Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity overview: A must-play for Zelda lovers

There are two issues most of the people will inform you about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. One, that the genre-defining open-world journey is fantastic, if now not one of the crucial very best video games of all time. And two, that they need they may enjoy it everywhere once more, recent.

Up to now, Nintendo hasn’t but perfected the mind-erasing tech vital to make that occur, however Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity could be the following very best factor. It’s like finding the director’s reduce of your favourite film, or studying that the creator of a super guide has much more the place that got here from. For dozens of hours, Age of Calamity permits you to spend extra time with cherished characters in an international you won’t have sought after to go away within the first position. In all probability probably the most outstanding factor about that is that Age of Calamity can pay homage to the whole lot that made Breath of the Wild nice whilst additionally organising its personal distinct sense of grandeur.

I’m now not certain you’ll get just about as a lot out of Age of Calamity for those who didn’t play Breath of the Wild, or if you’re a hardcore “Musou” fan who’s hoping that Koei Tecmo driven its signature hack-and-slash sequence into new floor. If anything else, Age of Calamity turns out like a crossover recreation supposed to introduce new other people into the style, which is understood for its large-scale battles and flashy battle. In many ways, the sport already assumes you’re invested within the characters from its epic tale.

Breath of the Wild takes position in a ravaged international 100 years one day, with lots of its heroes of delusion lengthy lifeless by the point Hyperlink wakes up. You pass on to save lots of the day, in fact, however there used to be a deep sense of depression and pathos in realizing the large value that used to be paid to verify your eventual victory. Age of Calamity’s proposition as a prequel to that may be a juicy one: What if I may just play thru all of the occasions I heard about in Breath of the Wild?

Link and the Champions in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Symbol: Koei Tecmo Video games/Nintendo by way of Polygon

Age of Calamity begins in that catastrophic long term, after which inexplicably throws a mysterious robotic right into a time time touring vortex. I used to be right away intrigued via that premise, and spent all the time questioning how — or if — issues would possibly deviate from the timeline I performed in BOTW.

The entirety that I took with no consideration in Breath of the Wild doesn’t essentially exist in Age of Calamity, a minimum of now not in the beginning. I am getting to look at because the Sheikah Towers get erected, and the way Zelda convinces the Champions to pilot the Divine Beasts. Regardless of realizing precisely what the whole lot used to be and the place the overarching tale used to be going, I used to be nonetheless overjoyed to participate in it all.

It is helping that Koei Tecmo clearly have a deep love for the supply subject matter. The Jap developer discovered techniques to include just about each and every component from BOTW into Age of Calamity, from gathering Koroks for power-u.s.to accumulating substances for status-affecting cooking. Even minor issues, like bespoke animations for each and every personality, are imbued with an plain reverence and pleasure. Hyperlink doesn’t simply kill his enemies with a sword, y’all. He’ll protect surf on a Lynel’s face, too.

Most commonly, despite the fact that, the battle is unwell as hell. Few video games make me really feel this cool for pulling off even easy combinations, which helped inspire me to be told extra in-depth tactics. I marveled as I reduce down monumental mobs of enemies with the convenience and style inherent to the Hero of Time.

I used to be particularly excited to peer how Age of Calamity grew to become Princess Zelda into a complete badass. After spending the whole thing of Breath of the Wild looking at Zelda bemoan that she couldn’t give a contribution extra to the conflict effort, I used to be glad to peer Age of Calamity let her tackle a extra hands-on function. Certain, many of the recreation nonetheless has Zelda second-guessing her talent to rouse the ability vital to defeat Calamity Ganon, however that doesn’t imply Zelda isn’t extraordinarily succesful.

The place Breath of the Wild gifts a extra pinpointed tale about one hero’s journey, Age of Calamity’s scale is far grander. Battles happen throughout broad (and every so often complicated) maps stuffed with enemies, and it’s your task to believe all the taking part in box, now not simply your instant field of regard. I’d break up my consideration a couple of techniques, sending off characters to protect sights. With the click of a button, I will be able to switch thru other characters relying at the converting goals or sights. The scope used to be large sufficient to strengthen I used to be main a conflict, now not an instanced fight.

Taking part in at the Nintendo Transfer Lite, I discovered that Age of Calamity every so often buckles underneath its personal weight. There are occasions when I discovered myself killing enemies so rapid, I needed to stay up for the sport to load extra. Infrequently, when the taking part in box is frenzied with a myriad of skills and results, issues get uneven and gradual. Texture pop-in is continuing. The sport can’t relatively appear to take care of the breadth of the conflict it desires to exhibit, a minimum of now not within the Nintendo Transfer. That stated, none of those technical problems had been ever unhealthy sufficient to get in the way in which of me taking part in the sport.

The rune attacks screen in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Symbol: Koei Tecmo Video games/Nintendo by way of Polygon

More often than not, what the sport requested me to do used to be slightly simple. You are going to be spending a lot of time looking to seize issues overrun via Bokoblins and different such creatures, or tasked with clearing larger bosses, just like the Stone Talus and Guardians. Each so steadily, Age of Calamity switches issues up via asking you to engage along with your atmosphere in a couple of alternative ways, like slicing down a tree to dam a trail. However for probably the most phase, the sport will provide you with a chain of playgrounds and allows you to pass hog wild with Breath of the Wild’s iconic solid of Champions.

And let me inform you: They’re known as Champions for a reason why. There’s a big roster of characters to free up, and the majority of them have a singular play taste. Daruk, for instance, is a gradual and stable beast relegated to the bottom, whilst Revali is a swift soldier who can fly in the course of the air. My favourite of the bunch needs to be Urbosa, who fees ahead with lights assaults that should be charged up. Staring at Urbosa snap her arms to drown the battlefield with bolts by no means will get previous. There’s a palpable verve to all of it — Urbosa turns to the digicam and laughs as her enemies get decimated. The uncooked would possibly and pleasure are intoxicating. It’s now not steadily that I am getting to play a brown lady who kicks this a lot ass.

Whilst the core gameplay loop stays the similar all through Age of Calamity’s prolonged recreation time, I by no means grew uninterested in it. I discovered myself switching thru characters so much, ensuring that everybody used to be leveled up and had sturdy guns. There’s some excellent intensity to battle prep right here, as the sport means that you can acquire numerous guns with other strengths. One vast sword would possibly bolster your protection, whilst some other would possibly present you extra rupees after a a hit challenge. Those results may also be blended and coupled as you fuse guns in combination and stage them up.

Unlocking additional hearts, combinations, traders, and tool calls for grinding heaps of technically repetitive aspect quests, however I reveled in it. I discovered myself continuously discovering new depths to the battle, whether or not it used to be finding a more practical mixture of Sheikah skills, or the use of a special set of apparatus and power-ups.

Sooner or later, it changed into a recreation to peer how briskly I may just break enemies who used to terrify me. The extra perfectly-timed dodges that induced devastating flurry assaults, the easier. The sport additionally poses a number of novel demanding situations, like thrusting you into an non-compulsory fight the place a unmarried hit can kill you. There’s not anything relatively like beating a degree with a moment or two left at the clock, and best part a center on your title.

The sport by no means absolutely embraces the possible alternatives of its time-traveling premise, however I used to be nonetheless hooked all through. In all probability it helped that Breath of the Wild already did the sort of excellent task of organising the stakes. Age of Calamity didn’t need to do a lot to tug at the similar heartstrings. Infrequently, a brief cutscene with a pained look or a wavering voice used to be all it took to reinvigorate the drama of all of it.

Age of Calamity’s mandate is much less about saving the arena yet again, like at all times, than it’s imagining that you’re a kind of professional Breath of the Wild speedrunners who can slice thru Lynels adore it’s not anything. And I, for one, am glad to delight in that continual delusion.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity launched Nov. 20 on Nintendo Transfer. The sport used to be reviewed on a Nintendo Transfer Lite the use of a pre-release obtain code equipped via Nintendo. Vox Media has associate partnerships. Those don’t affect editorial content material, despite the fact that Vox Media would possibly earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of associate hyperlinks. You’ll to find further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.

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