Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

In today's review we had the opportunity to try Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a game that will amaze you

It has now been three years since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out for Nintendo Switch. Often referred to as the best open world around, in large part thanks to a extraordinary level design and a map that continues to surprise even after hundreds of hours of gameplay. A world so fascinating that it will even be recovered for the sequel, even if it is still not clear in what form.

However, Nintendo did not stop there, surprisingly unveiling another video game that it would have exploited further the potential of the world of Breath of the Wild. In September we in fact met Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, a title that today we can offer you in this review.

Back in time

The game in question was developed by Koei Tecmo in close cooperation with Omega Force and under the supervision of Eiji Aonuma, historical director of the series and successor to Shigeru Miyamoto. The aim was to create a game that could make the player live the catastrophe and wars caused by the Calamity Ganon all over the land of Hyrule.

Undoubtedly a brilliant idea was to tell it through the genre of musou, which by its nature gives a strong space to pitched battles. It is in fact with great curiosity that we approached the title and to express it at its best, without further ado, we offer you our review of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

The Beginning of the End - Hyrule Warriors Review: Age of Calamity

The events told in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity happen a century earlier by Breath of the Wild. The monsters are already in turmoil and attack the kingdom by clashing with King Roham's army. Among them there is Link, initially a simple soldier, who will soon become Princess Zelda's personal guard.

The story, for a good part of the experience, follows quite faithfully what we already knew, but proposing different points of view and further dialogues. However, there are new plot elements, the first is a mini guardian easily exchangeable for R2-D2 for ways and appearance, which seems to have mysterious knowledge of the ancient Sheikah technology. The second is a new threat, that is Astor a sorcerer in the service of Calamity and in close ties with the outlawed Yiga clan.

This will lead to an original evolution of events and therefore to create one's own path. It is therefore a story that should certainly be known for fans and that is not limited to just giving you an excuse to revisit Hyrule. Everything is also told through some real-time scenes definitely curated, especially when it comes to showing the characters in action. Between one loading and the other then, Impa or the King of Hyrule will tell the events "off screen" to sew together the various missions of the main story.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

The Basics of the Genre - Hyrule Warriors Review: Age of Calamity

From the point of view of playability, we are faced with a pure musou video game divided into closed maps and missions, but with some ideas that combine gameplay elements taken from BotW with those of the Dinasty Warriors. The references are in fact extremely numerous and each one never heavy or badly inserted.

With Link and the champions, you will fight against hordes of enemies ready to be hit and treated like meat for slaughter. As per tradition for the genre, you will cross a well-defined map conquering the enemy garrisons or simply running towards the next plot objective. On the way you will face enemies of various kinds, the simplest ones will generally be Bokoblin, Lyzalfos, Yiga soldiers or units of the allied peoples.

To take them down you can use the simplest combos available. By repeatedly pressing Y the character will perform a simple combo, but interspersing it with X you can hit with more powerful lashes and particular combos. Each varies enormously based on the character in use, Urbosa for example will rely on his lightning as well as on the scimitar. Castonne instead it attacks by summoning small allied Koroks and generating sounds. Everyone also has a super ability that charges up by taking down enemies and is unleashed by pressing A at any point in the battle.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

Combat becomes technical - Review Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

The captains, on the other hand, will be more complex, i.e. stronger enemies positioned to defend strategic points. Among them there will be Grublin, Lynel, Hinox and other endemic creatures. For them it is necessary to use different techniques aiming for high damage and consuming their stamina bar. The latter is present in all enemies, even the guardians, and is exhausted by attacking the weaknesses (head or back), after a perfect dodge or while stunned.

When they run out, their weak point will be discovered and at that moment just press X to make one special move which will cause a great deal of damage. Each captain or miniboss will need a quite different approach, a Hynox for example will be hit trying to reach the eye to cause damage to his stamina. The Lynels, on the other hand, have few openings and must be shot down with raw damage, dodged at the right time (resulting in momento Matrix which will grace us with very fast attacks) or trying to counter the offensive with the powers of the Sheikah tablet.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

Handyman Tablet - Hyrule Warriors Review: Age of Calamity

In fact, all the characters have the opportunity to use their skills, well known to the players of Breath of the Wild. Cryonis creates pillars of ice that immobilize or stun charging enemies. Magnesis it can be used to throw metal objects or to catch enemy weapons on the fly (and send them back to the sender). Stasis it's perfect for blocking and stunning enemies that make spinning attacks. Finally the Bombe Remote they are often used to stop charged attacks, or to do damage to the enemy in general.

The combat system, however repetitive, is capable of combining the dynamic and creative combat of Breath of the Wild with the more "tamarro" of the musou, creating a fun and unique mix. However, the enemies can sometimes seem more of the punches, than real threats, slightly weighing down the most demanding fights. Furthermore the view does not always perform an easy service to the player, penetrating the patterns in the background and often wedging where it shouldn't. Problem that sometimes is amplified against enemies of great stature, not allowing a correct vision.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

Return of the Koroks - Review Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Luckily the great variety of characters available gives the opportunity to try out many different play styles. In all there are 18 and some of them are truly original. For each champion you will be able to collect weapons in battle, which can be upgraded if fused at the forge. Link however is the only one capable of totally change fighting style based on equipment, completely modifying basic attacks, special moves and counterattacks; he can in fact use: two-handed swords, sword and shield, spears, axes and hammers. It is also the only one whose equipment can be changed, even if the differences are only aesthetic.

Those who are eager to explore the game maps, will surely find satisfaction in knowing that they are present secrets to find and some notable details to spot. By looking closely you can in fact find chests or even Korok nascosti in the ground or in crates. The missions then, secondary and primary, take place throughout the map of Hyrule giving you the opportunity to review ancient glimpses at their peak.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

Top Management - Hyrule Warriors Review: Age of Calamity

When you have finished a mission, you will return to the Sheikah Tower for observe the world from the Hyrule map. From here you will see every single mission to be faced, both main and secondary. There are in fact numerous scattered throughout all regions optional activities, which will often give you the task of defeating a certain number of enemies within a time limit or capturing enemy positions.

In addition to missions, there are other tokens on the map that are essential for characters to grow. Among them are structures such as the stables, the forge, the tinteria and the training area. However, the most numerous are those dedicated to characters who, if purchased with the resources obtained by defeating enemies, will give access to hearts and longer combos. You will also find signs to get new recipes, in such a way as to give bonuses to the heroes during the battle. To complete them all it will take you many hours of play, and maybe in the meantime you will also be able to unlock some secret characters.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

A sad confirmation - Review Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

From a technical point of view unfortunately, we have to confirm what was said in our preview. The game resolution fluctuates enormously, hardly keeping the desired 1080p, but dropping more often to 720p. Nevertheless, it also suffers from the point of view of frames, definitely unstable on some occasions. Visually, however, it remains a very pleasing game, mainly thanks to a style that adapts very well to low resolutions.

Compared to Breath of the Wild it is also natural to expect visual compromises, on the screen there are in fact many more units to weigh down the Nintendo Switch hardware. From a sound and interface point of view, each asset has been faithfully taken from the previous title, which we have no doubt will make any fan of the series feel at home. Finally, there are new soundtracks that are inspired by the most famous notes of the saga, without however detaching from the sound style adopted by Breath of the Wild.

Review Hyrule Warriors: the Age of Calamity, the past returning

Our conclusions

Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity is a winning bet, the musou genre is in fact perfectly suited to the story that the game wants to tell. Being able to see Hyrule in its original state is a joy, but doing it while having fun taking down huge masses of enemies is even more so. The developers were able to grasp the peculiarities of the combat of Breath of the Wild, forming an original system and not entirely repetitive (although inherent in the nature of the genre). However it is not without defects, the visual sometimes does a disservice to the player e the overall stability leaves a lot to be desired. But don't let this discourage you from playing it, it could be the musou for you.

The game in this review, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, is available from November 20th for Nintendo Switch. We invite you to continue following us to stay updated on video games and technology.

8 the new musou standard

Points in favor

  • Exciting story
  • Great mix between BotW and a musou
  • Very varied fighters
  • There is also a hint of exploration

Points against

  • Visual not always on the piece
  • Sometimes unstable resolution and FPS
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