Throughout many generations, the kingdom of Hyrule has always been destined to fall into an era of darkness. From the war that Demise declared, to the Twilight that the land succumbed to, Hyrule has seen it all, though light has always found a way to prevail. But just what would happen if three tragedies in time were to intertwine, creating a rip in time and unleashing an unnamable evil. That’s where Hyrule Warriors Legends comes in.
Hyrule Warriors Legends is a 3DS remake of the 2014 Wii U title, but will Legends cash in lots of Rupees, or will it fall faster than Termina’s moon? Find out in our review, after the break!
Hyrule Warriors Legends
Nintendo 3DS Family Systems
Developed by Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja, and Omega Force
Published by Nintendo/Koei Tecmo
Released: 25th March 2016 (EU/NA)
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Screenshots courtesy of Nintendo
Much like the original Hyrule Warriors for Wii U, Hyrule Warriors Legends follows the story of Link and his companions saving the land of Hyrule from the clutches of evil, that evil being the sorceress, Cia. Link and co. are forced to travel to the Sky Era, Hero of Time Era, and the Twilight Era to close Gates of Souls, in an attempt to stop Cia from reawakening a dormant yet very powerful evil, much beyond the comprehension of the sorceress pawn.
For those who have yet to experience Hyrule Warriors, Hrule Warriors Legends plays very much unlike traditional Zelda games, instead it plays similarly to the Dynasty Warriors games. Instead of exploring the various levels and solving puzzles, you are tasked with defeating hordes of enemies and taking enemy bases or keeps in a hack and slash adventure. The game’s Legend Mode (the main story) takes an episodic format where every episode contains a main objective to complete, such as defeating the enemy commander, and several missions to undertake, these can be fairly simple such as escorting a Bombchu to an explosion site and defeating a large enemy, but you may also receive some more obscure missions, such as having to search for covert agent turning your own troops against you. To help you on your adventure, you’ll be needing to overpower enemy keeps, doing so will boost your troops forces. Taking a keep is easy, all you have to do is just defeat a certain amount of enemies in that keep to summon the Keep Boss, then just defeat the Keep Boss to claim the keep your own. Most levels will have you closed off from certain areas and keeps, though taking keeps and completing mission will open areas up, allowing you to move further onto the breach.
Fighting is generally simple in Hyrule Warriors Legends, in fact, it has the exact same mechanics as the original, here’s a quick overview for those who are unfamiliar. You have your regular attacks and your strong attacks, your regular attacks can be stacked up to make combos, and you can also add strong attacks to make even more powerful combos, some of which may even affect your regular strong attacks, depending on the weapon you have equipped. Every character has several weapons to choose from, and some weapons include skill slots thats add special effects to weapons. You can also fuse weapons that empty skill slots to mix and match effects. You can use the Rupees and materials looted from enemy corpses to create badges for each character. Badges aid you in battle by adding various effects, such as unlocking new attacks, raising defence against certain elements, and decreasing the time it takes to deplete a large enemy’s Weak Point Gauge. Though the gameplay may seem fairly repetitive at first, it is oddly addicting and satisfying to see how many of Cia’s minions you are able to defeat while completing the various trials set before you.
When I first heard the announcement that this big, beautiful, and addicting Wii U game was getting a 3DS remake, I honestly had several; I just did not think it would work on the 3DS. After spending about 30 hours with Hyrule Warriors Legends, I can safely say that my concerns were pretty much busted… mostly. I can easily play Legends for several hours and my hands will feel very little discomfort. My only issues would be the fact that the detail of several textures and graphics are toned down, and that there are times where the frame rate will drop (especially if you have the 3D turned on) on the New 3DS. Personally, other than being disappointed that the game does not looks as graphically pleasing as the Wii U version, it still looks pretty good, and I very rarely notice the drops in frame rate, it’s a fairly smooth experience considering the hardware involved to handle this sort of game. Unfortunately, if you only own a original 3DS/3DS XL, then the game will not perform so well, not only will the experience appear to be less smooth, but less enemies will appear on-screen at once, which really dampers the fun of hacking and slashing.
Legends introduces a new character to the the fray, Linkle. Linkle is a Cuccoo farmer from a small village in Hyrule. When she hears word that dark forces have sent siege to Hyrule Castle, she doesn’t hesitate to clad herself in similar clothing to the legendary hero. After claiming that her grandmother told her she is the hero reincarnate and that she was bestowed with a special compass, Linkle quickly set off towards Hyrule, unfortunately, the map she relies on isn’t the most reliable and instead she ends up in Faron Woods, where she is quickly ambushed by the mischievous Skull Kid, who also becomes a playable character later in the story. Several characters from the Wind Waker game, such as Toon Link and Tetra, also make an appearance as playable characters, with their own storyline too. Not only do these additional characters add more variety in how you can fight the hordes of moblins, stalchildren, and other creatures of darkness, but when you also bundle in all the DLC from the original game, there is far more content added from the get-go. Once you’ve also considered the DLC that is currently in the works, that’s even more content to satisfy your thirst for war and bloodshed.
Adventure Mode returns in Hyrule Warriors Legends. Adventure mode differentiates itself from Legend Mode in which you are placed onto a literal map from a Zelda game, such as the original Legend of Zelda or Majora’s Mask. Each square of the map sets you a challenge to complete, such as defeating a certain amount of enemies within a given time, or defeating the Enemy Commander. Depending on your performance, you will be rewarded with a path to surrounding squares, new weapons, and Item Cards, which are used to discover secrets in certain squares. This is the perfect match for the handheld as you could easily complete several missions in short bursts, compared to taking about 30 to 45 minutes to complete a single episode in Legend Mode. So, if you are on the bus, train, plan, or even a tractor ride, you could quickly bust out your 3DS, complete a couple missions, then carry on tackling the real world. A new addition to the 3DS’ Adventure Mode is the ability to collect fairies. Several missions in Adventure Mode hide companion fairies who can help you out in Adventure Mode.
By using the My Fairy mode, you can customise your companion fairies to your heart’s content. Feeding them food you find on your adventures will raise their trust level, increasing various fairy stats, clothing your fairies will add various effects such as giving water damage to enemies, and rental skills will induce some more powerful effects, such as being able to be revived after dying. Not only that, but you can also use Local Communication to borrow rental skills from all your friends! Companion fries are perfect for those who are having a bit of difficulty with certain challenges, and it also offers a nice bit of customisation too.
Two new features which I absolutely love is the ability to change which character you are playing as on the go, and giving idle playable characters basic commands, both of which add an extra depth of strategy into the game. If you are playing as Shiek and are on the way to the Enemy Commander’s base on one side of the map, but all of a sudden, the allied base is about to go under, you could quickly switch to a character closer to the base (if the option is available in that specific scenario) to help keep the fort down by clicking their icon, and then use the command feature to tell Shiek to keep progressing towards the Enemy Commander. The game adds two new items too, the Ocarina and the Hammer. The Hammer is introduced in the Wind Waker leg of the story, mainly used to tackle certain enemies (similar to how bombs are used for King Dodongo). The Ocarina has a different use however, instead you can use the Ocarina to teleport seamlessly between several Owl Statues throughout the levels. Once a statue has been activated, it should make it easier going to an area of crisis.
Though the game’s performance and visuals do come with its shortcomings (especially on the original 3DS), Hyrule Warriors Legends is still a fantastic remake, and I am fairly impressed with how well it has transferred from a HD console to a handheld. It comes packed with all the DLC from the Wii U version, new characters, as well as some brand new features which really add a lot of fun and strategy into the title, such as the Command and My Fairy features. Even if you have played the original, Hyrule Warriors Legends still comes highly recommended, especially for those who love hack and slash games. On the other hand, if you much prefer the exploration of traditional Zelda games, are a stickler or graphics and performance, or if you do not own a New 3DS, then I would seriously recommend that you would reconsider as the gameplay differed incredibly from typical Zelda games and that the frame rate does have a tendency to drop at times (more so on the original 3DS console, which even completely drops the 3D effects)
Hyrule Warriors Legends releases exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS Family systems on the 25th March 2016 in North America and Europe!