Hyrule Warriors Preview: Zelda Through and Through

Hyrule Warriors Preview

At E3 2014 in Los Angeles earlier this month, I had the pleasure of taking the new Tecmo-KOEI Wii U game, Hyrule Warriors for a quick spin. The game, as you may know, is a mixture of the classic Legend of Zelda series and the classic Dynasty Warriors franchise. It was developed in house by Tecmo-KOEI, with Omega Force and Team Ninja both working together. Nintendo is the publisher, and this Hyrule Warriors preview reflects upon my brief yet memorable time hands-on with the game.

The biggest Hyrule Warriors question on everyone’s mind is: does it feel like a Zelda game? The answer is an emphatic YES! Link has never had combat like this. In each Zelda game, he has usually faced one or two enemies at a time — not counting the coucco swarms that tend to happen when you swing your sword too zealously around a chicken. In Hyrule Warriors, enemies literally fill the screen and the action is fierce and unrelenting.

Link has been given a flashy blue scarf, which is used more to help the player keep track of The Hero of Time during tense moment of outright swarms. Link has the mighty Master Sword (or at least a sword to start) and even obtains other items such as the Fire Rod, boomerang and hookshot. Each time Link or another playable character — for which there are many — opens a treasure chest, the classic “discovery fanfare” plays, coupled with the iconic pose of the character showing off the item.

The enemies are taken straight from the games. The swarms I battled were from 2011’s masterful Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The boss was King Dodongo, which is one of the original Zelda bosses. But once the boss was taken down (with a bomb to the mouth, of course), the game kept going, and more and more enemies rushed over the field of battle. There are even puzzle elements, such as finding and defeating a pit boss to get a key to then unlock a secret chamber that contains items and rupees; very Zelda, indeed.

The number of aforementioned playable characters seems to grow each day as Nintendo releases new information regularly. Joining Link so far is Zelda (and her bow), Impa (and her great sword), Twilight Princess’s Midna (who uses her hair as a melee attack) and just announced earlier today is Princess Agitha, also from Twilight Princess. At E3, I asked the Nintendo representative about the possibility of Ganondorf being a playable character — seeing as he is featured in the above official trailer — and the rep could only smile and deny comment.

The graphics and processing of the on-screen action are decidedly new-gen with crisp HD imaging. While not confirmed, it looked to me as if it was running 1080p and the framerate was smooth — as smooth as the recent Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Complete Edition on the PS4. And co-op multiplayer utilizes the gamepad’s screen instead of splitting the TV screen, giving both players a full view effect of the armies trying to destroy our heroes.

It’s now been almost two weeks since I held the Wii U’s gamepad in my hand and battled on the fields of Hyrule, and I am haunted by what I saw, what I accomplished, in so little time. As time has waned from E3, Hyrule Warriors is the one game that has stuck with me more than any of the other 29 games I played. We here at TheHDRoom don’t normally choose an “E3 Winner,” but if we did, Hyrule Warriors would take the crown.

Hyrule Warriors hits stores and the Nintendo e-Shop on September 26.

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