In 2014, Japanese video game companies Nintendo and Koei Tecmo came together with developers Team Ninja and Omega Force to give gamers a crossover that saw the play-style of Dynasty Warriors mashed up with the characters from The Legend of Zelda. Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch is a return to an adventure originally released on the Wii U and 3DS.
Ditching both dungeons and puzzles in favor of a hack and slash adventure, Hyrule Warriors gives us a 10-hour adventure with a variety of things to do aside from the traditional Dynasty Warriors formula. Navigating through missions can be uneventful and redundant but what keeps the game engaging are the special attacks, weapon crafting, and ability to switch your characters on the fly. It is worth mentioning that Hyrule Warriors can be played in a variety of ways that include tabletop mode (Tablet and 2 Joy-Cons), handheld mode (The Switch itself), and two sets joy-con grips that enable the game to be played on a single television for local co-op action with a friend.
Hyrule Warriros Definitive Edition is available on Nintendo's website!
For gamers that have never played the game before it is a solid addition to the library. However, if you are one of those individuals who has played Hyrule Warriors on previous consoles it would be extremely difficult to warrant doubling dipping when that aren’t many changes to the core gameplay outside of improved performance and local co-op.
The story of Hyrule Warriors is rather unique in that the developers have interlinked 3 individual story-arcs through an interdimensional rift that is caused when Cia combines fragments of the Triforce together. This action opens up time and space to the resting quarters of Ganondorf’s spirit fragments which prompts our heroes to set out on an adventure to restore Hyrule and close the Gates of Souls that are open throughout the land. In order for these gates to be closed Link, Impa (Skyward Sword & Breath of the Wild), and Lana must lead their own campaigns in order to drive Cia’s dark armies off the land.
This story may seem very “standard” or “typical” of a game from the Zelda series but it works extremely well within the context of a Dynasty Warriors style of game. It was a good decision to bring these two franchises together because of how well each complements the other.
You’ve heard me mention Dynasty Warriors a few times by now, so you guys can probably imagine that the gameplay in Hyrule Warriors is very much the same. On that assumption, you would be right and that is not a bad thing!
Similar to games from the Dynasty Warriors series, players control a variety of characters that are branded “Warriors.” Outside of Link unlocking additional playable characters can be done just by progressing through the game’s Adventure Mode. Enemies appear in variety from weakest to strongest which forces players to approach encounters in a strategic fashion. Akin to the games before it, Hyrule Warriors enables players to fight alongside their fellow soldiers and assist them when needed. What is interesting about the game is that there isn’t really a focus on exploration or puzzles as with games in Zelda’s past but that is a good thing because it simply would not work with this style of game.
It is important to mention that players can still use items and weapons that are a staple in the Zelda franchise such as the Hookshot, Bomb, and Bow. All these items are essential in uncovering any secrets that lie within each level. Called Musou Attacks in previous games, all signature attacks are seemingly dubbed “Special Attacks” in Hyrule Warriors. These attacks are able to be utilized once the players have defeated the hordes of enemies and collected the Force Fragments that drop.
Players will also find themselves using a variety of weaponry that is essentially broken up into classes. Some of these weapons can be unlocked via story progression or playing any of the modes that are available in the game (Legend Mode, Adventure Mode, and Challenge Mode). Each weapon found as well as the characters themselves can be upgraded in a hub called the Bazaar. The Bazaar has 4 areas that consist of a Badge Market (craft materials), Smithy (customize weapons), Training Dojo (level up characters via training), and Apothecary (create mixtures). One last thing to mention is that any heart containers, pieces, or chests are either hidden within each level or locked within an area that needs certain criteria to be met in order get it opened.
For all of the variety that comes with this package, Hyrule Warriors can be extremely repetitive. There are only four buttons players will find themselves using during their venture. Weak attack uses the B button (as well as the jump action), strong attack uses the Y button, the X button is for the special attack, and dodge utilizes the A button. These actions do in fact change with the corresponding characters but in animation only. While Hyrule Warriors’ gameplay is straightforward, the problem is that after the first couple of missions the game quickly becomes as stale as a bag of potato chips that has been left open for a day or two. If the game was open world and encouraged limitless exploration (Breath of the Wild) the repetitiveness could be forgiven but that is not the case here. Regardless, the initial playthrough is well worth investing some time into as getting to trample hordes of enemies as your favorite characters from within the Legend of Zelda franchise can be satisfying from time to time.
Graphics and Sound
The look of Hyrule Warriors is extremely impressive. From bushes to trees to the character models that classic Nintendo look feels like it has been given a new coat of paint. If you are familiar with the Legend of Zelda franchise seeing each of the playable characters run and slice their way through the environments is surreal because of the detail within each level. What is even more impressive about the graphics is that I was not able to spot any pixelation of any kind during my time with the game. While this is a port of an older game this version of Hyrule Warriors seems to be on the console it was always meant to be on.
As far as the audio is concerned this is certainly the best sounding version. Sword slashes sound like they should. Explosions pack a punch that most would hear from some of the larger Triple-A titles on any console. My issue with the sound comes from the music. The reason that I say this is because some of the score seemed to be presented in a mixed formation. It is possible that I could be wrong but from everything that I heard, there were certainly parts of Hyrule Warriors that made me feel as if I was not inside the world of Zelda. It is not a deal breaker but for those expecting that sound they heard growing up 30 years ago, it may not be what you are expecting.
For those, including myself, which waited on this inevitable version it was certainly worth the wait – even if the musical score sounds slightly off.
The definitive EDition
Outside of performance improvements such as framerate adjustments and better local cooperative play there really isn’t a major difference between the Switch version compared to the original versions on the Wii U and 3DS. However, it is important to mention that all characters from both versions of Hyrule Warriors as well as all previously paid downloadable content are included in this version – making it the “Definitive Edition.”
Hyrule Warriors in spite of its redundant gameplay is quite amazing. The developers managed to bring together two separate styles of games and create a world that gives us a variety of ways to play as well options in regards to weapons and characters to choose from. If you did not own the previous version of Hyrule Warriors the Nintendo Switch version is certainly the best version to get but if you have played the game during its original release it might not be worth the upgrade.
|+ Character Selection||– Repetitive|
|+ Improved Performance||– Lack of New Features|
|+ Local Coop|
If you would like to know more about Hyrule Warriors check out an article written by my colleague, Danielle Crowder!