Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition Review – A Royal Comeback
Developer: Omega Force/Team Ninja
Platform: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: T
Release Date: May 18th, 2018
Thank you, Nintendo for providing a review copy!
Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition is the re-release of the 2014 collaboration project between Koei Tecmo and Nintendo celebrating “The Legend of Zelda” as a franchise. This repackaging includes a load of new content not found in the original release as well as some updated visuals. Do these changes warrant buying the game again? Today we take a look and decide for ourselves. Please note that this will not be so much of a review as a comparison to the original release of the game not including any of its season pass DLC.
The story is the original Wii U release of this game was surprisingly decent. It was not a masterpiece of storytelling but for a musou game it had a fun number of battles and the story never felt too serious or comedic for the tone of the Zelda series. The added DLC campaigns from the season pass included within the definitive edition re-release really help develop some of the characters who did not get too much time in the original story. The added the Wind Waker arc after the completion of the main story was a very fun addition as well. While there are your standard character misunderstandings that lead to battles, it checks out as a decent story mode. Nothing amazing, but it works for what it is.
The Wii U was not a technical powerhouse by any means, but neither is the Switch. While the original game ran at 720p 30 fps with an extremely variable framerate that often went below 20, the Switch version has made some pretty big strides. The Resolution has received a bump to 1080p and the framerate is now an unlocked 60 fps. While it is not stable, it makes a humongous difference in battle. The actual art style of the game is quite nice and compliments the various conflicting visual styles of the games in the franchise pretty well. Handheld mode on the other hand, is an absolutely atrocious experience. If you thought the Wii U version was a mess performance wise, the handheld mode will have battling constantly at 20 fps and below. It actually hurt my eyes at times, which alone is a testament to its poor performance.
Musou games have been known to have very fun power metal variations on the themes and songs taken from the source material and this game does not disappoint. Most classic Zelda fan favorites are here with very fun and upbeat remixes. Most of the sound queues and alert noises are also taken from games throughout the franchise’s history. The sound design aspect of the original did not disappoint, and nothing has changed for the better.
-Sample of the Soundtrack-
Hyrule Warriors has your standard musou gameplay of mashing X and Y a bunch of times to destroy hundreds of braindead enemies, but there are a few new additions to the mix. The new equipment such as the hammer will introduce new ways to go about fighting bosses. The “My Fairy” system allows you to tackle the Adventure mode with bonuses and adding buffs to your character. Another great added mechanic is the ability to switch characters, which makes multitasking much easier of a feat to accomplish mid battle. These are only a few of the mechanics not found in the original release, and I have yet to find one that hinders gameplay.
Of all the musou spinoffs out there, this one is up near the top in terms of content. The main story mode including all of the extra missions takes about 15 hours, which is 5-6 more than the original game. Adventure mode which includes more than 5 maps each of which can take of upwards of 4-5 hours to complete, and there are almost twice as many characters in the roster compared to the Wii U release. The only major complaint in terms of content is that you’ll be repeating a lot of the same levels in the story mode, and especially in the extra side missions.
Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition takes some of the best aspects of Zelda and musou games and blends them into a somewhat monotonous but mostly fulfilling experience. Fans of the Wii U release and newcomers will appreciate what they have added here. With terrible handheld performance and a lot of repeating levels being its only major drawbacks, this is definitely the better of the two Nintendo Warriors games.