Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, why should Breath of the Wild fans play it?

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, why should Breath of the Wild fans play it?
There are now a few days left before the release of Hyrule Warriors: The era of calamity, a title on which Nintendo is sensationally focusing its Christmas 2020 and around which controversies, doubts and questions continue to arise. The demo published last week has certainly confirmed the goodness of the realization by Koei Tecmo - net of some technical problems that should be solved in time for the launch - but at the same time it has thrown into confusion many players, and especially the fans of Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda which is inspired by and which should be a prequel. The problem is always the same: Hyrule Warriors is a musou, that is, it belongs to a controversial genre that in the West has never managed to carve out a large slice of the public.

Although Hyrule Warriors represents a marked evolution compared to traditional musou, players who love the Nintendo series and, in particular, the revolutionary chapter released on the Switch, continue to wonder if it is worth risking the purchase of a title that perhaps strays from their preferences and the dynamics they are used to. In this sense, Hyrule Warriors for them would be a real leap in the dark, and in a certain sense it is also for us who enjoyed the demo, but we could only test the very first chapter of a campaign that will be much longer. In short, we will have to wait for the final code and the review to understand in which direction Nintendo and Koei Tecmo have moved but, in the meantime, after weighing the points of contact between Breath of the Wild and its musou, we have decided to also reflect on the aspects that might interest fans of the original title.

Prequel, sequel or what if?

As you should know by now, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity takes place 100 years before Breath of the Wild and tells the battle against the forces by Ganon. If you have played Breath of the Wild, you also know that this war ends in the worst way: Ganon conquers the kingdom of Hyrule, practically all heroes die apart from Link and Zelda, with the latter saving the protagonist in a shrine and traps himself along with his enemy in Hyrule Castle. Link woke up a hundred years later, with no memories, and began an adventure in search of the power needed to save Zelda and defeat Ganon. Here, the new Hyrule Warriors should tell just that epic battle between the forces of good and evil, finally deepening some aspects of the narrative thanks to a greater number of cinematics completely dubbed in Italian.

Along the campaign, we should find out more about the Champions and the bond they have established with Link and Zelda, but also about some subplots that Breath of the Wild, with its peculiar storytelling, just hinted at. For example, we know that Urbosa and Zelda's mother were very close, so Hyrule Warriors could tell the meeting between the two, better defining the characters of the Champions, charismatic characters that we have known briefly since Breath of the Wild focused mainly on the their heirs. We know the Champions died when Ganon took control of their Colossi ... but what really happened? Will Hyrule Warriors tell us about those last, tragic moments? Will we find out who or what summoned Ganon in that era? And what role does the Yiga clan play which, judging by the trailers, would seem to have some importance in the economy of the story?

There is another detail that leaked through the demo and that could have very important implications . In the prologue, in fact, we saw the little guardian - who appears in the trailers and on the cover - traveling in time from the era of Breath of the Wild to a hundred years earlier. During Chapter 1, Link and Impa find the guardian and, together with Zelda, take him to Pruna and Rovely's laboratory who, analyzing him, discover what will happen in the future and that to prevent it, Zelda must reunite the Champions and find the Master Sword. The timeline of Hyrule Warriors: The Age of Calamity, in short, would have already been altered from the beginning, and this means that the story could unfold and end in a different way than what was told in Breath of the Wild. This would make the musou a kind of "what if", an alternative story that would not touch the narrative of Breath of the Wild ... but that could lay the foundations of the highly anticipated Breath of the Wild 2. Who tells us, in fact, that the latter is a sequel to the story we know? Maybe Hyrule Warriors is coming out earlier precisely because it is a prequel to Breath of the Wild 2.

Playing as the Champions

Among the many supporting actors who appeared in the very long career of the Nintendo franchise, the four Breath of the Wild Champions are undoubtedly some of the most charismatic, and the fact that we interacted with them very little during the original adventure is a reminder of the care Eiji Aonuma and his team put into their creation. Not surprisingly, many fans have been clamoring for a long time that at least one of them be added as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Meanwhile, Hyrule Warriors could be a great alternative as it will be possible to control all four over the course of the campaign. Koei Tecmo, supervised by Aonuma and associates, designed their fighting styles using different gameplay dynamics that enhance their peculiarities. So far Nintendo has revealed only the mechanics of Urbosa and Daruk: the former fights with sword and shield and can channel the power of lightning into its attacks, while the latter is able to roll around the battlefield and project its Aegis to defend itself. from enemy shots.

We still don't know how Revali and Mipha will work, but in the trailers we have seen them fight for a few moments: the first seems to be able to fly and shoot multiple arrows at the same time with his bow, while the second holds the trident and controls the water, generating eddies and small tsunamis. Staying on the subject of fanservice, the Champions wield their iconic weapons - the same that Link also finds in Breath of the Wild - and the latest trailer for the game has suggested that, at some point, we will find ourselves at the controls of their Colossi: those who played the previous Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition will remember the missions as the monstrous Ganon, and therefore shouldn't be surprised either. Hyrule Warriors, in short, could do justice to these characters even more than the DLC The Ballad of Champions did, but there's more: according to the latest rumors, spread by the players who have dug into the demo data, it would be possible to play even as their heirs Sidon, Yunobu, Teba and Riju.

The fascination (?) of the musou

We have said it and repeated it a thousand times, but that of the musou is just a genre controversial, especially since sophisticated and challenging action games such as soulslike ones have begun to take hold. The musou, in a sense, are their antithesis: to the cautious, thoughtful one-on-one fights, the musou prefer chaotic one-on-one fights; to the strategic choice of attacks and movements, the musou prefer an unbridled button mashing; to the sobriety of the action that must always be legible and understandable, the musou prefer chaotic battlefields that special attacks cause to burst into a riot of colors and explosions. Born as an experiment - Koei and Omega Force's first Dinasty Warriors was, effectively, a one-on-one fighting game - the genre has become very popular at home and over the years has been used for many different licenses, from One Piece to Ken the warrior, passing through Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, Persona 5 and of course Zelda.

What is beautiful about a musou? This is the question that torments many players. The truth is that for some it is its "flaws" that represent a real attraction. Musou are simple, straightforward and intuitive titles that visually satisfy the casual player looking for a bit of wind chimes action: press a button, your character throws a sword stroke and dozens of enemies fly away like leaves in the wind. Sometimes it doesn't take much to have fun after a stressful day at work, and musou offer just that kind of entertainment. It is also true that many stop at a superficial analysis, see the simplicity of the gameplay, the common enemies who do not resist and the intuitiveness of the objectives and believe that each mission is the same as the previous one in an endless vicious circle. In reality, musou can get much more challenging, and anyone who has played Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition thoroughly and unlocked advanced missions in Adventure mode will be able to confirm this.

So what kind of appeal can musou have Breath of the Wild for a fan who played the eponymous The Legend of Zelda? It must be premised that Breath of the Wild is actually one of the first Zelda to tread the hand on an epic narrative premise, with this epochal war that shook the kingdom a hundred years earlier and that Hyrule Warriors gives us the opportunity to face firsthand . There is therefore the opportunity to play as Link, Zelda and all the others with a different perspective than usual, a significant change of register that could please those looking for an unusual action game, but always set in the world that has loved and explored for many hours. The introduction into the combat system of mechanics inspired by Breath of the Wild, such as the Sheikah tablet, which we also talked about in another study, could be a valid reason to approach a musou who, actually, wants to be a turning point in the genre.

Hyrule Warriors: The era of calamity, in short, will have to face several challenges to establish itself in the complicated videogame landscape of the coming weeks. First, it will have to honor the important legacy of Breath of the Wild, respecting Nintendo's masterpiece and paying homage to it in an intelligent and meaningful way, without falling into the fanservice as an end in itself as many other musou have done before it. Then he will have to overcome the prejudices of the players towards the genre, showing that he is a musou for whom it is worth making the leap into the dark we talked about above, and to succeed he will have to have all the credentials to modernize the genre without upsetting it , thus addressing those looking for an immediate action game but also a little more. Finally, the Koei Tecmo / Nintendo proposal will also have to overcome the judgment of critics: keeping in mind its nature and important lineage, we will evaluate the most important aspects such as the variety and longevity of the experience, before advising you whether to buy or not. this brave experiment of the great N. Stay tuned.

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