Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, proven

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, proven
In recent weeks we have spent rivers of words trying to frame Hyrule Warriors: The era of calamity, the title on which Nintendo will focus next Christmas with the strong appeal of the franchise The Legend of Zelda and, in particular, of the extraordinary Breath of the Wild . The musou developed in tandem with Omega Force and Koei Tecmo is a prequel, but who is it really aimed at? To fans of Zelda and / or Breath of the Wild? To fans of action games? To those caught in the middle? And how much sense could it have made to adopt the formula of musou, a controversial genre that in Italy has never stood out for its popularity and which still today is the victim of preconceptions and discrimination due to its innate accessibility? Nintendo's is an interesting experiment, but not without risks, which has raised many doubts which we will try to answer in a few days in our review. For now we can only tell you about our first hours of play and invite you to test the demo available on the Shop that allows you to play the entire Chapter 1 and possibly import the save in the full version.

The other two champions

For now we can't tell you everything we would like about the content of the Nintendo title: a lot of information is still under embargo and we can go as far as the contents included in Chapter 2, but not more than. However, we can anticipate that you will reunite the champions in the missions that are unlocked at the end of the demo, and in fact we were finally able to play as Mipha and Revali, the two legendary heroes that Nintendo had never really shown in action until now, if not briefly. in trailers. This means that already in Chapter 2 you will find yourself choosing between seven playable characters: some missions, in fact, will force you to use certain characters, but more often you can choose who to control or who to bring along with one or more mandatory heroes. The exploration of the Nintendo Treehouse had already shown us Urbosa in action, but it is worthwhile to recap the skills of all the champions.

The matriarch Gerudo fights holding a saber and has an additional indicator, under that of the special attack, which is charged manually or by pressing the backbone at the right moment after completing a combo. Urbosa can then channel the power of electricity into his attacks, dealing more damage and changing the range of combos. She is a fairly fast and very powerful heroine, equipped with a shield that allows her to instantly counterattack shots taken at the last second. In another trailer, we also saw Daruk in action, who can protect himself with the invulnerable force field called Aegis. In addition to this, Daruk has a special ability: his powerful attacks raise piles of magma that you can detonate later by pressing the back button. In this way, Daruk can control enemies, using magma as a booby trap that keeps minor opponents at bay while focusing on the miniboss on duty.

So let's come to the other two champions, who we previewed for you. Revali - who has a particularly hostile attitude towards Link, so much so that we will have to defeat him to be able to recruit him - fights with the bow, of course, and has two fighting styles: one on the ground and one in flight. The one on the ground allows for very short combos at close range; By pressing the backbone, however, Revali takes flight and can attack from above with much longer and ranged combos. Thanks to his ability to fly, Revali would seem to be the only hero capable of using Sheikah runes even in the air. Mipha, on the other hand, holds a spear: she is an agile and fast heroine with a medium / short range. Its powerful attacks, alone or in combo, generate whirlpools on the battlefield: by pressing the back button, Mipha disappears and reappears attacking from the whirlpool, after which it is possible to prolong the combo in midair and swoop down on enemies. Mipha is particularly useful for another reason too: her special attack restores hearts to her and surrounding allies.

The Sacred Colossi

As suggested in the latest trailer released by Nintendo to announce the availability of the demo, we can confirm that in some missions you will find yourself piloting the sacred Colossi of champions. In fact, the story begins just like this: having discovered what awaits Hyrule should she win the Ganon Calamity, Zelda sets out with Link and Impa to immediately recruit the champions and entrust them with the task of piloting the Colossi. The latter are real combat mechs that drastically change the gameplay; the missions in question are almost minigames in which we will face thousands of tiny enemies, in proportion, from above, to be destroyed using the very personal arsenals of each Colossus. The mission where Vah Medoh, the Colossus of Revali is piloted, is more like a shooter on the tracks, for example. We have mixed feelings about these missions, however, which are quite amusing - it feels like being in a kaiju movie - but not particularly well drawn: the movements of the Colossi are clumsy and clumsy, the aiming based on analogs and gyro not too precise. , the completely mundane objectives that boil down to defeating a certain number of enemies before time runs out.

Adventures in the age of calamity

Luckily we ran into very few missions aboard of the Colossi, while all the others that we have unlocked are essentially divided into two categories: there are the tasks that are completed directly on the map, delivering the materials collected on the battlefield, and the missions that take place in the real scenarios. These are initially very similar to each other and involve the use of a predefined or selected hero before the mission who will have to defeat a certain number of enemies, sometimes within a time limit. As the campaign progresses and new side missions are unlocked, the objectives become more complex, the enemies on the field stronger and more numerous, and at that point the various tools come into play that add to the simple weapons, combos and special abilities . The Sheikah tablet is obviously the most important, and we have pleasantly found that each hero uses the Sheikah runes in a slightly different way than the others, even though the substance remains more or less the same.

Link, for example, he can use the Glacyor rune to soar into the air and attack from above, while Urbosa achieves the same effect using the RC Bomb rune. In contrast, the Glacyor rune in Urbosa's hands works almost like a bomb: Urbosa generates it in front of him and then the player, by pressing a button, can overload it with electricity and detonate it at the right moment. This however implies different animations that change the timing when it comes to using the aforementioned runes to counterattack an enemy whose weak points are: in other words, Link can simply call the Glacyor rune to intercept the charge of a Lizalfos and stun it, but if you are controlling Revali, that the ice makes him fall in front, we will have to calculate the times better. It is a general rule that applies to all characters and that keeps the player on his toes: intercepting and interrupting enemy attacks with runes is a lot of fun, also because stronger enemies such as Lynel or Hinox guarantee an extremely short window of time. . Considering that their attacks hurt terribly, it's best to learn how to use Sheikah runes first.

We really liked the idea of ​​Sheikah runes, especially since they give much more variety to the action, along with wands too. magic that we can collect by defeating the shamans and that interact with the scenario: fire ignites the grass, inflicting area damage, while electricity, for example, propagates in the water, damaging and paralyzing the enemies in the water. They are innovative and extremely interesting dynamics, which move the bar of Hyrule Warriors from a simple musou to something more. The fact remains that the game, at the base, is a carefree action game that does not require nerves of steel, lightning reflexes or Zen patience, but this is a characteristic of the musou genre that many players should begin to accept without falling into the trap of easy Compare with soulslike and more technical actions. To each his own, we could say, but always underlining that Hyrule Warriors: The era of calamity, like any self-respecting musou and like its namesake predecessor, becomes much more complicated at high levels.

Towards the review

In the hours that we have already played Hyrule Warriors we have not yet come to perceive that repetitiveness that often characterizes the genre, especially because Koei Tecmo has mixed the cards well, and also the secondary missions, which mostly serve to collecting materials, obtaining new weapons and leveling up characters, up to Chapter 2 are completed in minutes, making the game particularly suitable for portability and hit and run games. The dynamics of RPG progression are entrusted to the tasks: just deliver the required materials to increase hearts, skill bars and learn new combos, and the aforementioned materials can also be simply bought in shops and stables around the world. The micro-management component between one mission and another breaks up any monotony, but still requires some attention, especially if you have few rupees or materials and need to sip them.

We still have to understand, however, how much the long-term offer is varied, how long-lived the game in and of itself is, if we expect an amazing but extremely repetitive amount of content as in the previous Hyrule Warriors or if the developer has invented a new solution in these terms too . We continue, in short, and we do it with pleasure, but unfortunately we must note that our hopes for a more stable final code have faded: in fact, we have continued to detect the slowdowns that occurred in the demo. Hyrule Warriors remains an enjoyable title even when it drops below 30 frames per second, above all because it does so only sporadically, and in any case it relies on a gameplay that does not severely punish the player for his smudges, but it is useless to dose the words: the uncertainties frame rates are not a pretty sight and we continue to hope for an update to the release.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will have to answer several questions in the review. Net of a technical sector that contrasts the superlative artistic direction with the inconsistent frame rate, the Nintendo / Koei Tecmo title would seem to be something more than a simple musou, while remaining faithful to the immediacy that has always distinguished the genre. Surely, up to now, we have found ourselves playing a very funny product, but above all very faithful to Breath of the Wild in terms of setting and characterization. Will he be able to maintain this standard until the end? We'll find out in the next few days.

CERTAINTY

The playable characters are very different and well characterized The Sheikah runes fit perfectly into the combat system DOUBTS Variety of objectives and playable characters yet to be evaluated Has definitely need a patch ... but will it arrive in time for release?

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