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Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, an unexpected prequel to Breath of the Wild, is less than one month away from release. The game will have Zelda fans play through the events that happened 100 years before Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Published by Nintendo, and developed by Koei Tecmo, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity seeks to reignite the Zelda fanbase’s love of Hyrule’s most recent open-world rendition.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity hits the Nintendo Store on November 20th, 2020.

The Story

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity follows the events that occurred 100 years before the critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, allowing players to experience the fight against Calamity Ganon first-hand.  King Rhoam, Zelda’s father, sends Link and Zelda on a quest to unite the different races of Hyrule.

The game’s narrative elements are still unknown for the most part. Other than what was indirectly covered in Breath of the Wild, there will be much for players to learn about the history of Hyrule. The game will allow you to live through the memories that you searched high-and-low for in Nintendo’s previous open-world title.

Nintendo worked closely with developers Koei Tecmo on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.  They did this to make sure that Breath of the Wild was being done justice in areas such as, “gameplay, graphics, world, and all dialogue” according to a producer of the game. As a long-time Zelda fan, knowing that the developers have worked closely with the development team at Koei Tecmo makes me even more excited for the release.

The Gameplay

At its core, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a hack-and-slash style action-adventure game, featuring the “1000-to-1” style combat. The large-scale combat style is enhanced by unique weapons and abilities between characters that promote freedom of play.

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The Hyrule Warriors series is known for being an over-the-top horde slaying spectacle. Although you won’t be free to explore Hyrule in this title, the mission-based gameplay certainly suits the narrative more.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity definitely has a sense of urgency woven into the story.  From the start, the player knows that there’s a war going on, and they have to help Hyrule overcome their enemies. Thus, Link can’t wander around Haneto Village helping the local farmer find his chickens.

The different mission locations are shown throughout the map of Hyrule, which is easy to interact with. During missions, players will follow objectives, with the freedom to destroy enemies in any way they wish, to an extent. The flashy combos and abilities that one can string together will lead to engaging combat and satisfying K.O. streaks. The game seeks to maintain the feel of Breath of the Wild‘s smooth and varied combat.  While maintaining what made Breath of the Wild’s combat great, Koei Tecmo sprinkles in aspects that made their Dynasty Warriors series great in its own right.

The Characters

One of the most exciting parts of this title is the addition of multiple different playable characters.

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During his quest to unite the kingdoms of Hyrule, Link meets multiple heroes, each with their own set of character-specific move sets. Thus far, we know that the following characters will be included:

  1. Link – An obvious part of the roster, Link has a big part to play in the game’s story. Most likely will be the first controllable character while battling through the kingdoms of Hyrule to recruit others.
  2. Zelda – Despite her name being central to the franchise, Zelda isn’t usually a playable character. In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, you can use runes like Magnesis, Cryonis, and the Remote Bombs to string together unconventional combos.
  3. Daruk – Champion of Goron, and lovable hard-hitting bruiser archetype. Players can equip Daruk’s legendary “Boulder Breaker”. The gameplay trailers show his protection and fire element abilities; elemental abilities being surprisingly common among Hyrule champions
  4. Mipha – The Princess of Zora will also be a playable character, wielding a spear and her ability to manipulate water.
  5. Revali – The brash, bow-wielding Champion of the Rito Tribe, will allow players to engage from a distance and use different arrows. Revali will be able to command wind and use arrows infused with ice, fire, and explosives.
  6. Urbosa – Queen of the Gerudo, Urbosa weaves lightning in between and into her attacks. Brandishing The Thunder Helm, a cherished Gerudo artifact, Urbosa charges up her lightning meter to combo enemies and bosses.
  7. Impa – Member of the Sheikah race, and servant of “The Goddess”, Impa has a highflying, ninja-like move set. Impa wields the kunai and “Naginata” in her acrobatic combat sequences. Like Zelda, Impa also weaves runes in between her attacks.

Breath of the Wild‘s combat was special, plain, and simple. With this title, Nintendo is doubling down on the combat and pushing the limits beyond what fans are familiar with.

Conclusion

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity isn’t the sequel we were promised, but it’s sure to scratch the itch in the meantime. I was never a die-hard fan of the Hyrule Warriors series, and it definitely has a niche audience. However, seeing my favorite Nintendo title in the news again, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity quickly secured my pre-order. Zelda fans will have to keep waiting, but (thankfully) rushing out content was never Nintendo’s thing.

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