It's been over 6 years since the original Hyrule Warriors released and here's Age of Calamity which ties in with Breath of the Wild.
Although Musou spin-offs usually represent a franchise such as One Piece or Dragon Quest in a general way, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity acts as a prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild which, needless to say, is just awesome. For whatever reason, the original Hyrule Warriors flew under my radar when it first released and I have still yet to play it but now that I played Age of Calamity, I'm interested in playing the first game because this definitely impressed me. For starters, everything from the HUD to the in-game visuals perfectly represent Breath of the Wild's aesthetics. The familiar cast of characters and enemies are equally great to see within a hack and slash formula as well which manages to feel fresh and exciting while doubling as a love letter to existing fans. Excellent stuff indeed.
For the unfamiliar, Musou games involve hacking and slashing your way through hordes of enemies while taking out commanders and officers in order to claim outposts for yourself and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is no different at its core. The basic controls will have you running around while stringing together chains of regular and strong attacks as well as special attacks whenever its meter is full.
You'll also take advantage of exposed weak points via a powerful attack and block and dodge incoming attacks which may allow you to unleash a Flurry Rush if timed correctly. On top of that, there's a plethora of additional character-specific abilities to deploy and you're bound to have a blast whether you're lobbing bombs, firing arrows, casting spells with various elemental rods, halting encroaching enemies with Stasis and Cryonis, and ripping metallic equipment from monsters with Magnesis. Heck, you can even leap off walls and glide up wind gusts which is quite nifty. All of this makes for one varied and exciting hack and slash formula that Musou and Zelda fans will enjoy.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is bursting with a fantastic cast of characters and it's awesome to flesh out the world of Breath of the Wild with this prequel tale. One aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed about the characters is that you can swap to them on the fly and each one has a distinct set of attacks and abilities. I also loved commanding them to join me in taking down heavily-guarded outposts only to watch them fight alongside me after they made their journey to where I was. Between stages, you can equip new gear to your squad members, deliver materials to NPCs for rewards, cook and assign meals for stat boosts, and partake in side-quests. Watching your party level-up as you optimize their gear and fill out the world map is rewarding stuff that makes the gameplay all the more personal.
With all of that said, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity definitely has its downsides and they are significant. As with most Musou games, its gameplay begins to feel tiresome after you experiment with all of the abilities and characters as you'll realise that even though there's a wide variety of moves in combat, it all boils down to the same elements. After conquering a dozen or so scenarios, you'll likely become unenthusiastic when considering conquering another one. Another substantial issue is that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity suffers from frame rate issues. Although I don't usually care about such matters, the stuttery visuals actually made me nauseous at times.
As one of the better Musou spin-off games out there, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a welcome treat for Breath of the Wild fans. Its gameplay remains expectedly repetitive but there's still a ton of fun to be had with its variety of combat abilities.
- + Solid hack and slash gameplay with some pretty cool abilities
- + Fleshes out Breath of the Wild's world
- + Rewarding unlockables and quests
- - Gameplay gets quite repetitive
- - Disorienting frame rate issues