Zelda fans rejoice! It’s always a glorious day when Nintendo announces a new family member to any of our favorite franchises. The Zelda timeline is notoriously tricky and it does my heart good to see them filling in the gaps as they continue to further the lore of this world we know and love with a new title Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Before you get too excited, it’s worth noting this prequel seems to be a long way from Breath of the Wild by all but storyline but is seemingly identical to Hyrule Warriors as far as layout and gameplay. On top of that, I actually appreciate this as a prequel, maybe even more than another open-world adventure, and I’ll explain why.
AS MUCH FOR HYRULE WARRIORS FANS AS BREATH OF THE WILD FANS
For those who haven’t played Hyrule Warriors or any game from the “Warriors” type series, I cannot recommend it enough from casual to hardcore players. Nothing is quite as gratifying as running full steam into hordes of countless enemies, swinging your sword, and watching as hundreds of bad guys are flung away by any of your very powerful and dramatic (did I already say gratifying?) combos. Considering the consistency that all warrior games have seemed to maintain over the years, we can expect a time-line based level selection. In story mode, it will likely be two (depending on multiplayer mode per level ) or so usable characters according to the story, until you progress and unlock more characters. Typically you can use any character when you go back to replay levels. Each level is typically an episodic rendition of a particular battle, character developing obstacle, or just some filler to keep us busy on the “in-between”. We can expect the same “objective” based gameplay where amidst battling the enemies around you, an objective or goal will always be waiting for you to complete to move the battle in the right direction, and towards victory. The stages and goals are typically timed to keep the pressure on and force players to think strategically in order to get all objectives done while also…ya know…not dying.
WHY IS THIS BETTER FOR A PREQUEL YOU ASK?
Now being wildly different from your typical Zelda game, I think this is a marvelous gift from the creators for a handful of reasons.
- The time-line level construction and character development/ objectives draw important attention to what the game is trying to accomplish, without endless side quests and an open world to lose track of the story.
- Being more episodic of a game, as it is a prequel to show what we already know has come to pass, it makes production much faster and has given us a tasty treat to hold us over until BOTW2, all while maintaining hype, and without under developing anything for an early release.
- It draws attention to other important characters in the series with an opportunity to even play them! Because let’s face it, people are still referring to Link as Zelda, so was there any hope for Daruk, Urbosa, Revali, or Mipha otherwise?
It’s also worth mentioning that if we are to use the first Hyrule Warriors as a template of what to expect, you can also look forward to hours and hours of additional content in other game modes above and beyond the story. Some help you unlock special weapons for your favorite characters, while some help you unlock brand new characters to use. As if all that isn’t enough, these games have fantastic local multiplayer in a world where that is rarer and rarer. Double-teaming objectives in the storyline or challenging yourself along with a friend in the alternate game modes for cool stuff, having another local multiplayer that’s both gratifying and has as much to do like this, is almost impossible to come by. In 2020, with many things being closed or otherwise unsafe, It’s nice to have a game worth inviting a friend over for those quiet weekends.
ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS I AM NOW?
If the answer is no, try getting your hands on a copy of the original Hyrule Warriors and let it change your mind. Ported to the Nintendo Switch back in 2018 from its original start on the WiiU, it’s still retailing at $60 from most stores if you purchase new. There are plenty of used copies floating around closer to $40. If that is STILL too much to gamble on, on a type of gameplay that you might be nervous to give a try, Fire Emblem Warriors is closer to a $20 price tag and is nothing but consistent with the “Warriors” series.