First Impressions: Hyrule Warriors

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Initial impressions after a day with the game.

I have to admit two things up front before moving on to my initial impressions of the game. Firstly, I don’t like the Dynasty Warriors series and to expand on why, you need only read my review of Dynasty Warriors 8. I also wasn’t initially excited when Hyrule Warriors, this was partially because it was soon after my experiences with Dynasty Warriors 8 and also because the teaser trailer looked awful.

The first thing to address is visual presentation and art style. I had watched quite a few videos before getting the actual game and none prepared me for how great the game looks when you’re actually playing it. It looks so much better than the teaser that I’m surprised they even showed that teaser in the first place. The art style especially is just wonderful. If you want to see what games like Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time would look like in high definition then Hyrule Warriors will give you an excellent idea. The character models are all fantastic and little touches like the blue scarf with Link’s tunic work really well. The enemies will be familiar to any long-time Zelda fans and not only are they well designed, but fit surprisingly well into Dynasty Warriors gameplay.

The gameplay is very much that of Dynasty Warriors with large open and dynamic battlefields with a whole lot of enemies just waiting for you to send them flying (to their death). The playable characters all have over the top moves and can easily overcome all but the toughest enemies. The focus is still on capturing areas, defending your home fortress, fulfilling specified objectives and failing these objectives will result in defeat.

The Zelda side is present with the boss encounters and lots of little touches, like bomb patches, hackable grass, treasure chests along with the obvious characters and locations. The designers also included a lot of the classic jingles and sound effects and there is never more than a minute that goes by without hearing one. The control options also allow for Dynasty Warriors or Zelda style button layout. I chose the Zelda option and I found I quickly adapted to it.

One thing I did love about Dynasty Warriors 8 was the rocking soundtrack. If you can imagine classic Zelda music remixed to rock then you can imagine the Hyrule Warriors soundtrack. The soundtrack makes the games title a great name for a rock band. But there are also some nice remixes of classic songs in menus and cutscenes along with some excellent new compositions. I am already hoping they release the soundtrack.

As I stated, I didn’t much like my experience with the Dynasty Warriors series but I am very much enjoying my time with this so far. This may be because I would eat dog food if it had a Zelda logo on the tin, or because there is enough Zelda in this title to help me overlook the problems I had with Dynasty Warriors. I have been occasionally frustrated when failing certain objectives but this is partially due to my misunderstanding the Japanese. I may change my mind when it comes time to review but I am having a blast so far.

Note: this article is based on the Japanese version of the game.

August, 2014

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