After the latest Nintendo Direct Mini, a demo for the upcoming Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity dropped. It allows you to do the first two missions and some side content. After the first mission, you can play it in split-screen co-op for two players.
Going Back To The Past
The opening cutscene starts during the calamity where Hyrule is overrun with guardians. Zelda unleashes her powers to protect Link which wakes up a strange mechanical creature that escapes through a portal. From there we’re taken to some point prior in Hyrule Castle with monsters attacking towards the castle town. During the battle Link comes across this strange being and along with Impa and Zelda they learn that it has come from the prophesied future of doom to protect Zelda.
Warriors With A Hint Of The Wild
As a Warriors game, the gameplay is of the same fare one usually expects. Ploughing through piles of enemies with combos and massive attacks that build up over combat, taking over outposts and fulfilling objectives during the mission. There are many touches taken from Breath of the Wild (BOTW) in and out of combat.
In the demo, you can play as Link, Impa and Zelda. They all have their own movesets and weapon types like Link shield surfing through enemies and Impa’s Kodachi. They also have unique actions such as Link shooting arrows or Impa absorbing power to unleash clones of herself.
All the characters have access to the Sheikah slate abilities of remote bombs, magnesis, stasis and cryonis that can be used to counter enemies or create environmental effects. A fun thing to do is using the paraglider to attack enemies mid-air. Another mechanic taken from BOTW is the flurry rush where after a perfect dodge you can attack in quick succession to break down the guard of your opponent. As has become standard in some recent Warriors games, tougher enemies have a weak point gauge that you must break to stun them so you can deal real damage. You can do a prompted attack to finish them off as well, though not always necessary.
Asides from environmental effects you can keep your eye out for barrel bombs, treasure chests that require magnesis to dig up or many many koroks that are hiding. Defeated enemies drop items such as food and monster parts.
Outside of missions, you’ll have access to a map of Hyrule where you can deliver supplies which will give you cooking recipes or open more shops. With a recipe, you can cook food before a mission to get a buff such as increased movement speed. Some deliveries will give a character a new attack (or an addition to their pre-existing combos). The blacksmith allows you to forge weapons together increasing their stats and giving them extra attributes like dealing more damage at full health.
Challenges outside of the main missions are available. Allowing you to level up characters without having to redo a whole mission. Plus you get to muck around with the combat a bit more. We did have an issue with the enemies respawning in a kill 300 lizaflos challenge as we had a minute left and couldn’t find the last six until nearly the last second as they didn’t spawn when we ran past them prior.
More of What You Love
The game looks pretty much as if you were playing BOTW. Set in the past it’s nice to see areas with more life in them. I’m excited to see more of that in the full game.
Listening to the soundtrack (without all the gameplay noises) so far it’s pretty nice. Though the guardian theme has come back to haunt me and my future bloodline.
I played the first level on handheld and found that it ran decently asides from cases of mass explosions. It has the usual issues of pop-in and having to wait for enemies to respawn in an outpost but nothing too severe. In split-screen, the framerate takes more frequent hits especially with all the crazy things you can do. I’ve seen people complain about the framerate and it’s not great but I don’t think it’s too bad. Especially compared when I think back on Fire Emblem Warriors in co-op and that had performance options.
One odd thing we noticed was that overtaken outposts didn’t bring any allies with it leaving the areas mostly empty and undefended. I found the aiming a little annoying while my boyfriend thought it was outright atrocious and never wanted to use the bow again. It’s definitely not as smooth as it is in BOTW.
Soon But Not Soon Enough
The demo has given us a taste of what most of the combat and other mechanics are like. Most (myself included) were under the impression that this game is a prequel. Yet after watching the opening cutscene a second time, I think the time travel shenanigans will take this story in a different direction. I’m hoping for more mission types and different bosses. As the original Hyrule Warriors has so many characters and variety so I hope what’s in here can compare. So far the combat is pretty fun and I’m looking forward to the full game.
Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity releases for Nintendo Switch on the 20th of November. Maybe after that, we’ll finally hear something on Persona 5 Scramble. Your save data from this demo carries over to the full game so give it a shot!