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Hyrule Warriors Legends is Awesome

I know I’m supposed to be playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild right now. “Any Nintendo fan should be playing it”, right?

Well I would, but there are no Switches near me to buy.

I didn’t pre-order one because I couldn’t push myself to pre-order a console that only had one game I wanted to play at launch.

I considered buying a Wii U to play the game. I sold my original Wii U a couple of years back after I had exhausted most of the games I wanted to play.

But, thanks to Nintendo ceasing production on the Wii U, there are no Wii U’s near me to buy.

None of this would bug me that much. But the games press, Nintendo fans, and casual players won’t shut up about how good Breath of the Wild turned out. And it was already the one thing I really wanted to check out.

Fortunately, I just so happen to have a 2DS. And I love Dynasty Warriors.

Hyrule Warriors Legends came out about a year ago for the 3DS family of systems. Developed by Omega Force, it takes their stalwart Dynasty Warriors engine and gameplay and shoves heaps o’ Zelda stuff into it. It’s an expanded port of a Wii U game that was already heavy on content.

The biggest new feature in the 3DS version is the ability to switch to other playable characters across the battlefield in real time. This is pretty cool. The same thing showed up in Omega Force’s Samurai Warriors Chronicles series on 3DS.

This game is an exceptional brawler. It has a wonderfully satisfying pile of combat mechanics, yet it’s accessible to the button-mashers of the world. You run quickly across familiar battlefields from the land of Hyrule. You hit buttons and attack tons of things. You find secrets. You get chests.

All the while, some of the best renditions of classic Zelda music blare in the background. Every tune is recognizable, but has been enhanced with some electric guitar flair. Just like the gonzo rock music in Dynasty Warriors, this totally works for some reason. The music hits you right in that primal place in your brain. It makes you want to keep running and hitting the buttons. It makes you want to keep getting the game’s constant stream of rewards and fun story sequences.

The original Hyrule Warriors was one of the few games I loved on the Wii U, and it’s so amazing to see that full game recreated on a handheld complete with extra content. The sound survived the transition shockingly well. The music is high quality, and the sound and voice samples don’t have any horrific compression artifacting.

The graphics…didn’t fare as well. A new cell-shading filter helps to cover the changes a bit, but everything took a downgrade, from models to textures to enemy counts. If you play on a New 3DS system, you can play in 3D and the framerate more or less sticks to 30. On my 2DS, the game regularly dips under 30…but it’s nowhere near as bad as I was expecting from all the launch coverage. So many reviews were like “Don’t buy this if you don’t have a New 3DS! It’s terrible lol!” But it’s not really that bad. Noticeable? Sure. But it’s impressive that the older hardware can even run the game, and it handles itself at a more-than-playable state throughout. Unless the later stages of the game really bog down, I’ve been impressed at what this ancient tech can do.

The game’s not terribly hard. When I started it, I got a bunch of spot pass “Thank You” bonuses, which I think they handed out as little surprises for dedicated players over the first few months of release. Thanks to these bonuses, I started the game with 6 million rupees and a bunch of extra items. So that’s kind of funny.

Dynasty Warriors is great. It’s a brilliant modern expression of a genre that I’ve been partial to since I was a kid. Hyrule Warriors Legends is one of the best games in the series.

It would be a shame if this game never came to the Switch.

The two Switch games I am most interested in playing aside from BOTW are Dragon Quest Heroes II (Which isn’t even confirmed for America yet) and Fire Emblem Warriors. If those two come out… and I still can’t find some hardware?

Then I’m going to be rather upset.

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Alex Rowe

Alex Rowe

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