A lot about Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is like bowling in a run-down alley. Not simply in the way in which Princess Zelda rolls her magic bomb right into a horde of Bokoblins, sending them flying like pins, or in the way in which Daruk curls into himself and barrels right into a huddled cluster of Lizalfos. No, it’s the way in which it feels: You would possibly line up the youngsters’ ramp and let gravity do the give you the results you want, otherwise you would possibly hook a well-greased bowling ball with calculated wrist torque. Given sufficient time, both manner, you may knock all of the pins down ultimately. However because the alley’s janked up, there isn’t a lot satisfaction available by making an attempt.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is an uneasy mixture of good and silly. Out November 20, the hack-and-slash crossover melts Dynasty Warriors’ horde-mashing into Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s world, characters, and aesthetic. The previous is a decades-old franchise about mowing down canon-fodder armies of assailants; the latter, a stunning 2017 fantasy role-playing recreation with thinky puzzles and boundless alternatives to discover. From that medley of influences, it plucks out the “canon fodder” and “fantasy” and provides in only a whiff of “thinky,” making for a enjoyable however skinny Zelda spin-off.
The sport opens 100 years earlier than the occasions in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You begin out as Hyperlink, and over time accumulate extra playable fighters, together with Zelda, Impa, Daruk, Revali, Mipha, and Urbosa, all rendered with loving constancy to the unique recreation. In varied battlegrounds round Hyrule—lava-filled Demise Mountain, the inexperienced fields outdoors Hyrule Citadel—you encounter mob after mob of monsters. In Dynasty Warriors vogue, most take solely a pair hits earlier than turning into mud. Combating your manner by the eventualities’ winding maps, you ramp as much as bigger and bigger bosses earlier than finishing the target. At any level, together with mid-battle, you may change from one character over to a different who’s better-placed on the map or has a extra related fight toolkit. After a profitable mission, you might have the chance to stage up weapons, craft meals, improve into cooler combos, and mess with different programs earlier than leaping into one other situation.
A bit like a Soulcalibur-style preventing recreation, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity’s fight depends on these combos. Additionally like Soulcalibur, you may mainly simply button-mash. Hyperlink has a lightweight sword assault (x) and a heavy sword assault (y). For those who hit x, x, y, Hyperlink propels himself ahead, sliding alongside the bottom and knocking a line of enemies into the sky. For those who hit x, y, and b, he slashes upwards earlier than opening up his paraglider, from which he can drop down for a giant assault from above. These combos balloon in complexity as the sport goes on, and are decidedly enjoyable to execute excellent. Additionally they assist cost characters’ distinctive specials for cinematic, big-boy blowout assaults.
Each fighter has entry to Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s runes: Cryosis, Magnesis, Stasis, and distant bombs, which manifest for every in thrilling, alternative ways. The place Revali rains down neat strains of bombs, Daruk haphazardly tosses a cluster someplace into the space. Their distinctive animations are pleasant, and for Zelda: Breath of the Wild followers they could momentarily transport you again into the unique recreation’s magic.
Many of the enjoyable I’ve had thus far with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has been inside the first couple of minutes of unlocking a brand new character. It’s rewarding to optimize loyal nursemaid Impa’s battalions of Impa clones, or knock mobs into Daruk’s molten rocks, which explode into fiery lava. After these first few moments, the gameplay expertise went downhill. I didn’t get out of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity’s fights what I put into them. One-two-three combos would possibly stage wave upon wave of Bokoblins with the bombasity of a WWE celebrity, however plenty of the time I might have simply hit x a dozen occasions. It’s a typical grievance about these musou video games, however right here the fight’s shortcomings aren’t simply attributed to variations in style.