Hyrule Warriors Review
By Francis Morgan
On paper, Hyrule Warriors sounds like a painfully transparent cash-grab. A massive crossover based on the Legend of Zelda multiverse in which players can choose from over a dozen unique playable characters from some of the most popular entries in the series? It's a bit like watching a child play with their toys: no one really knows why little Danny is pitting his G.I. Joes against the nefarious Tyrannosaurus rex in an explosive battle royale, but no one really questions it either. It's childish and shallow, but ultimately harmless.
Fortunately for Zelda fans, Hyrule Warriors had a lot more love and care put into it than its deceptively simple premise would imply. There's something undeniably charming about watching your favorite characters interact beyond the boundaries of their established games, and the union between Legend of Zelda visuals and Dynasty Warriors-style hack-'n'-slash gameplay is about as natural as that of peanut butter and jelly.
Gameplay is simplistic, but surprisingly varied. Each character has a unique fighting style that suits them well, and players can pull off simplistic combos with some very tight controls. The battlefield sports some highly impressive visuals for the Wii U, seeing as there are typically around 100 character models onscreen most of the time - though this does cause significant slowdown when playing on the gamepad. More playable characters can be unlocked over the course of the game, and a number of sub-quests, such as a hunt for 100 Gold Skulltullas scattered across the maps, as well as a well-programmed multiplayer mode will keep players entertained long after they have completed the main game.
Hyrule Warriors' plot is your standard good vs. evil fare, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's clear that a lot of thought went into interaction between the characters, and Zelda fans will definitely get a kick out watching their favorite heroes and villains duke it out against a non-canonical backdrop. Nothing ever actively detracts from the gameplay, at any rate.
Simply put, Hyrule Warriors is the mash-up we never knew we wanted, but cannot do without. Though it was obviously made with only Zelda fans in mind, the staggering amount of work that went into a game that is ostensibly little more than 20 hours of nonstop fanservice make it an instant classic. Zelda fans new and old should give it a try.
I give Hyrule Warriors a 3 and a half out of 4.