Hyrule Warriors, come out and pla-a-ay~~!
When Hyrule Warriors hit the Wii U several years back, the draw of beating down armies of enemies across sizable maps as one's favorite Legend of Zelda characters was highly appealing. Taking such a large game and sizing it down on the Nintendo 3DS was no doubt a herculean task. Somehow, someway, the developers at Omega Force managed to successfully do this, though not without some hurdles. Overall, though, the final product in Hyrule Warriors Legends successfully brings the Wii U game to a bite-sized format, and also brings with it a slew of new content to make an already massive game even bigger.
Hyrule Warriors Legends continues the Musou-styled gameplay that other Koei Tecmo-developed Dynasty Warriors games follow. As a character in The Legend of Zelda mythos, you basically serve as a one person army, slaying upwards of thousands of enemies in a single mission. You run around an expansive battlefield capturing keeps to weaken the enemy forces. This is done by defeating multiple foes inside an enemy keep to lower a given keep's gauge. Once it is empty, the keep boss will appear. Defeating it will allow you to instantly claim that keep. Of course, the enemy wishes to do the same thing, so you have to be vigilant and as defensive as your are offensive.
|The fun of the Dynasty Warriors series is wiping out armies of enemies quite effortlessly as Link is about to do.|
Then there are even bigger adversaries that can appear in certain missions in Hyrule Warriors Legends. These take the form of boss characters such as the fire-breathing dinosaur King Dodongo, the laser-shooting arachnid Gohma, or the flying dragon Argorok, to name a few. In true Zelda fashion, each boss has a weakness to a specific item. For instance, when King Dodongo opens its huge gaping maw of a mouth, ready to spew its flame breath, that is the opportunity to toss some bombs into its mouth. This dazes it, revealing a weak point gauge.
|One of the two new bosses in Hyrule Warriors Legends, Phantom Ganon.|
As you acquire Triforce gauge pieces and attack foes, your character's special gauge fills. When it's full, you can unleash a powerful strike that can take out a group of foes or even take out a good portion of a captain, commander, or boss's health bar. Through grabbing magic bottles, you can fill a focus gauge that when let loose, you can take out enemies with ease, even causing commander and boss weak points to automatically appear at the conclusion of your character's focus attack. Despite only having a handful of buttons for offense, the combat doesn't get too repetitive. It's quite enjoyable actually. That in addition to using the A button to roll out of the way of enemy attacks and to get around to the backside of an otherwise well-defended foe, and you have a lot of variety in Hyrule Warriors Legends's combat.
|Unleash a special attack to clear the surrounding area of enemies.|
The first mode players will jump into is the story-based Legend Mode. The story tells the tale of an unassuming Hyrule army soldier named Link that helps save Hyrule Castle from an attack from monsters. This piques the interest of Princess Zelda and her trusty guardian Impa, who both ask that Link join them on their quest to put an end to the evil that is threatening the land of Hyrule. Legend Mode spans 32 stages, having you control multiple characters as you defeat certain enemy commanders, complete objectives, and capture enemy keeps, all the while protecting your own keeps, particularly your base, and rescuing companions when necessary.
|Link makes this look easy. Well, when you're facing ordinary foes like this, it actually is easy.|
Captains, commanders, and bosses drop materials as well as weapons when defeated. The materials are used to create badges that give characters abilities like more buttons combinations to use to make more powerful attacks, a second special gauge, the ability to use potions, quicker weak point deterioration, and a lot more. Many times you'll have to grind for a certain material if you want to get a specific bonus for a particular character, which can be very time-consuming on top of a bit aggravating. Each character has their own specific weapon type, and dropped weapons each have their own attack strength, potential element, as well as slots that add benefits in battle, such as increased Rupee, heart, material, and weapon drops.
|Newcomer Linkle may not know east from west, but she can clear a room of baddies quite easily.|
|The other new boss, the Helmaroc King, returns from The Wind Waker.|
Like grinding for materials, there is a certain amount of grinding to be found in Adventure Mode as well. Certain missions unlock new item cards once you complete them, and this means that many times you'll find yourself lacking a needed item card to unlock a hidden prize. This results in having to replay certain missions just to get the item card that you require. This gets a bit annoying especially as you progress across the Adventure Mode map.
To say that Hyrule Warriors Legends is packed with content is truth, but even then, that might be an understatement. Between defeating all 180 Gold Skulltula in missions that appear after finishing off a certain in-mission task, leveling up characters, earning each character's several weapons, unlocking new costumes, collecting all of the Pieces of Heart and Heart Containers in the game from completing Adventure Mode map missions and finding them in treasure chests in missions, beating each Adventure Mode map after the initial NES Legend of Zelda map, and collecting enough materials to max out each character's abilities in the Bazaar section of the game, Hyrule Warriors Legends will keep players hacking and slashing for hundreds of hours. If you can deal with the occasional repetitive gameplay, then you'll have more than enough motivation to keep playing.
|The skies might be clear outside, but it's still raining arrows on these unsuspecting foes nonetheless.|
Hyrule Warriors Legends takes the brilliant hacking and slashing fun of the Wii U's Hyrule Warriors, places all the DLC from the game into this 3DS version, adds a ton of new content, and makes for a game that fans will be playing for months if not years. While the performance issues do detract slightly from the experience, and some control issues do rear their ugly head into things, overall, Hyrule Warriors Legends is very much a love letter to Zelda fans and a great game on top of that.
[SPC Says: B+]