Friday, October 10, 2014

Hyrule Warriors Review

I feel like I don't get to talk about The Legend of Zelda as often as I should on here. If we're being perfectly honest with ourselves, Zelda is one of the most important and innovative game series that ever existed in the history of this medium, but the past few years haven't exactly been kind to the series. Yes, I am a Nintendo fan, but I will fully admit when a series has reached a point of stagnation. Since the release of Twilight Princess, the franchise has done well, but it hasn't emotionally gripped me the same way that other games in the series have. Phantom Hourglass, Link Between Worlds, Ocarina of Time 3D, and even Twilight Princess itself have left me not as enthused as I thought I would be. Skyward Sword was a phenomenal game, but the franchise has been relatively quiet these past few years. And so we get Hyrule Warriors, an attempt to give a brief bit a of life into the series to tide us over until the release of the next inevitable Zelda game.

Explaining the plot of Hyrule Warriors is a bit pointless given the nature of the title. It's a crossover game between three different Zelda games, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. The plot is mostly there as a device to thrust these characters together and watch them kick ass and take names, but if you really want a plot introduction, I'll give it to you. Ganondorf is trying to take over Hyrule and Link, Zelda, and everyone else from the aforementioned Zelda games try to stop him. Shocking I know!

If you're wondering what kind of game this is, this is essentially a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda skin. What is Dynasty Warriors you may ask? Basically it's a game where you assume the roles of several historical figures and use magic powers to wage war against other historical figures with magical powers as you decimate thousands of enemies per battle. It's a game where this man laughing manically is taken seriously.  So yeah, this franchise is just a bit on the silly side. However, it makes it a perfect fit for the Zelda universe. I mean, think about it. A franchise that is built around using super strong people to blast through hordes of enemies and generally seem invincible? Doesn't that sound perfect for the Hero of Hyrule and the King of Evil? Placing a franchise that is dedicated t historical conquest fits a fantasy setting much better than a realistic one.

You get to kill an army with the FREAKING MOON!
Getting back on track, there are a ton of different modes in this game and a ton of different characters to play as, so let's focus on Campaign Mode for a little bit. Campaign Mode has you play through the story of the game, which as we establish before, solely exists to link these games together. There is a story, but it's really not that interesting or meaningful. It says a lot when the plot of Four Swords, which had no plot, has more character depth and development than this game does. By the end of the campaign, you'll have unlocked the majority of the characters and you'll have played through maps that range from Hyrule Castle, Faron Woods, Skyloft, Death Mountain, and Gerudo Valley just to name a few. Once you beat campaign mode, you'll unlock hero mode to tackle, which is challenging beyond all belief, and the ability to play as any character in the campaign.

You can beat the campaign in about 8 to 12 hours, but that isn't where all of your time will be. All of it is going to be spent completely submerged in Adventure Mode. Oh my God, Adventure Mode is a monster to get through. Adventure Mode is a mode in the game that is modeled after the original Legend of Zelda. The mode is designed to be an exact replica of the original game, with each square having a different challenge on it. So square B-13 will have a challenge, F-2 with have a challenge, etc, The challenges will be different for each square and have different requirements for victory. Not only that, but if certain characters are used under certain conditions, you'll get new weapons and powerups for those character, and getting an A rank on each challenge will get you even more rewards.

I LOVE Adventure Mode. It adds a ton of replay value to the game and will take an eternity to complete. I've been playing it for a little over a week, and I'm still not even a quarter of the way through the mode. It is simply massive. You can unlock the remaining characters in this mode, and they're some of the best characters to play as. It's a goal of mine that by the end of the year to have completed Adventure Mode, which is easier said than done.

A Challenge Mode also exists, but it really isn't anything significant. All that it is are brief little challenges that don't equate to much and pale in comparison to Adventure Mode. It boggles the mind why these two different modes exist when they both accomplish the same goals.

This is barely a big fight. 
As for the actual gameplay, this game is the definition of a button masher. You have light and heavy attacks that you can swap between on the fly, and doing certain combinations with yield certain attacks that have a devastating range, However, you'll never know exactly what combination to use when you're playing since you'll just press buttons to kill a ton of enemies. There's very little depth to the combat itself, despite the robust crafting system in place for creating new attacks, armor, and enhancements to your weapons. The crafting mode in the game is fantastic, giving a unique growth progression for each character and requiring specific raw materials for each character. There's so much depth in place, but it's a shame that none of it matters when you're just mashing the B button constantly. 

While on the battlefield, you and your allies will have very specific goals to win the battle, but no matter what, you'll have to take keeps to win. Keeps are enemy strongholds that have a ton of enemies inside of them and sometimes they even include lieutenants, who are much stronger than the average enemy and have their own unique strategies and defenses. Kill enough enemies inside of the keep and the Keep Master will appear. Kill him, and you get a keep to control, giving you a new supply of soldiers to fight for you and a new base to hide in if you need to recover for a bit. 

This all may sound like it's a strategy game, but this is an action game through and through. This game is all about combat and fighting enemies, other generals, and giant monsters. It's very normal to have a single battle leave you with a kill count of well over a thousand enemies. The most enemies I've killed in a single battle was 2,187, so you'll be killing a ton of Bokoblins. You'll even have to fight several bosses in some missions, which can completely drain your morale and provide an incredible challenge. Unfortunately, because of an overly generous checkpoint system, death holds little consequence. When you die, you'll appear right before that boss appeared, ready for round two. 

What else is really unfortunate is the weak difficulty settings. You have your standard easy, medium, and hard mode, with medium being the default difficulty. You can change the difficulty whenever you want before a mission, but none of them feel distinct. Hard mode offers a slight challenge, but nothing too grand. That being said, Hero mode is an insane challenge that is almost too difficult to accomplish upon unlocking. You want to be around level 80 to even attempt that mode and you'll most likely beat the game around level 30. 

Can you tell that this was made by the same company that
makes Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball?
I'm really conflicted about this game because this game has a ton of content behind it in the form of Adventure Mode. Adventure Mode will keeps gamers entertained and busy for hours, but they'll have to go through repetitive and boring gameplay. Yes you can use some incredibly over the top moves that can kill 50 enemies at once, but that thrill can only last for so long. I really had a lot of fun playing Hyrule Warriors, and I want to play it for hours, but whenever I finish a screen or two in Adventure Mode, I get bored in almost an instant. It becomes a chore, and chores are not fun to do. 

I had a great time crafting skills and weapons for all of the characters, with my favorite character being the FABULOUS Lord Ghirahim from Skyward Sword. He's not too strong, but he's great with hitting enemies a ton in a short time range, though he isn't the strongest or the fastest. Other great characters are Ganondorf, who is extremely overpowered with slow yet strong attacks, and a new original character named Lana, who has great distance when attacking enemies. Each character has a different feel to them, so you'll find a character that'll fit your play style. Hell, some people might think that Agatha the Bug Princess from Twilight Sword is the best character to play as. Yes, Agatha is there in the game, and she kills people with giant insects. 

All that good will though is lost though the longer I play the game. As time goes on, I become more and more bored by it. There are only so many times you can kill the same boss in the same map with different characters. The how may be different, the results will still be the same, and that's no fun playing a game where you know what's going to happen. 

Keep in mind that I still had a great time playing this game, but only when in bursts. The more I've been exposed to this game, the more my will to play slowly degrades. That's not a bad thing, but this is a game that's great to relieve a bit of stress for short bursts. Pop into a screen in Adventure Mode, clear it, and I can almost guarantee that you'll be a little relieved afterwards. As a game, this game fully functions and I did have a great time, but this is a game that I'll be completely at a very slow pace. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to whisper sweet nothings to the Bayonetta 2 demo on my Wii U.

No comments:

Post a Comment