Overall, the Gameplay is about the same as in the Original: the characters crush large groups of enemies with light and heavy strike combinations and strike bosses at the right time to reduce their vulnerability indicator. You can also power special strikes. In Age of Calamity, each character has a unique action that they can perform with ZR, and some are definitely better than others. And in addition to all this, Sheikah slate runes and elemental stems from Breath of the Wild also return here. At first, it’s totally overwhelming, because there are so many different things to follow, and many of them differ depending on the character. But once you get used to the way everything works, it’s actually nice to have all these different options. Runes, in particular, bring the necessary variety to the action against great enemies. While people tend to look at Warriors games in a way that focuses on eliminating waves upon waves of weaker enemies, Hyrule Warriors, in particular, offers a lot of great bosses and other great opponents. You can’t just hack and slash them; they have to dodge their strikes and strike when their vulnerability indicators are visible. It can get annoying, and I certainly feel like Age of Calamity is overusing them, to the point that it rarely makes sense to action against smaller enemies. But at least the runes make them a little more interesting.
Another annoying aspect of the first game was the story missions; they often had to run back and forth to protect certain areas and had several accompanying missions. Some of them return in Age of Calamity, but overall there seem to be much fewer of them. I would almost be afraid of the story missions in The Original, but the developers seem to have got the message. Overall, there aren’t a lot of them, but there are a lot of bonus missions and other things that concern you. Of course, this goes hand in hand with a measurement of loops. You can’t just jump from one Story Mission to the next and expect to succeed; your characters have to be at a certain level to do that. And while I appreciate spreading the game a bit, sometimes it can seem a bit over the top.
The adventure mode of the first Hyrule Warriors replaces the world map based on that of Breath of the Wild. Different points on the map offer opportunities to improve your characters, additional missions and others. Although it makes sense to distribute the missions on the map, using this rather complex system for character upgrades and the like seems tedious and confusing. And certainly, you can filter things in a List, but you also have to worry about where you can collect different ingredients and the like. However, other attempts to make Age of Calamity like Breath of the Wild are more successful. The user interface has been completely redesigned to match the success of the main series, as well as the graphics and environment. The runes and The Sheik slate appear as mentioned above, and you can always distract the guard shots or dodge perfectly to have a free opportunity to hit the enemies. In this way, it really feels like a return to Breath of the Wild, even if the Gameplay is ultimately very different.
But it wasn’t just the locations and characters from my favorite game that got me excited, and that’s where I have to give a spoiler warning. Under this next screenshot, I’m going to talk about the story, so if you want to experience it yourself, you might want to skip to the summary at the end.
Age of Calamity was booked as a prequel to Breath of the Wild, and to a large extent, it’s exactly that. We see Hyrule in the era of great misfortune and get a glimpse of the characters and how they became who they are 100 years after. The story is not as deep as we might hope, but since we already knew a lot about this period from the flashbacks of Breath of the Wild, it fills things in pretty well. What might upset some players, however, is that it’s not exactly a Prequel. This is actually an alternative timeline. The opening shows that at the moment when Zelda woke up to her sealing power in the main storyline, a tiny guardian was sent to the past to avoid the great misfortune. For this reason, while the first half of the game more or less serves its purpose as a prequel, it’s a little different. And in the second half, things are completely different. It’s not the dark story I was hoping for and I found it disappointing. But this does not mean that sometimes it is not emotionally powered, nor that it is not well said or does not fill in the gaps as one might expect.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is primarily a warrior game, just like its predecessor. It’s not on the same level as the game that inspired it. But Fans of Breath of the Wild should try it anyway, because it’s a great opportunity to come back to this world and do more with their characters. There are a few frustrating glitches here and there, but overall, Musou’s gameplay is excellent and varied. And although the story is not as dark as I expected, it is still convincing and worth following. If you like Warriors and Zelda or if you just want more Breath of the Wild before the sequel is released, I highly recommend Age of Calamity.