Fusing the Hyrule Warriors, a musou with The Legend of Zelda, offering us a hilarious and complete spin-off of massive action that allowed us to destroy real armies of enemies while controlling our characters’ favourites of one of the most important series in the history of video games. After several re-releases and downloadable expansions, the title is now one of the main exponents of its genre, perfectly combining gameplay, fanservice and a huge and practically unattainable amount of content unless we have several hundred free hours to dedicate to it.
Now Koei Tecmo and Nintendo join forces once again to bring us Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, an exceptional game that leaves the multiverse of the previous musou to focus entirely on the world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to narrate the epic war that took place 100 years before the events of this acclaimed adventure, resulting in a highly recommended title that fans of the genre will love.
Thus, we are faced with a new musou in which we will have to face hundreds of enemies simultaneously as we move through various battlefields fulfilling all kinds of objectives and missions to win the victory. Of course, as it is a game set in the Breath of the Wild universe, we can control characters like Link, Zelda, Revali, Urbosa, Mipha or Daruk, and learn more about the Hyrule of the past, its heroes and its villains.
However, the story takes place in an alternative timeline, so the events that we will see are not the same as we all know. So, this is not an official prequel to Breath of the Wild, but something else. The bad news is that the new story has not convinced us in the least and, as much as we liked to see the relationships and conversations between its charismatic characters, in the end, it ends up being dull. With that being said, it does have authentic epic moments, but that magic sways away very quickly once you finish the game.
Focusing purely on game mechanics, the first thing that stands out is how well its combat system works. The base is more or less the same as always, being able to perform combos alternating weak and strong attacks, unleash special techniques when filling a meter, and, of course, defend ourselves by blocking or dodging. We must also add the use of the different modules of the Sheikah Stone to practice a series of powers that will serve us both to lengthen our chains of blows and counteract specific movements of enemy generals and bosses. Finally, we will also have some elemental wands to cast powerful offensive spells that will give us a great advantage in the toughest duels.
With something as basic as this, in Omega Force, they have been able to completely distinguish each of the characters, creating unique combat styles and ways of playing for each one of them that go beyond the simple pressing of buttons and that They require us to know what each of our combos does, the timing they have and the peculiarities associated with them. Much of the blame for all this is the fact that each warrior has a unique and personal action around which his entire move set usually revolves, ensuring that the experience of controlling one or another hero has nothing to do with it.
In practice, this translates into a game that makes the experience of hitting out smacks and fighting hundreds of enemies something hilarious and very satisfying, especially if we bet on playing on Difficult or Very Difficult, where they will really tighten the nuts. And smashing buttons are useless. All this is spiced up by a good variety of enemies and bosses that will force us to adopt certain tactics to defeat them efficiently, some very intense and well-designed main missions, where performing the perfect dodges of Breath of the Wild and even move quickly through the air gliding with the glider.
They have done an exceptional job has been done combining the musou formula with the mechanics of Link’s acclaimed adventure, with which many of us released our Nintendo Switch in 2017. It is a title capable of having us battling for hours and hours while we level up and improve our heroes before boredom begins to assail us, something that has a lot of merit in a game in which we will spend 99% of the time. Time beating against armies of monsters.
However, it does not eliminate certain problems that tarnish the experience much more than we would like. The most serious defect that we have found, without a doubt, is the camera, one of the worst we have seen in years. When fighting in open spaces, you don’t experience any issues, but when it comes to fighting in closed or narrow spaces, the camera becomes unable to position itself decently.
When it comes to its content, you’ll be happy to know that there is so much to do and unlock. Unlike the first Hyrule Warriors, this time everything is integrated into the main campaign, where between mission and mission, we can navigate through a map full of icons in which we will find requests to deliver certain materials in exchange for juicy rewards (including new combos and character upgrades, new types of services and shops, new optional activities, etc.) and tons of side battles.
The interesting thing about this system is that whatever we do usually has its reward and unlocks more content, creating an addictive loop that keeps you playing to see what new missions, tasks and treasures you get. Of course, despite how much we liked this structure, we have to admit that navigating this map becomes real chaos in the most advanced bars of the adventure since there are so many icons that it is not always easy to find the one we want, something that is aggravated by the lack of filters or some list for secondary fights. Not that it is anything severe or that it cannot be solved with a simple update, but it is far from being as intuitive as it should be.
Another detail that has left us a bit cold is the very design of these side missions since they all consist of small tests, mostly time trials. We must kill a series of bosses, conquer the odd bastion or eliminate a certain number of enemies. This ends up being repetitive, practically identical, and we will hardly notice changes from one to another beyond the scenario used. Yes, they are entertaining, but we liked Hyrule Warriors Adventure Mode much more, especially with the improvements it received in its Definitive Edition.
In total, completing the main story is a task that will take roughly 15 to 20 hours. If you want %100 completion, you’re looking at 60 and 80 hours, so you can be sure that you have a game for a while, especially if you try to find everything without using a guide since some are very well hidden.
But, without a doubt, where the game lacks the most is in its graphics, which is a real shame it looks very much like Breath of the Wild, with perfect character designs, a very particular of cel-shading and spectacular and very successful staging. Unfortunately, the title is plagued with technical problems of all kinds, both on handheld and docked, including a very low resolution that makes the image look blurry and unclear, popping objects on stage, low-quality textures and, worst of all, a disastrous performance that rarely manages to reach 30 fps and drops below 20 images per second, something that ends up seriously affecting the gameplay.
Luckily, the title has epic compositions, remixing with great success certain themes of the series and providing new melodies that are simply outstanding. In fact, music behaves dynamically, so its intensity varies depending on what happens during the confrontations. The sound effects are very varied and recognizable.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Cataclysm is a good musou that features some of the best characters, battles, and combat system in the entire genre. While having performance problems, its frustrating camera or the repetitive design of its side missions weigh down the product. Rest assured, expect to spend countless hours almost without realizing it. If you are passionate about The Legend of Zelda, don’t hesitate to give it a try.
We prepared this review with a digital review code for the title provided by Nintendo.