Review – Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition
In a library comprised of titles like Breath of the Wild, Bayonetta 2, Paper Mario: Color Splash, Deus Ex Human Revolution, and many others, the original Hyrule Warriors was the one game I considered my favorite from all Wii U releases. Something about the unique blend of dumb but cathartic gameplay from the Warriors series and the beautiful use of everything the Legend of Zelda franchise had to offer captivated my nostalgic gamer heart like no other title from that neglected console.
Re-releasing Hyrule Warriors for the Switch was not a matter of “if,” it was more a matter of “when.” Every single other successful Wii U game has either been ported or is planned to be at this point. Being able to take this title on-the-go wouldn’t exactly be something new, as Hyrule Warriors is also available for the 3DS (albeit in a nigh-unplayable version), but being able to play the most complete and (supposedly) technically advanced version of the game on-the-go was already enough of a reason for me to consider getting it as soon as possible. I didn’t expect many additions and innovations for this “definitive edition,” and I wasn’t disappointed or surprised. I got the best version of Hyrule Warriors and I can now play it anywhere I want to.
For those not aware of what Hyrule Warriors is, or how it plays, think of it as a cathartic hack-n-slash in the Zelda universe. Your objective is to defeat the enemy faction by literally killing thousands of its paper-thin weak minions, help out your dim-witted allies, collect items and powerups scattered throughout the level, and defeat a boss at the end of it.
The difference between Hyrule Warriors and pretty much any other Dynasty Warriors clone out there is not only its coat of paint, but also the ways the developers managed to include gameplay elements from the Zelda franchise into it. Link (and many, many other Zelda characters) can use bows, bombs, boomerangs, recover energy with potions, find hidden Skulltulas in order to unlock bonus gifts, and so on. While most Warriors (or “Musou“) clones feel extremely same-y, this one feels like a complete breath of fresh air. And bear in mind this isn’t even the first time I’m playing it. Well, it might be if you consider all the content crammed into this port that used to be DLC for the Wii U version or 3DS-exclusive.
Technically-speaking, Hyrule Warriors is a double-edged sword. When docked, the game runs at a smooth and constant 60 frames per second, the best performance of any iteration of the game. The splitscreen co-op (an addition to this version) slows the framerate down a bit, but it’s still very playable. Considering the fact the game is rendering two screens packed with literal hundreds of enemies at the same time, it’s an impressive feat. When playing it on handheld mode, the framerate isn’t anywhere as good, however. Supposedly locked at 30fps, the game constantly fell down to 20, and even less during some cutscenes. Simply put, while it’s still infinitely more stable than the terrible 3DS version, the handheld mode performance isn’t as good as it should be. Completely playable, without a doubt, though.
The controls and sound department are pretty much the same from the Wii U version. That means that the game still retains the fantastic rock-oriented soundtrack from before, as well as the incredibly irritating tutorial fairy who gives Ocarina of Time‘s Navi a run for her money. It also means that the controls are still very functional and responsive, solely hindered by a very dated and faulty camera system. It’s still one of the best control schemes you’ll find in a Warriors-esque game, though.
Finally, there’s the question: what’s the difference between this version and the others? What’s new this time around?
The answer is simple: very little. Besides the splitscreen mode and the improved performance (when docked), the only actual “additions” this time around are two tunics for Link and Zelda, just so you can walk around dressed as their Breath of the Wild iterations.
This “lack” of new content would have been a bummer in most games, but given the fact Hyrule Warriors is packed with an absurd amount of characters, side stories and extra game modes, this isn’t too much of an issue. The amount of maps and challenges in the Adventure Mode is mouth-watering. Most AAA games would force you to pay literal hundreds of dollars worth of DLC in order to provide you with half of what this game offers right from the getgo.
This new version of Hyrule Warriors doesn’t bring many new features to the table, but if you’re looking for the best portable version of this amazing game (even if it runs quite poorly when not docked) and the version with the largest amount of content, don’t even think twice. This is the best Warriors-styled game I have ever played, and a complete must if you’re a Zelda fan. This is fanservice done right, a true love letter to the Zelda franchise.
Retains the same visuals and not-so-impressive resolution from the Wii U version with some small improvements. Runs smoothly when docked, runs filled with slowdowns when on portable mode.
It combines the Warriors control scheme with a few Zelda tweaks. The controls are responsive, but the game’s camera is beyond annoying.
A wide array of classic Zelda tunes with a hard rock twist. Every single song in the game is beyond amazing. Whoever thought including the infamous “Hey! Listen!” line was a good idea during tutorials needs to get fired, though.
Fun Factor: 9.0
It doesn’t have many additions over the 3DS and Wii U versions, but the sheer amount of content, cathartic fun, and portability (running better than the 3DS version, of course) more than make up for it.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Also available on: Wii U, 3DS (non-Definitive versions)