I’ve been playing Hyrule Warriors since it has come out here in Japan. Since I’ve completed the story, unlocked all of the characters, and finished over half of the adventure mode I figured I would post my thoughts about the game. I’ve played the game for almost 28 hours up until this point. Spoiler warning.
Hyrule Warriors, as Aonuma and Hayashi have stated in their thoughts, is clearly made with strong affection for the Zelda series. There are a ton of references to the Zelda games. Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword get spotlight treatment in this version of Hyrule Warriors, but there are some references to other Zeldas here and there. One of my favorite other reference is the checkpoint animation/sound from a Link Between Worlds appearing on screen. Darunia has perhaps the best victory screen of all the characters, with him dancing around with his hammer like he does in Ocarina of Time. I can’t find a video of the dance at this time, but trust me, it’s amazing. Fay and Midna make similar audible sounds when they chat, and Proxy (Proxi?), Link’s fairy in Hyrule Warriors, has some references to Navi.
The story wasn’t that bad. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the story, but I personally enjoyed it. Of course, Aonuma has come forward and stated that Hyrule Warriors is not canon, so I didn’t take it that seriously. I thought Cia and Runa’s characters were appropriate additions to the Zelda universe, and their split makes sense within the story. Furthermore, I liked how they tied the different Zelda universes together. Furthermore, Cia’s base is creepy. She has pictures of Link throughout her room, and you can really feel her obsession with Link. I thought it was interesting that Cia took the Triforce of Power from Ganondorf (One interesting detail is that Runa and Cia never hold the Triforce within them, but instead capture it), and I really enjoyed Ganondorf’s levels in the story mode, as I really felt I was building him up to take over Hyrule.
The gameplay is simple, and very easy to get into. It only took me a couple of minutes to get used to the gameplay style, and I felt cool playing. I could introduce my friends to Hyrule Warriors very easily.
Graphics and sound quality are top notch, and everything comes together great.
While the gameplay is simple, it’s also very repetitive. Adventure Mode feels too much of a chore for me to 100% it, and the missions feel uninspired at times. Here are the type of missions you will encounter in Adventure Mode.
1. Kill X amount of bad guys in Y minutes.
2. Capture the enemies main base. *Sometimes two*
3. Kill the same mini-boss/ boss X amount of times in Y minutes.
4. A “quiz” where you would have to be brain dead to fail.
I was so excited when I saw there was going to be an Ocarina of Time quiz in Adventure Mode. However, the questions are usually in the vain of “Which enemy can fly?” and you have the choice of a Poe or a Lizalfos. Or with the game appropriate ones, they will often ask you questions like, “Who is the Sage of Fire from OoT? and give you Darunia and Zant to fight. Even if you didn’t know that Darunia was the Sage of Fire, all you would have to know is that he is from OoT. I guess they did that so casual fans could answer the questions, but I felt like the quiz style adventures were a wasted opportunity.
To unlock everything, you would have to be willing to grind a lot, and honestly there isn’t a ton of incentive to do so. I could get Link that extra heart piece, but I’m not sure why I would bother.
The two player seems to be only cooperative play. I was there was versus, and online play available. There is some cooperative element to Adventure Mode that is available through online, but I haven’t had the chance to try it.
There is a severe lack of strategy in the game. You can’t control your armies, and often times they just stand around watching you kill the bad guys/ their friends being killed. The higher difficulty seems to only add strength and HP to the enemies, it does not change the strategy at all. I beat the story on difficult the first time, and unlocked a “very difficult” setting for the levels. When I tried it out, I almost fell asleep, as I was just performing the same combo on the King Dodongo over and over again. If I got hit, it would knock out most of my HP. Not difficult, just grindy. I was able to beat the story on difficult mode with a level 38 Link. If I wanted to beat the story on very difficult, I would probably need at least a level 75 Link. Since I’ve unlocked all the characters, I don’t see the point. Sure, the new weapons would be cool but I don’t feel like I need them.
Speaking of unlocked characters, I’m so disappointed that Cia, Wizzro and Volga are unplayable at this time. I believe they will be added as DLC in the near future, but they should’ve been in the original game as they seem to be full functional in the story mode. I wish that Tingle or Skull Kid would have been playable too. I’m surprised Tingle was not represented in any way in the game as he does have a lot of appearances in Zelda games (and his popularity in Japan).
I would recommend this game to hardcore Zelda fans, and to people who have enjoyed Dynasty Warriors games in the past. If you are unsure of the gameplay, please try it out first or wait for a price drop.