I have never played a Dynasty Warriors game or any of its off-shoot variants. Really I had no desire to, especially hearing most people say that all you do is “press x” and wade there tons of enemies. However if you want me to buy anything all you have to do is slap a Nintendo theme on it, especially something related to the Legend of Zelda. So I’ve been pretty jazzed about this game ever since it was announced and through all of the Nintendo Direct videos they have shown. Surprisingly enough it actually delivered on everything I hoped it would be.
What’s it like?
In Hyrule Warriors, and what I can only assume is every other “warriors” game, you do run around mashing an attack button and wading through a multitude of mindless enemies. You do, however, also get some other combo attacks but they aren’t anything too complex to pull off. It’s pretty much variations on press B and Y multiple times. It’s seems simple but it does make remembering specific combos across all of the characters very manageable. Like I have a pretty good idea what B-B-B-Y does on every character.
So you run around hacking through all of these dudes and regardless of what your goal is it will usually boil down to capturing keeps or killing specific guys. The maps are spread out with multiple keeps and outposts that generate units. To capture an oupost you kill its captain and to capture a keep you need to first take out a multitude of the smaller units and then take out the captain when it appears. The little guys like soldiers, bokoblins, and stalchildren wont really bother you at all. What they will do is overwhelm your keeps and cost you map control, so that’s why they need to be put down. The guys that will give you trouble are the larger dudes, specifically anybody that you can lock-on. Depending on what army you are fighting it could be anything from a goron, stalfos, or poe. Then there are specific characters you will encounter from the Zelda series. In the story mode the good guys are mostly on your team but throughout the entire game you will face Darunia, Impa, Shiek, Link, Ganon, Zant, etc. Pretty much everyone of them is also a playable character or probably will be in DLC. There are also several large boss fights which are really cool and add some nice diversity to the game.
Is there a story?
There actually is a story and it’s fairly interesting. I thought this would be some non-canonical off-shoot from the series but it actually works surprisingly well within the Zelda universe. You encounter familiar characters from the Zelda series as a whole as well as specific characters from Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword as well as locations unique to each game. Noticeably Majora’s Mask, my favorite, is missing and none of the characters or levels are represented here. Hopefully that gets remedied in future DLC. My fan boy indignation aside, it’s actually really interesting and you even get to play as the bad guys at some point.
Can you get upgrades?
Your character does level up but that really only means an increase to your base damage and possibly some increased health. You specifically upgrade your character with different materials that you acquire from defeating foes. They come in varying forms of rarity and there is a lot of them. You use them, along with rupees, to add upgrades to your character in the form of badges. Basically it’s a skill tree, actually three, and the upgrades increase your defense, add combos, and give you other combat perks.
Weapons also can be found when defeating enemies. Each character starts with a specific weapon and you will only see variations of those weapons drop. They can have varying damage, slots, and skills attached to them. In order to get better weapons you need to acquire a higher level upgrade to that weapon type. So until Link gets his level 2 sword upgrade only level 1 swords will drop, etc. When weapons have empty slots you can take them to the forge and combine them with other weapons.So say Sword B does more damage than your old Sword A but you want to keep the still attached to sword A. Luckily Sword B has an empty slot so you take it to the forge, pay some rupees, and pick a skill from Sword A to combine into Sword B. You know reading that back it all sounds more confusing than it really is.
So wait, there are MULTIPLE weapons? For each character?!
Yes! Well, sort of. Most characters will only have their one weapon style that can be upgraded over time. However characters like Link, Zelda, Impa, and the new character Lana have multiple weapon types. So Link can used his traditional Sword & shield or go with a fire rod or even powerful gauntlets. Zelda can use a rapier and the Wind Waker and Lana gets a neat sorcery book and an awesome staff/spear that summons Deku related attacks. It’s all really cool stuff and being able to use different types of weapons on the same character is awesome. Link obviously gets the most choices, ending up with something like 4 or 5.
What about classic Zelda items and sub-weapons?
Several of classic items in Links arsenal are also present in Hyrule Warriors. Namely the bombs, hookshot, bow, and boomerang. I found most of them to be kind of useless but you can find powerups on the battlefield that temporarily increased their potency like giving you a GIANT bomb, a multishot bow, tornado boomerang, and a hookshot that pulls down the Moon from Majora’s mask. Oh right, there’s the MM reference… Even so I found that I only really used these in the situations that actually require that you use them, like when it is needed to reveal an enemy weakness and so on. Still pretty cool, though.
So what else is there to do?
The main story mode, which I believe is known as Legend Mode, has a bunch of levels in it and three different difficulty levels, along with an additional fourth that you can unlock. Each level also has heart pieces for specific characters along with Gold Skulltulas that only show up when you kill 1000 enemies, plus even more show up in hard mode once you beat the game for the first time. Aside from all of that there is a very interesting Adventure mode. It takes place on the Hyrule map from the original Zelda game and each of the selectable squares is a different mission. This is the mode that you will need to play to find weapon upgrades, new weapon types, addition hearts and skulltulas and even a few hidden characters. Sometimes you get a reward for just completing a mission and other times you will need to beat it with a gold rating to get one of the rewards. Rewards can also be hidden and require a compass item to locate and then the use of a specific item to reveal them. Only then can you acquire them in the mission. It’s actually a lot of fun and pretty challenging. Right now I’m trying to tackle the map and it’s a lot harder than I thought
So should I get this?
Well, if all of this sounded good to you then yeah, go for it. I really enjoy it and there’s already plans for additional content spread out until sometime in March next year. There’s actually a season pass available now and it was the first season pass I every bought without batting an eye, which is pretty interesting since the whole concept of season pass dlc greatly irritates me. I just couldn’t help myself when I saw that if you get the season pass you get a Dark Link skin right now. I mean, who could possibly resist that?