Hyrule Warriors Legends (2016)

[ゼルダ無双 ハイラルオールスターズ]

Hyrule Warriors Legends (2016)

Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Nintendo
Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja
Director: Hiroya Usuda
Platform: Nintendo 3DS

A 3DS port of the popular Hyrule Warriors featuring new missions, new characters and other new features.

I was a little concerned about how a button masher like this would feel on the 3DS, but I didn't find any problems. About the only thing that'll trip you up is that if you played the Wii version, muscle memory will cause some problems as you use up on the D-pad here to lock on to enemies rather than the L button (which is used to swing the camera behind you). Two amazing new features are the ability to switch between playable characters during most missions and the ability to warp between owl statues on some of the bigger maps. These are invaluable when you are managing crises on different ends of the map.

One thing I found frustrating in the original and even more so here is the complete worthlessness of friendly AI. At times it seems that your "help" is a bigger hindrance than the enemy. Ironically, I've seen examples of what seems to be pretty good cooperation with enemy AI ganging up on me. Speaking of the difficulty in a broader sense, in some aspects it seems a little more difficult than the original while other aspects, such as conquering forts, seems easier. I guess we can chalk it up to some rebalancing across the board.

There's a new mode called My Fairy, which feels somewhat Tamagotchi-like in that you feed and dress up fairies that you can use much as the computer does in certain places. It doesn't have much impact on gameplay overall, but deploying your fairy during a mission could give you an edge. (It's not something I typically think to use.) You may find yourself building their stats and dressing them up for its own sake. The "fairy wear" provides for another collectible in the Adventure maps and the food is another material to collect, for whatever that's worth.

I'm not going to rehash what I said about the original game. Instead I'm going to focus on the new content. Legend Mode gets two new questlines: a gaiden following Link's female counterpart Linkle (which gives a few additional details on the main story from a different perspective) and a sort of mini sequel to the main story that introduces two of the Wind Waker characters and gives more closure to Lana and Cia's story. These don't add that much storywise, though.

Now, you obviously have to expect a bit of a visual downgrade going from a home console to a handheld, but I'm rather impressed at how good the game looks while still being able to throw a ton of enemies at you. There are some issues with draw distance at time, which can be particularly annoying on the "thrilling battle" missions in Adventure Mode where your target can just pop up right next to you in time to smack you. There's something weird they do with the textures that puts this gloss on the characters making them look plasticky in closeups (particularly noticeable in victory animations), but it's not a huge problem. FMVs have been preserved in decent fidelity, too. Animations for critical hits have been removed and some special effects have been simplified, but these are understandable sacrifices in the transition from the home console to a handheld.

Though the actual sound quality may not be quite as high as the WiiU version, I'm not enough of an audiophile to make any meaningful comment on the subject. You get a couple new tracks in addition to the original score. The Hylian Captain's distress cry remains one of the most annoying sounds in video games. Basically all that was good and bad about the original holds true here.

As with the original, I was a huge sucker when it came to DLC, but I felt I got my money's worth. If you're only interested in playing as the new characters, you can get them as DLC just for the WiiU version. If you're planning on getting it all anyway, there is a comprehensive all-in-one package that gets you all the new content for both versions. I didn't think it was that bad, but lately I've been investing more money into a few games as opposed to having a larger library, so make the call for yourself. If you're really passionate about the game, you're going to want it all.

It annoys some people that you can't transfer character data from the WiiU version to the 3DS version, meaning that you have to build up your characters from scratch. I can sympathize, but they soften the blow a bit by these gift packs of several million rupees and a bunch of high-grade food for your fairies.

I happen to be such a fan of this game that I had no problem buying it twice, full DLC and all, but for those of you who are less gung ho, the decision will come down to the following points: A) Do you have the WiiU version? and B) If so, are you willing to buy the game again for a handful of new missions, a couple new adventure maps and the new gameplay features? On its own, I think it's well worth a purchase, but for owners of the original, think hard on the second point first.

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