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Hyrule Warriors Legends Review

"The premier handheld Warriors game"

Normally for Dynasty Warriors games, Koei would rerelease the game with more content and label it the “Xtreme Legends” version. But for Hyrule Warriors, all of the parties the made the Wii U game: Nintendo, Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja and Omega Force; collaborated to release the enhanced edition on Nintendo 3DS, named Hyrule Warriors Legends. So on less powerful hardware as well as no Xtreme in its name, can it hold up?

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First of all, if you don’t know much about Hyrule Warriors, check the review of the Wii U version here. The short version of that was this: It’s the best game in the Warriors franchise thanks to lightning quick character speed, addictive combos, the ability to lock on to important enemies as well as dodge roll and the cool character assortment. It was also my Game of the Year in 2014 despite receiving a 8.5 rating (the same with Splatoon last year in fact), proving even though you may have a few more flaws, fun and addictive gameplay always prevails.

Next perquisite for enjoying Hyrule Warriors Legends is the New Nintendo 3DS or the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Sure unlike Xenoblade Chronicles 3D it doesn’t say it’s only for the newer, more powerful model, but be warned that it 100% should have. The game runs MUCH worse on the 2DS, original 3DS and 3DS XL models as they can’t render as many enemies, clock in at a decent framerate or run in a decent speed, as the whole game seems to be in slow motion. That’s not even mentioning the New 3DS features like the C-Stick or ZL/R Trigger functions, as the only way to lock on to enemies on the older versions is up on the D-pad. So needless to say at this point, either upgrade your handheld if you haven’t, or don’t pick up the game.

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I have to admit when Nintendo announced that Hyrule Warriors was hitting 3DS, I scoffed and said it’d be a downgrade. When I saw footage, I scoffed even more thinking it looked liked an old DS game than one for New 3DS. When the game is actually in my hands, it actually shocked me how well it ran. How granted characters can’t run as fast as the Wii U one or does it render the same amount of enemies, but the 3DS one (again on New 3DS models only) looks and runs fairly well. It has a steady 30 frames/second like the Wii U version and dodges the enemy count by adding the ability to switch between three characters on the map (more on that later). All in all, while I’d rather play on the Wii U still, I’m impressed how they got this on 3DS. Don’t watch Nintendo’s trailers on the game online as they don’t accurately depict the game, play a demo instead.

Hyrule Warriors Legends contains just about all the content that was on the Wii U version, all the post-release content that was released for free and on its season pass, in addition to new characters and additions to the campaign. These new, though short, story add-ons contains the new hero Linkle as she tries to prove she’s the legendary hero, and one of Cia warping to the Wind Waker universe. I personally put over 250 hours in the original Hyrule Warriors, mainly in the Adventure Mode (which also got a new map in Legends), so I can say that this is a ton of gameplay plus more. If that’s not all, Legends has its own post-launch season pass (which will not be factored in this review). Legends lacks co-op sadly.

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Since the 3DS cannot render as many enemies that the Wii U version could, the developers added some new moves for players so that they could KO as many enemies as those playing on Wii U. First of all, all maps allow characters to switch between three characters. Unlike other Warriors games that did this, the other characters are elsewhere on the map, allowing players to warp to another area instantly and KO those monsters. In addition, the developers added Majora’s Mask’s owl statues on each map allowing instant warping to any other activated statue. This was added to offset the lack of run speed characters had in the Wii U game, but it also makes things a lot easier since time is usually your worst enemy on the maps.

Linkle wasn’t the only character added to Legends. Joining the dual-crossbow wielding airhead are Majora’s Skull Kid and Wind Waker’s Tetra, Toon Link and King Hyrule. Linkle, who controls a badass army of Cuccos by the way, adds a neat range game that tacks on the combos. Speaking of Combos, Toon Link is a monster with his speed and hits per combo that he decimates enemies. King Hyrule is slow as sin, but has an incredible AOE thanks to his transformations into the King of Red Lions. Sadly, Tetra and Skull Kid take the rear with coolness, as they’re a bit sluggish and don’t hit as much. Ganondorf was given a trident to equip as well, and it’s pretty good with some great range.

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There’s a new My Fairy mode that allows you to customize fairies. Their main purpose is to allow boosts for your character, but it’s not as much of a big deal as I thought it’d be. I rarely went to the mode as it didn’t offer much, but you might want to stop by here and there if you want that little buff in something.

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that any new gameplay elements are hitting the Wii U version, but Legends comes with an import pass that unlocks Linkle, Skull Kid, Tetra, Toon Link, King Hyrule and Ganondorf’s Trident for the console version. The new Season Pass is hitting Wii U as well, though not all the content will release for it. Nintendo is telling folks that the cheaper 3DS version is the definitive version, and while it’s hard to disagree, its unfortunate that Wii U owners got a little shafted despite paying more and having it on the TV on more powerful hardware.

If you want some addicting gameplay, the option to play as a myriad of Zelda characters and have a New 3DS, Hyrule Warriors Legends would be a great recommendation. It has tons of hours of play, multitude of modes and the ability to come back and play it again. If you played it on Wii U, it could be rough rebuying and experiencing a slightly inferior (Tech-wise) version, so it’s based on how much you want to continue playing it, and playing it all over again since you can’t transfer anything. But all-in-all, Hyrule Warriors Legends is just simply fun, and isn’t that the point?

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • Uses New 3DS functionality very well, including its horsepower
  • Tons of characters
  • Hundreds of hours of gameplay
  • New characters are neat
  • Runs well on New 3DS with good framerate
  • Devs knew game wouldn't run as well as the Wii U version, so they created new gameplay elements to offset
  • Linkle is a great addition to the Zelda universe
  • Still plays better than other Warriors games thanks to subbing jumping with dodging
  • New picture book cutscenes are adorable
Cons
  • Barely playable on older 3DS systems
  • My Fairy mode lacks substance
  • No multiplayer, even multicart play
  • Tetra and Skull Kid isn't as fun as other characters (and Agatha still isn't)
  • Characters run slower than the Wii U one

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