So a lot about Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is like bowling in a run-down alley. Not simply in the best way Princess Zelda rolls her magic bomb right into a horde of Bokoblins, sending them flying like pins, or in the best way Daruk curls into himself and barrels right into a huddled cluster of Lizalfos. No, it’s the best way it feels: You may line up the youngsters’ ramp and let gravity do the give you the results you want, otherwise you may hook a well-greased bowling ball with calculated wrist torque. Given sufficient time, both manner, you possibly can knock all of the pins down finally. But for the reason that alley’s janked up, there isn’t a lot satisfaction available by making an attempt.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is an uneasy combine of sensible and silly. Out November 20, the hack-and-slash crossover melts Dynasty Warriors’ horde-mashing into Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s world, characters, and aesthetic. The former is a decades-old franchise about mowing down canon-fodder armies of assailants; the latter, a stunning 2017 fantasy role-playing recreation with thinky puzzles and boundless alternatives to discover. From that medley of influences, it plucks out the “canon fodder” and “fantasy” and provides in only a whiff of “thinky,” making for a enjoyable however skinny Zelda spin-off.
The recreation opens 100 years earlier than the occasions in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You begin out as Link, and over time gather extra playable fighters, together with Zelda, Impa, Daruk, Revali, Mipha, and Urbosa, all rendered with loving constancy to the unique recreation. In numerous battlegrounds round Hyrule—lava-filled Death Mountain, the inexperienced fields exterior Hyrule Castle—you encounter mob after mob of monsters. In Dynasty Warriors style, most take solely a pair hits earlier than changing into mud. Fighting your manner by way of the eventualities’ winding maps, you ramp as much as bigger and bigger bosses earlier than finishing the target. At any level, together with mid-battle, you possibly can swap from one character over to a different who’s better-placed on the map or has a extra related fight toolkit. After a profitable mission, you’ve the chance to stage up weapons, craft meals, improve into cooler combos, and mess with different programs earlier than leaping into one other situation.
A bit of like a Soulcalibur-style preventing recreation, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity’s fight depends on these combos. Also like Soulcalibur, you possibly can principally simply button-mash. Link has a lightweight sword assault (x) and a heavy sword assault (y). If you hit x, x, y, Link propels himself ahead, sliding alongside the bottom and knocking a line of enemies into the sky. If you hit x, y, and b, he slashes upwards earlier than opening up his paraglider, from which he can drop down for a giant assault from above. These combos balloon in complexity as the sport goes on, and are decidedly enjoyable to execute excellent. They additionally assist cost characters’ distinctive specials for cinematic, big-boy blowout assaults.
Every fighter has entry to Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s runes: Cryosis, Magnesis, Stasis, and distant bombs, which manifest for every in thrilling, alternative ways. Where Revali rains down neat strains of bombs, Daruk haphazardly tosses a cluster someplace into the gap. Their distinctive animations are pleasant, and for Zelda: Breath of the Wild followers they could momentarily transport you again into the unique recreation’s magic.
Most of the enjoyable I’ve had up to now with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has been throughout the first jiffy of unlocking a brand new character. It’s rewarding to optimize loyal nursemaid Impa’s battalions of Impa clones, or knock mobs into Daruk’s molten rocks, which explode into fiery lava. After these first few moments, the gameplay expertise went downhill. I didn’t get out of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity’s fights what I put into them. One-two-three combos may stage wave upon wave of Bokoblins with the bombasity of a WWE celebrity, however quite a bit of the time I may have simply hit x a dozen occasions. It’s a typical criticism about these musou video games, however right here the fight’s shortcomings aren’t simply attributed to variations in style.