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What happens when you take a beloved franchise and give it to the makers of Dynasty Warriors? Certainly not the first spinoff in the Warriors framework, Hyrule Warriors is a collaboration between Nintendo and Koei Tecmo which brings the action gameplay of the Warriors games to the world of the Legend of Zelda. So what’s the end product like? Let’s find out!
In an alternate universe to the mainline Legend of Zelda games, we find the kingdom of Hyrule under siege by an army of darkness. Forced to take a stand, Zelda and Impa find the chosen “Hero”, Link, and try to fight the evil forces back to their source. The villain behind it all is bringing beasts and soldiers from all across time and space to do her bidding, so it’s up to Hyrule’s heroes to put things back to normal and seal away the darkness once again.
Even though it doesn’t follow the standard story formula of the Legend of Zelda series, Hyrule Warriors doesn’t surprise too much. It does a decent job of justifying the presence of so many characters from across the series’ history but doesn’t really play around with the time manipulation/travel perspective. At the end of the day, these are the same characters you know and love in situations that won’t be entirely unfamiliar to you.
Nintendo games may not be the most realistic looking, but no-one can argue that their art styles don’t translate well to High Definition. Hyrule Warriors looks really great; the animations are smooth, the colour pallette is really vibrant for the most part, and the game runs almost perfectly. High numbers of enemies on screen at any given moment do present the possibility of drops in framerate, but I got through a good 80-90% of the game without any real performance issues. If you’re planning on playing co-op, however, be prepared for some slow-down, and a slightly lower resolution on the Gamepad’s screen.
The sound design is excellent, with a good mix between orchestral tracks and the power rock more commonly associated with Dynasty Warriors. The lack of full voice acting does detract somewhat from the otherwise excellent CG cutscenes, but given LoZ’s history, it’s understandable.
To top it off, Hyrule Warriors features a number of little call-backs to previous games, such as the entire map for “Adventure Mode”. It’s literally the map from The Legend of Zelda for the NES. A very cool presentation choice, if you ask me.
If you’ve ever played a Dynasty Warriors game, then this will be mostly familiar to you, though there are a couple of neat additions. Legend of Zelda fans will find that it’s a faster, more action oriented experience than they’re used to, but it does make some adjustments for that crowd. First off, you have the choice of using Warriors controls or Zelda controls right from the start, so it shouldn’t be too inaccessible to newcomers to either series.
In true Warriors fashion, Hyrule Warriors typically pits you against legions of fodder enemies for you to cut down, as well as some tougher generals. Unlike previous games, however, there is a focus on capturing strongholds and big boss fights, making the gameplay feel a bit more useful overall than just killing guys. That said, it’s still involves just killing a bunch of guys.
Some stages feature signature boss battles from the Legend of Zelda games, and they’re generally defeated using the methods that would beat them in their original games. For instance, King Dodongo is susceptible to bombs, and Gohma is weak to arrows. Attacking any enemies when it is vulnerable (for bosses, this happens when you use the item they’re weak too) will open it up for some punishment. If you manage to break the emblem that appears above them, you can land a devastating blow.
Item usage in Hyrule Warriors is somewhat similar to Zelda games, if not grossly oversimplified. You’ll come across problems in levels that require a tool to overcome them (for instance, bombs to destroy boulders). That level will then promote your use of that item, but unlike LoZ games, the item use is unlimited. It certainly helps to promote using them mid-combat, but they’re often only useful for specific enemies so sometimes there’s no point.
There’s a fair bit of upgrading to do in Hyrule Warriors, which requires drops from enemies in the levels. These can be used to craft badges that will increase your various stats, potions to increase drops of other items, or weapons, to deal more damage or add extra effects. The rewards are greater the higher your difficulty goes, and you can combine that with various potions to increase your chances of good loot even more.
The game’s combat is generally fast and responsive, and there’s a good amount of variety across the roster. No two characters play the same, and some characters even get multiple weapons to change it up even more. With that said, however, the roster does feel a little bit small. It’s hard to suggest fixes to this problem, however, as the bottom of the barrel seems like it has been scraped for the represented games that are here. Did you actually want to play as the Bug Princess? Actually?
Beyond the “Legend Mode” that acts as the games story, Hyrule Warriors also gives you a suite of challenges to complete, as well as “Adventure Mode”, which let’s you loose on the map of the original Legend Of Zelda to complete various challenges and get unique loot or new characters. It’s a neat way of presenting the challenges, and they’re generally pretty fun. That said, if you’re looking to 100% complete this game, it can take up to 200 hours, and the payoff is very small.
Hyrule Warriors is a fun, fast-paced action spin-off of the series that so many know and love, which makes it hard to recommend to a very specific type of person. If you are a hardcore LoZ fan, and feel like anything less than the genuine article is a betrayal, then sorry, this game isn’t for you. But if you’re open to seeing the world and characters of The Legend of Zelda thrust into a new gameplay style, then Hyrule Warriors is a good time. Plus, how often do you get to play as Ganondorf outside of the Smash Bros games? Never. So take this opportunity now!
Next week I’ll be at the EB Games Expo, so probably no review, but maybe a write up of what I’ll have played? Sounds good to me!
Disney Infinity is generally considered to be a kids game, with it’s focus on toys and well loved Disney characters, but once a Marvel Superhero edition of the game was announced I just had to jump on it. I love superheroes, and I’m an avid collector of random bullshit. So how does it stack up as a game?
Disney Infinity 2.0 has 3 possible story play sets as of writing. The Avengers play set pits the titular team against Loki and his schemes to turn the world into a frozen wasteland. The Spider-man set has Green Goblin and Mysterio cloning Venom’s symbiote in order to take over the city, and The Guardian’s of the Galaxy set involves the team stealing an Infinity Stone from Ronan the Accuser.
The stories are pretty barebones, and sound like the basis of something that would come out of one of their respective comic books. Everyone here is an established character, and you won’t be seeing any actual character arcs or anything. Everything returns to the status quo by the end of the day, and this is all just an excuse to get you to fight some dudes.
The game’s visual quality bounces all over the place; in gameplay it runs smoothly and has decent effects (especially on the various coloured energies that can be consumed), but add another player and the framerate drops dramatically until it catches back up.
On top of this, cutscenes just look bad, as constant aliasing and framerate drops plague the short movies. The PS4 version doesn’t look any better than the Wii U one, so if you had that one already, don’t worry too much about upgrading.
The voice acting is great, as each character has a very kid-friendly tone, but not really losing any of the personality older fans will come to expect. The soundtrack is decent, but it’s hard to listen out for particular things, as poor mixing often muddles the dialogue and the music.
As alot of Disney Infinity’s quality is tied to it’s figures, I’ll speak about them briefly. The designs for each figure are very cool, attaining each character’s signature look while keeping things very simple. The painting is generally of good quality, though there have been reports of poor batches hitting shelves. Check your figures before you pay!
While subtle differences exist between the three play sets, for the most part they play similarly. Being third-person action games, there is a distinct focus on combat and occasionally platforming, and these mechanics work pretty well.
Combat varies between ranged and melee, with very few characters having access to one and not the other. Melee combat is fast but pretty basic, though levelling up enables you to learn more skills as well as boosting your character’s stats. What begins as a one button mash-fest soon becomes a somewhat competent action game. That said, the game’s difficulty curve very rarely requires the use of more advanced skills, meaning that you don’t need to be a gaming veteran to have some fun here.
Shooting also plays a part here, as most characters have projectiles, and for the most part it works well enough. Manual aiming works as expected, but automatic aiming can be finicky at times. Occasionally you won’t get a target lock when you should be in range, though it’s nothing that a little readjustment can’t fix.
Occasionally the game will present you with a vehicle section or an on-rails shooter, and while these are good for braking up the tedium, they aren’t the most polished mechanics in these play sets.
As far as characters go, there is a decent roster to choose from, depending on how much you’re willing to spend. They all play differently enough to keep things interesting, but similarly enough to be accessible no matter who you’re switching from. My only complaint is that flying characters have a distinct advantage in world traversal. That said, there are jump pads that have work for all characters, and vehicles are reasonably easy to acquire. Also Spider-Man swings pretty well. Not Spider-man 2 well, but not bad.
The advent of levelling up all available characters is a decent enough reason to keep coming back (for me at least), but if you need more content, there are a bunch of side challenges, as well as collectibles to find. Hell, if you have the characters, there are also Crossover Coins to collect that let you play as characters that don’t normally work in the playset they’re in. For instance, finding the Ironman coins in Spider man’s set will allow you to play as Ironman.
At the end of the day, Disney Infinty 2.0 is a competent action game with a varied cast of charactersd (if you’re willing to spend the money). It’s presentation is a little rough around the edges, but it takes something pretty good to appeal to older gamers like myself while being clearly targeted at the younglings. If you’re a Marvel fan, and wouldn’t mind getting the figures as collectibles, or you have a kid who you want to get into gaming, I can’t recommend this highly enough. If you’re looking for particularly deep gameplay or story, you’ll be left wanting.
Next week, it’s Hyrule Warriors!
I don't think you know what repetitive actually means.
Repetitive: (Adjective) containing or characterized by repetition, especially when unnecessary or tiresome.
I think what I said covered that pretty well. I stated that Destiny’s repetitive nature of Go to A, Defend A, Go to B, Kill C was really a detriment to it’s fun, and would have benefit from some mission variety to draw attention away from it’s repetitive nature. I also said that Disney: Infinity 2’s repetitive gameplay feels less noticeable due to it’s variety in mission structure and type. And as such, has not worn as thin as Destiny has for me. Yet.
But if you want to discuss, hey, let’s discuss.
This is why it took me ages to try Assassins Creed 2. AC1 was so god damned repetitive. It felt like an engine prototype game more than anything else.The side-missions in that were weird, because there was a decent variety, but they were repeated en-mass so it didn’t really work as intended.
Prepare for a mini-rant that, I’m sure, is poorly worded.
Whenever I level “Repetitiveness” at a game, people general give me the whole “Most games get you to do one thing over and over again” argument. But that’s bullshit. I mean, yes, games do repeat their mechanics over and over, but it’s the context in which you do them and the variables to that which stop it from becoming repetitive. So when I say Destiny is repetitive as fuck and that’s why it’s so disappointing, take it in the way that I mean there’s literally four places in the galaxy with which to shoot things, and the four varieties of enemies only have a few tiers within those varieties, with tiers in each group mirroring the others.
Nothing changes the way you use the base mechanics, and even if the enemies did, the situations don’t. Go to thing, shoot guys along the way. Cool. Wait for Peter Dinklage to scan a thing. Cool. Fight a bullet-sponge boss, you win. There’s nothing that really deviates from that mission structure, until you get to the strikes, which provide two bullet-sponge mini-boss before a mega bullet-sponge boss at the very end.
Like, I get it, you have bosses that need shooting, and Dinklage needs to do stuff to justify being there. But why not have NPC’s to save. Or high value targets to chase down. I just don’t get it. Or at the very least, actually make Dinklage vulnerable to damage, so that protecting him feels like you’re protecting him.
And that’s why Destiny might be my biggest disappointment this year.
I’ve also been playing Disney: Infinity. Which is rife with repetition, but it’s less noticeable, because it switches things up (at least slightly) sometimes. A lot of missions will consist of going to a place and beating up bad guys, but there’s variations where you’ll have to protect actually vulnerable items, or maybe you’ll do an on rails shooting section, or you’ll fight a boss that has patterns to identify, other than just shooting the thing.
So yea, spoiler for the coming review tonight, I’m enjoying Disney: Infinity 2. It took longer to wear thin than Destiny did.
I may sound like a massive hypocrite when I review Disney Infinity 2 in the next 24 hours, and Hyrule Warriors next week. Especially when my biggest problem with the last game I reviewed, Destiny, was it’s sheer repetitiveness. But you’re wrong.
Man, fuck Destiny. At least for a few more weeks, and then maybe it might be great.
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