Video Game Thoughts: Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors was a 2014 action role-playing game for the Wii U by Omega Force and Team Ninja. The premise was simple: take all the famous characters from the Legend of Zelda universe, add a fun combat system, and let players power up the characters to amazing heights. This type of game was called “hack ‘n slash” in the old days. Each level was filled with tons of monsters to kill and several objectives to complete. The objectives had to be completed to finish the level, but killing monsters was the way to increase the character’s power.

Gameplay was split into three modes: Story, Adventure, and Challenge. Story had about twenty levels with narration and cinematics to explain what was going on. This was an alternate reality story. Nintendo did not consider it part of their Zelda timeline. Instead, Hyrule Warriors was just for fun. The story was enjoyable to me though because they incorporated three older Zelda games into it. In one section, there were three paths to follow, one for Ocarina of Time, one for Twilight Princess, and one for Skyward Sword. Each of these paths introduced new playable characters from the particular Zelda game like Darunia from Ocarina of Time or Goddess Fi from Skyward Sword. I enjoyed all the references to those older games in the story.

After the Story mode was done, it was time for Adventure mode. In this mode, a huge map from the original Legend of Zelda on NES appeared. It was split up into several “screens” on a grid. Each screen was basically a unique challenge to complete. They used the same environments as the story mode, but with a few changes. While I liked the story levels more, the adventure mode levels were pretty fun too. The real reason to do these were the special rewards. There were secret characters, weapons, and health increases (Heart Pieces) that could be unlocked by completing these adventure levels well.

The Challenge mode was kind of an afterthought. When I first got the game, there was only one level to get as many kills as possible in a short time. The game kept track of my highest score, but there was no real reason to play it more than once. The developers eventually released a patch that added a lot more features to it. They also introduced some paid downloadable content to expand it further. I didn’t play Challenge mode much at all. Adventure mode had the same bite-sized levels but also gave good rewards for them. I liked the idea though because it did keep track of a lot of cool stats. If I had played the game long enough, I would have eventually played this mode extensively, but I found Story and Adventure to be more fun.

Unfortunately, I only just barely started Adventure mode before I decided to stop playing Hyrule Warriors. It was a great game, but I wanted to start cutting back on my game playing. To do everything in Hyrule Warriors was going to take years of evenings playing it. It was the randomness more than the length that caused me to make this decision. Many things in the game were down to randomness, like getting the best weapons or finishing Adventure mode levels with high rankings. Skill was a factor too, but there was always a chance I had to replay a level several times or repeat the same content again to get the right items.

Of course, I could have taken breaks from Hyrule Warriors to do non-gaming things, but I just didn’t like the idea of this unfinished game hanging on my back urging me to finish it. I bought Hyrule Warriors because I wanted to see what an action role-playing game was like on a console. I had only ever played this kind of game on the PC with the Diablo series. I’m glad I got the chance to play Hyrule Warriors, but it reminded me why I had decided to stop playing those games before. I just don’t want to be playing games where the ultimate goals (maximizing character power) of the game depend on random chance. Hyrule Warriors was definitely less random than the Diablo games, but it was still too much for me.

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