Game Reviews

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Review: Spinoff Gold

Story Highlights
  • “Age of Calamity offers a top-notch Zelda story with surprisingly varied hack-and-slash combat.”
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
  • Excellent storytelling
  • Varied battle
  • Unique character expertise
  • Tons of content material materials

CONS

  • Repetitive goals
  • Technical hiccups

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is the first Zelda recreation that’s actually about Zelda. Despite the reality that the gathering is called after her, the princess has carried out second fiddle to the enduring Link for nearly 35 years now. Nintendo’s latest recreation lastly gives her the spotlight she deserves and divulges to followers why she truly is a legend.

It’s ironic that the important character enchancment happens in a side of recreation that doesn’t even bear her title, nonetheless, Age of Calamity is far more than your widespread spinoff. Building off of the first Hyrule Warriors’ dedication to larger-than-life battles à la Dynasty Warriors, the movement recreation is dealt with with the an identical stage of care and thought as a mainline Zelda title. It’s billed as an accurate prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — and it’s clear that Nintendo didn’t take that pitch flippantly.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is the model new gold commonplace for on-line recreation spinoffs. It additional purposefully makes use of large-scale battle to weave a high-stakes Zelda story that’s among the many many most engrossing tales to return out of a Nintendo property.

A Link to the earlier

Age of Calamity tells the story of the great battle that plunged Hyrule into darkness 100 years sooner than Breath of the Wild begins. With the assistance of a time-traveling droid, Princess Zelda locations collectively a crackerjack group of Hyrule’s most attention-grabbing warriors to attempt to cease the inevitable rise of Calamity Gannon. The model is a perfect match for that setup, making the battle actually actually really feel as grand as a result of it’s described.

The hyperlink would be the first character inside the character selection show, nonetheless, Zelda herself is the precise star. The story largely focuses on her insecurity as a pacesetter all through a kingdom-ending catastrophe. Even her switch set is clumsy as compared with totally different characters, as she haphazardly tosses out bombs and ice blocks whereas Link confidently slashes by means of crowds. Her redemption arc is additional emotionally impactful than one thing the Zelda assortment has provided before now, making it a standout Nintendo narrative.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

The story is principally suggested by means of unbelievable cutscenes that basically really feel as polished and detailed as an animated film. Characters come to life in a implies that even Breath of the Wild didn’t accomplish, and the cinematic clashes are genuinely thrilling. I under no circumstances used to suppose Zelda may match as a TV current or movie, nonetheless, Age of Calamity makes primarily probably the most convincing case the gathering has ever put out.

Part of the rationale it actually works is consequently of its provide supplies. Breath of the Wild is maybe the best acknowledged for its creative spin on open-world design, however, it’s easy to overlook how charming its worldbuilding and characters are. Age of Calamity amplifies all of these strengths, retroactively bringing additional depth, historic previous, and stakes to the game.

I under no circumstances used to suppose Zelda may match as a TV current or movie, nonetheless, Age of Calamity makes primarily probably the most convincing case the gathering has ever put out.

One key occasion of that comes from the divine beasts, the large robotic animals that play a central place in every online game. Breath of the Wild hypes up how all-powerful they’re, nonetheless principally makes use of them as elaborate puzzle dungeons. Age of Calamity actually pays off that lip service by letting avid gamers pilot the beasts and mow down truly tons of of enemies in seconds. The recreation is filled with “show, don’t tell” moments that enhance Breath of the Wild’s world with out trampling its mystique.

Nintendo’s private Zelda group labored far more rigorously with Koei Tecmo on the game to create its story elements — and the additional hands-on methodology reveals. While the game requires working info of Breath of the Wild to actually respect its strengths, Age of Calamity gives a stage of dramatic weight that’s unusual in Nintendo video video games.

High-stakes battle

It’s very important to set the right expectations for Age of Calamity’s gameplay –it’s nonetheless very so much a Dynasty Warriors-like Musou recreation initially. That comes with all the nice and the risks that the model has to provide. Combat is wickedly satisfying, nonetheless, repetition is baked into its core. Players will slash tens of tons of of enemies down, repeat goals repeatedly, and mash the an identical two buttons until their fingers get sore. Anyone who’s not already bought in on this kind of recreation isn’t inclined to find a revelation proper right here.

Anytime I found myself starting to get drained of the battles, I’d unlock one different character who would immediately reignite my curiosity.

Age of Calamity does an exemplary job of defending battle up to date as a lot because the very end of its 20-hour advertising marketing campaign. The secret to its success comes from its cope with character above all else. There are 18 playable heroes incomplete, who’re steadily unlocked as the game progresses. Anytime I found myself starting to get drained of the battles, I’d unlock any person new who would immediately reignite my curiosity.

The recreation takes almost Super Smash Bros. methodology to character design. While the elemental assaults and buttons are an identical for every hero, every has its very personal specific quirks that make them actually really feel specific. Impa can create clones of herself to slash additional enemies straight, whereas Revali can launch himself into the air and rain arrows down from above. Differences like that add a layer of experimentation to the game every time avid gamers unlock a model new character, turning repetitive goals proper into an gratifying battle playground.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Runic expertise play an unlimited place within the battle, which is the game’s most important change from the first Hyrule Warriors. Each character can throw bombs, freeze enemies, seize metal objects, and create ice partitions to counterattack enemies, together with a shocking choice to the same old delicate/heavy assault battle loop. What’s additional, one of the simplest ways the talents work changes from character to character, which provides avid gamers one different compelling motive to vary points up every mission and see what sort of harm they’re going to set off.

That’s solely the tip of the iceberg with reference to the lengths the builders went to to have the ability to preserve battle ever-changing. Different weapons can totally change switch models, each character has a specific means on the right set off that’s utterly distinctive, and new combos are steadily unlocked by means of the story. There’s a staggering amount of selections to fiddle with, effectively proving that there are a number of methods to pores and pores and skin a Hinox.

Pushed to the bounds

At first, Age of Calamity seems slimmed down as compared with the distinctive Hyrule Warriors. The Wii U launch featured a menu full of recreation modes that took higher than 200 hours to completely full, whereas the model new recreation has one core story mode. The delicate veneer appears to be a illusion as the game is unquestionably jam-packed with content material materials.

The recreation makes use of Breath of the Wild’s map as an overworld show that exhibits every mission, subquest, and unlockable merchandise on the market. The map fills up with icons all by way of the journey, which can get downright daunting by the tip. Having every objective in a single place is an enormous enhancement over the comparatively disorganized Hyrule Warriors. There’s nonetheless a lot to do, even when most of it revolves round additional slashing, however, it’s a lot much less excessive offering that’s easier to navigate.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

With all that content material materials, Age of Calamity truly pushes the Switch to its limits. It’s an unlimited recreation that’s not with out its share of technical flaws. Crazy combos may trigger the physique charge to shortly plummet to the tempo of a slideshow. Even weirder, usually the game inexplicably doubles in tempo, wanting as a movie caught on fast-forward.

Multiplayer significantly takes the brunt of the technical ache. The recreation choices two-player break-up show, which drastically drops the game’s effectivity to a comedic diploma. That’s a shame, consequently of it gives a very fulfilling couch co-op experience that rewards friends who can coordinate and execute a battle plan.

Crazy combos may trigger the physique charge to shortly plummet to the tempo of a slideshow.

To its credit score rating, the game under no circumstances crashed on me as quickly as, even when it felt like my Switch was about to explode. It on a regular basis made it out of a stutter unscathed and bug-free. In some strategies, the stutters almost actually really feel like a badge of honor that lets avid gamers know they’ve pulled off a considerably devastating assault. It’s not good, nonetheless a minimal of its not game-breaking.

Like Zelda herself, the game can on events actually really feel want it’s in over its head in a battle in opposition to know-how. That’s half of the enjoyment of the model, though. Musou video video games take large swings to make avid gamers actually really feel like an unstoppable energy of nature. In spite of all of its stutters, Age of Calamity effectively brings Hyrule’s good battle to life and lets the champions keep as a lot as their title.

Our thought

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity models the bar for every Nintendo spinoff with A+ storytelling that enhances Breath of the Wild’s world and deceptively assorted, character-driven battle. It’s nonetheless a Dynasty Warriors recreation at coronary coronary heart, for greater or worse, nonetheless, the recreation makes that basically really feel like a lot much less of a backhanded caveat and further of a up to date start for a polarizing model.

Is there a higher selection?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stays to be king, nonetheless Age of Calamity is maybe one of one of the best, and most accessible, Musou recreation in the marketplace.

How prolonged will it ultimate?

The advertising marketing campaign with a healthful dose of side missions is north of 20 hours, however, it’ll take double that to hit 100%.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you preferred Breath of the Wild, it’s an excellent companion piece that retroactively gives stakes to the experience.

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