Confession time: I’m not a fan of “The Legend of Zelda” games. Nothing against them, I don’t think they’re bad, they just don’t really speak to me or summon any kind of interest from me at all. So with that in mind, I think Nintendo has created this new Zelda spin-off especially for people like me. Hyrule Warriors makes the daunting plot of the series take a backseat and puts its focus squarely on hack-and-slash action. Goodbye puzzles, hello non-stop fighting.
The initial trailer for the game elicited immediate comparisons to the “Dynasty Warriors” franchise, and that’s because its been developed by the “Dynasty Warriors” creators. Gameplay is the same. Players take on the role of a hero (nine slots appeared on the main title screen during our demo though only two were available, Zelda and Link), and slash their way through hordes of enemy soldiers. It may play like Dynasty Warriors, but Hyrule Warriors certainly doesn’t shy away from its “Legend of Zelda” theme with power ups and special items from the game’s mythos being unlockable throughout the levels.
The game’s map is divided up into sections, some being open battlefields and others being keeps and castles. Players can monitor the map on their HUD and see how densely populated the enemy armies are in any given area. I got a bit of a Star Wars Battlefront vibe from some elements of the game as players are required to “Capture” segments of the map and defeat the enemies within. Slicing up all of them results in the arena boss entering the frame, who was none other than King Dodongo from “Ocarina of Time” in our demo.
In keeping with the theme of this year’s E3, there is also localized co-op in the game. One player can assume control on their television while another plays on the Wii U GamePad. Though the screen might be small, the look of the game translates well and plays with no delays.
If there’s one place that Hyrule Warriors is lacking in, it’s the visuals. The graphics aren’t bad, but when it’s being displayed next to the likes of Super Smash Bros. and Yoshi’s Woolly World, it just doesn’t compare. Plus, when the transition screens are more impressive than the actual world of the levels, you’ve got a problem.
Hyrule Warriors is the kind of brainless action game that I can get behind. Hardcore Zelda fans may not take to it since it’s more of its own game than an actual continuation of the franchise, but perhaps the idea of pairing up heroes from different time periods of the Zelda world together will be enough to get them interested.
Hyrule Warriors will launch exclusively for the Wii U on September 26. You can watch the E3 2014 trailer below.