As I mentioned in a post on my other blog about the Wii U, I’ve been playing the Hyrule Warriors game. This is a Zelda themed version of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. I’ve never played Dynasty Warriors, but if it’s like Hyrule Warriors I could certainly see myself enjoying it.
If you’re like me and not familiar with this format, the basics are that you are a warrior with all types of hack-n-slash attacks, and you’re plopped onto the battlefield with various missions to complete. A great deal of fighting is done facing dozens of little enemies at once. There’s something amazingly refreshing about stringing together some different attack moves and devastating a large crowd of enemies with a massive AoE attack.
The control system is pretty straightforward, and every character you play has a different series of attacks available to them, depending on which weapon they’re using. Some warriors have combo attacks where you find yourself jumping higher and higher until you land with a powerful explosion. Others have stings of weak attacks that you finish off with a strong attack for exciting effect. Often times there are larger enemies you need to take out among the weaker ones. These enemies require a decent amount of control, as they know how to block your attacks, and often have big devastating attacks of their own. A key skill is learning how long to beat on an enemy before you need to perform some dodging maneuvers to get yourself our of their arc of attack, and continue your attack from behind.
The levels are a little bit more complex than just hacking stuff to death, as each side in the conflict has bases that they control. Taking these bases is key to survival, as well as mission objectives. Managing how many of your bases are under enemy control vs. how many enemy bases you control is a balancing act. You need to weigh decisions about where to beat things up based on which bases are more advantageous to take. Taking the bases is a simple task of beating up the spawning enemies until the “boss” appears. Take him down and suddenly the base in your team’s base, and dozens of your own troops teleport in.
Eventually, you’ll end up with a final objective to complete, usually the defeat of a large boss that ends the mission. Once this is complete you get to collect your rewards, which you can then spend in the bazaar. The third component of Hyrule Warriors is managing your characters progression. Every character has levels that they earn while fighting, or you can pay money to level characters up quicker. There are also badges that you can purchase with materials you collect, to improve your attacks and defense.
Finally there is a smithy where you can modify your weapons, adding various bonuses to them from other weapons that you find. If I had to make one complaint about the game it’s that the weapon modification system is very limited. If you add a stat to a weapon it’s permanent, and there’s no changing it. If you want to get rid of excess weapons you need to wait until you collect more than 10 of them, at which point you can sell as many as you want. All in all, it’s not very intuitive and it’s a bit clunky.
I’m not sure if there is anything like this in Dynasty Warriors, but Hyrule Warriors contains an adventure mode, which is a fun way to do challenges, while at the same time unlocking a 2D map of the original Zelda game one square at a time. You can only unlock adjacent squares by getting a good enough score in a map. The challenges can be anything from “defeat X enemies in 10 minutes” to “take down two large bosses”. The adventure mode has helped to really create some longevity beyond the main story of the game.
Beyond the weapons system, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing Hyrule Warriors. It’s got some nice button smashing combat with overpowered moves that feel fun. The story is mostly engaging, and helps to draw you from one map to another. I’d highly recommend this game for other Wii U owners who want a nice hack-n-slash in the familiar Zelda universe. It’s well worth the cost of admission.