When Hyrule Warriors was first announced for the Nintendo Wii U in 2014, the concept was innovative, but at the same time I had to wonder why we waited so long! Could there be a better combination? The history of Hyrule is rich with strife that often led to cataclysmic war. Taking the concept of games based on the conflicts of ancient Chinese dynasties and integrating the bloody lore offered by Legend of Zelda is simply perfect. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is exactly as I remember it, only better.
The game begins with a typical Legend of Zelda style cinematic where Princess Zelda has been haunted by repeat nightmares, a bad omen for the kingdom of Hyrule. Therefore, Impa surmises the hero must be located. Cue the intimidating swarm of bad guys marching toward Hyrule Castle. The video appears of the same quality as from the first release, but impressive all the same. The real shock happens when Link picks up his Hylian Sword and joins the battle. The in-game graphics are crisp and the gameplay is fluid, which truly exhibits the processing power of the Nintendo Switch. This means that the warriors’ entrance and victory videos are enhanced. I’m convinced that very few changes were made to the graphics themselves, but the improved hardware of the console has made this gameplay smooth and enjoyable. No matter if I played on my computer monitor, or used the Switch as a handheld, changing targets, dashing to dodge, and even those massive attacks that the Dynasty Warriors series is known for were entirely flawless.
One complaint I had with the Wii U version involved co-op, either split screen or one player on the TV and one on the gamepad. Player one and player two needed to be in the same location. Once split up, player one was given priority for spawning monsters, and player two often stood with nothing for several seconds. This made taking keeps a grueling process. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition has greatly improved this. The split-screen effect of cooperative play can be a bit disorienting and I heavily relied on the map to navigate. The fact that we could conquer and divide without being hindered by the game’s inability to spawn the necessary enemies was the answer to my prayers. Another welcome change to Legend Mode (multiplayer only): player two is not limited to the characters involved in the chosen scenario, they can select from any of the unlocked characters. The downside? Player one has to choose for you.
No changes were made to the battle notifications and character dialogue, so important bits of information are still being lost. The character’s cross chatter during a battle helps develop the story, but unfortunately it’s not made prominent. The battle notifications, such as new missions, are delayed, not obvious, or never appear at all. Switching between sub weapons, arrows, bombs, and the boomerang for example, is still difficult to do on the controller, and the delay can be costly.
I haven’t forgotten Hyrule Warriors: Legends. It might have been graphically inferior, but there were so many great additional perks. As soon as I picked up Legends, I wanted the Wii U version to have the ability to jump to other playable characters on the map, warp to owl statues, have a fairy companion, or have a Wind Waker costume for Ganondorf. Finally, we have that all in one game, and it is as divine as the goddesses! Switching characters on the map is not accomplished with as much ease as using the touch screen on a Nintendo 3DS, but with a bit of practice it becomes second nature. Changing to another character in another location of the map helps to complete missions more efficiently. This gives you the opportunity to play as a character you might not normally, and you might be surprised to find you actually like their fighting style. In addition, unlock a fairy companion by finding your first fairy in Adventure Mode as early as the second quest. The fairies can be renamed, given food to help them grow, go to school to enhance skills, and change clothes for different perks. Your fairy can even accompany you in Legend Mode.
As I mentioned, I played Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U and 3DS, and now I’m playing Legend Mode again on the Switch. The replay value is still not lost, especially with all the features of both games combined on a great console. I had dedicated much time to Adventure Mode, which expanded by combining the maps from both games, and the thought of doing it once more is daunting. I’m compelled to persevere though by the rewards of unlocking costumes, weapons, and breaking pots to find more fairy companions. The music remains the same, but why change what was already good? The guitar heavy Legend of Zelda themes pump up the drive to victory!
I am pleased with this Definitive Edition of Hyrule Warriors for Nintendo Switch. Everything that I loved about the original games has been brought together perfectly. We have an extensive list of characters with most of our favorites, the same great compelling story, and many new features to keep us coming back for more. Combined with the enhanced processing power from the Nintendo Wii U to the Switch, this game is exactly where it is meant to be. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!