When Hyrule Warriors was first revealed to be a Dynasty Warriors game, many Zelda fans were enraged while I honestly welcomed the idea. Like many people out there I too have grown tired of Dynasty Warriors, but there were a lot of things that I was able to enjoy in this installment, especially in terms of the amount of fanservice directed toward long-times of the series.
The “Legend Mode” is pretty much the title’s story mode and I can definitely say that I enjoyed the beautiful cutscenes that it had to offer. As you go through Legend Mode, you will gain a number of allies from throughout the franchise who will aid you, such as Zelda, Impa, Midna, Sheik, as well as newcomer Lana.
Much like Dynasty Warriors, you have to fight waves of enemies and gain territory while at the same time completing the objectives that appear as you progress. You’ll encounter some roadblocks in the game that will require you to find a special treasure chest to obtain a new battle item.
The only annoyance I had while playing story was that sometimes when the mission you’re on increases in difficulty, you’ll have to run all the way back to previous territories you conquered because your allies are almost always unable to fend off the enemies themselves.
The game allows you to tweak your weapons and level up your character faster in exchange for Rupee’s. There is also a Badge Market that lets you learn new combos as well as gain power-ups. I haven’t dabbled too much in these customization options besides the Badge Market because I simply wanted to unlock all of the character’s combos, but they work pretty well and allow for more options depending on the player’s playstyle.
The combos in this game are fairly simple; you’ll be mashing the Y button on your GamePad a lot and occasionally adding the X button for heavy attacks. Special Attacks are done by pressing the A button and if you can fill your magic meter you can gain a huge power boost by pressing R.
The game has a special mode called “Adventure Mode.” In it, players travel through an overworld map, which has a distinctive old-school 8-bit Legend of Zelda graphical style. Each grid must be conquered, which is done by going on a Hyrule Warriors styled field and defeating all enemies. Once that mission is cleared, the adjacent grids on the overworld map are unlocked and you continue from there. This mode is where you can obtain power-ups, weapons and even unlock new warriors. You will have to win battles under special conditions, eventually get to the Dark Ruler and emerge victorious.
There’s also a “Network Link” feature in Adventure Mode. This allows you to add a “Link” to your maps, whose level is based on other users’ play data. If you come to this Link’s aid and fight alongside him, you’ll get access to special bonuses (which I won’t spoil for you).
“Free Mode” lets you replay any scenario from Legend Mode with any character you unlocked, which is pretty great for those who want to freely choose their character. Right under Adventure Mode is “Challenge Mode,” where the game challenges you to complete unusual battles.
The game modes that this game has to offer are all pretty similar with the sole distinguishing factor being that they feature different objectives. For example, the Story Mode focuses on segments that advance the story while modes like Challenge Mode and Adventure mode give you special conditions in order to advance. Unfortunately, there is no online featured in this title, which is disappointing considering how fun and epic the modes would be if you could cooperate with others from around the world.
There’s also an off-screen option for Hyrule Warriors, which works pretty well and is handy when you want to sit back and relax while demolishing hordes of enemies.
As I mentioned before, what sets this “Musou” title apart from other Dynasty Warriors is the sheer amount of fanservice and easter eggs players will find throughout their adventures. Everything, from being able to use the hookshot to pull down the Moon from Majora’s Mask on enemies, to using the infamous Cuckoos to swarm foes in the same way many players have been swarmed on the past, can be found.
Even simple things, like the accurate recreations of both iconic stages and music from various Zelda titles add to the title, and will have fans of the series playing this game far longer than most other Musou games.
There were a few minor issues like the occasional slight frame drops but it’s expected for a game that spawns massive amounts enemies on the field but overall, the game was pretty enjoyable for me. If Zelda fans can get past the mindset of “It’s just another Dynasty Warriors game” you may be able to appreciate the content a lot more.
Honestly, if you’re a Zelda fan, I wouldn’t recommend you skipping out on this title due the sheer amount of modes and content squeezed in. What I would recommend, however, is playing in segments instead of trying to beat the bulk of it at once, since the repetitive nature of the gameplay can at times get exhausting after a couple hours of missions. If you’re unsure whether to take the plunge, you can always rent or ask a friend for their copy first.