Hyrule Warriors review

  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • Stabby_Joe - September 18, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Made? Yeah, I'm going to get made man after this haha!
  • brickman409 - September 18, 2014 2:43 a.m.

    I played a demo of this game at gamestop the other day and I thought it was alright. But I guess I could see the gameplay getting repetitive after awhile if it's just the same thing over and again. Maybe I'll get this when the price comes down.
  • hdefined - September 18, 2014 12:29 a.m.

    Fanboys, just . . . just shut up for a minute. Requesting that a DW fan review this game means that you want someone who is biased toward DW games to give this game a favorable review. That doesn't help anything. If you still like DW games after playing more than one, then you've already decided you'll like HW. That should be clear enough from all the reviews out there. You've already made that decision. No review is going to convince you otherwise. If you're on the fence - if you once like DW or never played them, but are skeptical about whether this is any good - then this review is probably for you. Or you could just disregard the review and play the game yourself. Just . . . just please stop whining about someone's opinion that you disagree with. You're embarrassing yourselves.
  • fullmetallegend - September 17, 2014 5:50 p.m.

    Everytime I see a "Warriors" game review. I see tons of complaints about how the reviewer isn't even a Dynasty Warriors fan, so he shouldn't do a review. That's probably because there aren't any professional reviewers that like DW. Like this guy said, it's a series based on effortless button-mashing, against enemies with zero AI and almost no attacks, that amuses for an hour based off the how cool the moves and characters look.
  • hdefined - September 18, 2014 12:35 a.m.

    You nailed it.

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