Hack N Slash with Link in Hyrule Warriors
The WII U perhaps remains in third place when compared the well-known consoles, those being the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. But for those who have been loyal to Nintendo since the early 90s, such as me, the Wii U offers Zelda Hyrule Warriors. Nintendo wasn’t the only developer for this version; they had the assistance of Koei/Tecmo and Team Ninja.
To a 90’s kid who obsessed over sports games, Tecmo rings a bell for its sports games on Nintendo, which were later on Super Nintendo & Sega Genesis. Tecmo was also one of the first companies to obtain licenses from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. For the NES, Tecmo released Tecmo Bowl, the classic Super Tecmo Bowl with the NFL’s 1991 roster, Tecmo NBA Basketball (using the 91-92 rosters), and Tecmo Baseball.
However, by the time we walked into the fourth generation of gaming, EA Sports would beat Tecmo in the world of console sports, and as of 2015, it remains the top company in Sports Gaming, even after 20 years.
Tecmo would merge with a small but lucky company called Koei, and then later Koei would knock the Tecmo name off for some time. Sometime after Tecmo walked away from the sports gaming and Koei’s takeover, they went on with the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Dynasty Warriors is well-known for its later use of Hack-n-Slash gameplay, from their beginning as a fighting game.
Options & Starters
This started around the mid-to-late 90s and lasted until it went to hack-n-slash playing in the early 2000, with more options and better graphics with each release. For example, Dynasty Warriors 5 for the PlayStation 2 had Empire Mode in which you play as a general during the time of Imperial China, attempting to take over the country by fighting other generals.
Zelda Hyrule Warriors is the same concept but minus all the folks who had reigned during the Imperial Chinese era, but with all your favorite characters from the Zelda galaxy: such as Princess Zelda herself, Link, Impa, Lana, Midna, Ganondorf, and others. Let’s not forget the RPG element! Yes, you kill (or knock out) for experience.
The game had four game modes you could play:
Legend Mode: Play the story of Hyrule Warriors. Towards the end of the story, an interesting twist will come up where the player will play the evil role as Ganondorf, fighting against Zelda and Link. After finishing this mode, you’ll unlock Hero difficulty. That’ll be a big challenge for any player.
Free Mode: Like Legend, but useful to get a bonus or level up your players.
Adventure Mode: The classic Zelda map, but with the modern feel and tossing a scenario to you with occasional limits.
Challenge Mode: Play a level while a number of challenges are handed to you, such as defeating 500 enemies in 5 minutes. Arguably, the second challenge in the first level asks for 300 enemies defeated with a special attack, which is very difficult to do. A recent update on the 15th of March 2015 had added two extra modes within this mode, including a five minute free-for-all.
As stated, the gameplay is mainly hack-and-slash. Most of the fighting comes to that, with the exception of certain bosses whether they are human (or of the like, Volga is questionable in my eyes) or a giant boss such as Gohma and Dodongo. With the giant bosses example, while fighting Dodongo, you would wait around for him to suck in air for his special fireball attack, but before he (or it) attacks, the player would have to throw bombs inside his mouth. They would blow up and disable Dodongo for a short moment, thus stopping the fireball attack and giving a moment for the player to attack.
The music has a mix of folk instruments with some modern rock licks to heavy metal riffs, in addition to orchestral tunes. The Skyloft music surely had a grunge feel to it, while Sequence of Drops and Twilight Field remind me of Gothic Metal band’s Leave’s Eyes, minus the vocals of husband and wife Alexander Krull and Liv Kristine. Eclipse of the Moon is hugely reminiscent of Opera Metal band Therion.
For those who haven’t played this game, if you’re a heavy metal guitarist, just go to your local medieval festival with your guitar and pickups (if they allow them) and add a guitar to a band with a flutist, harpist and percussion, and you get the music of Hyrule Warriors. There is also a heavy metal version of Hyrule Field which is worth mentioning. The music of this game is done by Japanese musicians, but they do an excellent job mirroring the aforementioned bands. It’s better than an A+, it’s A++++++ (Ralph’s dream in The Christmas Story anyone?).
The sound in this game is nothing great but nothing bad minus the cries for help from other players, which I personally find them annoying. When it comes to voices, it’s mainly sounds of people cries whether it pleading for help or making a victory. A female voice over tells the story during legend mode and while before and after a mission begins, when the characters talk to each other, the words pop up with a ‘mumbling’ track.
Going to the annoying pleas for help, let’s say you are in at the Palace of Twilight fighting off Argorok, a dragon who likes to attack with its tail mainly, and while so, an alert will pop-up saying another ally is in danger, followed by their cry for help. I found myself cursing at the TV, things such as, “Augh shut the f—k up, I’m fighting Argorok and you can’t handle a dying Shield Moblin walking into your base?”
Similarities to DW
Since this game takes its primary element from the Dynasty Warriors franchise, In Dynasty Warriors 5 for PlayStation 2, there are five classes of soldiers: Generals, Lieutenants, Captains, basic soldiers and occasional Juggernauts. With DW5, soldiers will attack opposing soldiers, Captains, and a Juggernaut if it’s around. They will not attack a General or a Lieutenant, while it is the opposite with the General or Lieutenant. When they come on down to a supply base and knock ten soldiers out with a swing of a blade, while the other soldiers walk by him or her and wait while the Captains try their luck on an opposing General or Lieutenant who will come down.
This game has the same premise. Say you are playing as Link and you take Argorok down with the hookshot as it is about to attack with its tail, bringing it down to the ground for a short moment of incapacity. Now, if Zelda (a Lieutenant) and a Hyrule Warrior or Goron Captain (Captains) are within the close proximity, they will assist in making sure it will be Argorok’s last fifteen seconds alive.
Otherwise, once it flies again, the soldiers will stand waiting for Argorok’s fire to burn them to a crisp or smack them off the hill with its tail. Personally, I would like it if the soldiers participated in the boss demise, but you can’t win them all.
Graphic Rendering Cons
Reportedly, the game has speed troubles during a 2-player game. I haven’t played this game yet on 2-player mode, but I’ve noticed the graphics were slightly buggy when 200 skeleton soldiers, King Dodongo, five Lizalfos, and even Ganondorf himself are running at me with the motivation to do great harm.
Hyrule Warriors is worth the $59.95 (as of March 2015), even if you are not a serious fan of the Zelda series. B+