Right away, it is necessary to state the obvious: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity it is not Breath of the Wild. That said, the developers managed to give the game its own mood and signature. In addition, they were able to competently tie their story together. Also, maybe, they were inspired by one of the best games of the decade.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s got to be admitted that the wedding format was mused and a plot based on a prequel to The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild it was brilliant. For those who aren’t very familiar with the Warriors franchise, a simple explanation is to say that it’s a style of hack’n’slash in which you control a mega powerful hero against veritable crowds 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 himself. This is the third time that Koei Tecmo has adapted a Nintendo franchise to the musou genre. All of them, inclusive, are available on the Switch. Before Age of Calamity, we had Fire Emblem Warriors – which transports the famous characters from Intelligent Systems’ tactical RPG into the format – and a port of the first Hyrule Warriors, one of the rare bestselling hits of the (misunderstood) Wii U.
In general, these Koei Tecmo adaptations are games with a lot of fanservice and little substance. Nonetheless, Age of Calamity is a clear exception. After all, as the trailer says: Hyrule’s story blends with that of Calamity Ganon. I think you are now ready to learn 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’s interesting to understand a little more about the relationships between the characters that only appear in memories in Breath of the Wild.
It is still a tale of origin with more space for supporting stories – such as Impa, Shaka, Robbie, Purah and others. And this is one of the points where the proposal of a Warriors fit perfectly. Untold Stories Do Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity have a soul of its own.
Add to that the visual with graphics in the same style as the masterpiece of Nintendo Switch and a soundtrack with a series of themes inspired by the songs of Breath of the Wild. With the help of well-crafted scenes, we have an excellent setting as a visiting 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 Switch.
BotW’s freedom experience is replaced by more restricted maps, as in every game of the style. On the other hand, the game’s plot provides enough justification for you to stay “inside the map”. if in Breath of the Wild there is an almost contemplative atmosphere of rediscovering Link’s memories. In Age of Calamity, there is no time to waste and the action is constant.
in the Hyrule climate
In the game, you take turns with a series of characters battling hordes of monsters of different types on specific maps. Despite not reinventing the genre, Age of Calamity It was clearly careful to include some of the franchise’s trademarks, with surprises hidden in each level 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 what’s 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 more attentive will be able to stop and enjoy a bit of landscapes that are desolate in Breath of the Wild. For those who are not so keen on this immersion in history, the game is always a good excuse to control Link, Zelda and others down the slat in the monstraiada.
we are the champions
The game mechanics are not much different from any hack’n’slash: you develop combos with different variations between weak and strong hits. Complete the special bar and sweep hundreds of opponents from the map with just one hit. It is still possible to use the runes learned in the sheikah slate, adding a layer of strategy to the contests against captains and bosses.
The feeling of being a very powerful champion is very good. Few things are more fun than lining up a bunch of Moglins surfing a shield. Or to hit one of Urbosa’s lightning bolts to defeat the Yiga clan Don’t you believe? Check with us on the replay:
Use Urbosa’s unique ability by pressing the ZR button to charge up her lightning! If you time it just right at the end of certain attacks, you’ll quickly charge her lightning faster than usual. #HyruleWarriors #Zelda pic.twitter.com/FogsRQzYCR
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) November 9, 2020
Here one must bow to the developers at Koei Tecmo who managed to make the experience rewarding and even strategic in Age of Calamity. Mipha, for example, is extremely fast and lightweight. 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’s always a counterpoint: using just one character can make the game repetitive soon. To remedy this situation, it is possible to use rupees to level up some of the characters. That way, they will always be ready to join the fray.
There is also a weapon fusion mechanic and the possibility to wear different armors, but nothing that demands so much attention from the players. “Link Masterchef” is also back in a simpler version: it’s possible to cook before each level and perform a lot of small quests to earn more hearts and unlock new combos.
Another new mechanic from Age of Calamity is the possibility to play 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 shift the focus of battle a bit.
After a dozen hours of gameplay, I don’t highlight any of the maps played with the divine beast. In general, they are cool moments, but not very inspired by the complexity aspect. Anyway, the addition of these Hyrule megazords is very welcome.
Age of Calamity it’s full of little “tricks” that are familiar to players of the original game, like using paraglider to evolve across the map. Even so, the creative way in which 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 demand more attention and strategy.
Nintendo Switch, a little warrior
If you played the demo you may have been left with a bad impression due to some slowdowns at Hyrule Field. On subsequent maps and throughout most of the game, this impression is dispelled. This does not mean that the performance of Age of Calamity be brilliant. Keeping the look rich in detail and blending it with the muse genre was a bold choice.
It’s possible to observe drops in frame rate and even items loading as you run through the maps of this version of Hyrule. In cooperative mode, this type of situation is even more apparent. This type of problem is more common in times with lots of lighting, special moves and some more open areas of the map. in defense of Hyrule Warriors, you can say that the hardware of the Switch it gets pretty busy with a lot of things happening – and it does it successfully a lot of the time.
During the review, loading times both in portable mode and with the console in the dock were quite a few seconds.
Anyway, it is still a point that catches the eye. Especially when the new generation promises 4K graphics running at 60 frames per second. Don’t be scared, there’s no shortage of fun and even pretty maps that run smoothly in 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 can become a bit repetitive and therefore boring anyone who doesn’t like the hack’n’slash genre or similar. Also, maps deliver a few different objectives during the campaign. On the other hand, the strategy options shine through the different phases. Maps have a “face of Zelda” and encourage players to take advantage of the best features of the rich cast of playable characters.
Add to that the fact that boss battles can capture some of the funniest spots in Breath of the Wild. Who out there didn’t feel like a real sacred video game monster when defeating a Lynel or a Hinox? This is just one example of how the atmosphere of the masterpiece of Switch is present in the game produced by Koei Tecmo.
Speaking of this intimate relationship, the story gives reasons why fans of the series were excited about memorable moments. Age of Calamity it’s a perfect marriage of plot and fun. Mainly because the game has a reason to exist and doesn’t sound like a generic fanservice like the original Hyrule Warriors.
In recent times, Nintendo has been slightly more open about dealing with some of its most valuable franchises – with all the positives and negatives of that kind 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 observe the identity of these games in unusual formats.
That said, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is competent at what he 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 in your Switch. And keep the franchise hype up there while we don’t have more news about the sequel to Breath of the Wild, announced in 2019.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has been kindly provided by Nintendo for this review.