E3 2014 Impressions – Hyrule Warriors
NOTE: Our YouTube Channel has tons of E3 2014 footage, and more is coming over the next few weeks! You can check the video playlist here.
Release Date: September 26, 2014
Developer/Publisher: Omega Force, Team Ninja, Nintendo SPD / Tecmo Koei, Nintendo
Genres: Action, Hack and Slash
When Hyrule Warriors was first announced during last December’s Nintendo Direct, I was a little concerned. The game is a cross-over between the Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors franchises, and although I had never played a Dynasty Warriors title many critics have mixed feelings towards them. Some find their hack n’ slash gameplay (that is, mashing buttons to defeat enemies) to be far too mindless, while others criticize their nonsensical stories and poor voice acting. After playing through the Hyrule Warriors demo at E3 this year I can safely say that I’m very excited for full game and have (surprisingly) very little to complain about.
I approached the demo booth expecting something over-the-top and that’s certainly what it delivered. In my ten minutes with the game I mowed down hundreds of Bokoblins, threw a bomb almost twice as large as Link’s body and jammed my Fire Rod into the neck of a humongous King Dodongo to defeat it. I’ll be blunt: if you go into Hyrule Warriors expecting a traditional Legend of Zelda game you’ll likely be disappointed. That’s not to say that you won’t be able to appreciate the game if you’re a Zelda fan: Warrior’s use of beloved characters, weapons and enemies within the Dynasty Warriors gameplay template makes it feel like a celebration of the franchise with a level of grandeur that is completely new to the series. It feels awesome.
Feels awesome AND looks great!
The first things I noticed were the hordes of Bokoblins around the battlefield. We’re talking hundreds of them. My previous use of the word “mowed” in reference to defeating them is certainly apt. With various button presses I was able to chain together physical attacks with my Fire Rod and blasts of flames from the end to unleash a variety of special attacks that, in some cases, took out dozens of them at a time. A certain combination of presses let Link leap into the air and slam back down into the ground, unleashing a tidal wave of fire. Another let him turn his Fire Rod into a flamethrower that fried enemies to a crisp and then sent them flying. If you’ve seen some of our videos of the demo, you’ve heard my cries of excitement as I discovered incredibly cool new attacks by punching the two main attack buttons with specific patterns. Battling in Hyrule Warriors is about more than the gameplay – it’s also one hell of a spectacle.
The Bokoblins barely put up a fight, and at first I was a bit disappointed by how easy it was to defeat them. They mostly just stood around me and very rarely took the chance to attack (an issue many Warriors games seem to have), but I quickly grew to understand that their purpose was more to add to the sense of anarchy and the flair of battle as I sent them flying than to stand in my way. The true challenge came from the stronger enemies like Lizalfos and Moblins. These foes had specific attack patterns that I needed to recognize so I could block their attacks, dodge and retaliate. I needed to approach these enemies with some level of finesse and it was definitely reminiscent of the kind of thought you’d need to put into battles in other Legend of Zelda games.
About half-way through the demo I came across a treasure chest that held bombs, a staple of the Zelda franchise. As one would expect, I needed to use these to blow up obstacles and to defeat the King Dodongo boss at the end (by throwing them into his mouth. Shocking, right?). Rather than just tossing one like in the original games, Link lets out a barrage of five or six, only adding to the list of outrageous things I saw in the demo. I can’t wait to see what other classic Zelda items will appear in wild new ways.
The Warriors franchise is well-known for including tons of playable characters, and it’s looking like Hyrule Warriors won’t disappoint. Those announced so far include Link, Shiek, Princess Zelda and Midna from Twilight Princess, and you can equip them with different weapons to change up their attack patterns and combos. In the playable demo at E3, Link could use the Master Sword or Fire Rod, while Zelda was limited to a rapier. All of these had some really cool finishing moves, including Link’s Hurricane Spin and Zelda’s light arrows.
Dun dun dun dunnnnnnnn
You can expect Hyrule Warriors to be a love letter to the Zelda franchise with plenty of cinematic special attacks, iconic characters and chaotic battles while combining combat elements from both The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors. Any concerns I had going into the game with the knowledge that it would be built on the Dynasty Warriors template have been put to rest for now, but of course we’ve only had a small taste so far. Unfortunately, f you’re looking for the next traditional Zelda title you’ll still have to wait until 2015!
Stay tuned for more post-E3 coverage from NintendoFuse via our YouTube channel (videos are included below), and prepare yourself for our review when the game launches in a few months! Have any questions? Feel free to ask us with a comment!