Published on January 17th, 2015 | by octaneblue3
Review: Hyrule Warriors
Developer(s): Omega Force, Team Ninja
Publisher(s): Nintendo (NA, EU), Koei Tecmo (JP)
Platforms(s): Wii U
Release Date(s): September 26, 2014
Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series and the gameplay of Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors combine in Hyrule Warriors, an engaging action title on the Wii U. Developed by Omega Force and Team Ninja, Hyrule Warriors is not the first instance that the Zelda franchise has been handled by a third-party; Flagship handled past games in the series such as Four Swords, the Oracle duo, and The Minish Cap. However, any fears about the quality of this Zelda spin-off should be put to rest, because the game has some great qualities that make it worth checking out! Read on for my full review of Hyrule Warriors!
In Hyrule Warriors, Link is a soldier in the Hylian army. However, due to the presence of evil forces invading not just various areas of Hyrule, but also different settings across space and time, Link, as well as other familiar faces such as Zelda, Impa, Darunia, Midna, etc. must join together to take on the villains and their army. Hyrule Warriors features over a dozen different playable characters, mainly ones from Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. There are also some original characters too, such as the playful sorceress Lana and the dark and sinister Cia. What’s great is that all of the playable characters are completely unique; there are no “clone” characters here, so you’ll get a different experience playing as each warrior. And not only that, but some characters can equip different weapons; each one of those plays differently from one another as well, so there’s a massive amount of variety in this game.
The graphics in the game are a bit of a mixed bag. The character models look great and the animations are fluid. However, it’s the environments and effects that don’t look that great. The textures in most of the levels are not that great, looking like something from last-gen. The framerate is decent, usually staying steady even when there’s lots of action on-screen. However, the framerate is noticeably bad during co-op play – more on that later. The music is great, mostly standard Dynasty Warriors-type music. Basically, most of the background music consists of fast, metal tracks, with some remixes of classic Zelda themes but also some original tunes too. All of the music fits in perfectly with the environments. However, if that kind of music isn’t your thing, you probably won’t like the soundtrack of Hyrule Warriors. But I personally dug the fast-paced music going into battles.
As previously noted, this game is more of a Dynasty Warriors game than a traditional Legend of Zelda title. So because of that, there is more button-mashing action and very little exploration and puzzle-solving, two elements synonymous with nearly every Zelda game. Instead, like in Dynasty Warriors, you’ll essentially taking part in massive battles that feature thousands of small enemies, along with some larger enemies and their commanders, who are generally other playable characters. There are some battles against huge bosses as well. Mission objectives vary, but most of them ultimately require taking enemy bases, making sure that certain NPC allies are safe, and defeating a certain enemy target, all while racking up KO’s and avoiding taking damage.
The game’s Legend Mode is essentially its story mode. Here, you’ll start off as Link, but you’ll eventually meet up with other allies throughout each chapter. And this is how you’ll unlock a majority of the characters, as well as some weapons too. The chapters will eventually branch out from one another, but you’re free to replay chapters as you’d like after completing them. After completing the first chapter, you can play any of them in local co-op mode (more on this later). The story lasts for about 10 hours your first time through. This is relatively shorter than some would expect from Zelda games, but don’t worry – there is a ton of content in this game.
Besides the Legend Mode, the game features an Adventure Mode. In this mode, a map, which resembles the original Legend of Zelda game, is laid out, and each tile features a mission with a specific objective. There are a massive amount of missions to do in this mode, and certain playable characters and different weapon types must be unlocked by going through specific missions. As you complete each mission, you’ll get a ranking based on your performance, which generally includes your KO count, time taken, and damage taken. If you get an A ranking, you’ll get the reward indicated on the map screen, which includes weapons, Heart Containers, etc. High rankings will also allow you to move on to the surrounding areas on the map. You can also earn items that are required to get certain rewards or move on to places on the map. For instance, in some missions, you’ll receive a Candle. This is used to burn trees on the map screen to unlock rewards for missions. There’s also a Compass that can scope out hidden areas in each panel on the map. Going through this mode is very addictive, considering this is where most of the unlockables are found. You’ll actually spend more time here than in the Legend Mode.
There’s also a Challenge Mode, which involves going through a stage and completing a gauntlet of objectives. Unfortunately, as of this writing, there is only one stage, making this mode rather pointless. In addition, there is a gallery in which you can view character models, listen to music tracks from the game, as well as view collected art pieces.
Hyrule Warriors features a massive amount of replay value. As previously noted, the Adventure Mode hosts a ton of unlockable content. And it’s safe to say that Hyrule Warriors is one of the best co-op experiences on the Wii U. Every single mode in the game is playable with a friend via local co-op. The game is incredibly fun with a partner, with one player using the GamePad as their own screen, while the other player uses a different controller, such as a Wii U Pro Controller or Wii Remote & Nunchuck. It’s worth noting that the frame rate can get pretty bad when a lot of action is going on. It’s extremely noticeable, but doesn’t make the game unplayable. It can get annoying sometimes though, especially when you’re trying to rack up KO’s against large groups of enemies.
The game supports DLC, which expands the game by offering a mix of new content, including new Adventure Mode maps, costumes, weapons, and playable characters. A Season Pass is available, which will allow you to download the game’s three planned DLC packs at a discount. Because these DLC packs offer a lot of new content for fans, it’s recommended to check them out if you enjoy the game.
Hyrule Warriors is a mash-up of two franchises that was rather unexpected, but the developers made it work. But keep in mind that this is not your standard Zelda game, but is an over-the-top action title with crazy battles instead. If that sounds appealing to you, check out Hyrule Warriors. With a massive amount of replay value and entertainment, simplistic gameplay, Hyrule Warriors is recommended to owners of a Wii U.
+ Massive cast of playable characters
+ Huge amount of replay value
+ Excellent co-op
– Poor frame rate when there’s too much on-screen
– Not for all Zelda fans