The last Dynasty Warriors game that I reviewed was Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn. It attempted to seem really deep with its many parts for customizing your mobile suits. It featured various fantasy stories to play through, giving you something seemingly new. There were even piles upon piles of unlockable items and characters to play as. If you were worried that they’d cram way too much into their next endeavor, don’t you fret your little pasty white cucco feathers about it, Hyrule Warriors has come on down to satisfy your heroic Dynasty Warriors itch!

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Link preps his special attack to slay dozens of enemies on the screen!

So Nintendo’s first attempt at allowing another developer to work with one of its beloved first party franchises is certainly not a loss. In fact it’s a proper step in the right direction to create new possibilities for its classic franchises that have gone stale, or hold the stigma of “Children Games”. Hyrule Warriors takes the Zelda franchise to a new direction and does it with colorful fashion and plenty of over the top rock music for you to enjoy. The nice thing about the game is that it isn’t a mere mash-up of the Dynasty Warriors game archetype and a Zelda game. It’s actually more of a well blended mix, where the main mechanic is the classic hack and slash, but the game feels very much like a Zelda in the way you encounter each foe. Some stronger enemies require some more dodging, and most if not all of the enemies in the game are defeated in the exact same fashion as their Zelda counterpart. The game even still features the “Hey I found a new item, going to have to use it on the boss!” staple of past Zelda games. All of this gives title the complete Zelda feel, minus the frustration of some confusing puzzles and dungeons.

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Yep you still throw bombs into King Dodongo to beat him!

Graphically the game does well to create one standard art style despite the various styles from the three Zelda titles featured in Hyrule Warriors. Colors brightly stand out as that is necessary of Dynasty Warriors play. But to recognize characters in the game I think they made heads oddly large on many of the characters. It might be just the way I’ve been looking at it, but on the field outside of cutscenes Link’s head seems to be humongous in comparison to his body, and runs around with itty bitty feet. I could just be nitpicking, but it really bothered me as I tried to figure out if I was going crazy or if indeed the heads on some characters were purposely larger to have them standout among the hordes of grunts on the field. Surprisingly the game held up pretty well, and enemies fought in a rather unique manner rather than all doing the same set of actions clumped together in a group. By far some of the best DW ai scripting I’ve seen in quite some time! The only time there was a lag issue was when the game was played on tablet mode, and graphically on the tablet things seemed to be duller in color, and less fluid. Obviously the optimal experience was meant for the television, but that isn’t something we didn’t know going into it as a Nintendo Direct made mention of the difference from TV and Tablet play.

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Various stages and bright colors make this title really shine.

There are very few new things in this adaptation of Dynasty Warriors. What seems like there could’ve been plenty more the game actually lacks very little. Day one they did release a patch that features a challenge mode, I’m not sure if the better you do unlocks more challenges, or if they plan on updating this as time goes on. But challenge mode features smaller challenges that must be completed in a set amount of time such as beat 500 enemies in 5 minutes, defeat X foe in X amount of time, etc. But these challenges are just simply slashing away at foes.

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Swapping items was easy, either use the touch screen on the Wii U tablet, or just press right or left on the D-Pad.

The adventure mode is the original Zelda map in which each square presents some sort of challenge… in which you have to slay some bad guys.  Each square has unlockable items to help you navigate other squares on the map. This is essentially where you’ll find the bulk of the content, as the challenges presented here add a bit more variance to the game and create more frantic scenarios. Each area adds a new twist or challenge to create difficulty to the otherwise pretty easy Dynasty Warriors flair. There is the feature of an illustration gallery, kind of like the Street Pass feature, except you find the picture pieces by defeating hidden gold skulltula in various scenarios.

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The Adventure Mode map while large, can be pretty quick to clear to dedicated players, plus unlock a few characters here to use in the game!

Hyrule Warriors story mode has you drudge through scenario after scenario fighting the myriad of classic Zelda enemies in an all new original story that mashes together the universes of Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. An evil force has broken the barrier in space and time and it is up to the various heroes to repair this seal and banish the evil of the world. Theres a total of 13 playable characters not counting the additional 3 DLC characters. Each character features their own weapon and style of play, Link of course getting the bulk of the additional weapons to use. The story has you playing as practically the entire cast of playable characters as you go on to save this version of Hyrule.

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It looks cool the first time, but after that it just becomes tedious to mash out a final attack on King Dodongo…

You can upgrade your characters with badges that add additional combos to the characters, improve certain defenses, and boosts for items picked up on the battlefield. Each character’s tree is built the exact same way, the only difference being the materials necessary to improve each character. Additional materials, even weapons, are found on the battlefield as you slay the enemies that stand in your way of victory. You can also improve the weapons that you accumulate throughout your skirmishes. Combining weapons is extremely simple as you merely select a base weapon (the one that you will end up with), and then a source weapon (the one moving it’s abilities to the base weapon) and that is all. There is the cost of rupees to improve these weapons but it’s all pretty straightforward. You get so many rupees anyways that you’ll never run out. You can also improve the level of your characters up to your current highest character’s level. So for example your Link is level 25, but your Midna is only level 10, you can spend rupees to push Midna up to a maximum of level 25. I assume this is placed in case if you get tired of the monotony of slashing away at goblins.

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Badges gave different perks for individual warriors. It worked just like a skill tree in which you had to provide the materials in order to advance further.

We all know by now how DW combat works, mash the attack button hit the heavy attack to end combos, special  attacks have meter, rage mode. Then capture points by defeating enemies, defend points, defend allies, defeat target enemies. Some enemies in Hyrule Warriors as I mentioned earlier need to be defeated with certain weapons or items. While of course the grunts can merely be hacked away with ease. These “boss” enemies will create a change in the flow of battle as they’ll demand your immediate attention before losing. Also there are Gold Skulltulas hidden throughout the maps, each requiring certain conditions to fulfill to have them appear. You have a limited amount of time to find and kill it before it disappears then you must play the map again to make it reappear.

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One of the darker stages, setting the mood of the story to the game.

Unfortunately that’s all there really is to Hyrule Warriors, there is nothing to complicate it and the story is about as good as any other DW game. The interesting thing is that the game sets up plenty of cool ideas for perhaps a multiplayer game type. For example on the Death Mountain battlefield there are capture points that hold the falling boulders, whoever controls those points is sending giant boulders to their opponents main base. If it’s your main base that falls you lose the game. Now there is of course local co-operative play, but that is simply taking a friend and slashing away at various foes. I got plenty of Guilty Gear Overture vibe from this game, like it could’ve been a RTS DW game, but they didn’t take that step further. The game is lacking in any sort of addicting play, and it doesn’t add anything new for the DW franchise which isn’t surprising at all. The game does make the attempt at least to keep the Zelda vibe alive with puzzles like King Dodongo eating the bombs for a big hit, or using the hookshot to get to higher ground. But otherwise the game is just dull.

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Upgrading your weapons was a snap. You didn’t create new weapons depending upon certain conditions/combinations however…

I don’t blame Nintendo for this title in the slightest as it is something that must be done to improve the state of things for their company. But for a game franchise that has previously been so rich in content, there seems to be an extremely lacking amount of it. This isn’t a jab at the Zelda franchise, but rather the Dynasty Warriors franchise. With the extremely large cast of characters in Zelda history they only landed on a total of 16 characters, and DW is known for its excessive character count! Hyrule Warriors is a fun title, but the monotony of it comes on too quickly with its overwhelming lack of content. Other mash up titles in the series have done well, I praise the DW: Gundam series for its various unique mechanics aside from its hack and slash combat. Even the base DW series games feature more characters, content, and features. This game itself is something Nintendo needed, and it unfortunately lacks in comparison to what it could’ve done as a DW title.

Hyrule Warriors Review
Hyrule Warriors fails to impress with its staggering lack of content. While the game is fun to play, the fun is very short lived. There was plenty of set up for much more in the game, but no attempt was made to go that extra mile. Disappointing for a DW title.
The Good
  • Kept the Zelda flair and feel
  • Unique approach to combat
  • Very colorful atmosphere
The Bad
  • Lack of Content
  • Lack of a hook to keep me coming back
  • Lost multiplayer opportunities
6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

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Alex enjoys long walks on the beach, mountain biking, and spending time in his extensive library reading novels from authors of yore. His hobbies include traveling the world putting small critters into ball shaped capsules, slaying Flying Wyverns, and mastering his wake-up Heavy Shoryuken!