, only to discover he possesses the Triforce of Courage.

In spite of a valiant effort, and a victorious battle with the giant Dodongo, Zelda is found to be missing at the conclusion of the battle. Impa asks for Link’s assistance in finding her, and they then journey throughout Hyrule, meeting up with the mysterious Sheik (we all know Sheik is Zelda by now, so don’t pretend that’s a surprise) and Lana, another sorceress from the same clan as Cia, only serving the side of good, assisting Link and Impa in their battles.

The story deepens when Cia opens a Time Portal to different eras of Hyrule, bringing the villains of those eras to her side. However, when these are opened, heroes from those eras arrive as well, assisting Link, Impa, Sheik, and Lana. Deepening this game’s ties to the Zelda franchise, each character is encountered in their specific era. For example, both Midna and Zant are encountered during a battle on the Twilight Field and Palace of Twilight maps. It’s obvious that great care was taken when designing the story to treat these characters with respect, and remain true to each of their origins.

Hyrule Warriors - Imprisoned

True to his original appearance, the Imprisoned is just as aggravating here as in Skyward Sword.

Much to my surprise, I felt that the story of Hyrule Warriors was quite strong, more in depth than many of the main entries’ stories, frankly. It wasn’t one dimensional, or straight-forward, but revealed a bit more with each battle you complete. This doesn’t mean that it stands up beside narrative powerhouses such as NIER or a Final Fantasy entry, but for a game that is, at its heart, a hack-n-slash, it was impressive that a cohesive story exists at all.

The Gameplay:
This game is most definitely a hack-n-slash title. You take control of a character, attack hordes of enemies with your weapon, rinse and repeat. This sounds boring and redundant, but it is spiced up with the inclusion of secondary weapons such as the boomerang, bombs, and bow & arrow. Fortunately, most enemies are taken down in one or two attacks, so you never feel overwhelmed, despite being attacked by hundreds of enemies. Harder enemies will require some strategy to take down, mainly consisting of dodging attacks, and waiting for a weak point gauge to be revealed. Reduce this to trigger a stronger attack with your character. Most bosses can only be harmed via this method. It must be noted that some characters have multiple weapons to choose from for each stage, and stronger versions of those weapons can be collected by defeating enemies.

One last element added to spice up the gameplay is the collection of items, much like the collection process in Skyward Sword. Collect a certain number of particular items, and you can unlock, or buy, various upgrades that increase attack power, add the ability to use health potions, strengthen secondary weapon attacks, etc… This is both fun to use and tedious at the same time. Some needed items are only dropped by bosses, and completing a level just to not receive the item you were after can be aggravating.

Hyrule Warriors - Strategy

Pictured: Strategy

Now, so far I’ve only spoken of the story mode (which includes free-play of levels once they are completed, with other characters). Also included are challenge maps (some are DLC only) that appear as overworld maps in the style of the NES Legend of Zelda. Each square has certain rules or requirements that make each battle unique. These can be very short, or as long as a story level. To unlock adjacent level blocks, you must achieve a certain ranking (bronze/silver/gold) in the current level. Again, the ranking is based on differing factors (enemies killed and time in story mode, any number of factors on the challenge maps). These maps unlock stronger weapons, different outfits, and even some new characters you may play as, so I never considered them optional in the slightest, though I imagine some people will.

Hyrule Warriors is most definitely not for everyone. I can deal with redundant combat and levels, so I quite enjoyed the game, but if you prefer variety, such as you would find in the Arkham games, this is not the game for you. But then, this game doesn’t ever apologize for what it is. It is very much what you see is what you get. You’re never fooled into thinking that you’re getting a full-fledged Zelda adventure. This is a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda skin. At the end of the day, it appealed to my love of the hack-n-slash genre and my need to collect as much as possible in a game. There is also an odd benefit to a game such as this. It’s the type of game you can take a break from for weeks, then fall right back into. There are no complex button sequences to memorize, or the risk of forgetting where you are in the story and where you should go next. Again, this will be frowned upon by some, but I rather liked that aspect. Is this a great Legend of Zelda game? No, but it never really tries to be like other Zelda games. When judged by its own standards and not against the Legend of Zelda franchise, I think it stands up as a very good game.

Hyrule Warriors - Chickens

The game clearly takes itself very seriously.

  1. Mike_Scorpio says:

    I love this review, in-depth yet to the point and of course, Hyrule Warriors is a pretty sweet game 😉

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