Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a Zelda musou game that offers a fascinating look into the world of Breath of the Wild alongside great gameplay.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a hack n’ slash game developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo/Nintendo that shows the backstory of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Age of Calamity has excellent fast-paced gameplay set across different conflicts on a massive scale, but players should be familiar (and preferably, a fan of) Breath of the Wild before attempting to dive into its story.
Age of Calamity is set a century before the events of Breath of the Wild. The return of Calamity Ganon is upon Hyrule and Princess Zelda needs to awaken her dormant powers in order to defeat him. She is quickly joined by the latest iteration of Link, and together, they gather the Champions from the major races of Hyrule. People who played Breath of the Wild would normally know what happens next, but something is different in Age of Calamity. A Guardian from the future has been sent back to the past, putting things right that once went wrong, in order to stop the century of misery caused by Calamity Ganon.
Age of Calamity is a musou game, which involves hero units battling entire armies of enemies. Link and his friends will carve through hordes of moblins, Yuga Clan members, and Lizalfos with ease. Most of the challenge comes from elite enemies and bosses, who require dodging and special attacks to quickly defeat. Age of Calamity has a phenomenal combat system that provides different options for tackling foes. Outside of light/heavy attacks, the player has access to four of the Sheikah Slate spells from Breath of the Wild (bombs, magnet, freezing time, and ice), special attacks for each character, and magical rods that inflict damage and special attacks in a wide radius. The larger enemies have a stagger meter that fills up when the player hits their weak spots or dodges an attack at the last moment, leaving them open to a powerful and cinematic counter. There is always a lot going on in the battles of Age of Calamity, and combat rarely feels repetitive or dull.
One of the best aspects of Age of Calamity is how each character feels unique. Link’s playstyle will be familiar to fans of the Zelda series, but all of the other characters feel like separate entities. Revali can fly across the battlefield and rain arrows down on the enemy, Urbosa has a meter that allows her to empower her attacks with lightning, while Impa has a ninjutsu combat style that lets her create clones, just to name a few. The Divine Beasts are also playable in stages that are tailored around them, and these levels are gratifying power fantasies, where the player rains death upon foes that posed a challenge only a few moments earlier. The people who didn’t like the wimpy version of Zelda in Breath of the Wild will be happy to learn that she is a total badass in Age of Calamity on the battlefield. It’s also possible to switch between characters with the press of a button, which helps keep things interesting in longer stages.
People who played Age of Calamity demo might be concerned about its performance, but the full version of the game is a mostly smooth experience. There are instances of slowdown when things get busy, but that’s to be expected when so much is happening on the screen. The only major issue with the visuals involves the camera, as it tends to get stuck during the indoor stages, which is especially frustrating when trying to dodge enemy attacks. There is also a split-screen local multiplayer mode for two players and the performance is still solid throughout. It’s just a shame that there aren’t any online multiplayer modes for the game.
The story of Age of Calamity might seem like the perfect introduction to the world of Breath of the Wild, but knowledge of the original game becomes more necessary as time goes on. Things get very fanfiction-y in later parts of the game, and not in a good way. The story can be dumb at times, but there is a genuine thrill in seeing Link and the Champions fighting at each other’s side against the armies of Ganon. As such, Age of Calamity should be treated as a side game, rather than a full prequel to Breath of the Wild. People who aren’t interested in the story of Age of Calamity won’t find themselves with a lack of things to do, as the game is jam-packed full of content. There could be hundreds of hours worth of content in Age of Calamity for completionists, as there are many items and upgrades to unlock, missions to complete, and weapons to upgrade.
One issue that Age of Calamity has in comparison to the first Hyrule Warriors game is its adherence to the setting of Breath of the Wild. Almost every character, enemy, and location in Age of Calamity comes from Breath of the Wild. This severely limits the types of enemies that the players will encounter, and the few additions to the lore (like elemental variations of monsters) feel less than impressive. This means that the fanservice of the original Hyrule Warriors is lost and replaced with a game that has a more serious tone. The darker story does have some benefits, and the feeling of opposing an overwhelming force never quite goes away. There are moments where Link is facing hordes of monsters at nighttime and cutting through them with the Master Sword, and it feels like the kind of scene that fans of Ocarina of Time have dreamed of seeing since the ’90s.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity offers a fascinating look at the world of Breath of the Wild. Whether it’s sleek combat, character development, or a scattershot but intriguing plot, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is packed full of exciting content. It’s exactly the type of thing that can hold over fans until the Breath of the Wild sequel is finally released, and deserves a look even if its genre is a little more niche to some.
Next: Hyrule Warriors Demo – Everything That Carries Over to The Full Game
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be released for the Nintendo Switch on November 20, 2020. Screen Rant was provided with a digital code for the purposes of this review.
Death Metal: DC’s Heroes Enter Their Final Battle For The Multiverse
About The Author