Hyrule Warriors Preview

A link in a long chain

Hyrule Warriors Link 1

Hyrule Warriors is, at least on the surface, a carbon copy of the Dynasty Warriors or Warriors Orochi series of games from Tecmo Koei. But, after having gone hands-on at a post-E3 Nintendo event in London, the reality is that Hyrule Warriors is a different beast. Sure it beats to the same drum as the Feudal-era hack-n-slash series, but this is something far more refined – something with a heck of a lot of potential.

Playing as Link, armed with the magical transforming Fired Rod, I waded out into the battlefields of Hyrule. It was genuinely unclear what the story was at this point, only figuring out that Link was known to be a trainee by Zelda’s aide and guardian Impa. So, while we already know that this is a spin-off from the main canon that is The Legend of Zelda, it’s unclear if we’ll still see the likes of Ganondorf and the Triforce, or if this weaves a completely different yarn.

However, you don’t come to a Dynasty Warriors game for its involving story, you come because it’s fun to cut through swathes of enemies – and that’s what Hyrule Warriors does so well. You’ll see hundreds of Moblin’s on screen at once, and bashing them, burning them, and generally decimating their incoming waves is as pleasurable as you’d hope. Things don’t even seem to slow down when the number count gets high, and there’s also a distinct lack of fog of war. That said, enemies do still tend to pop in as you approach new areas, and occasionally you’ll see them spawn almost in front of you when new objectives start. Those issues will probably be solved before launch, but it is worth remembering that the same issues plagued Wii U launch title Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper.

While this may not sound overly promising so far, Hyrule Warriors really pulls away from what’s come before from Omega Force is Nintendo’s stringent guidelines for handling one of its IPs – that and Team Ninja’s precedent for creating games with beautiful visuals.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Visually the HUD borrows elements from the Warriors games, with the map and combo counter looking near identical (although, curiously you can’t put the map onto the Gamepad just yet). However, it’s the Zelda-esque touches that make this feel far more in-line with Nintendo’s RPG. Health is shown in hearts, going down in halves with each hit taken; your magic metre is indicated through the same vertical green bar that Zelda fans will undoubtedly recognise; and fallen foes drop green, red, blue and yellow Rupees to help you fill your wallet. They’re small touches, but they definitely increase its appeal.

It’s not just on cosmetic touches that Nintendo’s influence has come down on Omega Force, boss fights genuinely feel far more like strategic events. In previous Warriors games it was all about smacking your opponent hard enough to defeat them, but in a boss fight against King Dodongo I needed to use the same strategy as seen in Link’s encounter with him in Ocarina of Time. Which means, for those of you who don’t know, I had to wear him down, get him to open his mouth, and chuck a bomb in. Rinse, repeat, and you’re done. It was a tactical endeavour, and one I hope is adopted across all boss fights.

It’s unclear if we’ll see any of the puzzle solving that makes Zelda games so darn enjoyable, but there are still the recognisable items of yore there to attain – usually found in chests complete with that unforgettable medley and sweeping camera. It also seems that there could be some form of crafting system to help make items or weapons as a few times in on the field I managed to pick up “materials” – which provided little to no explanation about what they can be used for. That is, however, just me hypothesising – rather than a concrete announcement of such a feature.

Hyrule Warriors is certainly a non-standard entry into the Zelda series – probably why it doesn’t share the name. But it genuinely seems like this could be another winner for the Wii U. It’ll be interesting to see how the other characters play, and if Omega Force can create a cast and moveset that genuinely feel distinctly different from one another. For now though, keep this adventure on your radar.

No Comments to “ Hyrule Warriors Preview ”