Monday, October 6, 2014

Geekery: Hyrule Warriors Review

You can get this as a desktop on the official page, here.

Hyrule Warriors, in case you're wondering, is pretty much Dynasty Warriors with characters from the Zelda universe. Not just one game, either, but pretty much all the games: It's based off the concept that a witch gets invaded by evil, which drives her obsessive-crazy over the Hero of Time so that she won't notice the evil... doing the evil. She screws up time under the influence of evil, bringing together all the Hyrules, with Ocarina of Time rubbing shoulders with Twilight Princess, Major's Mask, and Skyward Sword (that's all we've encountered so far, though.)

The art is beautiful, which should come to little surprise. The plot, well, doesn't quite live up to the standards we've become used to with the Zelda Universe; but the game was supposed to be pretty fight-fight-fight with cool moves thrown in, so that's also not surprising. And the voice acting is pretty much on par with Dynasty Warrior's standards. Don't pretend the narrator is Impa, even if it seems logical that it's supposed to be. You'll never come closer to wishing Navi would come back. (It's okay; she kind of does.)

On the other hand, I still find the game enormously fun. It does what Dynasty Warriors does (big, beautiful battles, with fancy moves, and lots of playable characters), and does it well, and with your favorite characters. And you get a massive Zelda universe crossover, which is fun. Plus, Link's well-animated facial expressions throughout the game go quite a long way in making up any minor plot holes. He's just as uncomfortable with the Great Fairies as you know you always imagined him to be.

Note to self:
if I ever need a
disguise in Hyrule, I'll
buy colored contacts.
(More characters from
Hyrule Warriors Wiki)
As in the other Zeldas, nobody knows who the mysterious "dude" Sheik is. Not even Impa, which is a bit of a departure. But Sheik's got some awesome attacks, so don't hit your head on the wall too hard.

Link starts out as a random kid, a soldier trainee, whom the princess and Impa pretty much typecast into being the Hero of Time when he disobeys orders and shows up in the middle of battle, killing tons of evil because he's good at it. Lucky for her and Impa, their morale puppet is the real deal.

Agatha (yes, bug-collecting Agatha) is just wandering around when she gets ambushed by minions of darkness. She then proceeds to do some major butt-kicking... but only after getting rescued.

Midna has a grudge against the now-evil witch. She thinks you're the witches minions until you beat some sense into her (Yep, you gain some allies by beating the dumb out of them.) Luckily for Link, her wolf steed is made of Twilight, not him.

And there are more, many more. The only character I dislike so far is Lana, the good witch with a mysterious connection to the evil witch, whose mercurial attitude runs between "complete flaky ditz" and "angry mysterious broody general," with pretty much nothing in between, and follows up every move with a dramatic pose that leaves her vulnerable to damage for a full half-second. Really, Lana, really? Was that flourish absolutely necessary?

Unfortunately, you cannot play as
pirate ducky.
I'll admit a certain guilty pleasure in having characters other than Link open treasure chests (it just looks odd to see Darunia folded in half over a treasure chest before holding his loot in the air above his head) and encountering the Great Fairies, who are every bit as nightmare-inducing as you remember from Ocarina of Time. And you'll never forget Ghirahim dancing around just because he's bored.

Overall, it's a fun game. Not classics-material, but thoroughly amusing, well animated, with some characters I've always secretly wanted to play, and a good and interesting combat style with plenty of artistic variety to keep from getting bored.

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