Leading up to its Nintendo Switch debut, Hyrule Warriors has had a pretty interesting life cycle. Originally released on the Wii U in 2014, Hyrule Warriors blending of Dynasty Warriors with The Legend of Zelda universe ended up making the game into a pretty big hit. After a few DLC packs, the game also came to the 3DS in 2016 with Hyrule Warriors: Legends. Legends included new elements like the Wind Waker scenarios and more. You can find Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends reviews all over the web from back when the game initially launched on Wii U and 3DS. So before I jump into story and combat details, I’ll talk Switch differences specifically.
Four years out from its initial release, the definitive Hyrule Warriors experience is upon us, and the amount of content included is pretty insane. You get to choose from a whopping total of 29 different characters, including all the downloadable content from the previous two iterations. Literally, every piece of content made its way over to the Switch version, including a key gameplay element added to the 3DS port, the ability to switch between characters on the battlefield mid-match.
The whole package is here; Legend, Challenge, Adventure, and Free Modes. As well as a 3D ‘My Fairy’ mode where you nurture and raise your own companion fairies. The cherry on top of this Zelda cake is a brand-new addition to the Definitive Edition; Breath of the Wild outfits for Link and Princess Zelda! While a $60.00 price tag is pretty steep for a four-year-old game, at least there’s plenty of content packed in that will keep you busy for a long time.
Unfortunately, during the time of writing this review, Nintendo hasn’t given any information on Hyrule Warrior: Definitive Edition’s specs differences, so I can’t provide you any details on resolution or frames-per-second. If I had to guess, it looks like the resolution is bumped up a bit from the Wii U version. The Switch port is also a lot brighter than the Wii U version, making combat look more flashy than ever.
You can also have 2-player multiplayer on one Nintendo Switch console both in TV mode and on the device itself. Lastly, the game can be played with a single Joy-Con controller. I believe this version of Hyrule Warriors adds enough new features and previously released DLC to justify double-dipping if you already own one version of the game. If you already own the game on both Wii U and 3DS then I don’t think it’s necessary to purchase for a third time unless you’re a die-hard Zelda or Dynasty Warriors fan.
Aside from the Switch-related details, the game is largely the same experience as before. As you probably already know, the gameplay in Hyrule Warriors is far from a Zelda game and more akin to the previously mentioned Dynasty Warriors series: meaning lots of action and non-stop hordes of enemies to eradicate. The amount of different weapons, combos, and characters is insane, and they’re a blast to try out. Some characters are more fun to use than others, but all of them have unique fighting styles that are worth giving a shot. But I must say, Shiek is by far my favorite, her ninja-like attacks are the coolest! In short, combat is satisfying and features some awesome callbacks to The Legend of Zelda series. Honestly, the game feels like one big pile of fan-service; which I’m totally ok with. I love seeing iconic characters from the Zelda series in action and more badass than ever.
The game features a story that is mildly entertaining but the most impressive part of it is the amount of work put into the cinematic cutscenes. There is a surprising amount of a focus on storytelling in Hyrule Warriors. Even more than a lot of mainline Zelda titles — it totally caught me off guard. In terms of pacing, the enemy and environmental change-ups made sure things never felt stale. I was engaged throughout the entire main story. However, after beating Legend Mode and trying out the other modes, none of them were extraordinary. When you’re not following a story or constantly seeing new enemies and environments, the gameplay starts to lose its fun factor. As my final gripe, keeping track of all the character’s upgrades, weapons, and stats was a bit overwhelming. After a while, I just started rushing through the upgrade menus so I could get back to the action. But at least the option is there for people who do want to tinker with every little thing.
As I mentioned before, the vanilla game of Hyrule Warriors has been available for four years. Which, even with all its new bells and whistles, is still a huge portion of this game. Odds are, if you weren’t a fan of the game on 3DS or Wii U, or have never enjoyed the Dynasty Warriors series, this is not the game for you. If you have been waiting for the right time to jump into a Dynasty Warriors-like game and you love The Legend Zelda, there is no greater choice than Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition comes packed with a ton of content to sink your teeth into. The game is overflowing with fan-service that any Zelda fan can appreciate. With impressive cinematics, smooth combat, and loads of bonus content, this is best Hyrule Warriors has ever been.