Hyrule Warriors Review (Japan Version)


Developers: Omega Force, Team Ninja

Publisher: Koei Tecmo (Japan)

Platform: Wii U

Release Dates: August 14th (Japan), September 26th (North America)

With Hyrule Warriors coming out a month early in Japan, I was positively wetting my little panties with excitement. I saw this new title as a new way of experiencing the Zelda universe. The opportunity to beat up hoards of enemies with just a few flicks of the Wii mote and experiencing it all through the eyes of Ganondorf, what was there not to get excited about. With the North America and European release date looming, is it worth downloading at midnight? Warning: This Hyrule Warriors review contains numerous spoilers.

Hyrule Warriors, which blends a little bit Zelda and a whole lot of Dynasty Warriors, is the first opportunity that Nintendo offers to play as a full roster of Zelda characters outside of the Smash Brothers franchise.

The game is not without its flaws. If you don’t mind grinding, then a lot of this [criticism] can be overlooked.

If you were looking for a whole lot of Zelda gameplay, you won’t find that here, but what you will find, is hundreds of delightful Zelda references from the obvious all the way through to Twillight Princess’ Agitha obscure, as well as a bitching hyped up Zelda themed soundtrack.

Gameplay rests entirely of the Dynasty Warriors, defeat enemies and take as many forts as possible formula, and while every level rests on this same mechanic, the awesome array of weapons, characters and combos that you can unlock somehow leaves you continuously entertained throughout it all. While the developers clearly didn’t spend too much time creating maps, as around 10 maps seem to repeat throughout the entire game, they seem to have spent all that time on kick-ass animations to go with each individual combo to be satisfyingly executed.

The game is not without its flaws. If you don’t mind grinding, then a lot of this can be overlooked. However, the S-ranks which need to be obtained in order to unlock the vast majority of higher tier weapons in the game’s delightfully retro and yet 128 level adventure mode, become pretty much pointless to collect as you end up playing with your favourite character over and over again. Not only this, but the broken targeting system and camera angles can leave you frustrated as a boss immediately in front of you takes the last of your hearts, while you are targeted a Gohma on the other side of the field and your camera is facing a wall.

Hyrule Warriors has also been praised for its impressive use of co-op. Using the WiiU’s gamepad to prevent a cluttered split screen, your second player can play with any unlocked character to aid you in defending your base. This happens while you complete missions, search for one of the 100 skulltulas, or simply take on the games aptly named nightmare mode together. Yet, as they say, once you go co-op you can’t go back, as missions which require you to defend all sides of the map at once can be cleared swiftly with a friend or require a 30 minute run from one side to the other grind in single player.

So let’s get down to the whole skulltula thing. In the ‘Ocarina of Time’ defeating skulltulas lead to rewards such as larger rupee sacks, heart pieces or bombchus, however, collecting skulltulas here only seem to lead to more frustrations. Admittedly, I only bothered collecting the first 20, which disappointingly unlocked a picture of our heros, yet another adventure mode level where you have to defeat all said friends, and then completing this, unlocked a new Link outfit for the gallery. In the words of Clarence Thomas: “Whoopty-damn-doo.”


Despite this I would forgive all of Hyrule Warrior’s flaws, even down to the pornographic noises they call voice acting, because it is still addictingly fun. While it seems pointless, you feel compelled to obtain full completion whether it requires a lifetime of grinding or not. While it may not please gamers who are neither Zelda nor Dynasty Warriors fans, its animations, soundtrack and story alone might make it worth playing for a weekend, but might not make it worth purchasing the moment it comes out.

Look out for Eric’s review of the North American release of Hyrule Warriors later in the week, including a final score.