Too big for its britches.
Hyrule Warriors was one of the biggest surprises for me when it launched. While I am a huge Zelda fan, the musou games are rarely something that interests me for more than a few hours. The combination of recognizable characters, familiar music, and some truly outlandish attacks really works though, and I still play the Wii U version to this day. Now that game has finally made its way onto the 3DS, and while it brings a lot of the same excitement and familiarity, it also comes with some nasty baggage.
A lot of what made Hyrule Warriors great is still here. The familiar characters and slick controls are still at the forefront. Grinding through areas, mowing down thousands of enemies, and collecting rupees never tires, and it works well on the 3DS, a lot better than I actually anticipated.
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
Time to complete: 10-12 hours main campaign
The core game play, for the uninitiated, revolves around controlling a battlefield. Players will assume the role of popular characters as they mow down hundreds of enemies at a time with spectacle, while attempting to take over chokepoints and hunt down boss characters. Win conditions usually involve pushing the fight to a specific point, and of course not having their troops flee the battlefield. It is an interesting chess match that plays out, and involves a lot more than simply mashing one button over and over.
The new characters and modes are also fantastic. Linkle joins the fray as the first female take on the character. She has her own story arc, and feels completely unique. I really enjoyed playing as her, and would love to bring her into the core Wii U game. Other things such as the addition of the Wind Waker art style also fit really well into the game. There is enough new content here to make a double-dip worthwhile, and a season pass to continue adding more, I just wish all of it would also make its way into the Wii U version.
There are some quality of life improvements that I also wish would make their way into the Wii U version. For starters players can now hot-swap between playable characters by simply tapping the touch screen. This makes controlling the battle much more user-friendly. Another new addition is the Owl Statues that allowed me to fast travel to specific locations. This makes dashing between areas less frequent, and I could focus more on collecting Skulltulas and taking over areas without worrying as much about the clock.
The issues start to crop up where performance is concerned. On the New 3DS it runs alright without 3D turned on. When I decided to check out that feature, even Nintendo’s new device had some issues keeping the frame rate stable. As for the 2DS and regular 3DS, this game suffers, immensely. Even without the 3D turned on the game struggles to keep a steady frame rate, almost to the point where I think Nintendo would have been better off requiring their new hardware for the game. This is disappointing because while not ugly, Hyrule Warriors Legends is far from the best looking game on Nintendo’s handheld.
Hyrule Warriors Legends feels rough in several areas, and most of it is likely due to the hardware constraints of Nintendo’s handheld. There is simply too much going on at a time for the little system to keep things in order. The new improvements are very welcome, and I would love to see them make their way over to the console version. However, that is still by far the preferred way to experience this game. Even with the extra characters and such, Hyrule Warriors just works better on the Wii U, even more so for those without the New 3DS model.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.