Link, Zelda, and the four champions of Hyrule face the entity of darkness known as Calamity Ganon in an epic war set a mere one-hundred years prior to the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
When this entry was first announced, it caused a bit of an explosion all over the internet. Nintendo, out of nowhere, dropped an announcement trailer for a prequel to one of their best-selling games of all time. Flash forward a few months later, and that game has since been released. But there is a catch to this new entry: it wasn’t a traditional Legend of Zelda game, but rather a Musou-genre spin-off set in the Breath of the Wild. As someone that has played the previous Musou-Zelda spinoff, Hyrule Warriors, I went in with some form of knowledge for the hack & slash journey that was ahead for me.
In this installment there is more than meets the eye. Koei Tecmo implements aspects from the Breath of the Wild world, which forces players to think strategically in order to progress, instead of rushing in like a bull into a china shop.
The game gives you access to stuff like the Sheikah Slate, a device that grants each character the ability of throwing bombs, using magnetism or summoning ice cubes to protect themselves. Though a lot of these abilities are available for all characters, they all have their own animations which make their individual executions fun to watch.
The Breath of the Wild cooking mechanic also makes its way into this new entry. It is very important to think through what meals you want to have made because the right meal can offer your warriors the advantage in battle. For one quest, you might need to have more resistance to fire, or it might give you a boost that you need to inflict more damage to finish a task before the timer runs out. I found myself being unable to clear a mission at times, only to try out a different set of meal(s) that made clearing the level a piece of cake (It’s all in the seasoning if I say so myself). As you progress in the game, you acquire more recipes, each with unique buffs that expand your squad’s possibilities during battle.
Another welcome addition to the gameplay is that players are given access to the divine beasts, which is a big deal within the world of Breath of The Wild. For those of you that are unaware, the divine beasts are enormous machines that contain a monstrous amount of power. Throughout the game, you are able to use their power with the choice of beast dependent on the mission. Introducing the divine beasts as playable allies against the hordes of Calamity Ganon makes the game feel bigger in terms of scale, especially when compared to older entries in The Legend of Zelda franchise. And considering this is meant to be a prequel focusing on a war, the further you get, the more you understand why they decided to go this route.
Even though I find the game to be an enjoyable experience, it’s far from perfect. Age of Calamity’s biggest issue lies with the game’s framerate. It drops heavily at times, the worst occurring when playing co-op mode. Is it game breaking? No, far from it, but those that claim there aren’t any framerate issues are either fooling themselves or lying.
Before I wrap things up, if you wondered why I haven!t covered the game’s story, the reason is that I will dedicate a separate segment to it, either in a podcast or written form, at a later time.