Let’s face it – executing a perfect superhero landing onto a field of battle and mowing down thousands of enemies, dozens with every attack is a lot of fun. And when you get to execute said carnage with some of your favorite characters? Even more fun. In 2014, developers Omega Force and Tecmo Koei delivered on this promise with Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U – a game that used the Dynasty Warriors template but allowed you to play as several beloved characters from the Nintendo universe. And now, with Hyrule Warriors Legends, the combo-chaining, hack-and-slash adventure has come to the 3DS. As you’d expect from a port to a less-powerful console, the game suffers in some technical aspects but makes some notable improvements to the formula to make it a fun adventure nevertheless.
The Difference Between Wii U & 3ds:
On the Wii U, Hyrule Warriors delivered a lot of good action, but there was a downside. Your fingers got all kinds of sore as you slogged through an endless wave of enemies by using the slice button. In Legends, the developers make good use of the nature of the 3DS console by allowing you to just shut your console off for a bit when you’re tired of clicking and hacking. When the fiery rage rises up in your soul again, you can reopen your console and unleash sweet hell on the evil hordes. This small change makes the game much less fatiguing, since you’re able to enjoy bite-sized pieces of the action.
There are a few changes I like. For example, you can switch between characters in real time. There’s a new Wind Waker setting that you can employ. In addition, there are now two new stories for players to play through. One of these features the new character Linkle (who’s basically a female version of Link) and an additional chapter in Cia’s story, which continues from where the previous game left off. There are also several new additions to the roster, including the pirate leader Tetra and the mischievous imp Skull Kid. In addition, you no longer have to simply kill all of the enemies on the map to finish a mission. The missions are now divided into several smaller missions such as protecting someone or conquering a fort. These changes make the gameplay much more involving, since you have to keep track of what is happening on the battlefield at any given time to avoid being overwhelmed.
While returning gamers might find these changes inconsequential at first, the addition of the new characters adds some extra dimensions to the gameplay. Hyrule veterans have the option to transfer their characters to the 3DS. If you’re a new gamer, you’ll find a world that is brimming with inside jokes, fan service and Zelda nostalgia.
The game starts out innocuously enough, introducing you to the different mechanics that you will use on the field of battle. However, things quickly get hairy and if you aren’t used to a game of this type, you’ll have some catching up to do. The minor changes to the gameplay make Hyrule Warriors Legends feel more like a strategic combat game than just a mindless button masher. You must take stock of your environment, understand how and where enemy spawns occur and keep an eye on the strategic parts of the terrain. It isn’t necessarily Warcraft, but there’s a strategic element to the action.
When you get down to the combat, Legends is guilty of the singular problem that plagued the original game and several other games of its type – repetitiveness. In theory, it sounds like killing a zillion enemies as the ultimate badass will be a lot of fun, until you actually start doing it. The novelty wears off quickly and soon, you’ll find yourself groaning at the prospect of facing another nameless horde of enemies. In addition, you’ll often find yourself staring bleakly at a mission failure screen because a teammate ran off or you didn’t keep an eye on the map. This is a major problem, and one that sticks out like a sore thumb after you’ve gotten to a boss battle after grinding through thousands of monsters.
Luckily, the game offers an auto-targeting facility to help you single out the powerful monsters in a mob so you can take them out first. Unfortunately, even this ability misfires on occasion, targeting the wrong foe. When you’re battling a high-level mob, this can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
There’s another issue that plagues this game, especially when you’re playing on older 3DS models. The framerate is frequently sluggish, dropping to 15-20 FPS during battles. If you turn on the stereoscopy mode, the framerate plummets further. Unless you’re on the latest 3DS model, be prepared to experience some framerate issues while playing this game.
As a Zelda game, Hyrule Warriors Legends doesn’t necessarily stand on its own. However, as a casual Dynasty Warriors clone with recognizable characters, there’s still a lot of fun to be had. Older console owners might have problems running this game smoothly. But if you’ve got a new 3DS, the ability to play in bite-sized chunks makes the hacking and slashing a lot more entertaining.