I have always enjoyed the Warriors games spin offs.
They take their good hack n slash formula and apply it to a franchise you like, making for consistently fun and weird games. But they are usually fun side projects, a silly excuse to play your favourite characters in a different game genre. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has taken the fun hacking and slashing, and made a game that belongs in the Zelda: Breath of the Wild universe, and it is an immediate must play.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity follows a little guardian who goes back in time after princess Zelda makes her sacrifice, to try to stop events happening. The little guardian lands in a time where Link is nothing but an excellent soldier that can slash hobgoblins with the best of them. They decode the information in the guardian realise what is to come, and Zelda heads off with Link as a bodyguard to go enlist some pilots for the divine beasts and stop Calamity Gannon.
If the above makes no sense because you haven’t played Zelda: Breath of the Wild, then go play it now. Seriously, it is one of the best games I have ever played and set the bar for what can run on a Switch. For the first time a Warriors game belongs in the timeline of the series it is spinning off, and it works so well.
Sure it is bizzare to play as Link and Zelda when they kill dozens of Lizalfos in seconds when many years later it takes ages to take out one. But hey, it’s a fun game if you suspend your disbelief for a second so you can enjoy what this game has to offer.
If you haven’t played any of the Warriors games, then you could be in for a treat. They are hack n slash games where you slash your way through hundreds of enemies. It is brilliantly satisfying because each swing has heaps of enemies flying away at once and the gameplay across all these games are consistently brilliant. This would be repetitive and boring if it wasn’t for the objectives the games constantly throw at you. You may have to run to one end of a map, or beat an enemy spawned in a specific location within a certain time which keeps the game from getting dull.
Unlike other spin offs like Fire Emblem Warriors, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has a story to tell and as such limits the number of characters available to play. This is a small sacrifice for the game to be canon, and playing as multiple characters like Zelda and the champions that pilot the divine beasts are more than enough content. There are some extra characters but those five were who I played with as often as possible.
One of the coolest aspects of the game is the use of the Sheikah Slate. This lets you use powered attacks based on its powers like magnet or bombs which helps give the game a Breath of the Wild style. It also uses these elements well with being able to put up an ice tower so a charging enemy freezes which pulls back memories of the games. Zelda is only armed with the Sheikah Slate so her light attacks have chains flinging, bombs blasting, and magnetic hits in quick succession which is the most chaotic thing I have seen on my Switch.
If you haven’t played a Warriors game before but loved Breath of the Wild, now is a great place to start. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity looks, sounds and feels as true to the open world original game as it is a totally different thanks to the Warriors mechanics.
It’s such a treat, even if the Switch chugs on rare occasions when you hit too many enemies on the screen.
Released: October 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch