This is an honest review of Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity. This game will finally scratch the insatiable itch that has bugged anyone who has played The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (BOTW).
One certainty for those committed enough to play BOTW to its conclusion is you’ll be bitten by the bug and left wanting more.
Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity takes us back to events of The Great Calamity we hear so much about in BOTW. But, as with all previous Hyrule Warrior games, this is Zelda from a Dynasty Warriors perspective.
The game has proved hugely popular, shipping three million units in the first four days of release in November.
Like previous Hyrule Warriors games, Age Of Calamity mixes the hack-and-slash gameplay of Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series with settings, characters and other elements from Nintendo’s Zelda series.
Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity review
Unlike Zelda, where you explore a beautiful kingdom predominantly solo, the basic gameplay of Age Of Calamity sees you participate in large-scale battles while completing objectives and strategic elements such as capturing bases and commanding troops.
In addition to retaining the combat, crafting and weapon upgrading systems from Hyrule Warriors, the game incorporates environmental puzzle-solving and the use of the Sheikah Slate tool and paraglider from BOTW.
Players can upgrade their characters, complete missions and challenges, use resources to access new areas, build weapons and cook food.
The good news is weapons in this game don’t break over time, unlike in BOTW. The game map is similar to the all-time Nintendo classic. Players can choose stages and use the Sheikah Tower to explore between regions.
Choose from 18 characters
There are 18 playable characters. Of those, 14 are obtained while progressing in the main story and four unlocked by completing side quests.
But when it comes to characters in your control, the most exciting element for me is the fact you’re also able to control the gigantic Divine Beasts. This enables you to destroy large numbers of enemies.
For those into their amiibo figures, Age Of Calamity is also compatible with figures of the Four Champions re-releasing alongside the game.
USP makes it best yet
Any excuse to revisit elements of BOTW’s story, map or structure is a good excuse. This is Age Of Calamity’s huge USP. From the Hyrule Warriors perspective, it single-handedly makes it the best yet.
Throwing into the mix Flurry Rushes and Runes from the Warriors side, though, is just as key. It gives combat some welcome and much-needed variety. There was nothing wrong with combat in BOTW. But this takes it to the next level.
New moments in the encapsulating story are delivered with the charm of Nintendo. The retelling of parts familiar to BOTW fans will go down a treat too.
Minor gripes: The grind
As in BOTW, there’s some grinding when it comes to missions and resources, which soured my enjoyment occasionally. While the combat is rejuvenated by the Runes and Flurry Rushes, that is affected by the grind too.
Some camera issues can prove maddening as combat is ramped up to often chaotic levels. This adds unnecessarily to the difficulty.
Bosses are interesting to look at but sometimes offer bland and repetitive fare – soaking up your hits and taking what can feel like an age.
These are pretty minor gripes overall, though. Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity takes us on a welcome trip down memory lane to a world we all know and love.
The character variety, combat additions and breathtaking beauty of Hyrule is a joy to behold.
The best Hyrule crossover yet by far – but with plenty of untapped potential left in the tank for future games.
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