Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity: Desura Online Games Review
Sooner or later, everyone is faced with the fact that they have to get acquainted with a genre that previously bypassed. The simplest example is Microsoft Flight Simulator , which attracted the attention of those who had never spent a second before in flight simulators, but really wanted to look at their area from a great height.
For Zelda fans, that moment came in 2014 with the release of Hyrule Warriors . But if that game could be easily ignored, then with the recently released Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity everything is more complicated. After all, this is a prequel to Breath of the Wild , one of the best games of our time. But there is a problem - this is a game in the genre with the untranslatable name "musou".
Musou refers to the Warriors games that have been published by Koei Tecmo for many years. Regardless of the universe in which their action takes place, the essence is always the same: a controlled character can single-handedly kill hundreds and thousands of opponents without much effort. Each mission boils down to this - you either simply destroy crowds of enemies, or capture outposts, destroying the same crowds of enemies, or you must deal with a couple of large opponents, simultaneously destroying even more crowds of enemies.
In Age of Calamityeverything works according to the same principle, only here everything is somehow connected with Zelda. The weapon is similar (but it does not break!), The opponents are familiar bokoblin, moblins, chuchu, lizalfos and so on, the heroes are mostly the same, and the locations of Hyrule look the same as in Breath of the Wild , only here they are not yet turned into ruins. It is noticeable that the developers of the latest "Zelda" actively participated in the creation of the novelty - even if it is not a full-fledged The Legend of Zelda , the atmosphere here is well recreated.
The main difference (apart from the new story) is the presence of several playable characters. At first, only Link is available, but almost immediately Impa joins him, then Zelda appears, and after that the roster becomes even larger. This is the main advantage of Age of Calamity , one of the reasons why the mostly monotonous gameplay may not get boring for a long time. All the heroes, although they are generally controlled in the same way, have different skills and use them in their own way, and as you progress, you acquire new capabilities that you want to immediately try in the next mission.
Zelda, for example, creates blocks of ice, and one of the combinations summons a ball rolling on the ground, which, at the press of a button, explodes and deals damage in a large radius. Almost all of Revali's skills are related to the wind, and he is able not only to fight on the ground, but also to soar, using a bow to shoot off crowds of opponents. One of my favorite characters is Urbosa: if no one attacks the heroine, her scimitar can be charged with energy and then destroy dozens of enemies with electrical discharges in a matter of seconds.
All heroes can make weak and strong blows, as well as use runic skills while holding down the R button. There are four of them: creating an ice column, throwing bombs towards the opponent, stopping the enemy with stasis and magnetism to fight monsters armed with metal objects.
Although all this can be used in fights with ordinary mobs (freezing in water is especially good), first of all, runes are needed in battles with large opponents like moblins and wizzrobes. Periodically, a symbol appears above the head of such an enemy - hold down R, time stops, and you can choose which rune to activate. The opponent will be stunned for a short time, and you can deal damage to him within a couple of seconds and destroy his defense. When the reserve of protection is exhausted, it will be enough to click on X and watch a beautiful scene in which your character kills a monster with a spectacular technique.
With these capabilities in Age of Calamity, you constantly feel powerful, able to cope with any trouble. Here, even the block button is rarely used - it is better to dodge attacks at the last moment in order to activate time dilation and destroy the opponent's armor. In addition, each character has special skills, which are also accompanied by unique animations. Plus, the list of combinations is replenished from time to time - they are all simple (four weak hits and one strong, five weak hits and one strong, and so on), but it is this ease of execution and the crushing power of some combos that allow the combat system to remain exciting and not be reduced to " calling out monsters.
Unlike Breath of the Wild , where players ran across a huge map, here the world map is only available as an image. It is strewn with a bunch of icons, the number of which is constantly growing. Among them there are missions and challenges, for the completion of which you get resources. Then you spend these resources on getting new opportunities. Building a shop will make it easier to find some materials, purchasing a forge and a training ground will help you become stronger, and unlocking recipes will allow you to eat food before a sortie, which will increase your movement speed, increase your attack or defense.
There is some charm in gaining advantages through a regular map, without having to run somewhere again. Age of Calamity generally tries to respect the player's time (except when you are forced to hunt for certain resources). Played a lot as Link and all the other low-level characters? Pay a small amount and pump each hero in a second. There are many weapons in your inventory, but are they weaker than the old ones? Quickly go to the blacksmith and "pour" excess equipment into your equipment. If you want to get a new combo - drop the resources where you need it and immediately unlock it; if you want to repaint your clothes - the workshop icon is somewhere nearby.
Each region has levels, upon reaching which they give out a pack of materials and throw in even more icons, so the process of turning orange symbols on the map into blue begins to fascinate no less than the main gameplay. And if in the first missions it seems that these monotonous battles with hundreds of helpless enemies will quickly get bored, then after a couple of hours you don't think so - you are completely immersed in the mechanics that demonstrate the full depth of the game. This is still not "Zelda" and certainly not the second Breath of the Wild , but those who miss the series will definitely enjoy the novelty.
Especially if you consider that this is a prequel, in which the characters are given much more attention than in the original. The heroes, which we learned very little about in Breath of the Wild , are revealed here in numerous dialogues during battles and in cutscenes on the engine. This is especially true of the four Champions, which Link and Zelda are looking for in the first missions. By the way, they will also be allowed to steer - although simple corridor episodes are associated with them, they add variety to the gameplay.
The main drawback of the story, the players realized even when they were going through the demo - it was not without time travel. At the beginning of the game, a robot resembling BD-1 from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, goes into the past in order to warn everyone about future events. Many joked about the fact that the ending of Age of Calamity is known in advance and, they say, you should not be afraid of spoilers, but in reality everything is not so simple. Chances are, those looking to get a full-fledged prequel will be disappointed.
The rest will take a look at Khairul before the tragic events, learn more about its population (each upgrade purchased on the map is accompanied by a text with a short story) and get to know their favorite heroes better. And they will surely like the story - there are plenty of funny moments, and epic episodes, when watching which you do not take your eyes off the TV. And the beautiful visual style of the original is still enjoyable.
The only really upsetting thing is performance problems. Obviously, the Switch is not powerful enough to display dozens of opponents and all kinds of special effects on the screen, so from time to time the frame rate starts to drop. It doesn't get to the slideshow, but the slowdown is impossible not to notice, especially towards the end of the game and when using some characters - first of all, this is true for Urbosa with her electrical discharges, "dropping" fps when activating strong attacks.
It's always difficult to recommend online games of such a niche genre - until you try it yourself, you won't know how to feel about it. If you are familiar with musou games and you like them, Age of Calamity should definitely be taken. If you can't stand them, then even love for Breath of the Wild will hardly fix it. If you have never been through this and are interested, there is a chance that you will like it. The combat system is deep enough (but playing for several hours in a row is still boring), a lot of attention is paid to familiar characters, and the progress system makes the adventure exciting. Just don't expect a story prequel in the usual sense of the word.
Pros: the opportunity to spend with the heroes Breath of the Wildmore time and get to know them better; playable characters have completely different abilities, thanks to which you often switch between them; the combat system is deep enough so that the fights are not limited to "calling out"; the progress system with the map strewn with icons is captivating; the story is full of great moments and interesting, but ...
Cons: ... not exactly the prequel that fans would like to see; fights start to tire if you sit at the game for several hours in a row; unstable frame rate.
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