Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity – Hyperlink is again, in button-mashing kind (pic: Nintendo)
Nintendo is releasing a brand new Zelda recreation this 12 months and whereas Age Of Calamity is just not a sequel to Breath Of The Wild, it’s a prequel.
2020 is not going to have been the primary time Nintendo followers have needed to endure a protracted stretch of months with none main first get together video games. This time it’s not Nintendo’s fault however for some time there it appeared like they could go into Christmas and not using a single main new launch. Pre-coronavirus, there was a lot hypothesis as as to if the sequel to Zelda: Breath Of The Wild can be prepared in time, however given the discharge of Age Of Calamity it looks as if that was by no means actually the plan.
Hyrule Warriors is basically a crossover between Zelda and Dynasty Warriors, Koei Tecmo’s long-running collection of ultra-shallow motion video games, the place the massive gimmick is that you simply battle a whole lot of enemies directly. There’s no story connection between the 2 collection although, it’s simply the gameplay that’s the identical as Dynasty Warriors – a trick Koei Tecmo’s Omega Drive group has used many occasions prior to now, for franchises starting from Gundam and Dragon Quest to Nintendo’s personal Fire Emblem.
2014’s Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U – not too long ago remastered for the Switch – was one of many higher makes use of of the method, in that it had barely extra complicated fight than ordinary and the thought of enjoying as characters aside from Hyperlink was an fascinating novelty for Zelda followers. The unique barely had a narrative and wasn’t primarily based on any explicit entry however Age Of Calamity takes a distinct strategy and is an official prequel to Breath Of The Wild.
Age Of Calamity is about 100 years earlier than the occasions of Breath Of The Wild and portrays the Nice Calamity that laid waste to the land of Hyrule and which was beforehand solely proven briefly flashbacks. That means a really downbeat ending, given how Breath Of The Wild begins, however Age Of Calamity begins with a cute little child Guardian (the near-indestructible automatons that had been imagined to be combating for Hyrule however acquired taken over by Ganon) being transported again in time.
It hasn’t executed a lot but plot-wise, so we don’t know if perhaps that is going to finish up as an alternate timeline or one thing – given the Zelda collection has a number of already – however that appears a definite risk.
Should you’re not conversant in the Dynasty Warriors method, it’s not one which wants a lot rationalization. Battles participate on massive, open world areas stuffed with outposts that may be taken over by your facet or the enemy’s and can generate new cannon fodder fighters if left alone. Conventional Dynasty Warriors video games don’t have a lot in the best way of story however Age Of Calamity does and so every goal, from guarding Zelda to tricking a Guardian into following you has one thing extra to it than simply ‘go right here and kill every little thing’ (though you do this anyway).
You begin off by controlling Hyperlink, decked out in his generic Hyrule soldier gear, the place fight works largely the identical because the final recreation with a mix of sunshine and heavy assaults producing solely a small variety of completely different combos. Every character additionally has a distinct particular assault that’s depending on a gauge that slowly fills up over time and a novel transfer, which in Hyperlink’s case is firing arrows however for different characters might be extra complicated.
Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity – that’s plenty of enemies (pic: Nintendo)
The primary new character you play as is Impa, who was by no means seen in her youthful kind in Breath Of The Wild. She has a horrible American accent that doesn’t appear to swimsuit her in any respect, however her combating approach is predicated round hexing enemies with magic symbols and resorbing them with the intention to energy a set of magical clones to battle alongside her.
Urbosa works in the same method, storing electrical energy with the intention to use on enemies but additionally resorbing it to energy up her sword. This form of mechanical complexity is uncommon for Dynasty Warriors, with one other new one being the power to conjure gadgets which characters can then detonate with their particular transfer. So, for instance, Daruk the Goron is ready to increase up explosive chunks of magma and Zelda makes use of the rune talents of the Sheikah Slate to conjure big bombs or a number of blocks of ice to shatter.
All of Zelda’s strikes are primarily based round utilizing the Sheikah Slate to assault however every character may also use the runes (and the paraglider), freezing enemies with Stasis, utilizing Cryonis to dam charging enemies or attacking these in water, and utilizing Magnesis to seize steel weapons out of an enemy’s palms or choose up steel packing containers to hit them with.
With the added capability to make use of fireplace, electrical energy, and ice rods from downed Wizzrobes, there’s much more choices right here than you would possibly anticipate, even when the fight stays comparatively shallow. The issue we had with the unique Hyrule Warriors is that regardless of being a recreation centered solely on motion, the fight was extra simplistic and fewer diverse than precise Zelda video games, the place fight is just one ingredient amongst many.
Age Of Calamity tries to handle this by including somewhat extra depth – bigger enemies have a defence gauge that you simply whittle down after they’re weak after an assault and which can lead to a fast kill – and making certain that the general expertise is sufficiently completely different from regular Zeldas to keep away from most direct comparisons.
It succeeds to a level however once you’re operating round battlefields that look and sound so just like Breath Of The Wild, these comparisons are exhausting to keep away from. Not less than weapons don’t break although, if that’s one thing you didn’t like concerning the authentic, and though Age Of Calamity’s equal of cooking and discovering Korok seeds is extra simplified, no less than it’s there.
Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity – Impa performs very otherwise from Hyperlink (pic: Nintendo)
Regardless of all of it we now have to confess we’re curious to see the place the story goes and what different characters is perhaps playable (there’s no signal of Linkle but however smaller problem missions are implied to participate in different realities, so different characters not related to Breath Of The Wild would possibly nonetheless seem in cameos).
There’s additionally a neat mini-game the place you get to manage a divine beast, the primary one being the Goron’s salamander-like Vah Rudania, which is ready to wipe out a whole lot of enemies directly with lava assaults – which makes for an amusing, if not very difficult, bonus mission.
The Dynasty Warriors method has been round for 20 years now so there needs to be no confusion over what Age Of Calamity is, though that is essentially the most complicated and concerned to date – even when that may be a backhanded praise. The most important concern we now have in the mean time although is the visuals, which actually battle when in docked mode, particularly the primary battle on Hyrule Subject.
Issues are significantly better in handheld mode, and curiously the split-screen co-op doesn’t get any worse than single-player when docked, however coming off enjoying the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Collection X, it’s fairly a tradition shock to see Age Of Calamity seemingly operating at sub-30fps. The body fee is steady on the stage however we’re hoping that there’ll be a day one patch to enhance issues, which is precisely what occurred with Breath Of The Wild again within the day.
Age Of Calamity isn’t a conventional Zelda expertise however for those who’re a Zelda fan, there are some fascinating issues occurring with the story and the vary of playable characters. It most definitely is just not Breath Of The Wild 2 however in a 12 months reminiscent of this we’ll take what we will get.
Codecs: Nintendo Swap
Developer: Omega Drive
Launch Date: twentieth November 2020
Age Ranking: 12
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