If you’ve wondered what Hyrule was like a century before the events of Breath of the Wild then you can find out in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – and cut a swathe though oodles of relentless assailants while you’re at it.
Yes, it’s the time of the Great Calamity, and anybody who fell in love with Breath of the Wild – or any Zelda fan for that matter – should be keen to learn even more lore from the ever-sprawling series. After all, what historical information we gleaned from that incredible Switch experience was rather, well, piecemeal. Mind you, timeline liberties are taken here that some may not be totally onboard with.
Despite the often-stunning graphics, the art style of which rekindles great memories of Breath of the Wild, you won’t be playing catch-up in typically Zelda-esque style, as this is a collision of Nintendo’s finest with Koei’s seriously epic Dynasty Warriors series – much like the original Wii U Hyrule Warriors, but with a more focussed story. This means a little less strategy and a whole lot more arcade as you confront everything that old boar Ganon can throw at you – and, as it happens, that’s quite a lot.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Warriors games, serious strategy buffs – or stragety buffs if you’re Bugs Bunny – really dug on Japanese developer Koei’s early releases, especially Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which was heavily based on Chinese history. Realising they were onto a good thing, but that normal mortals were dumbfounded by the bonce-boggling requirements of the series, Koei spun off a more beat ’em up-styled version in the late ’90s with less-convoluted strategic elements – Dynasty Warriors. True to its name, since its birth on the PSP it has become quite the dynasty itself, with one, two, three – erm, lots – of releases thus far.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity basically injects the familiar world of Link and associates into a Dynasty Warriors-styled gameplay setting, but with heaps of story exposition as we learn – mostly via stunningly voiced cutscenes – what went down all these years before Breath of the Wild. There’s a basic overlying strategy angle, but the bulk of the game is wondrous hacking and slashing and mutilating and dismembering and otherwise killing assailants of all shapes and sizes, from small to huge. Seriously, if you’ve got a bit of bloodlust happening after a hard day at the cube farm, pop this baby in and just let the red stuff splash free. Or hey, just take a break and do a spot of cooking…
Yep, it’s hacky, it’s slashy and it’s hordey as you choppity-chop your way through oodles of mindless meat puppets over and over and over and over and over like a monkey with a miniature cymbal, yet Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is anything but boring. Alright, so you can do the mash, do the button mash, but take the time to master the various full-on light/heavy combos – Link’s array of weaponry in itself is testament to his resourcefulness – special weapons, Sheikah runes, counters and attacks and you’ll gain quite a sense of satisfaction… amidst possible concerns in regards to your burgeoning lust for blood.
Whether you’re a Zelda history buff or just after some violent mayhem with a hint – a teensy one, but a hint nonetheless – of thinking, try giving Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity a bash – and slash, and hack…
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is available now on Switch.