It’s been a while since I played a good hack and slash game. The last title would likely be One Piece Unlimited World Red, but you could also consider that one to be more of a hybrid between an action game and a beat em up. The last big one that I played would likely be Devil Kings or the PSP version of Dynasty Warriors. It makes sense that this one would be really chaotic like the classic Dynasty Warrior games since it’s from the same people. They’re still the best at making beat em up games and I can safely say that Hyrule Warriors is the best game on the Wii U right now! (Smash Bros will change this in time, but Hyrule Warriors can enjoy the view from the top at the moment)
The plot involves an evil sorceress named Cia. She is descending upon the land of Hyrule with her dark legions and they’ve already enslaved most of the planet as well. Princess Zelda is forced to recruit one of the soldiers to help her and Impa as they fight on. This soldier is pretty courageous and his name happens to be Link. Once he dawns the legendary hero’s get up..he is ready to claim victory! The situation won’t get any easier for the heroes as the fight continues across whole dimensions. Old enemies like Zant, Dark Link, and Ghirahim show up while old allies like Princess Ruto and Agitha appear as well. Amidst all of the chaos, you can count on Ganondorf showing up at some point as well. The heroes will have to muster up all of their strength to defend the universe and luckily they have a skilled warrior aiding them by the name of Lana. What secrets is she keeping from them?
I am glad that Hyrule Warriors only has one main story as opposed to the usual format where each character gets their own adventure. The latter can get old pretty quickly and a lot of the scenes tend to be shared or similar so everything takes a lot longer to complete. This way, you can enjoy the true story and watch the heroes interact. Different stages will require you to play as different characters, but Link naturally stays as the lead for most of them. There are 17 levels in the game. Each of them can take 15-20 minutes and I usually tried to shoot for the former since that almost guarantees you an A rank in Adventure Mode. (Good practice for the future right?)
I already mentioned that the game is a hack and slash, but I’ll still explain what that means for the gameplay. You will typically wield a sword, but other characters also use magic spells and short blades. You are then launched into a giant area where you work to secure certain spots as you attack the army. You will have many allies as well who will help you secure the enemy’s territory. It is crucial to invade the strong hold of the enemy before they reach yours. There will also be sub missions during the level at times, which are typically helpful in winning the battle. Sometimes, the victory conditions will change as well so you should always be on your guard.
In essence, this means that you’ll be doing a lot of button mashing. After all, you’ll defeat over 1000 enemies in each level so you need to really enjoy this kind of gameplay. Luckily, it’s definitely one of my favorite types as it would only lose to something like Budokai Tenkaichi 3’s epic style of fighting. Of course, I tend to like most action genres so they’re all pretty high up in the ranks, but especially so in the case of hack and slash titles. Each character will have a super attack as well as a few combos to unleash during gameplay. You will be equipped with an endless supply or arrows, bombs, hookshots, and boomerangs to help you overcome obstacles as well.
There are also a lot of things to do once you beat the game. First off, you can go into Free Mode to replay the levels with other characters. Each level has 2 Gold Spiders (1 is not available until you complete the story) as well as two heart pieces hidden inside. The Gold Spiders are used to unlock illustrations, which unlock other things. (I believe that a stage is one of the unlockables) After you’ve beefed up your characters a little more, then you can hit Challenge Mode or Adventure Mode.
Adventure Mode is very long and it’s even longer than Story Mode. There are well over 50 levels to be found here and they are considerably more difficult than what you would have encountered before them. You unlock more characters, heart pieces, and gold spiders here. You also get the chance to find some great weapons and earn more rupees. I’ve only played one level here so far, but it seems to be pretty fun. Anything’s worth it for extra characters right? Challenge Mode is similar since you will have to complete several challenges during a level. It’s not bad, but I don’t see the point at the moment. It’s a new DLC that was added into the game though so they may add more incentives for playing this mode.
The rupees can be really helpful once you go to the shop. You can unlock badges for each character based off of the materials that you own. (It costs money to use them) You can make some potions, which can help during battle. (You shouldn’t waste your rupees on this in my opinion. I didn’t buy any of them since the money would be better spent on the next option) The best way to use the rupees is to level up other characters. If you only play as Link and get him to around level 50, the other characters won’t have gotten any stronger. Instead of going back to play as them, you can simply level them up with rupees. The only catch involved is that you can never level up a character past your strongest character’s highest level. Meaning that you couldn’t level up Impa to level 51 through rupees until you got Link to that level. Of course, if you played as Impa and got her to level 51, then you could just level up Link accordingly.
Cia is the big villain to debut in this game and she’s a decent antagonist. I definitely find her to be more interesting than Zant and Ghirahim. Aside from Ganondorf, she is probably the best main villain. Her magical abilities are definitely powerful and she’s probably one of the only villains to ever talk back to Ganondorf and actually surpass him in fighting ability. There are circumstances involved of course, but it’s very impressive. She has a pretty sad ending, but such is the fate for all villains in the end.
Lana is a pretty cool hero. She’s infinitely more interesting than most of the allies in this game. Her story also has a few sad twists, but she stays pretty optimistic about her circumstances for the most part. She’s a solid addition to the Legend of Zelda series and it would be cool to see her appear in more titles. I don’t care for her gameplay that much since she’s a magic user, but her attacks definitely have good range.
I’m glad that they chose the Skyward Sword version of Impa to show since that is definitely her best incarnation. It’s good to see her as a hero. I didn’t really care for some of the allies like Princess Ruto, Darunia, or Midna. They don’t really do much during the game and I think that Hyrule Warriors could have presented us with more interesting allies.
One of the newer characters from the game that I didn’t care for was Agitha. She’s definitely the kind of character that I don’t care for. She’s not much of a fighter and she’s a little too oblivious about the whole situation. I could definitely have selected a better character to put in her place, (A Wind Waker sage would be cool) but at least her role is pretty small.
We also have the two main villains that work for Cia. Wizzro is a dark magician and he seems to be pretty weak physically so he has to rely on his spells. I was pretty surprised at how confident he was when he went up against Link, but some villains just don’t realize their true limitations until it’s too late. His design is definitely pretty cool and he’s a solid villain. He would be even better if he was a fighter.
That is why Volga is the superior minion. He’s works as a rival to Link and while he is evil..he does have honor. Volga wants to defeat Link in a fair fight and he is one of the more powerful Link villains. He has everything that I could want in a villain and that’s why it’s safe to say that he’s easily in my top 5 of all time. He’s probably even higher, but I haven’t really gone back to think of all of the opponents that have appeared before. Needless to say, he’s a pretty great character. Hyrule Warriors did a good job of making the new characters likable as I enjoyed Cia, Lana, Volga, and Wizzro and Agitha is the only one that I didn’t like.
An assortment of bosses also appeared briefly, but they didn’t really get to stay around for character development. Ganondorf is as tough as ever and this game definitely portrays him pretty accurately. He never retreats and he continues to dominate his opponents with pure power. He takes over a good chunk of the land with ease and it doesn’t take him long to bend Ghirahim and Zant to his will. His new character design really works as well. You get a sense that he is definitely Link’s biggest threat and while he may have suffered defeat by the game’s main villain, he definitely comes back from that. His true form is as tough looking as ever, but I still prefer him in humanoid mode.
Link is pretty true to character. He started from humble beginnings and eventually showed Princess Zelda and the others that he is a true hero. I still say that he’s much more heroic than Mario and he really could be the most heroic character of all time. Of course, it certainly helps a lot that he never talks. He does have a moment where the Master Sword’s power goes to his head, but I can’t say that I disagreed with his actions. I think Link made the right move in attacking the enemy fortress by himself since he is the most skilled hero. Even then, Link never gave up until the bitter end.
Princess Zelda also looks pretty good. I’m glad that she didn’t just hide in the castle and decided to infiltrate enemy lines as Sheik. Sheik’s character design was pretty sleek here and I think the graphics did a good job of depicting it. She’s one of the few characters that I’ve played as aside from Link. (The only others would be Lana, Impa,(Maybe…I’m not positive) and Ganondorf) I do like Sheik more than Zelda, but they’re technically the same character so they’re both pretty good. Zelda is just suck in her leadership role more than Sheik so it limits her actions. Sheik is really free to do whatever she wants.
It’s easy to see why this is an all star title. The developers put a lot of effort into it as they added many easter eggs for the series. Compared to the average Dynasty Warriors game, Hyrule Warriors is lacking a little in content, (Especially the character roster) but that’s okay. It only looks bad when compared to that game. Compare it to almost any other title and Hyrule Warriors really looks good. Counting all of the modes, there are well over 60 levels and there are many other replay value factors to consider. Gathering all of the heart containers, Gold Spiders, and maxing out everyone’s levels will still take a very long time. This game easily has over 30-50 hours of content within it and the developers continue to add more. Challenge Mode only has one level in it so far so we can be pretty confident that more will be added in the near future.
The graphics are pretty solid for the game. Obviously, you shouldn’t expect Final Fantasy levels of animation here since a hack and slash game is typically known to have worse graphics than an RPG title. That’s because of how many enemies are constantly loaded onto the screen. We still do get a few big cutscenes that look really good. I definitely would say that the graphics are 2014 worthy and you won’t be wincing at anything. You can really take in the scenary and enjoy your visits to the various universes relating to the franchise. Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, and Skyward Sword levels are all featured in one game. I doubt we’ll ever see that again. (Unless this game gets a sequel, which would be pretty cool)
Naturally, this is a Legend of Zelda game so the soundtrack is very good. A lot of the tunes are very fast paced to keep up with the action and that’s what I like to hear as I shred the armies that stand in my way. You’ll hear many tunes that you recognize from older titles and the atmosphere will make you feel like you’re in one of the main titles for the series.
The only thing that could come close to a negative would be that the game’s opening level is a bit of a tease. We get a pretty grand cutscene that makes the game feel like an RPG. It almost hints at character development for everyone and a grand story. We do get a story of course, but it’s more of a backdrop to the fighting. It would be comparable to a Tekken story, but a little deeper than that. It’s still not the next Final Fantasy there. We only get 4-7 big cutscenes after that and the game became more of a hack and slash through and through. I still did enjoy the story a lot, but the first level really had an RPG feel to it and it will make you think about the next big LoZ title. Hopefully the tone is more like this game’s opening than the last few games. (Meaning that the enemies get to attack right away and the hero is already a pretty good fighter) I still wouldn’t call this a negative though since I did enjoy the story and just got a glimpse of how it could be even better.
Overall, I definitely consider this to be the Wii U’s top title. It had everything that I could want in a hack and slash title. I wouldn’t say that I had any real negatives with the game. Everything performed to my satisfaction and it’s an all around complete title. The gameplay is the smoothest that I’ve played in the genre although Dynasty Warriors Gundam is still my favorite since the moves are more devastating and colorful thanks to all of the explosions. Hyrule Warriors is currently one of the only true hack and slash games that I’ve gotten to experience and it’s nice to see how a brand new, 2014 one fares. This game also gave me a chance to dust off the Wii U and give it all of the new updates. I definitely recommend this title and I actually enjoyed it more than the main installments. (That being said, I will always remember Wind Waker as the greatest Legend of Zelda title due to its replayability and the sheer joy of playing it) If you’ve been waiting to buy a Wii U due to a “lack of games,” I would suggest picking one up now. (Hopefully this inspires Nintendo to really do a big crossover story with the Legend of Zelda series)