Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity treats us to impressive gameplay from the eShop demo

As fans of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild await the rumored release of its sequel sometime 2021 or 2022, what’s a fan got to do to get over the hump?

Play Genshin Impact

It’s a viable option, but of course you’d eventually miss the colorful cast from Breath of the Wild like Zelda to Link to even the 4 champions. Enter Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

In case you were wondering, there’s actually a playable demo right now on the eShop so you can see for yourself if this is simply just a quick fix or something worth much more.

Spoiler alert, it’s the latter.

The demo starts with a cut-scene during the fall of castle Hyrule from the siege of Calamity Ganon and his minions. Sensing a possessed Guardian within its vicinity, an R2D2-sounding, egg-shaped guardian becomes activated and heeds Princess Zelda’s desperate plea as she shields Link from a pernicious Guardian beam. Another Guardian reveals itself and starts to fire at the room where the egg-shaped Guardian was. In response, it opens up a portal sending itself to a time before Calamity Ganon awakens.

The game progresses with the eventful encounter of Zelda’s crew and the egg-shaped Guardian. Imagine the stress her royal highness feels when she glimpses her beloved kingdom in ruin.

This isn’t just your simple hack and slash game, as it serves as the prequel to the events in Breath of the Wild. 100 years before it, to be exact.

The Princess, her knight, and the Ninja

As with any dynasty or musou-type game, Hyrule Warriors is expected to have quite a roster of playable characters other than just Link, considering we already have the 4 champions. Though I have to admit, a playable Young Impa was far from being expected but most definitely welcome. Who else would join this crew? That’s for the final game to tell but the current roster at hand is fantastic as it is.

Spare your Joy-cons

The game is fast paced and it probably goes without saying that it will be best played with a durable ergonomic controller like the NSW Pro Controller. Spare your joy-cons, they’ll thank you later.

Hyrule Warriors handles like your usual musou game with some BotW mechanics sprinkled in there like gliding and even the bullet-time like “Flurry Rush”. Even the Koroks are here.

When we say ‘musou’ game, we mean the crazy “1 vs 100” type battles where you battle hordes of minions and deal with them using sweeping attacks and area-clearing moves. Definitely not something you would think a Zelda game would be but somehow, it works wonders! The game is fun and not exactly as “brainless” as the typical musou game is, and it is all the better for it.

Impa is quite the addition and I had a good time using her crazy move list, sending enemies flying with her exploding “ninja” barrels. Sometimes, the screen gets so crowded that it’s hard to actually follow what’s going on, but then again, that’s really part of the charm of a musou game.

Though the designs are distinctly lifted from Breath of the Wild, the graphics are very watered down. Visuals are not as clean as in BotW, but it could be a possible tradeoff from having a lot of moving elements being rendered, considering a section of the map could be hosting an average of 30 enemies at any given time. The stress that the game puts on your Switch is noticeable, as you experience frame drops from time to time, but nothing too bad to ruin the overall enjoyment of the experience.

The map of Hyrule lets you select battlefield missions, shops, or scenarios and meeting item requirements on scenarios rewards you with character development (ie. new attacks) or items (cooked meals). From what is shown in your limited time with the demo, there is a good amount of progression to be made for each character, upping the replay value even more.

Add to wishlist

At first it may seem that one’s fondness of Breath of the Wild will be a big factor for the success of this game and while that may be mostly the case, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has enough satisfying gameplay to make it stand on its own two feet. Paired with an intriguing story that is said to be the prequel of BotW, I’d say that this is even a must-buy for fans of the franchise or fans of hack & slash games in general.

The demo has indeed done its job, guess I’ll be looking forward to November 20 when Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity finally hits store shelves.

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