Here’s everything you need to know before diving into Hyrule’s past.
Announced out of the blue in September, Nintendo’s Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is currently slated to release on November 20th for the Switch. Given how it utilizes the same setting as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and how the previous Hyrule Warriors approached combat, there’s quite a bit to look forward to. But what should fans of either title look forward? Let’s take a look at 13 things you should know before picking up Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, taking place 100 years before. The Great Calamity, which saw Calamity Ganon resurrected and laying waste to the kingdom of Hyrule, is the primary focus. Link, Princess Zelda, the Champions and other forces contend with the armies of evil, battling monsters and other foes. While we already know the outcome, the primary focus is on how the war played out and its key events. There are other interesting twists, especially with how the story is set up, but it’s worth discovering those on your own.
Another cool part of the storyline is seeing younger versions of characters from Breath of the Wild. Sheikah researchers Robbie and Purah are here and we see their discovery of the Sheikah Slate first-hand; the Yiga Clan chief and his band of warriors also play a part, serving as enemies; and even Impa in her younger years is present, serving as a faithful friend to Zelda. Nintendo also promises to delve deeper into the relationships between certain characters.
Multiple Playable Characters
Much like the previous Hyrule Warriors, Age of Calamity spots a variety of playable characters. Link is available, of course, but Princess Zelda is also fully playable. The four Champions – Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urbosa – are also playable along with Impa, each having their own unique abilities. For example, Impa will unleash various Sheikah techniques to quickly devastate foes.
Breath of the Wild’s Map
If you’ve seen the world map, then its similarities to Breath of the Wild can’t be denied. Which makes sense, since this is essentially the same world (though several key differences abound). It may not be on the same size and scale but already distinguishes itself from how its predecessor handled things. Stages can be accessed from different regions in the world map – completing different missions will unlock more of that region. And yes, Sheikah Towers can be used to travel between the different regions.
Developed by Omega Force, which is known for its Musou titles like Dynasty Warriors, Age of Calamity is more about fast-paced, hack and slash combat against crowds of enemies. There are objectives to complete and troops can be commended but even if the gameplay is more action-heavy, many staple mechanics from Breath of the Wild are here. That includes parrying Guardian’s lasers, shield surfing and dodging attacks at just the right moment to unleash a Flurry Rush. You can also access different types of weapons from Link’s traditional sword and shield to two-handed clubs.
Sheikah Slate Runes
In addition to combos and special moves, characters in Age of Calamity will also make use of various Sheikah Slate runes for attacking. We’ve seen Zelda unleash these runes in different ways (like summoning a crawler of sorts that shoots out bombs) but other characters can also freeze enemies or use Magnesis to gather their weapons into a large sword and beat them down. Zelda can even use the camera,of all things, to damage foes.
Weapon durability remains one of the more controversial choices in Breath of the Wild – some fans love it, others hate it, a good portion are indifferent, you get the drift. But it won’t be an issue in Age of Calamity because weapons are unbreakable this time. Weapon upgrades and crafting are also a thing, allowing you to strengthen any current weapons or fashion new ones.
Ingredients can be gathered to take advantage of another Breath of the Wild mechanic – cooking. There are some changes though. While cooked meals can boost one’s stats, increasing damage dealt, movement speed and so on, you need to unlock the recipes first. So no discovering random recipes on your own, unfortunately. Meals are cooked before partaking in missions and used to provide a stat boost.
While we haven’t seen too much information on this, there are some puzzles in the environments to solve. With how runes were utilized in previous titles, it should be interesting to see what other puzzles crop up. But if you spot a half-buried chest, then using Magnesis will unearth it so there’s that.
The lovable Koroks also make an appearance alongside Hestu, the giant dancing Korok with maracas. There are several questions we have though. Locating Koroks and their seeds is still a thing but why? Can Hestu still use them to provide upgrades? Will he do that awesome dance each time? These are the answers we need.
If you’re on the fence about the game, then try out the free demo today. It’s available on the Nintendo eShop and offers several side missions, two story missions and much more to complete. Playable characters include Link, Zelda and Impa, which provides a nice variety of gameplay styles. And if you eventually pick up the full game, then your demo progress will carry over, letting you continue onwards.
Those crazy about Amiibos and who just happened to miss out on the four Champions from Breath of the Wild, then good news. Nintendo is relaunching these four Amiibos along with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. And though it hasn’t explicitly confirmed what their in-game functionality will be, some kind of support will be there. Either way, make sure to act fast when they’re available.
Age of Calamity will also be receiving a snazzy “Treasure Box” Deluxe Edition, though it’s only confirmed for Japan at present. Along with a physical copy of the game, you get a charm, acrylic art and a blanket designed like a paraglider. It costs 16,720 Yen which is roughly $160 but time will tell if Western audiences can also get their hands on it.