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Review: Hyrule Warriors

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Hyrule Warriors (HW) kicks off Nintendo’s fall push to the holiday season with an homage to one of the company’s most beloved franchises. With amibo support on the way and quite a bit of DLC, this game represents a new Nintendo that’s not afraid of making people pay for additional content (e.g., New Super Luigi U, Pikimin 3, Mario Kart 8). Does HW make the additional purchases worth it? Read on.

Graphics and Gameplay: B-

The visuals in Hyrule Warriors are very colorful.  It is reminiscent of the the graphics found in older Zelda games like Ocarina of Time. As it has many stages, the colors give each stage its own personality and atmosphere.  From luscious green to sinister purple, the graphics convey the overall tone of each stage. For example, the Valley of Seers has that very dark, purple aura that that complimented the dark atmospheric vibe of the level.

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From a gameplay perspective, the game was responsive and easy to control. There are RPG elements to increase your characters abilities and weapons as you progress. The roster of characters is more extensive than previously thought before DLC is purchased. The Training Dojo is also a nice addition to help you level up your characters between stages. The downside of HW is that there’s no online play. While the split-screen between the Wii U gamepad and the TV is a great addition to the Dynasty Warriors engine, online would’ve given the game a lot of replay value. Imagine online team play for HW and the possibilities are increased exponentially.

Pacing: A-

With each stage, you are introduced tonew characters as well as familiar ones from as far back as Ocarina of Time.  The introduction of all of these characters was well-timed as it gives the player time to understand the premise of the story while playing lengthy levels.  The story in Hyrule Warriors is an interesting one. It uses CGI cut scenes with voice acting, which isn’t found in any of the main Zelda franchise game and actually makes it fun to watch. The plot in HW is a melting pot of three previous Zelda games: (1) Ocarina of Time; (2) Twilight Princess and (3) Skyward Sword. The characters and elements of each game lends itself to what is less story, more love letter to the Zelda series.

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Presentation: B

From the heads-up display and combat to its music and name, Hyrule Warriors is Dynasty Warrior game with a Zelda paint job.  As someone who is very familiar with Dynasty Warriors, I found it very refreshing to see its mechanics again.  However, I was reminded of the time and patience needed to play this type of game.  Not only is it time consuming to play on the Hard difficulty, but as a completionist, sometimes backtracking and replaying levels again to earn all of the collectibles can be tedious. The menus were littered with fan service as far back to the original NES title with 8-bit artwork throughout.

Overall: B

This game was made for Zelda fans to experience the Dynasty Warriors gameplay. It does a solid job of keeping players moving from one stage to the next. The lack of online and the extensive backtracking keep the game from getting an overall letter grade of A. Despite the shortcomings, it is a strong effort by Tecmo Koei and Nintendo.

 

 

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Images Source: Hyrule Warriors Official Website

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