Hyrule Warriors Wii U Review

Hyrule Warriors combines Dynasty Warriors’ gameplay with the Legend of Zelda mythos, and many RPG elements. I was sceptical, since the Zelda series is among my favourites and I saw the joint venture as a gamble on Nintendo’s part. However, I was surprised to find how good a game it is.

Following Zelda tradition, the game is conceptually diverse, incorporating a plethora of different elements from different games in the series, and a lot of its different visual styles. The in-game visuals are reminiscent of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, whilst selected cutscenes seem more cel-shaded, like Wind Waker. A lot of nice-looking FMV sequences also accompany these aspects. New characters also work to keep the series fresh too. An example being Volga; a character based on Volvagia from Ocarina of Time. Issues I have concern the technical side. I’ve spotted glitches while playing, and sometimes the frame rate drops with enough enemies on the screen, which makes me question the Wii U’s hardware capabilities.

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Despite repetitiveness, as the objective involves merely dispatching everything in sight until each enemy base is captured, its also very addictive. Omega Force has a lot of experience developing games in this genre, and they’ve delivered. Multiple game modes give players plenty to do as well as an overabundance of incentive, including new weapons and items. The fact that there’s also a substantial amount of playable characters also gives the game a fair bit of variety. I think Team Ninja have made a much better job of collaborating with Nintendo this time around than what they did developing Metroid: Other M, anyway. Hyrule Warriors is much easier to enjoy, because not only is it much easier to get to grips with than Metroid: Other M, but also because it isn’t too much of a radical departure from the main series; as indeed was one of the biggest concerns I had before playing.

The quality of the controls depends on what peripheral is used. Playing the game on the Wii U GamePad does have limitations. Not only do the GamePad’s facilities not add much to the gameplay, except displaying progress notifications and incorporating the touchscreen to select secondary items, but playing the game with the GamePad can also end up causing hand pain. Since the gameplay is forceful and action-packed, players may tense their hands across the side of the GamePad, and this causes pain after hours of playing. My advice is to keep your hands relaxed, and don’t tense them up around the GamePad. Aside from this, there are no problems with the control scheme of the game itself, and since it centres on button mashing, mastering the basics is simple.

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Though gameplay remains the same throughout, there are still enough objectives to warrant 30 to 40 hours of playing; possibly longer if players want to achieve 100%. There is enough intense combat, a strong RPG presence, and enough in the way of levelling up characters and gaining new weapons and abilities, to keep players interested for a long time. Out of all the Zelda elements present in Hyrule Warriors, a long lifespan is one that I am particularly happy to see retained by the developers.

The events of the story follow Link, who with the aid of several other characters from across the series, must work to thwart the sorceress Cia’s intentions to revive Gannondorf, who yearns to corrupt the land of Hyrule and overthrow Princess Zelda. The game works better for Zelda fans in many different ways; no truer is this than in the narrative. It helps to advance the plot if players know who everybody is, since they come from several games in the series. If not, some characters will come off negatively compared to previous portrayals. One plot thread is also repeated from the Zelda series, which discounts one major twist for its fans. Regardless, the story isn’t terrible by any means. Although it follows the same basic premise of Zelda games, the different elements all come together nicely to make for a fairly well written new story. It indicates Nintendo’s willingness to break traditions and take franchises in new and different directions.

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Though heavily influenced, both franchises have been handled well, and the result is something somewhat unique in its own right. It isn’t the most original Nintendo title, but if the developers had strayed too far from either concept, it may have ended in catastrophe.

Overall, Hyrule Warriors, despite its flaws, is a very addictive game and is most certainly worth playing extensively. Irrespective of Nintendo’s successful past collaborations, I postulated that this game might be a bad idea, but I was proven wrong.

7 out of 10