Hyrule Warriors Review: Fan Service Warriors


Publisher: Nintendo (US), Tecmo Koei Games (Japan)

Developer: Omega Force/Team Ninja

Platforms: Wii U

Release: September 26th

Two great tastes that taste great together? In the grand tradition on franchises you would never think of coming together having a bizarre crossover game (Marvel vs. Capcom, Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon Conquest, etc.), we now have Hyrule Warriors, which crosses the characters of the Zelda franchise with the combat of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Unfortunately, Dynasty Warriors has a reputation of being pretty mediocre and bland (and basically the same game for the last 20 years), does an an infusion of Zelda for Hyrule Warriors help to change that trend?

So imagine having a ton of Slippys, all over the battle map. They can’t handle anything on their own for even a minute. That’s Hyrule Warriors in a nutshell.

There’s definitely something pretty novel in the approach in Hyrule Warriors. Being able to play as various characters from the franchise that you’ve never really had a chance to play as such as Impa, Ganon (outside of Smash Bros), Darunia, etc. is definitely something that has huge appeal for every Zelda fan. As well as battling in familiar locations such as Death Mountain and Hyrule Castle. And that’s on top of seeing things like fun 8-bit renditions of all the characters in the Adventure Mode. Heck, there’s even an 8-bit sword and shield!

So the fan service in Hyrule Warriors is pretty damn heavy. But does it have some real solid gameplay to back up that service once the notion of playing as a bunch of different Zelda characters wears off?

Unfortunately, the answer is not really. At it’s heart Hyrule Warriors is still a Dynasty Warriors game and comes with all the problems that still plague that series to this day. To it’s credit, Hyrule Warriors tries to do a lot to distract you from the gameplay. Like there is a loot and crafting system that isn’t half bad, but on the other hand, you have to grind through levels you already played or Adventure Mode a lot to really make use of them. Levels in the game seem especially unimportant. No matter what character I took into battle, they all seemed about equally effective against enemies, even if I hadn’t used them for awhile. I guess that can been seen as a positive as I never really had to grind levels and it didn’t make me have to go level up a new character I just got, but then what is the point of having levels in the first place?

A big positive I will give Hyrule Warriors is the action is a little more varied and interesting than in the few Dynasty Warriors games I have played. Though the levels can run long at an average of 25-30 minutes of excessive slashing & hacking at Moblins, skeletons, etc. But stronger enemies & bosses do require some strategy, which helps keep the combat somewhat snappy. There are a couple of huge negatives however. One is that even though you have armies of highly trained soldiers and often various powerful famous characters at your side, you are often essentially an army of one. It would be cool if you could command your other generals in the field to handle various objectives (i.e. Zelda, go help that keep that is being attacked while I go after Zant!), but nope, you have to pretty much do everything yourself. And maybe if your computer comrades were just mere window dressing or at least not likely to get killed, that’s fine. Unfortunately, everybody in Hyrule Warriors is Slippy the Toad. You remember Slippy right?

So imagine having a ton of Slippys, all over the battle map. They can’t handle anything on their own for even a minute. That’s Hyrule Warriors in a nutshell. You just captured a keep and have to run to the other side of the map to complete an objective? That keep will be retaken by the time you are done with your objective. One of your generals gets attacked by a powerful enemy and you’re not close by? Yeah they’re doomed. Admittedly the only time this gets ridiculously frustrating is the few times keeping a particular character from “retreating” is key to finishing a level, but it’s still annoying to see a ton of people just pull out because they couldn’t handle one freaking Dark Nut. And escort missions, which are a good chunk of the game, aren’t hard per say, but can just be annoying due to the slow-to-move, brain-dead A.I. and the aforementioned Slippy-esque tendency to quickly get in deep trouble when you are busy trying not to get killed.


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Ultimately Hyrule Warriors relies on your adoration of two things-Primarily your love of Zelda and your tolerance for mindless hack ‘n slash that would probably be fine in say, ten minute bites, but goes way longer than that along with really awful A.I. that constantly needs help. I am a pretty big Zelda fan. I have played & beaten a majority of the games and own a bunch of Zelda shirts along with a Zelda wallet. But the fan service in Hyrule Warriors still just barely held my interest against the huge negatives. It’s not to say I never enjoyed myself, as there is something fun about taking out tons of enemies with a special attack, and the stronger enemies & bosses can be fun to fight but ultimately, Hyrule Warriors falls to the same problems most Dynasty Warriors games do and that’s a shame because I think with a little fine tuning & tweaking it could’ve been pretty special. As is, it’s simply a weirdly novel idea that falls a little short on execution.

(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purposes of this review)


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