But we’ll take it
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, whether you played it immediately after the release or not, is undeniably and will always be a masterpiece. Everything about it, from the graphics to the game structure to the expansive world, has (at least to me) become the benchmark of what a great game should be. So when Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was announced, expectations were unsurprisingly high. Fans of the game looked forward to Princess Zelda and her magic bombs, getting reacquainted with the Champions and battling all sorts of monstrous enemies.
Hyrule Warriors combines hack-and-slash with fantasy RPG but lacks BotW’s sophisticated puzzles. Set 100 years before the 2017 hit game, players start out as Link but can later play other characters, like Zelda, Impa, Daruk, Revali, Mipha and Urbosa once unlocked. All characters stay true to their core as in the original game. Likewise, the spin-off keeps BotW’s runes—Cryosis, Magnesis, Stasis and Remote Bomb—which are all interesting to see unfold for all the fighters and exciting to see in combat. The combat itself, however, has changed. Players must get through scenarios using different fighting combinations (or just button-smash your way through it?) and switching from one character to another, at any point in time, including mid-battle, is allowed. Fighting combos can be upgraded and weapons leveled up after a successful mission—this time, without the help of fairies.
A common gripe among players though is Hyrule Warriors gameplay experience, specifically in battle. Preferential or technical, it’s understandable how a scenario where you’re hiding behind a rock but still be hit by lasers can be frustrating. Momentum in-game was also cited as an issue as cutscenes occur prematurely mid-battle. And, just as a player gets pumped to pilot a Divine Beast (a giant, magical robot), motion controls thwart the excitement.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity may not be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it has its shortcomings in and out of battle (read: rigid terrains that won’t allow for climbing or long paragliding). But if it’s a chance to get reacquainted with beloved characters and watch them carry out cinematic blowout attacks or revisit familiar cutscenes and worlds, we’ll take it.
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Art Alexandra Lara