This week, Koei Tecmo’s tribute to one of Nintendo’s greatest franchises The Legend of Zelda will finally be released for sale in North America. While Japan enjoyed their chance to hack and slash bokoblins in Hyrule Field for over a month now, soon it will be our turn. But you may be asking yourself “why should I even look at this game let alone play it.” For those questioners and doubters out there, I give you a slap in the face in the form of ten reasons. You’re welcome, North America.
1. The Graphics
When the trailer for Hyrule Warriors was first released, I was amazed at the graphics. There was no cell shading, goofy cartoon characters, or Toon Link. Instead an adult age Link thrusted his sword through one ugly baddie after another. For the first time since Twilight Princess, Link actually looked realistic. But then I remembered back to 2000 when Nintendo released a tech demo featuring an epic swordfight between Ganondorf and Link. Everyone believed that would be the direction that Nintendo would take for the next Zelda title. In 2002, Nintendo released the first trailer for Wind Waker, a game no one expected to see. Fans everwhere had been fooled. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wind Waker! The graphics in all of the cell shaded games are beautiful; however, it was incredibly different from what the public expected. I almost half expected the same thing to happen to Hyrule Warriors, but to my surprise, the game graphics have only improved. The character designs are beautiful, the battlefields are stunning, and the fighting clear and thrilling to watch.
2. The Gameplay
Have you ever played the original game series behind Hyrule Warriors? Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors franchise is an extremely fast paced, war strategic, button mashing delight that gamers of all ages can enjoy. Now add that with the puzzle solving and nostalgic feel of a classic Legend of Zelda game and you get Hyrule Warriors! During E3 2014, it was revealed how this concept would work. I have to say I was mightily impressed with the game footage. With a variety of main character choices, players command and lead Hyrulian soldiers to battle against invading evil forces. Your goal: take over as many enemy bases as possible in a certain amount of time and battle the classic enemies that stop your progress.
3. The Items
Hyrule Warriors covers most everything from the Zelda franchise including a great amount of classic items, each with unique mechanics. I’ll just name a few: Master sword, fire rod, ball and chain, power gloves, bombs, bigger bombs, biggest bombs, hookshot, bow, rapier, baton, giant blade, naginata, parasol, hammer, goddess blade, harp, shackle, spear, scimitar, a great sword, and more! Are you satisfied? No? Well, I didn’t want to spoil it for you but… YOU CAN PULL DOWN THE FREAKING MOON FROM MAJORA’S MASK!!!!!
4. The Princess of Twilight
This may just be a personal note, but I’m giddy as a school girl to play as Midna from Twilight Princess. The Princess of the Twilight Realm, Midna, was changed into a Imp by Zant’s dark magic because she refused to bow down to Zant as the Twilight’s new ruler. She fled the Twilight Realm and entered Hyrule hoping to find the remaining pieces of the Fused Shadows, an ancient power of the original inhabitants of the Twilight Realm. Soon she met Link and they formed a kind of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of relationship which gradually grew into a compelling friendship. She instantly became my favorite partners that Link has ever teamed up with.
Midna was sassy and witty; she had emotion! If she had to say something, it wasn’t too obvious or over said. And unlike other companions, Midna served Link in many more ways than just talking. Yep, Midna is the best. I’ll never forget the last scene in Twilight Princess: Midna broke the only portal between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm, basically sealing her people away for eternity. It was the most heart breaking, tear-jerking moment I had ever experienced as a young teenager. I prayed for the chance to see Midna again outside of the Twilight Princess game, but alas, my prayers went unheard… until the announcement of Midna in Hyrule Warriors came! At last, I get to see Midna again, and this time she’s ready to kick some butt!
5. The Last Surviving Sheikah
I recently finished playing through Ocarina Of Time 3D for the 3DS and a thought came to mind: wouldn’t it be awesome if Sheik was a playable character? As if in reply, the developers of Hyrule Warriors released game-play footage of Sheik with her classic Goddess harp. Sure anyone can play as Sheik in the Super Smash Bros. series, but Hyrule Warriors gives players an opportunity to see just how stunning Sheik and, might I add, Zelda can be.
6. The Prince Of Darkness
That’s right. You can’t have a tribute to The Legend of Zelda without Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf.
It’s one thing to have all three in Hyrule Warriors, but the fact that at one point you play as the Demon King blows my mind. You can play as the evil of all evils and destroy all enemies to your heart’s content! Also, Ganondorf doesn’t just have one puny sword, oh no, he has two broad swords. These swords are so broad that other broad swords feel self-conscience. I mean I like killing evil as much as the next Zelda lover, but, sometimes, I want to experience being the spawn of Demise! I’m I right?!… Guys?… Oh, one more thing: have you seen Ganondorf’s hair? Ladies, be jealous.
7. The Battlefields
Tecmo seems to know how to pull on your nostalgic strings pretty well and the battlefields in Hyrule Warriors are no exceptions. From Hyrule Field to Skyloft, Tecmo takes all the classic spots you remember while playing The Legend of Zelda games and transforms them into fresh, strategic battlefields. Like previously mentioned, these battlefields are gorgeous in design and still provide the opportunity for minor exploration.
8. The Story Plot
Picture this: Cia, a dark sorceress intent on resurrecting the Demon King Ganondorf, threatens the kingdom of Hyrule with her henchmen Wizzro and Volga and a massive army of dark monsters. Only the avatar can stop Cia and… wait, wrong story… Only Link, the hero of legend, and Princess Zelda, the ruler of Hyurle with the help of other powerful allies can defeat the evil army and stop the resurrection of Ganondorf. Seems legit.
9. The Soundtrack
Ever wondered what music from The Legend of Zelda would sound like with a rock twist? Yeah, me neither. But for those of you who have, Hyrule Warriors has you covered. Being a lover of Zelda music, I’m amazed how well the electric guitar and drums sound when playing classic Zelda music. Now I can rock out to Zelda’s lullaby, Twilight’s Hyrule Field, Saria’s Song, and the Ballad of the Goddess.
10. Overall Experience
For many gamers, the first game they ever played was The Legend of Zelda, but for them it was more than just a game. To them Link was more than the hero of Hyrule; he was their hero. Hyrule became a place where good always triumphed over evil, where adventure was real and where the imagination soared. That is what The Legend of Zelda means to me, and I’m sure Hyrule Warriors will build upon that nostalgic feeling hidden inside many gamers.
While Hyrule Warriors may not be a completely original title, its main purpose is not to provide that unique game, rather Hyrule Warriors will hopefully be an amazing tribute game to one of the best gaming series ever. Now that you have taken your slap to the face like a man, go out and save Hyrule… again!!