Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity goes far beyond fanservice

Right away, you have to say the obvious: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity it is not Breath of the Wild. That said, the developers managed to give a climate and a signature to the game. In addition, they were able to tie their story competently. Also, he could, they were inspired by one of the best games of the decade.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we have to admit that the musou format wedding and a plot based on a prequel to The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild it was great. For those who are not very familiar with the Warriors franchise, a simple explanation is to say that it is a style of hack’n’slash in which you control a powerful mega hero against true multitudes of enemies.

The franchise Dynasty Warriors has sold more than 20 million copies and has a series of spin-offs related to other famous brands, such as: Persona, Gundam and The Legend of Zelda itself. This is the third time that Koei Tecmo has adapted a Nintendo franchise for the musou genre. All of them, inclusive, are available on the Switch. Before Age of Calamitywe had Fire Emblem Warriors – which transports the famous characters from Intelligent Systems’ tactical RPG to the format – and a port of the first Hyrule Warriors, one of the rare bestsellers of the (misunderstood) Wii U.

In general, these Koei Tecmo adaptations are games with a lot of fanservice and little substance. However, Age of Calamity it is a clear exception. After all, as the trailer says: Hyrule’s story merges with that of Calamity Ganon. I think you are now ready to know what happened a hundred years ago …

A Link with the past

In Age of Calamity we know a little more about how Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urbosa, the so-called champions of Hyrule. It is interesting to understand a little more about the relationships between the characters that only appear in memories in Breath of the Wild.

It is possible to play with Zelda, Impa and several other characters in Age of CalamityIt is possible to play with Zelda, Impa and several other characters in Age of CalamitySource: Reproduction / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

It is still an original tale with more space for supporting stories – like Impa, Shaka, Robbie, Purah and others. And that is one of the points where the proposal of a Warriors fit perfectly. Untold stories make Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity have a soul of their own.

Add to that the visuals with graphics in the same style as the Nintendo Switch masterpiece and a soundtrack with a series of themes inspired by the songs of Breath of the Wild. With the help of well-designed scenes, we have an excellent setting as a business card. Besides, of course, the main argument for any fan of Zelda. Explain what the hell happened in the 100-year war before the first game released on the Switch.

BotW’s freedom experience is replaced by more restricted maps, as in any style game. On the other hand, the game’s plot provides enough justification for you to stay “on the map”. If in Breath of the Wild there is an almost contemplative atmosphere of rediscovery of Link’s memories. In Age of Calamity, there is no time to lose and the action is constant.

In the mood of Hyrule

In the game, you take turns among a series of characters battling hordes of monsters of various types on given maps. Despite not reinventing the genre, Age of Calamity was clearly careful to include some of the franchise’s trademarks, with surprises hidden in each stage and small puzzles that reward exploration. You can collect korok seeds spread across all scenarios, for example.

Four things we can confirm:

  • Some of the boss battles are epic – with the most diverse creatures from Hyrule

  • The cast of playable characters is plentiful – and goes beyond those advertised

  • Controlling divine beasts is fun – nothing more

  • There are very important new characters in the plot

There are still other nods to places that were destroyed during the conflict. The most attentive will be able to stop and enjoy a bit of the desolate landscapes in Breath of the Wild. For those who do not care so much about this immersion in history, the game is always a good excuse to control Link, Zelda and others down the batten in the show.

Like all good muses, in Hyrule Warriors you will add hundreds of KOsLike all good muses, in Hyrule Warriors you will add hundreds of KOsSource: Reproduction / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

We are the champions

The mechanics of the game are not unlike any hack’n’slash: you develop combos with different variations between weak and strong strokes. Complete the special bar and sweep hundreds of opponents off the map with one stroke. It is still possible to use the runes learned in the sheikah slate, adding a layer of strategy for disputes against captains and bosses.

The feeling of being a powerful mighty champion is very good. Few things are more fun than lining up a bunch of Moglins while surfing on a shield. Or to hit one of Urbosa’s lightning bolts to defeat the Yiga clan Don’t you believe it? Check it out with us on the replay:

Here it is necessary to bow to the Koei Tecmo developers who managed to make the experience rewarding and even strategic in Age of Calamity. Mipha, for example, is extremely fast and light. Daruk is the opposite, heavy and slow. You can feel it both in the special moves and in the movement of the characters.

Of course, there is always a counterpoint: using just one character can make gambling repetitive soon. To remedy this situation, it is possible to use rupees to level up some of the characters. Thus, they will always be ready to enter the beating.

There is no shortage of options to customize LinkThere is no shortage of options to customize LinkSource: Reproduction / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

There is also a weapon fusion mechanic and the possibility to wear different armor, but nothing that requires so much attention from players. The “Link Masterchef” is also back in a simpler version: it is possible to cook before each level and perform a lot of small quests to win more hearts and unlock new combos.

Sacred monsters

Another new mechanics of Age of Calamity is the possibility of playing with the so-called Divine Beasts. These legendary giants are controlled by the champions of Hyrule and appear to save the day when on missions that help to slightly change the focus of battles.

After a dozen hours of gameplay, I don’t highlight any of the maps played with the divine beast. In general, these are cool moments, but little inspired by complexity. Anyway, the addition of these Hyrule megazords is very welcome.

Age of Calamity it is full of little “tricks” that are familiar to players of the original game, such as using the paraglider to evolve on the map. Even so, the creative way these new features are presented in the game surprises and leaves the impression that the title is much more The Legend of Zelda than an entry in the Warriors series.

As the story evolves, the demands become more complex and require more attention and strategy.

Nintendo Switch, a little warrior

If you played the demo you may have had a bad impression due to some slowdowns at Hyrule Field. In subsequent maps and during much of the game, this impression is dispersed. This does not mean that the performance of Age of Calamity be brilliant. Keeping the look rich in detail and mixing it with the musou genre was a bold choice.

Hyrule Warriors content complements Breath of the Wild Ballad of Champions DLCHyrule Warriors content complements Breath of the Wild Ballad of Champions DLCSource: Reproduction / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

It is possible to observe drops in the frame rate and even items loading while you run through the maps of this version of Hyrule. In the cooperative mode, this type of situation is even more apparent. This type of problem is more common in times with lots of light, special moves and some more open areas of the map. In defense of Hyrule Warriors, you can tell that the Switch hardware is very busy with a lot of things going on – and it does it successfully a lot of the time.

During the review, charging times both in portable mode and with the console in the dock were quite a few seconds.

Anyway, it is still a point that stands out. Especially when the new generation promises 4K graphics running at 60 frames per second. Do not be alarmed, there is no lack of fun and even beautiful maps and running in a pleasant way Age of Calamity.

Chaos and calamity in Hyrule

You have to be honest, like every game in the franchise Warriors, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity it can become quite repetitive and, therefore, bore those who do not like the genre hack’n’slash or similar. In addition, maps deliver a few different goals during the campaign. On the other hand, the strategy options shine through the different phases. The maps have a “face of Zelda“and encourage players to take advantage of the best features of the rich cast of playable characters.

Age of Calamity shows how things got to Breath of the WildAge of Calamity shows how things got to Breath of the WildSource: Reproduction / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo

Add to that the fact that boss battles can capture some of the most fun Breath of the Wild. Who doesn’t feel like a sacred video game monster when defeating a Lynel or a Hinox? This is just one example of how the atmosphere of the Switch masterpiece is present in the game produced by Koei Tecmo.

Speaking of this intimate relationship, the story gives reasons for fans of the series to get excited about memorable moments. Age of Calamity it is a perfect marriage between plot and fun. Mainly, because the game has a reason to exist and it doesn’t sound like a generic fanservice, like the original Hyrule Warriors.

In recent times, Nintendo has shown itself to be slightly more open about dealing with some of its most valuable franchises – with all the positives and negatives of this type of relationship. If, on the one hand, we see a lower performance and level of polish than we are used to with Big-N products, it is interesting to note the identity of these games in unusual formats.

That said, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is competent in what it proposes and deserves a place on the shelf among other good titles in the franchise The Legend of Zelda. The prequel should guarantee several hours of fun this year on your Switch. And keep the franchise hype up there until we have more news about the sequel to Breath of the Wild, announced in 2019.

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Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was kindly provided by Nintendo to carry out this analysis.

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