Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Nintendo Treehouse preview

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Nintendo Treehouse preview
At this point, to keep repeating that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be the usual musou, and therefore an ugly and ignorant game, means putting your head in the sand and getting stuck on a prejudice as old as the genre itself. For heaven's sake, it's not completely wrong: we have repeated it several times, musou is a genre that is loved or hated and over the years Omega Force and Koei Tecmo have not worked miracles to change their detractors' minds. Also because on the other side of the world, Dinasty Warriors and associates continue to sell the same. The partnership with Nintendo and its licenses, which began years ago with the first Hyrule Warriors, however, has stirred something and the twenty minutes of yesterday's Nintendo Treehouse together with the new title, an official prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, suggest that The era of calamity could be what it takes to clear the genre and rejuvenate it once and for all.

Urbosa and Zelda

The Nintendo Treehouse has dedicated the first ten minutes or so to a desert mission that begins in the Gerudo citadel and will allow players to control Urbosa for the first time. As reiterated several times, the narrative of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will focus a lot on the characterization of these characters that Breath of the Wild had only sketched out but who, thanks to their charisma, have already entered the hearts of many fans. The background will also and above all deepen the great friendship between Urbosa and the mother of Princess Zelda, who had met the champion during a diplomatic visit before the birth of the protagonist. In the mission shown, the Gerudo citadel is besieged by the forces of the Yiga: it is possible to freely explore the familiar map of the city, perhaps to search for some hidden collectibles such as the Korogu, but to continue in the story you must meet specific conditions, for example defeating three minibosses that they will appear after taking down a number of Yigas.



Urbosa fights with sword and shield - it is unclear if she too will have access to different weapons such as Link - and can infuse the power of lightning into her blade to inflict damage even more. The champion is in fact characterized by a specific mechanic, represented by an indicator placed under the iconic row of hearts that marks the vital energy: hitting the enemies, Urbosa charges the four notches of the indicator, which can consume partially or all together for unleash lightning all around. In addition, by hitting certain combos, a message appears on the screen for a very short moment; by pressing the suggested key at the right moment, Urbosa instantly loads the entire indicator. Attentive and precise players can then use this mechanic to get rid of enemies quickly, and we expect mastering it to become indispensable in advanced difficulty missions.

The Nintendo Treehouse has therefore moved on to a short gameplay sequence in the shoes by Zelda. The interface suggests that during this mission set in the desert it is possible to change characters on the fly, choosing whether to control Urbosa, Zelda or Link if necessary as was also the case in the previous Hyrule Warriors. Unlike the other heroes who use the Sheikah Tablet as an accessory, casting the spells already seen in Breath of the Wild, Zelda wields it as a primary weapon, accessing new and imaginative combinations of runes. Runes reload times are much faster for the princess, allowing her to use them in bursts on enemies. The moveset is not very clear and would seem to be tailor-made for Zelda which, among other things, can radio control a kind of bomber guardian and take a destructive photo of its enemies as a special attack. In this part of the mission, the trio must reach a specific point in the desert and make a lot of noise while battling the Yigas to get the attention of a Molduga who will scare off enemies ... and start chasing the player. We will only find out if he goes to fight or not.

The main menu

Of course, between one mission and another we will return to the main menu, where we can manage the more Koei Tecmo RPG. The Nintendo Treehouse showed us some dynamics that pleasantly surprised us, starting with the appearance of this screen that faithfully follows the iconic map of Hyrule that we have been examining for hours when playing Breath of the Wild. Littered with icons representing points of interest and other features, the map essentially replaces the classic intermission screens made up of lists, items and options. By visiting the forge, for example, we will bea> able to modify, melt and upgrade the weapons collected during the missions. The mechanism would seem to be very similar to that of Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, in the sense that you can choose a weapon as a base and consume those that we are not interested in keeping to increase it in level - and therefore in power - and infuse any bonuses into it. .

The blacksmith screen therefore demonstrates that in the game there is a great variety of weapons that Link can wield, essentially divided into two categories: one-handed weapons, such as the sword that also allows you to wield the shield, and weapons with two hands like spears, hammers or broadswords. Obviously the type of weapon also changes Link's moves and combos, as revealed during Game Live Japan 2020, but we still don't know if the same is true for each playable character.

Everyone, however, can collect weapons, ingredients and materials, which will be used to complete the secondary tasks scattered around the map screen. The system is intuitive and intelligent: by choosing an icon, a window will open that will inform us about the possible background of the assignment. A cook, for example, will ask us for five small fish to prepare a particularly tasty dish: once collected, just deliver them via the menu to complete the task and receive, in return, the recipe for the dish in question, which we can then cook at the occurrence in another screen. Foods grant a bonus during the next mission, and so Koei Tecmo somehow managed to implement the Breath of the Wild kitchen mechanic in his musou as well.

Another assignment shown during the Treehouse, instead, will ask us to collect various parts of monsters for a young man from the village of Hateno who wants to build a mannequin with which to train in combat with two-handed weapons. By completing this secondary mission, you unlock a new combo for two-handed weapons, which we can then try directly in a training mission in which we will have to defeat four hundred enemies and then a boss, Daruk himself. The setup screen for this mission, which can only be tackled if Link is equipped with a two-handed weapon, revealed another interesting aspect of the game: the costumes. We have discovered, in fact, that Link - but probably every character - can wear various combinations of clothes found or unlocked through the campaign or side activities, all obviously inspired by the various equipment that we have already seen in Breath of the Wild.

Again Link and Impa

The last tranche of the Treehouse has therefore demonstrated the combat system when Link wields the hammer, which completely changes moveset compared to the sword and spear shown previously. This two-handed weapon is much slower, but devastating: it deals a lot of damage and has some very powerful attacks that also consume Link's life. The mission takes place in an area we visited in Breath of the Wild: in that game it was littered with ruins and ruins, but in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which is set a hundred years earlier, we will move between buildings, stables and pens still perfectly intact. In short, fans of Breath of the Wild will have to keep their eyes open to recognize the many reverse quotes; considering the care that Nintendo took in designing a map that, by itself, told a story, it will be very interesting to review those scenarios before everything falls apart.

The Treehouse then concluded with a short sequence of gameplay focused on Impa. We have discovered that it will be playable for some time - as probably its sister Pruna, protagonist of some very short trailers released on social networks a few days ago - and that obviously it will be one hundred years younger than Breath of the Wild: in Hyrule Warriors, in fact, Impa she fights like a young ninja and like all the other characters she can also use magic wands and the Sheikah Tablet. The gameplay sequence showed us her ability to absorb symbols that manifest themselves in certain circumstances and that allows her to manifest a small army of "clones" that follow her and repeat her attacks, multiplying the damage that Impa can inflict. to enemies.

The Treehouse, however, has focused on another aspect, namely the creative and strategic use of the Sheikah runes. In the sequence shown, Impa had to fight a gigantic Hinox, as well as an army of enemies: the boss attacked by leaping and falling on his stomach, but Impa blocked him at the right moment with Stasys, paralyzing him in midair and then repeatedly hit him and walked away from the impact site. Koei Tecmo, in short, would seem to have faithfully implemented some gameplay dynamics of Breath of the Wild by integrating them naturally into the combat system typical of his musou.

It seems that Nintendo really believes in this Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and frankly, trailer after trailer, gameplay after gameplay, we begin to understand why. Although it is "just a musou", the title developed by Koei Tecmo and Omega Force under the supervision of the Breath of the Wild team continues to amaze for the care of the realization and for the respect towards the extraordinary The Legend of Zelda that has it inspired.

CERTAINTIES

The playable characters are very diverse The Hyrule map promises many tasks and side missions DOUBTS Will the variety of objectives and scenarios contain the repetition of the gameplay? There are still various aspects to be clarified ... like the mini guardian that follows Link

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