Hyrule Warriors Wii U - Review

As someone who had never heard of Dynasty Warriors, Hyrule Warriors was something I was iffy about when I first heard of it, but I'm glad I kept reading about the game as release came closer and closer. I remember when Hyrule Warriors was first announced, I didn't think anything of it, the game looked boring, cheap, and unoriginal. But then E3 2014 rolled around, and Midna was announced as a playable character, from that moment on, my perspective on Hyrule Warriors changed incredibly. Midna is my favorite character from the Zelda series, and I never expected her to return to another Zelda game, even if it is just a spin off. The fact that my all time favorite character could be played in this game really made me want it, solely just for Midna, which is why I think this game is so enjoyable, because it has a wide variety of characters, giving everyone that chance of having one of their loved characters making an appearance.

While the general gist of the game is a simple "hack and slash", there is a storyline to Hyrule Warriors (which I won't spoil) that can be played in Legend Mode, but it's not a big in-depth mind-blowing storyline filled with plot twists like you're used to from your main Zelda titles, but instead, a small, simple, yet enjoyable storyline. Granted, there's not much to expect from a storyline involving many unique characters from different timelines. They've also added a nice difficulty option, to either help out newer players, or to give veterans a challenge.

Apart from Legend Mode, there are three other modes within the game - Adventure mode, Challenge Mode and Free Mode;

Free Mode is the most simplistic of the additional three game modes, allowing you to replay past Legend Mode stages with any character unlocked. As for the other two, there are some huge differences from Legend Mode.

Adventure mode has you play on a classic old school Zelda-like gameboard, where you play sub-missions to get power-ups, like new weapons or pieces of heart. Whilst I was skeptical about it at first, this is actually a pretty cool mode that allows you to grab some pretty cool stuff to help you in the other game modes.

Challenge Mode is, as the name suggests, a challenging mode of the game. You can play as any character you've unlocked, participating in special missions designed harder than those of Legend Mode, definitely making the game a lot more stressful. I've only ever been brave enough to take on one game in challenge mode, and even that was too much for a newbie like myself.

The overall gameplay of the game is quiet enjoyable and fast paced, leaving you satisfied blasting hundreds of enemies with your combos. Not to mention, the music from each stage is fantastic. I'm someone who doesn't really care all that much about game music, but there's something special about the music in these games that just make me enjoy it a lot more.

Even though I've thoroughly enjoyed the game, there are a few things that could be improved, even if they're just minor tweaks.

Firstly, an actual tutorial - not a few text boxes that pop up to tell you what to do, but an actual stage where you can test out your characters without worrying about failing the mission. I'll admit, I had no idea how to play, and I was just thrown into the battlefield, not knowing what to do. I believe Nintendo did talk about adding a grass cutting stage to the game, but it was cut (excuse the pun) for whatever reasons. I know Nintendo had their reasons for scrapping the grass cutting stage, but in all honesty, it probably would've worked as a perfect tutorial stage - run around, testing out your combos for each character whilst cutting grass for rupees, everyone wins.

The next thing would be Gold Skulltula's, though not necessary to the main story, they are essential in completing the illustrations (which aren't tied to the main gameplay, thank God), but also vital in upgrading the shop. The addition of Gold Skulltula's is nice, but they're such a pain to get. In order for them to appear, you must fulfill a certain requirement during the mission (ie; K.O. 1,000 enemies), once that goal has been met, a spider web will appear on the map, showing the Skulltula's location. The spider web doesn't downright show it's location, just the vicinity it'll be in. To make things worse, the Skulltula only appears in the area for a certain amount of time, before fleeing from battle. So you've either got to stop whatever you're doing during the mission (potentially causing you to fail) to grab the Skulltula, or ignore it. Grabbing Skulltula's are important in leveling up the shop, so if you want to upgrade it to it's full potential, you'll need to do a lot of stressful Skulltula hunting.

And just when you think things can't get any better, Nintendo decide to announce upcoming DLC for this game. It is paid DLC, but with what it's adding, it's definitely worth it. There are 4 DLC packs, each one containing different pieces, but pre-purchasing them all allows you to use the Dark Link skin in-game. The four DLC packs are as follows

Master Quest Pack
October 16th
1 new Weapon
New Scenario
Adventure Map
2 Costumes

Twilight Princess Pack
1 new character
1 new weapon
Adventure Map
2 Costumes

Majora’s Mask Pack
2 new characters
Adventure Map
3 new costumes

Boss Pack
2 New Game Modes

Whilst we know virtually nothing about these upcoming DLC packs, it is nice to speculate what new characters and maps we'll see. My guess for one of the Majora's Mask characters will be Skull Kid, as for the other, I'm not too sure (maybe Mikau?), but who knows? Nintendo did throw us a huge curve ball by making Princess Agitha from Twilight Princess playable (yes, the bug lady), so it'll be interesting to see if they chuck us another with one of these new characters. That said, it's incredibly exciting waiting to find out who these new characters will be, because it honestly could be anyone. 

For those unable to pay for these DLC for whatever reasons, Nintendo's got you covered. As free DLC included with the next update (coming October 16th), you can play as the games three antagonists, Cia, Volga and Wizzro. Even though these three free playable characters is a nice perk from Nintendo, I can see players really benefiting from at least one free map - test out some new characters and a new map, if you like it, why not buy more?
Update: It was probably lost in translation somewhere but the Cia/Volga/Wizzro DLC isn't due to arrive 'til March.

I think to really enjoy this game you need to take in the title, and accept it. There is no 'Legend of Zelda' title, it's simply 'Hyrule Warriors', which is exactly what it is. This is not a main series Zelda title, instead it's a spin-off title linked to the Dynasty Warriors series. If you can accept that, and go in, knowing this isn't a main series Zelda game, then you'll enjoy it. If you go in playing this game, expecting it to me like a main series Zelda game, then you'll be disappointed.

For those unsure about the game, I'd recommend you go watch a few videos (if you don't want to be spoiled, go ahead and watch some Dynasty Warriors videos instead, they have the same gameplay) and if you like what you see, why not buy the game (though I can see the possibility of a demo hitting the eshop, but I feel if Nintendo had plans on doing that, they'd have released it already). Overall, I found Hyrule Warriors really enjoyable, and see myself getting hours and hours more gameplay out of it, even after finishing the main story line.


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