Friday, December 18, 2020

Top Ten First-Party Nintendo Switch Exclusives

Let's cap off the work week right with a brand-new top ten list on SPC. This time around we're going to be taking a look at the best first-party exclusives on the Nintendo Switch so far. There's one caveat of sorts, and that's that each game has to only be able to be played on the Nintendo Switch, so games that have Wii U versions, even enhanced ones like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, are excluded from this list. However, remakes of older titles from previous systems are allowed. So, let's get to counting down the best of Nintendo's Switch lineup, offering a copious amount of variety in genres, franchises, and styles!

10) Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield

The countdown begins with a familiar favorite, the ever-popular monster-catching and battling series of Pokémon with the dual versions of Pokémon Sword and Shield. Adventuring in the Galar region sees prospective Pokémon trainers journeying through plenty of expansive and beautiful pastures, including the all-new Wild Area, as well as the huge cities and other sections of the game. Gigantamax battles and the combat against gym leaders made for impressive encounters, too. What makes Pokémon Sword and Shield even more worthwhile is the addition of downloadable content in the form of two new areas in Galar: The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, bringing with it new Pokémon to catch and new challenges to tackle. It makes a game that was already rather content-rich into an even richer game.

9) Paper Mario: The Origami King

Releasing over the summer, and after bouncing off the previous entry, Paper Mario: Color Splash, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the latest in the Paper Mario series, Paper Mario: The Origami King. Not only is the game full of charm, lovely and cleverly designed areas to explore for all sorts of collectibles, and filled with a well done script featuring an abundance of humor, but the battle system this time around was something I actually liked. It was worthwhile in the sense that all battles were essentially puzzles to solve, awarding coins to be used to purchase myriad goods outside of simply more items for battle. Paper Mario: The Origami King stands as one of my favorite Switch games released this year, and one that I will no doubt come back to in the not-so-distant future.

8) Splatoon 2

It's time to get funky and fresh with the Inklings from the Splatoon series with the inked up sequel to the Wii U's breakout hit. Splatoon 2 features a brand-new campaign, serving as not just a collection of well executed obstacle course levels to shoot, splat, and paint one's way through, but also to serve as a primer and tutorial for hopping online in the 4v4 competitive modes. No doubt the latter is the main draw, offering a pleasant smattering (or is it "splattering"?) of maps to learn, tactics to master, and a wide assortment of weapons to become acquainted with. I'm not usually one for competitive shooters, as I find the genre to be a bit overdone, but Splatoon and its amazing Switch sequel bring an exuberant amount of freshness, originality and uniqueness to a somewhat tired genre.

7) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Last year, players got the wonderful opportunity to return to Koholint Island, playing one of the most cherished entries in The Legend of Zelda series. It was almost like a dream come true! (Wink, wink!) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening sees the remake of a Game Boy classic with everything modeled like a collection of toys set in a diorama. The adventure is as fantastic, if not better than ever before thanks to a multitude of quality of life upgrades, most notably having additional buttons to assign items to. Players can even design their own dungeons using pieces of completed in-game dungeons, and while the level of freedom certainly holds no candle to the Super Mario Maker series, it is enjoyable enough. This is especially so if you try to complete Dampe's construction challenges, which serve as puzzles in how you to have to select the correct rooms and place them properly to satisfy each design condition. Overall, it was a tremendous privilege to be able to revisit Koholint Island and Link's Awakening.

6) Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Three houses, three unique stories, and an astounding amount of maps, strategies, characters, and weapons to employ all make this next game on this list an insanely enjoyable strategy RPG. Fire Emblem: Three Houses offers a surprisingly dark at times story to digest with characters that are hardly one-dimensional, giving great performances and possessing a great deal of depth. Battles are as incredible as ever, continuing the Fire Emblem franchise's rock-paper-scissors-esque strengths and weaknesses system, and presenting a sizable variety of combat scenarios to engage in. Between battles, scampering around Garreg Mach Monastery sees players interact with their students, teach classes, participate in mock battles, purchase weapons and other goods, and enjoy one-on-one events with characters. Fire Emblem: Three Houses leaped to the top of the list of my favorite Fire Emblem games, and with all of the aforementioned factors, it's no wonder why. 

5) Luigi's Mansion 3

Speaking of entries that jumped to the top of my list, Luigi's Mansion 3 delights with Luigi's journey through the Last Resort hotel. Filled with ghosts and specters of all villainous varieties, the Last Resort is by no means a friendly place, but Luigi and his patented, trusty and literally dusty Poltergust G-00 are there to vanquish all that goes bump in the night. Between the masterful puzzles, some of which spread across multiple rooms for some particularly tricky brain teasers, the showdowns against boss ghosts, the different themed floors of the hotel, and the absolutely jaw-dropping visuals on display, Luigi's Mansion 3 offers a lot to love. That's not even going into the co-operative goodness that is the Scarescraper, allowing up to four players to search rooms of a given floor for a means of escape. It's quite the fright..eningly good time! All of this makes Luigi's Mansion 3 a scary good entry in the series and one of the Nintendo Switch's top exclusives first-party-wise. 

4) Super Mario Maker 2

The next two first-party exclusives are ones that I have dedicated the most time to on the Nintendo Switch. With Super Mario Maker 2, everything from the story mode that shows players possible design ideas to implement into their own levels, to jumping online and playing other creators' levels, to designing my own creations and making a Super World--essentially my own Mario game--out of them, I spent an exceptionally lengthy amount of time with Nintendo's Mario level creation suite. Then, there is the multiplayer, where one can leap online and either compete or play with other players co-operatively. The online at first was quite a mess with plenty of lag, but as of now, things have tidied up considerably, making for a much more enjoyable experience. A game where you can create your own levels is only as good as its creators, and fortunately, the pickings of excellent levels certainly aren't slim in Super Mario Maker 2. Yes, there's definitely a lot of poorly made and ill-conceived levels online, but take a shovel with you and you'll eventually find some gold.

3) Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There is no game that was better for a quarantine and pandemic than Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The ability to "visit" people--albeit in virtual form brought countless people and players around the world together in ways that just wasn't responsible or possible face-to-face due to the pandemic. Plus, New Horizons just offers so much with its monthly events, endless amount of tasks to do and accomplish, islanders to talk to and become friends with, and a multitude of furniture and various odds and ends to decorate one's home and island with. The addition of new updates allows more and more reasons to keep returning to players' islands, and I know for certain that this particular player has been doing just that. What is usually a three month game for me with past Animal Crossing games has turned into a yearlong ambition, and that's mostly because this specific Animal Crossing has so much that I love about it.

2) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

A game that keeps on giving in the form of new characters, stages, and updates (though the latter is the only thing that is gratis; the others require paid DLC) is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I don't know if there is a more fitting name for this Super Smash Bros. either than Ultimate, as throwing in every playable fighter ever featured in a Smash Bros. game, tossing in the majority of stages from every past Smash Bros. game, and chucking in an abundance of new modes and features for good measure makes a very compelling argument. There is just SO much content packed inside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the actual fighting mechanics are my favorite in a Smash Bros. game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an absolutely amazing and stellar love letter to gaming, an excellent fighter in its own right, and one of my favorite Nintendo Switch first-party exclusives.

1) Super Mario Odyssey

However, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is not my absolute favorite. That title goes to none other than Super Mario Odyssey, Mario's biggest and boldest 3D platforming outing. The amount of freedom that players have to reach destinations throughout the expansive kingdoms featured in Odyssey is something to truly behold. The additions to Mario's move set thanks to Cappy, his throwable hat, makes his repertoire of moves his grandest and most ambitious yet. Never has Mario controlled so exquisitely, feeling so tight, enabling such mobility. Plus, the expansive kingdoms that Mario gets to explore is something to cherish, too, delivering impressive platforming challenges, myriad enemies and objects to capture, sights to see and take in, and wonders behind every corner. The Power Moons are fun to find, as well, giving players motivation and rewarding curiosity every step of the way. Super Mario Odyssey is a fantastic title, and one that I routinely return to since it just plays so well, feels so good, and makes me so happy when I'm in the act of playing it.

Honorable Mentions:

ARMS, Ring Fit Adventure, Yoshi's Crafted World, Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu! / Let's Go, Eevee!

Which Nintendo Switch first-party exclusives are your favorites? Drop a comment below to let the SPC community know!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Monster Sanctuary (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) Review

After our review of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, SPC continues this month of review with an interesting hybrid, an unlikely fusion of genres that ultimately works wonderfully with the Team17-published and Moi Rai Games-developed Monster Sanctuary. Here is the SPC review.

Pokemon meets Metroid in one engaging mashup

Like pineapple on pizza (I know, what a timely example that folks aren't completely over debating by now), there are certain combinations of items and things that shouldn't go together and work. Just like cuisine, there are certain combinations of genres that seem like they shouldn't work at first. A Pokemon capturing and battling game with a Metroidvania interconnected world and platforming doesn't come across as something that should work. However, like the combo of cereal and milk, peanut butter and chocolate, or perhaps pineapple and pizza, Moi Rai Games' Monster Sanctuary actually does work--for the most part.

Encounters in the game begin when you walk into a group of monsters.
From there, it's battling time!

Monster Sanctuary begins with you selecting your character and your accompanying first monster to join your cause. I selected a fiery red lion who I attempted to be clever and name "Firion". After this, you're thrust into the 2D platforming Metroidvania world of the game, where you run into enemy groups to initiate battles, search high and low for treasures to obtain items to equip to your monsters, and follow along with a story that deals with alchemists attempting to make the Monster Sanctuary a less than ideal place. 

The platforming is simple and basic, but it gets the job done. Areas have ample opportunities to show off your platforming prowess, but there's really little in the level design that truly wows, despite areas connecting in a logical fashion. This is because most rooms are simply put together as an assortment of platforms large and small with nothing really to distinguish them too well from one another. There aren't any set pieces to speak of, or notable landmarks either, though there are occasional enjoyable puzzles to be found. The different areas offer visual variety, at least, to make up for the game lacking a fair deal of platforming variety. Though starting off with rather creatively unremarkable areas like your token caves, forests, and tundra--as you progress, the areas become more imaginative, such as moving through a sunny underground biodome or entering a mechanical marvel of a clock tower. 

Puzzles such as this one break up the platforming and battling, and are generally fun to solve.

Getting around the world of Monster Sanctuary is made easy by ample fast travel points, as well as with the monsters you capture that help you explore more parts of the world. Most monsters have at least one ability that allows you to make new progress in the world, or at the very least enter into areas you otherwise wouldn't be able. Some monsters can activate specific elemental switches, while others can temporarily use their wings to carry you a short distance, or slash vines and breakable walls to reveal secrets. Most of the time these abilities help lead you to optional discoveries, but occasionally you'll need certain abilities to make story progress. Thus, monsters serve a secondary purpose outside of battle as essentially keys to open locked areas. That is in addition to the actual, literal keys you come across in your journey.

Use this bird monster's ability to score some extra distance via its wings.

You come across treasures around the world of Monster Sanctuary as well, and these have all sorts of goodies and delights to discover. From weapons and accessories that can be equipped to your monsters to make them stronger, to materials that can be used to upgrade said equipment, it's a great idea to seek out as many chests that are sprinkled throughout the Monster Sanctuary to give yourself an edge in battle.

That treasure chest's contents are as good as mine!

Speaking of, battles in Monster Sanctuary are usually 3v3 encounters, where teams of monsters duke it out to see which team comes out on top. These aren't your quick encounters, either, as battles can last quite awhile. For example, many of my battles lasted upwards of at least six turns, and that's tackling and defeating three monsters, most of which use buffs and debuffs to prolong things. This combined with the fact that in order to have any semblance of a fighting chance to make progress against forced encounters, you'll need to do a substantial amount of grinding for experience, and you have an occasionally tiring and taxing adventure. While there is an option to speed up battle animations by double, this doesn't necessarily make these encounters short experiences.

When you're in one of Monster Sanctuary's battles, you're in it for the long haul
with how lengthy these encounters can usually be!

Furthermore, enemies seem to always be at or higher than your level when you enter new areas. This of course only heightens the need for tedious grinding, and it makes it so you never feel that powerful despite seeing your monsters' levels increase. This also creates issues with balance and the aforementioned lengthy and slow pace of battles. Multiple times I'd get frustrated that despite all of my hard work at leveling my monsters, thinking I'd be sufficiently leveled for the next areas, as soon as I entered, I'd see enemies at higher levels, who would easily decimate my team. Moments like this really killed my motivation to continue playing the game at times.

As battles are slowly plodded through and (hopefully) won, monsters in your party earn experience that eventually levels them up, not just making them stronger, but also rewarding them skill points that can be used on various skill trees. These allow your monsters to learn new moves, increased powers and uses for said new moves, abilities, stat increases, buffs, debuffs, and much more. 

Much like its inspiration from Pokemon, you can have monsters join your team. However, this is done differently than in Game Freak's creation. Depending on how quickly you complete a battle and how well you perform, a tally of points is earned at the end of each encounter. Up to five stars can be earned, and the more stars you get, the better the likelihood is that you'll receive a monster egg (in addition to dropped items, including ones of higher rarities), which can be hatched immediately from the item menu. Monsters can also be evolved by giving them special items at a unique location in the game, and if you really want an extended adventure in the Monster Sanctuary, you can attempt to capture and collect all 101 monsters within. This can make the 20+ hour adventure a 30+ hour one! Either way, you're going to have a lengthy and content-filled time with the game regardless.

You'll sometimes do battle against other monster tamers in 6v6 encounters.

Monster Sanctuary has beautiful 2D sprite work, and gorgeous environments for your eyes to engage and look at. While I'd like to say that the game runs flawlessly, this isn't entirely the case. I noticed some occasional hitches with regards to the frame-rate when jumping and running around the sanctuary. That said, it seldom, if ever messed up jumps for me, but even still, it's disappointing to see frame-rate problems in this game. More positively, the music is insanely catchy and well done. I couldn't help but hum as I played along, and everything from the field music to the battle themes used are fantastic accompaniment to the adventure.

While the battles aren't balanced to the best of their abilities and the occasional performance problem, Monster Sanctuary is overall a successful mashup of two genre titans: the monster-capturing-and-battling genre and the Metroidvania. Fights can become long in the tooth and be repetitive, but I'd be lying if I didn't say they weren't ultimately engaging. The other parts of Monster Sanctuary are so excellently executed that I'm amazed this genre mashup wasn't realized and done a long time ago. That said, I'm glad it finally has, and with a highly capable developer--as evident by this game's quality--to boot. Monster Sanctuary gets a solid recommendation from me.

[SPC Says: B]

A Nintendo Switch code was received by SPC from the publisher for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The "SuperPhillip Central Best of" Awards Returns with The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2020 Awards!

Hmm. What's this? It looks a bit familiar...

Ah, yes! The yearly tradition continues! It's my honor and privilege to announce that once again SPC will be hosting its annual "Best of" awards ceremony, detailing my favorite video games to come out in the year 2020. Everything from my favorite soundtracks to the biggest surprises, to--of course--SPC's Game of the Year will have a category (top five-style, and top ten-style for the GOTY list) devoted to it. The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2020 Awards begin on December 27th and concludes before the new year begins! I hope you're looking forward to this 13th edition of the longest running SPC tradition!

What games do you think will take the top spots on SPC's annual Game of the Year countdown this time around?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (NSW) Review

It's time for a new review here at SuperPhillip Central. This time we're taking a look at a game that combines two great things (one perhaps greater than the other): The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors to make one awesome Musou game. It's Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Here is the SPC review.

A magnificently made Musou 

The day that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was announced by Nintendo was one where I immediately jumped back into the original Hyrule Warriors, albeit the Nintendo Switch's Definitive Edition version, resuming my 100+ hour save file. I was beyond hyped and wanted to get another happy helping of Zelda Musou-styled gaming goodness. I ended up playing 100 hours more from the announcement of Age of Calamity to around the start of November. 

My worry after playing so many hours was that I'd be burned out of Musou and be bored of Age of Calamity within minutes. Fortunately for me, the absolute opposite happened: I spent 50 hours enjoying the game this past month, and one of the main reasons for that is that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity plays differently than the original Hyrule Warriors, thankfully enough. Plus, its structure is vastly different, too. It amounts to a game that both feels fresh and familiar as a Musou fan and lover of the original Hyrule Warriors.

Have no fear! Link storms the battlefield before Hyrule Castle to battle some Bokoblins.

One of the main things that distinguishes Age of Calamity from its predecessor is that the game is more action-focused than the strategic "run here, capture this outpost, beat this general, so you aren't overwhelmed and can turn the tide of battle". There's still plenty of outposts to capture in Age of Calamity, but there's more of a focus on battles and varying objectives. 

For instance, an early game mission based in the Gerudo Desert tasks you with first making your way to Gerudo Town while fighting through waves of enemies. Then, you're asked to make your way to Urbosa's chamber, one of the Four Champions, who is for some reason sending her Gerudo soldiers to attack you inside. From there, you need to dispatch several of the Yiga Clan's top blademasters, a group of ninja-like foes who wish to awaken Calamity Ganon. After accomplishing this, it's a rush to escape into the desert, where the Yiga clan strikes yet again, but by making noise by blowing up bombs, a Molduga worm awakens from the sandy desert depths to terrorize the Yiga Clan, making them retreat. Finally, it's time to capture some outposts to lure out and defeat Master Kohga, the leader of the Yiga Clan. As this hopefully shows, the variety on display in missions is much better than the original Hyrule Warriors, which makes for a less tedious and less repetitive game overall. Hence, my lack of burning out when playing.

Maps in Age of Calamity are incredibly large and complicated. The size and scope most times is just amazing, and the variety is astounding. One map has you battling in front of Hyrule Castle on Hyrule Field and the surrounding towns and fortresses that surround it, while another sees you entering the labyrinth that is the aforementioned castle with its satisfying layout of hallways, rooms and passageways. Secrets abound on these maps, as there are treasure chests to discover as well as hidden Koroks, which will reward you with a seed as a token of its appreciation for you finding it. 

These Yiga Clan members are probably kicking themselves for not requesting a sick day today.

Not all is great with these more expansive maps, however. For one, indoor areas are massively tricky when encountering larger foes. The camera can become obstructed by map geometry, which makes for some frustrating moments. More importantly, though, in every map, especially ones with waving grass that can be cut, the frame-rate takes a noticeable tumble into woeful territory. While I didn't mind so much, those sensitive to frame-rate issues might want to try the demo of Age of Calamity first. Regardless, there is much more right and many more positives than there are things wrong and negative with the maps in Age of Calamity.

Areas with lots of enemies and grass such as this one can result in some dreadful frame-rate problems.

I very much enjoy the parts of missions where I'm running around as one of up to four characters (these can be cycled between with the press of the up and down directions on the D-Pad), hacking and slashing my way through hordes of enemies and battling big baddies like Hinoxes, Stone Taluses, and even those especially pesky Lynels. The parts of missions that I don't enjoy are separate from the standard Musou-style gameplay. These are where you pilot one of four Divine Beasts. Controlling these humongous mechanical monstrosities can feel liberating as you fire massive beams of energy, lasers, and lightning into swaths of hundreds of miniature (at least compared to your Divine Beast) foes at once. However, for me, these Beasts move so slow and feel cumbersome to control. Obviously a gigantic machine that rivals the size of mountains won't turn on a dime or move with swiftness, but knowing that doesn't make these sections any more fun, any less tedious to play, or serve as tremendous pace-killers.

The Divine Beast segments of the story missions are decidedly my least favorite part of Age of Calamity.

While I did initially dread piloting a Divine Beast when those sections were interspersed between the traditional Musou action, I eventually came around to them--or at least tolerated them better. But, obviously, the main draw here in Age of Calamity is the hack and slash, destroy enemies, battle bosses, capture outposts, and complete objectives gameplay. And it's honestly better than ever in Age of Calamity. 

Using a combination of weak and strong attacks, characters perform combos to unleash damage onto hordes of enemies. As enemies are damaged and eventually defeated, characters have their special gauge build, that when filled and used, delivers a devastating area-clearing special attack. Weak enemies can be defeated after a few hits, but stronger foes, like commanders and bosses, take more hits as well as more tactfulness to beat. Each of these have weak point gauges that appear when they perform certain attacks. Weakening this gauge completely allows you to unleash a strong attack that deals a considerable chunk and dent of damage to their overall health meter. You can also dodge an attack with proper timing to slow down time and perform a flurry attack, which also takes off a chunk of health and their weak point gauge. 

Urbosa spins to win like a slot machine to battle this Blue Moblin.

Instead of the items from the original Hyrule Warriors, every character in Age of Calamity possesses the Shiekah Slate, used to perform one of four abilities in battle. Each use results in a cooldown period before it can be used again. These before mentioned abilities include freezing an enemy in place with the Stasis rune, throwing a concussive blue bomb with the Remote Bomb rune, summoning a pillar or series of pillars of ice with the Cryonis rune, or grabbing metal objects such as crates or even an enemy's own weapon with the Magnesis rune. Many enemies will use moves that can be countered by a specific rune, making them susceptible to an assault and have their weak point gauge be revealed and depleted. This is especially useful for large boss enemies.

An icon appears near an enemy when they have a move that can be countered by a Shiekah Slate rune.
This Moblin, for instance, can have its hammer turned against it via some Magnesis!

One of the greatest pieces of Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is simply how robust the playable roster of characters truly are. Each has a unique twist to their play styles, which makes each worthwhile for the most part. Some take more practice to learn than others, such as some of the unlockable, less obvious to mention playable characters in the game, but the reward for doing so is truly fantastic. The previously mentioned Urbosa can channel the powers of electricity to shock foes into submission with bolts of lightning, needing to occasionally charge her powers when they run low or deplete completely. Meanwhile, Link has multiple move sets he can use based on what weapon the player gives him. From a sword and shield combo, to a long-range spear, to a powerful but risky two-handed blade or club, Link has the most versatile set of abilities in battle. 

Revali makes it rain pain down on these enemies.

Like Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U, then 3DS, then Switch, each character levels up through gaining experience from defeating foes. Alternately, there's a training ground area that allows you to spend Rupees to level up your cast of collected characters as well for fast--albeit expensive--leveling capabilities. Further, each character has their own assortment of weapons they can acquire in missions and after missions are completed. Weapons have their own power levels and attached skills such as increased damage to aerial enemies, increased likelihood of earning rare materials, increased defense, and much more. Weapons can also be fused at a special shop to not only make them stronger but also give them bonus skills.

There are a total of 20 story missions in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, but there's plenty--and I do mean plenty--of more content to discover in the game. Completing story missions unlocks alternate side missions, which are shorter in length (fortunately, because story missions can run a tad too long for my liking) and feature varying objectives. Generally, though, they involve beating down a number of enemies or bosses before time runs out, protecting another character, or capturing outposts. While there is some semblance of variety in these missions, you don't really notice it after the seemingly hundredth time you're tasked with battling a Lynel.

Most side missions have set rules, such as limiting the character you can play as,
whether you can use items, heal, or even whether you can take any damage!

Nevertheless, completing side missions rewards you with materials and Rupees, both of which are used to complete requests around the kingdom of Hyrule, which uses the same general map as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. These material requests earn your characters new combos, more health, new abilities, new shops to do business with, and much, much more. There are hundreds upon hundreds of these to complete, and the more you do, the better your characters become in battle with more strength, abilities and moves to utilize. It can be a bit overwhelming seeing a massive abundance of icons on the screen needing completion, but at the same time, these are purely optional bits of content made to extend your enjoyment of the game.

And as you've seen, there's a LOT to enjoy about Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Between the reimagined story that certainly GOES places, the fun that comes from slaying a slew of enemies like they were nothing, rushing about the maps like a Cucco with its head cut off as you complete objectives, the robust roster of playable characters with unique play styles, and the massive amount of content available in the story missions, side missions, material requests and Korok hunting, Age of Calamity is up there as one of my favorite Musou games. Admittedly, it certainly helps that it's one based off of one of my favorite video game franchises of all time, but in general, it's just a great Musou. It definitely won't make fans out of haters of the genre, but for those who love games like Dynasty Warriors and want an evolution of the formula, you have one with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

[SPC Says: B+]