Print Edition: October 8, 2014
At a glance, Hyrule Warriors appears to be just another Legend of Zelda game: you expect to be exploring dungeons and saving the princess. But in terms of gameplay, Hyrule Warriors is nothing like any other Zelda game. Instead, it follows its developers’ previous Dynasty Warriors series style. Needless to say, it’s a jump going from platforming and puzzle-solving to leading an army and fighting through hordes of enemies.
Contrary to the Legend of Zelda series, Hyrule Warriors puts you almost immediately into the action, where you can gleefully lay waste to hundreds of enemies while the tutorial barks at you — which you’ll have to get used to, because it follows you through the whole game. The tutorial is helpful, though, since it’s hard to pay attention when you’re destroying every red blip on the map.
Hyrule Warriors also throws some classic Legend of Zelda references in, such as bosses having a weakness to a certain type of item — or in one instance, when my forces were trying to bring a dragon to the ground, we could call upon the great fairy to hit him with the angry moon from Majora’s Mask.
As with every Zelda game, the hero is Link, but you’re not limited to only him. You can play as Princess Zelda, Midna, or even Sheik; in fact, you must play as the other characters to beat the game — you even play three missions as the bad guys, which is always fun. There is quite a large roster of characters, either unlocked through the missions or in adventure mode, and most of that roster is female.
There are only five playable male characters in the game, three of them being evil — which, coming from Nintendo, the company that basically invented the rescue-the-princess formula in video games, is quite a pleasant change. It’s awesome to run around as the princess just massacring everything in sight, too.
The graphics are a bit on the dull side. It looks like early Wii games, but that’s understandable, given the sheer amount of character models on the screen; there can be thousands of troops fighting at one time.
Being able to fight an army is even better when you can share that with a friend, but two-player mode has its problems, especially since one player is stuck playing exclusively on the WiiU game pad (which has much too small a screen to really enjoy it). There is also no versus mode, which would’ve been an excellent addition.
If you’re not that into Zelda, or high-action, fast-paced beat-’em-ups, then you’re probably better off passing this game by. But if you love Zelda and want an action-oriented, light-hearted game where you feel like a complete and utter badass, then grab a copy and have a great time.