A little over a week ago, Hyrule Warriors: Legends launched in Japan. How does it compare to the Wii U version? Read more to find out!
After numerous delays from Amazon (I’m not bitter, I swear.), Hyrule Warriors: Legends had finally arrived. Truth be told, I am a huge fan of the Wii U version. If you ever played it, you know that Hyrule Warriors is a game that takes hundreds and hundreds of hours to complete. The amount of levels, characters and weapons in this game is staggering, and DLC has only improved it. When it was announced for the 3DS, I was both excited and overwhelmed because of the time commitment (It’s like raising a child…kind of). I knew dozens of hours would be spent crouching over my 3DS. To my horror, the game has most, if it not all of the DLC from the Wii U version. It’s a lot of content.
Then when it was announced that the only connectivity between the Wii U and the 3DS version is that the 3DS owners will get download codes for the new characters (King of Hyrule, Tetra, Toon Link, Skull Kid, Linkle) I felt a little depressed (The download codes are written on a slip of paper inserted in the game). The 3DS version would have been perfect for that extra grinding that is needed in order to actually complete the DLC maps. I cannot exaggerate how much of a missed opportunity it seems that players can’t share characters and stats between the versions. At least give the players an option. Starting all over again is pretty difficult, but at least there are some caveats.
Before getting into the review fully, I do need to warn readers that I am playing on a New Nintendo 3DS. There are reported differences between playing on a regular 3DS, and a New 3DS. I’m not sure if I would recommend this game on a regular 3DS. I haven’t played it myself, but the c-stick is necessary to change Z-targeting and is helpful when searching for skulltulas. Furthermore, the lack of enemies is a big strike against playing on a regular 3DS as it might make some levels incredibly difficult. Buyers beware.
The first and most recognizable change is the ability to change characters mid-battle. No longer are you restricted to one character per map-load, so the pacing of the battles is significantly improved . You can capture a keep with Link while having the computer run Sheik over to the next one. Switching characters is fast, easy and very satisfying. Another way the developers improved the pacing is through the Owl Statues and the Fairy Ocarina. A reference to Majora’s Mask, the Owl Statues allow players to teleport to other parts of the stages. This makes the game 100% more enjoyable, and less grindy.
Another improvement is boss battles. If the player has multiple player-controlled characters around the same boss, they will gain some bonuses (like extra magic, more damage, etc) depending on the number of player characters. This makes fighting the bosses a lot more fun, especially as you can switch between characters, use specials rapidly and really K.O. bosses in no time.
There is also a new feature called, My Fairy where players raise a fairy. Fairies are found in pots in some levels of the Adventure Map, or can be downloaded as gifts (Famitsu released one, and 7-11 has released another set). Using the correct combination of clothes, elemental, skills and character can make the fairy a very powerful ally. There’s a lot of depth in this mode, and it seems ripe for extra content over the course of the game’s life.
As I mentioned before, the amount of content is a little…overwhelming. In order to access the new Wind Waker content, players will need to traverse the entire main story, Cia’s DLC levels and possibly Linkle’s sidestory. Linkle and Toon Link are unlocked relatively quickly, and I included a handy spoiler for those of you are wondering how to unlock the new characters. I have not unlocked all of the characters yet, as I haven’t finished the first Adventure Map. Yes, there are multiple Adventure Maps.
Adventure Maps were present in Wii U version. For those who are unaware, this is the true timesink of Hyrule Warriors. Weapons, characters, skulltulas, heart containers, etc can be found in these levels. However, it’s not a matter of just beating the levels with the appropriate rank. Oh no, that would be too easy. In order to unlock the ability to unlock these things, an item card has to be used on an 8-bit map. Item cards can be found by completing other levels. For example…in order to get to the unlock of Skull Kid, an Ice Arrow item card is required. In order to get to that Ice Arrow item card, I had to complete 5 other levels. This can be a bit frustrating, as it’s not a matter of working through it.
Players of the Wii U version will be happy to know that the Adventure Map has been updated. Rewards and limitations on characters have been updated, in addition to the rewards relating to the My Fairy mode. This means that players finally have their Tingle vs. Skull Kid mission that they always dreamed of (what? just me?). Streetpass is used to make “Network Links” appear on the Adventure Map. They operate in the same way as they do on the Wii U version, offering bonus rewards for completing their mission. amiibo functions the same exact way.
Lastly, the biggest improvement is that item drops seem to have increased. Now making badges is a lot easier. This was essentially a requirement with how big the cast is. And with extra space for DLC, I’m sure we will only get more(Leave your guesses in the comments below!).
The biggest downside is that battles and levels still take a long time. Even playing on normal difficulty, levels can easily take 20-30 minutes. The game is not designed for a portable experience in mind. There’s no way I can play a level while waiting for the train, or have a quick battle between lunch and work. Hyrule Warriors: Legends works better as a console game as it requires too much of a time investment. Most players are going to play this game at home, anyway…so why limit the system?
As I mentioned before, the inability to transfer content is a big missed opportunity. I don’t really like unlocking the same exact things twice. Truth be told, I still haven’t unlocked all the trophies in Smash for Wii U, as I find the task of going through All-Star and Classic mode again with all of the characters to be an a boring, repetitive task.
Another downer is the graphics and animations. Completing a boss weak point gauge attacks will just show a small explosion around the character. The bombchu explosions in the second level are hilarious. The cutscenes seemed like they were ported over well too. It’s worth to note that they are not viewable in 3D (but the main game is, at least on the New Nintendo 3DS).
The sound is alright. As I’ve stated before I’m not an audiophile, so I generally don’t have strong opinions on video game music. The music quality is there, and tracks can change mid battle.
Something that I was pretty disappointed about was how little Hyrule Warriors: Legends utilizes its new features. The last two new levels of Wind Waker (especially the last one) really showed off how hectic and rewarding it can be to switch between players. For the rest of the campaign, Owl Statues and multiple player characters sometimes feel like they are there, like they were just drawn in. Furthermore, the first set of Adventure Map levels used the features, but the ones I’m currently playing right now don’t…and some of them could have really benefited from it. So it’s kind of all over the place. Some levels didn’t really need it, others do and there isn’t really any consistency. I’m not sure how the designers picked which levels to include them in.
As a side note, I’m not sure if the Wind Waker levels will get ported to the Wii U version, as that last level does require character switching. Maybe we’ll see the Wii U version updated, or have that map slightly altered. Who knows.
All in all, if this is your first Hyrule Warriors game, pick it up. If you have tons of free time and really enjoyed the first one, pick it up. Of course, this all hinges on if you have a New Nintendo 3DS or not. The limitations in graphics/ animations wouldn’t deter me from picking the 3DS over the Wii U — especially when switching between characters and Owl Statues does improve the pacing of the game. Hyrule Warriors: Legends feels like a natural extension of the first one.
I’m still unlocking stuff, but with the amount of content the game offers, it’s too good of a deal to pass by new players. Veterans may be annoyed with going through the same levels again. Essentially, if you’ve played the Wii U version ask yourself this– “Am I willing to do this all again?” The answer to that will help you decide if you should buy the game or not.
We have translated an interview with Mr. Hayashi, which discusses this game. Check it out!
Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments or on Twitter.