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Hyrule Warriors review

AT A GLANCE
  • The Zelda series nods
  • Finally being able to play as your favorite Zelda character
  • Non-stop button mashing
  • There's no gameplay variety
  • Combat becomes overwhelmingly dull after a few hours

The stories in the Zelda series often tell of ancient wars and heroes banding together to stem the tide of a great evil. You know, wars that seem like they'd be totally awesome to play in a game. Hyrule Warriors makes that ‘if-only’ scenario a reality. Here, you finally take part in an epic war in the Zelda universe, fighting the forces of evil on a battlefield and defeating enemies through brute force rather than push-block puzzles. While Hyrule Warriors carries on some beloved elements from the Zelda series and provides plenty of fanservice, Warriors series tropes drag down what could have been an awesome spin-off.

Zelda fans will love all the plentiful nods to the series: like how Impa's massive sword is actually the Giant's Knife from Ocarina of Time, and that Sheik's Harp attacks launch elemental spells by playing songs like Fire Temple's Bolero of Fire, or the Water Temple's Serenade of Water.

If you aren't a big enough Zelda fan to get the series references, Hyrule Warriors doesn't offer much to catch you up. Characters are flung in your face willy nilly with little explanation of who they are. You're just expected to know who's who, and why they're doing what they're doing. On top of that, the game clings to series revelations that every Zelda fan would know, like the true identity of the mysterious ninja Sheik. It makes you wonder who the game is made for with such obvious plot reveals for Zelda veterans and nonexistent character development for newcomers.

After the first several hours of unlocking characters, moves, and environments through the story campaign, the gameplay becomes a slog. It can be incredibly satisfying to discover the flashy movesets of each character, fight classic enemies like the Lizalfos, and unlock new characters. Koei Tecmo was spot on capturing each of the character's personalities in their fighting style, and the combat is an absolute thrill for the first few hours. But then you're forced to repeat the same shallow gameplay over and over again.

Watching the intricate combos a few times is cool, but when you're playing a 20 to 30 minute mission that requires you to pull off the same half dozen moves nonstop, over and over again, killing thousands of enemies that do little more than just stand there, the thrill quickly fades. In almost every instance, once I've been playing a new character for just a few minutes, their moveset starts to feel utterly worn out. It leaves me constantly looking for something different, never satisfied with the one-note character I've just unlocked.

The environments don't provide much in the way of variety either. You battle in classic locales like outside the Deku Tree or on Death Mountain, but the different levels are just palette swaps. The missions drop you in the middle of a battlefield map consisting of narrow lanes and little else to interact with. Everything you do revolves around killing enemies to capture forts. Need to flip a switch? Capture the fort containing the switch. Want to open a door? Capture the fort at the gate's entrance. There are no puzzles to solve or actual thinking involved. You just mash buttons and kill bad guys.

The only time I felt challenged was during the boss battles. The majority of the time bosses consist of unlockable characters, like Midna or the Ghirahim, and fighting them involves dodging telegraphed attacks and mashing attack buttons. But there are also boss encounters with classic Zelda monsters like King Dodongo. Taking down these monstrosities forces you to use special items earned in the level--like the classic Zelda games--giving the battle a bit more depth (followed by plenty more button mashing). However, these battles are spread too thin between button mashing sprees, and the game is far too quick to throw you repeat boss encounters down the road.

The additional Adventure mode and co-op don't help to alleviate the monotonous gameplay. Adventure mode is a board game-style side activity that allows you to explore the original Zelda's overworld, collect additional items, and level up characters. Sadly, you'll still battle the same bland enemies in repeat environments for your rewards. It can be fun to get a friend in Co-op to coordinate fort captures, but button mashing with a buddy is still button mashing.

The best part of Hyrule Warriors is seeing the stylized versions of the classic characters, taking the characters' movesets out for a spin, and absorbing the love Koei Tecmo has for the Zelda series. But nostalgia and fanservice can only take the game so far. Hyrule Warriors is held back by monotonous gameplay, brain dead AI enemies, and overlong missions that quickly exhaust you with repeat actions, enemies, and environments. If you're an enthusiastic Zelda fan that is somehow immune to the boredom of endless button mashing, Hyrule Warriors might be an enjoyable experience. Otherwise, you're better off skipping this one.

More Info

Release date: Sep 26 2014 - Wii U (US)
Available Platforms: Wii U
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes

Hyrule Warriors has brilliant Zelda fan-service, but is ruined by unimaginative combat and brain-dead enemies.

92 comments

  • zeldalover420 - November 24, 2014 12:02 a.m.

    Ok so I just got the Wii u and got hyrule warriors along with it. From the previews that I saw before it came out I was excited but now that I'm seeing it I am extremely disappointed! I thought it would still be like classic Zelda with more fighting but it's only fighting. I haven't actually played yet but my boyfriend has been playing every day since we got it and I just see fighting, fighting and more fighting. What happened to the adventure? It's cool that you can be other characters but if you want a fighting game you should get street fighter or mortal combat. I liked the side quests and all the puzzles that you had to figure out with all the other zelda games. You actually had to use your brain. Now it's just the same shit over and over again. I also keep seeing in reviews that people love the music but I'm sorry it sucks ass! I hope to see a good Zelda game come out in the near future
  • King_G - December 11, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    This is NOT a Zelda game :-) so don't worry, Zelda will never be like this. This is in fact a Destiny Warrior's game using Nintendo IP, but nothing of the gameplay (well, except for how to beat some bosses) is shared with any Zelda games. In case you were wondering: Zelda U (the next actual Zelda game) is coming out near the end of next year!
  • Technature - October 21, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    Ironically enough, this review suffers from the same problem it claims the game suffers from. Horrifying repetitiveness. It's difficult to go a single paragraph without noticing the word REPETITIVE shoved in there somewhere. Even the at a glance could easily sum up the negatives with "I find this game repetitiveness" but decided for some reason to tell you in three different ways. It's difficult to believe the person played the game for more than a few minutes from the line that every map is the same. The game goes from Long, winding beautiful meadows to caves filled with lava flowing everywhere, to fighting around and inside the Deku Tree in the middle of a forest, to a dark temple shrouded in a dark mist. Did I forget to mention that I was going to point out THE FIRST FOUR LEVELS OF THE GAME IN ORDER? And this isn't going into the stages based on locations from the other games. I also refuse to believe the person spent any real effort in learning the moves from the different characters, as they all play very differently with their own purposes. Midna is fantastic at crowd control, Fi is great for constantly moving around while hitting enemies, Darunia hits like a truck and excels in one on one combat against commanders, and Link can do all of this, though not as effectively as others. Every character has their own strengths and have a use. ...well, except the bug girl... Anytime the reviewer points out a feature, he has to point out how it's terrible because it's repetitive. Co-Op gameplay? Repetitive with two people. Legend Mode? Repetitive missions. Challenge mode? Oh, wait, he didn't say that for challenge mode. In fact, he didn't say jack shit about it. Or the weapon crafting system or badge system. Though of course, you can't say going through short menus and making your people better repetitive, cause then even the biggest idiot could tell you're full of bullshit. So just leave it out of the review, no one will notice. Ya know what, let's take a look at some other reviews he wrote...Call of Duty Black Ops 2...4.5...Call of Duty Ghosts...4...Oh, I see. So it's repetitive to kill a large number of brainless mooks that just rush at you...unless you have a gun. Why am I not fucking surprised. Call of Duty puts a coat of paint and releases it as a, and I quote, "New Game", but Warriors games have actual innovation between games and actually require some fucking thinking? No, that's absolute shit. What's the problems for the call of duty games? Not being able to access the Home screen from any menu, Not having a Wii U Pro Controller for split-screen co-op, Single-player missions are a snoozefest, Extinction doesn't hold the same appeal as Zombies, Touch controls to streamline menus and class customization are absent, Squads is more of a practice mode for beginners than a successor to Spec Ops...wow, it's almost as if the problems DON'T ACTUALLY FUCKING MATTER! I can't help but notice basically being the same as the last game isn't in there, did you miss that? Clearly biased review. Proof that more than an actual, honest opinion is at work here. I give the reviewer 1 bribe out of 10. Don't quit your day job.
  • Waldo - October 16, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    I know I'm late to the party, but I think this game is ok. Me and my kids would much rather play this than DW or SW. They may be fictional, but at least we know who the heck the characters are. It is definitely not the most thought provoking or challenging game (for me, but my kid get's beat on Normal) but not every game needs to be. This is a Zelda-lite and a better reskin of DW, and that's fine by me. If it gives my son and I even 10 hours of enjoyment together (hooray for couch coop, by the way), then it was worth playing. Maybe a bit tough on the review, but hopefully that just inspires a developer to try a bit harder next time.
  • chunk-basker - October 12, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    Nope, Unlike most dick riding fanboys that get hot at any title release, i've got standards. Dynasty games have nothing going for them, just their Rock hard fanboys screaming to throw money at a game so slightly changed that you could swear you were just playing the same game with different skins. I won't buy anything that has such mindless gameplay. I'll play it if a friend has it to see what its like, but I sure as hell don't get how folks can just slam their faces on counters with their wallets in hand waiting for the next slightly altered, cheaply budgeted Dynasty game. If you enjoy Dynasty warriors, you'll enjoy watching paint peel in as many different colors as you can manage. You might even eat the paint chips afterwards.
  • Technature - October 21, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    Of course. Dynasty Warriors are exactly the same from 2-8. Except from 3 to 4, which added air charge attacks. And 4 to 5, which added Unique jump charges and rage mode. And 5 to 6, which changed a large number of things and accidentally made it into the problem people thought the game had in the first place. And 6 to 7, which got rid of the problem and added the ability to change weapons mid battle. And 7 to 8, which added weapon affinity and re added the rage system as a different mechanic. And ALL of these games make minor changes to character movesets (and some major changes), adds new characters (Barring 6), and adds new battles. There's more differences between the games than people seem to think, but that's probably because people only play about five minutes and say "It's the same". And people seem to forget that the game is based on an actual historical event that spanned for nearly three generations. Meanwhile, Call of Duty gets a gigantic circlejerk of people praising the game for adding the most content into the latest game yet. Realistic fish. Despite that everything is just re-skinned to look shinier and prettier, and the story gets shittier with each installment. I'm sorry, but I'm gonna need a better reason than "It's the same with every game" cause Call of Duty constantly gets slapped with high scores, no questions asked.
  • Gashura - November 8, 2014 6:57 p.m.

    The only dick I see is the one who posts a comment insulting people you don't know, over a game genre you don't play. I don't play DW games, I grabbed this purely as a fan of the Zelda franchise and I enjoy it, but I guess I like a game you don't so I can go fuck myself, how dare I have different tastes in games.
  • bernadet-gnuyen - October 1, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    Hyrule Warriors is pulling and its only going to get better with all the dlc that has been announced for it XD and also you can see how bias IGN is never trust IGN to rate any game on the WiiU their ratings are never correct Destructoid: 85 GamesBeat: 85 GameSpot: 80 Game Informer: 80 IGN: 70 meta critic 8.5 users score someone help mii this games so awesome! everything gets a 10 on this game graphics, sound track, game play, story wow and its Online feature is Adventure mode!!!
  • bernadet-gnuyen - October 1, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    Ho my god this games sublime XD wow!!!
  • Juananz - September 30, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    That awkward moment when your review gets low reviews
  • DarkDoctor667 - September 28, 2014 2:17 a.m.

    I've had more fun with this game than any in recent years on newer consoles. Also, this quote can be used to describe ANY game in CoD, Battlefield or Assassin's Creed series and Many others like Titanfall or Destiny. "the combat is an absolute thrill for the first few hours. But then you're forced to repeat the same shallow gameplay over and over again."
  • Meloran - September 27, 2014 12:48 a.m.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/07/miyamoto-stopped-hyrule-warriors-from-being-more-zelda-than-dyna/ Zelda creator wanted it to be this way... It's a "Zelda" game...
  • Meloran - September 27, 2014 12:35 a.m.

    Alright... To all the nerds out there who love Zelda, I don't hate, we just have different tastes. The coolest thing though is the fact that this game has brought us all together. Before this game I really couldn't understand the appeal of Zelda other than it's nostalgic properties. It has always seemed like a little kid series to me. I know, I know, I'm probably gonna get a lot of people in a tizzy over my comment, but it's just how I've felt. This game though has shown me what my girlfriend has been trying to show me for a long time. Zelda can be pretty cool. Obviously it's not traditional Zelda format, but who cares? It's a fun game. It's definitely not just "button mashing" unless you ARE a child who has no idea how to play video games. This game is challenging at points, and uses a great deal of strategy. The replay value might not be super huge, but it's fun. I hate when people rate games because it's not what they want it to be. Rate the game based on the game itself. Not based on other games like it, or destroy it if it doesn't fit into the mold that you feel it should fit in. There are so many great things people miss out on because they read bad reviews (negative and/or poorly written), and they decide not to try it based on that fact. It's unfortunate that some people are so deluded that they feel their word is "all important". This review was boring. Plain and simple. If you choose to listen to it's words, I feel bad for you because you are going to be missing out on a really fun game.
  • pyro-fox - September 26, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    have no idea what this reviews talking about im already 5 hours in and its constantly changing the graphics are awesome 2 player mode barly has a diffrence if your good at killing hordes and its only button mashing if you don't have tactics and dont understand combos and when you fight a mini boss or boss it feels like one on one MH like combat(Awesome) yeah I give it a 9 but Dlc and patches still may be underway to speed up frame rate slightly more by generating less in unoccupied areas just give it till the dlc comes out anyways I hope people read my comment and not this worthless review! I hope the auther didnt have a word count requirment but that would explain the repetitive negativity...
  • Fuzunga - September 25, 2014 10:04 p.m.

    Bro, do you even Dynasty Warriors?
  • sri-laxman-sri-ramesh - September 25, 2014 4:40 a.m.

    Looking at the review, it seems to just drag on the fact the gameplay is very repetitive. Even in the pros and cons, cons seems to all be one core problem.
  • TehGrifzor - September 23, 2014 7:38 p.m.

    You know why this review is flawed. It's the same thing over and over. This game is too much like Dynasty Warriors, it's button mashing, and it's repetitive. That is all I've read this entire time. I think they've focused far too much on that aspect of the game and forgot the weapons systems, fusing weapons to make better weapons, that adventure mode actually unlocks more content, and although multplayer reduces the frame rate, it's still fun to play. You've focused on the worst part of the game, which many other gaming sites have said the same thing in their reviews, but praised the game for what it's supposed to be. None of them gave below a 7. I'm still getting this game, and I'll enjoy every second of this repetitive hack and slash Zelda adventure.
  • cJinL - September 20, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    This review kind of seems pointless. It's basically word for word the same review as all the other Dynasty Warriors games, but its written like the reviewer has never played a DW game before.
  • g1rldraco7 - September 20, 2014 5:36 a.m.

    Lorenzo did a Tom McShea on this game review
  • Stabby_Joe - September 18, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    To be honest I would not get made at this review, as I would place it as the review for people who don't like Warriors games IE Zelda still won't sway you while on the other end of the spectrum if you do like Warriors games then read a Jim Sterling review who will tell you why they like it with Zelda involved. The variety of reviews for this game is very interesting and if anyone did proper research, they could make up their mind through the many sources out there... ...that being said, I don't agree with some comments across these sites who will shrug off the series as if it has no fans or reasons to like it outright.

Showing 1-20 of 92 comments

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