Hyrule Warriors (2014)


Hyrule Warriors (2014)

Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Nintendo
Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja
Director: Masaki Furusawa
Platform: WiiU

In this Dynasty Warriors-style game, a knight-in-training becomes the successor to the mantle of the legendary Hero and must join forces with allies across the dimensions to stop a plot to revive and ancient evil and seize the power of the Triforce.

I haven't played any other Musou games, so I can't speak for how this compares. I also don't play character action, so I can't speak on that note either. However, I will say that combat is fun and fluid. You can get by just button mashing, but it's definitely more rewarding to string together combos and maximize your combat effectiveness. Each character handles quite differently and for those with multiple weapon types, it's almost like playing another character. There's plenty of variety to be had. While basic combat is the same throughout, the different game modes mix up the formula. Compared to a 3D Zelda, movement doesn't feel quite as precise nor is Z targeting as accurate. The transition from running to sprinting can seem to take too long when you're really in a hurry, but all in all, the game handles well and is a lot of fun.

While the story isn't outstanding, it's entertaining enough with a few stand-out moments. As for the characters, most are simply reprising their roles from previous games, but the characterization is fairly consistent. As far as new characters go, the trio of villains is decent enough. The most controversial character--at least to Western audiences--is Lana, an original character clearly designed for appeal to the Japanese gamers. While she's cute, she's rather dissonant with the Zelda universe and she has a far too dominant role in the story. People are also apt to criticize the motivations of lead villainess Cia and not without justification. None of these are dealbreakers, though. My dislike of Lana as a character was compounded with how much I didn't like how she handles with her default weapon, but once she has the Deku Stick, she's at least fun to play as.

This is a good-looking game. Character designs fall somewhere between Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword and is very appealing. Link, Zelda and Impa all look amazing. Environments are fairly simple, but look fine. Enemy models are a bit on the low-poly side, but I completely understand the need for this on a technical level and I'd rather see the swarms of hundreds of enemies rather than just a handful of really detailed models.

Many of the tunes are remixes of classic tracks, but there are some original tracks as well and it's all quite good. As for sound effects, the voicing is the usual indistinct grunts and such. This isn't so much of a problem, but the distress noises characters make when the tide of battle is going against them (particularly Lana and Hyrulean captains) will grate on the ears.

Because I stick mostly to Nintendo consoles, I haven't had much to do with DLC since its rise to prominence last generation. Let me say, though, that the DLC for this game is amazing, a real value. Characters, costumes and game modes all bundled together makes for an excellent value. If you like the game, go ahead and get the bundle of all three DLC packs for maximum value.

If you like Zelda games, Musou games or both, you'll be well-pleased with this one. The core game is very good and DLC is worth your money and will greatly expand your play time. This game was one of the reasons I got a WiiU and it was worth every penny.

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