Yay, applause for me! I’m finally writing my Hyrule Warriors review! *coughbetterlatethannevercough*.
Hyrule Warriors is a cross-over game between the Legend of Zelda series and the Warriors series. You’ve probably heard of the Legend of Zelda, but the Warriors series isn’t that popular outside of Japan. So it is important to know that this is NOT a Zelda game: this is a Warrior game with Zelda characters and maps. Now that we’ve got that out of the way: let’s review!
In warrior games, you start on a relatively small map where it’s basically your army versus another army. On that map, you have to conquer keeps (enemy bases). You conquer a keep by defeating a number of enemies within that keep and eventually defeat the keep boss. When the keep is still in enemy hands, new enemies will spawn from that keep. When you’ve conquered a keep, soldiers of your army will spawn there. So conquering keeps is a good way to outnumber the enemy army. Each stage has specific win and lose conditions. You lose when you die or if your allied base (your main keep) falls. Sometimes one specific ally must be kept alive. Winning conditions vary from ‘conquer all the keeps’ to ‘conquer the enemy base’, ‘defeat the boss’, etc.
As stated, you play as a character from the Legend of Zelda. You can either play as the good guy or the bad guy. There are many characters you can choose from, and that number will only be raised through DLC’s. The maps are based on settings from different Zelda games too. Controls are pretty easy: You can make combo’s, raise up power do do a special attack and you can enhance your attack once you’ve gathered enough magic. You can dodge and block, and you can use items that you know from the Legend of Zelda series. Like in the Zelda series, bosses are weak to one specific item.
Enemies will drop specific materials and weapons that will range in rarity, depending on how difficult it is to defeat that enemy. With materials, you can upgrade your characters and lengthen their combos. Weapons vary in strength and have different skills. With these skills you can, among others, strengthen your attacks, increase rupee or heart drop, or increase your gained experience. With each enemy you defeat, you gain experience. With this experience your character will grow levels which makes them stronger. Some stages will require specific characters so you’ll have to train all your characters.
The main menu presents three different modes. There are two modes that you’ll play the most: Legend Mode and Adventure Mode. Legend Mode is basically story mode. Note that it is confirmed that this story is NOT canon for the Zelda series. You start as Link, a young soldier in the army of Hyrule. Hyrule is attacked by Cia (an original Hyrule Warriors character). Together with Lana (another original character) and familiar friends from the Zelda Universe, you’ll fight your way trough different maps as the story unfolds. I will not tell more than this due to spoilers. Legend Mode is a great mode to start your game and to get to know the characters. The story fits surprisingly well into the Zelda Universe. Through Legend Mode, you’ll unlock most characters.
In Adventure mode, you navigate through the map we know from the original Legend of Zelda (NES). Each square represents one stage. Some stages are similar to the story mode stages, but some provide very specific challenges. Sometimes you have to defeat 2 bosses within a time limit, sometimes you have to defeat a certain amount of enemies within a time limit, sometimes you just have to fight your way trough very hard enemies. When you clear a stage, more squares on the map will be unlocked. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded with an item card which you can use to reveal secrets on the map. These secrets are usually at the same place as in Zelda I. For instance, you’ll need a power bracelet card to move a stone on the map. You can use the compass item cart to reveal secrets on the map, but since collecting a compass for every secret on the map requires a huge amount of effort (you have to clear a stage for each item card), I used a map I found on the internet. When you reveal a secret, the reward for clearing the stage will be changed. This way you can unlock new characters and weapons. The difficultly of the stages will increase as you progress further over the map.
There is also a co-op mode, which can be really helpful in the more difficult stages on the Adventure map. This has a few downsides: The frame rate will drop from 60 fps to 30 fps and the resolution drops from 720p to 480p which is REAAAALLY noticeable (and ugly, to be fair). Another downside is that the second player is only able to play with the Wii-remote and Nunchuck (which sucks balls), or the Wii-U pro-controller, which is €50,-, which sucks for people who have the Wii pro-controller which is basically exactly the same as the Wii-U pro-controller, but which is not compatible with Hyrule Warriors.
At the time of writing, one DLC pack is already released: The Master Quest Pack. This pack contains new weapons, new stages in the Legend Mode, new outfits, and a whole new Adventure Mode map. The Twilight Princess Pack, Majora’s Mask Pack, and a Boss Pack are announced for the future.
So, is this game any fun? Yes, it is! I was a bit afraid because I’m a Zelda fan and I did not have any experience with Warrior games. But I love it! The mechanics are easy to understand and as I said earlier, the game fits really well into the Zelda Universe. It has a real-Zelda feel to it. Since this game was not made by Nintendo itself, that was a really hard task to accomplish. While the Legend Mode is relatively easy, the Adventure mode can be HARD. This game was pretty large to begin with (especially because of he Adventure Mode map), but with all the upcoming DLC, this game will be HUGE. This game will probably be a bit too hard if you’re a casual gamer, but I recommend it when you’re a fan of the Legend of Zelda series and/or the Warrior series. The only downsides are the previously mentioned difficulties with the co-op mode and the locking system sometimes is a little sucky (forgot to mention that earlier).
Final Grade: 8/10.
The Master Quest Pack is available for €8,-
The Twilight Princess Pack will be available this month for €8,-
The Majora’s Mask Pack will be available in January 2014 for €8,-