Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Nintendo Switch) - Review

If you've been following us for a while, you'll know just how much we loved the original Hyrule Warriors, and how excited we were when this got announced a few months back. Now that we've finally got it in our hands, it's time to see if it lives up to our expectations!

The main thing to keep in mind here is this game is a prequal to the events of Breath of the Wild. You play the game leading up to the events of when the Calamity hits, where as back in the original Hyrule Warriors, the game is a mesh of fan service and alternate universes. Most of the story and gameplay takes place on a huge map that mimics that of Breath of the Wild. The various different game modes and services are no longer hidden away in separate menus, and blend seamlessly onto the world map.

The missions are are very well done. Previous game had Adventure Mode with you going over a map and with it's AU story it felt messy at times. One minute you'd be playing as Agitha protecting Hyrule, next minute she was evil and you had to take her down. I get adventure mode shouldn't be seen as "canon", but when you compare it to here, all missions seem like you're actually playing in events that take place in real time - if you're battling against an ally, the game calls it training mission. These are just small things, but they really help with making the game feel canon.

The characters are nice and very well rounded. I read people were worried there wouldn't be a whole lot of characters, capping off at Link, Zelda, Impa, and the 4 Champions, but there's actually a tonne. Each one even feels unique, and how they'd play if this was actually set in Breath of the Wild. Link's moveset feels like you're actually playing BOTW at times, especially when playing as Link. We're not going to go into details and spoil what characters you can play as, but if you've played Breath of the Wild, it shouldn't be too hard to pick out which characters are playable.

Whilst the original had your traditional Zelda items like bombs and arrows, Age of Calamity settles for runes as the replacement for items, and this time around they actually have more use in the environment and gameplay/levels. In the original the items were nothing more than a little extra touch that hardly did anything, if at all. They did try to expand on this with the limited time upgrades, and weak point smashes in the 3DS and Switch ports, but they never really felt like they hit their full potential. Here, they're a lot more substantial in gameplay and taking down enemies. You even have full access to fire, ice, and electric rods, which further help in taking down the enemy.

There's a few other things that'd I'd like to briefly touch on, which are mainly just my thoughts on certain things. Firstly are the Korok's. Now, they're nowhere near as tedious as they were in BOTW, and act as replacements for the Gold Skulltula's from the original. They no longer have a time limit to be nabbed, so you don't need to drop everything to get them, and they help in expanding your weapon storage, among other things. Sadly, they don't seem to unlock artwork like they did in the original, which is missed.

Secondly, and most importantly, is just how well the characters play. In the original, certain characters felt overpowered, and others got the short end of the stick. I found characters like Darunia and Ruto to be rather boring.  The good thing is they seem to have recertified their mistake, and figured out how to actually make them play enjoyable. Daruk feels like an improved Darnuia, as does Mipha for Ruto. Even Revali feels like an improved Medli, complete with enjoyable aerial combat.

Honestly, if you're after your annual Zelda fix, and really want to explore the world of BOTW in a different light, this might be worth considering. there's a demo on the eShop which is pretty substantial, so if you're still undecided, I recommend giving it a shot - if you end up liking it, you can transfer your data over!

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