With now three different versions of Hyrule Warriors available to consume, Nintendo has once again decided to bring home their library to the Nintendo Switch. I personally don’t mind that Nintendo is deciding to port the best titles I missed on the Wii U to my favourite portable, either, as I completely skipped out on the Wii U fiasco, this allows me to play the best games I missed out on and I get to enjoy it both on the go and in the comfort of my home.
Originally released in 2014, Hyrule Warriors also saw a release on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016, but now, with the Definitive Edition out on Friday in the West, now is your chance to truly dive in and allow yourself to get lost in a different spin on the iconic Nintendo series. A musou title that combines the best elements of The Legend of Zelda somehow works – some pretext before continuing, this genre isn’t something I particularly enjoy, but when combined with stellar IP’s like Fire Emblem or Zelda, I’m likely to jump in and enjoy the ride. Koei Tecmo has diligently reskinned the Dynasty Warriors series in a good hack and slash title with dozens of enemies to mow down, and being the definitive version of this game, you get all the downloadable content to play with.
Unfortunately, don’t expect your mainline Zelda level of a story here, this game is light on narrative and is more about engaging in all-out war against Ganon and his hordes of monsters. The idea here is the simplicity behind the action, you don’t ever have to think of how to best approach a scenario but instead can readily engage the enemy by upgrading characters or learning new moves that help even the odds on the battlefield. There’s a certain flow to the game that negates any qualms I may have had about the systems, this is junk food at it’s finest and exactly what I needed coming off much heavier games I’ve been playing.
A typical battle sees Link or one of the other available characters drop into the battlefield with outposts to conquer and hordes of monsters to annihilate. Your job is to capture as many outposts and clear them, and in doing so, provides your army a new resource to churn out more soldiers to help Link and friends. Some maps have objectives to complete, and it is in your interest to do them, as there are quite a few objectives to complete.
As with any musou game, there is one big issue with all of them and that’s how repetitive these titles get quickly. Every battle has similar objectives with small twists on those ideas, but each one has the same idea of fending off an area from droves of monsters while retaking their occupied space. There are so much lore and history behind the Zelda banner, I wonder why we never saw more of it included, it’s a shame to see a missed opportunity.
There isn’t much in terms of new content here, aside from the inclusion of Breath of the Wild costumes for Link and Zelda; instead, Nintendo went another route and decided to optimize the experience for the Switch, a move that sees the game run at 1080p and 60 frames per second when docked. On the portable side, the handheld mode sees improvements as well, but this is a game that feels better when played at home on your couch.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is a good port of the original Wii U game, but outside of some work done to optimize the game, there isn’t enough here to return to the story mode unless you’ve missed it the first time. If you want to hack and slash at monsters while controlling familiar faces, this is something you should check out.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]