As those who read my review of Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U know I was unsure about the game entering, being someone who is proud to say they are a Zelda fan, but also being someone who did not really care for Koei Tecmo’s Warriors games it made for an interesting combination. In the end I was impressed with Hyrule Warriors and have stated on a few occasions that I think it is one of the Wii U’s best games. However history seems to be repeating itself in my head with the upcoming 3DS version, Hyrule Warriors Legends, while this version clearly includes more content wise based on new story content for characters like Linkle. It is the fact that the game runs on a weaker system among other issues that raises concerns for what exactly Hyrule Warriors Legends will offer, thankfully we did get a demo for the game on the 3DS eShop which does seem to rest my mind for the most part.
In this demo we are given access to the first level of the main story, in this case we are tasked with attempting to stop enemy forces from taking Hyrule Castle. As part of this we are not given access to the whole level with the game cutting out just after King Dodongo enters the battle, however I feel that this gives us a somewhat decent impression on what to expect from the game, along with a look at the games core design and new features.
One of the first things I wanted to touch on was how the game looks, this was one of my main concerns when this was announced for the 3DS as the Wii U version was actually a pretty good looking game. I didn’t think it would be possible for Nintendo and Koei Tecmo to condense down the game and still keep the same level of graphical prowess, in a sense I was right but in another the game actually looks really good when playing it in person which really impressed me. There are a handful of noticeable issues in terms of graphics such as less details and polish in small places but at least from what I can tell based on this demo the game still runs and holds pretty well in terms of gameplay sections.
It was worth noting as I played the amount of characters that actually appeared on screen, we do encounter the expected issue of enemies in the distance not appearing until you get closer, but this demo does show that the game can really take a lot of characters on screen. Some small moments did change such as soldiers not appearing in parts where they would in the Wii U game, but the enemies were certainly always there and they appeared in greater numbers than I thought capable on the system which was impressive.
Cutscenes are where I was most impressed, these moments when they appeared came out beautifully and the detail really holds well. I assume some modifications had to be made to help this version stand up with the cutscenes but honestly they were simply wonderful, I even had to go and play the first level of the Wii U game to compare the scenes and the Wii U version’s was only slightly better, although the Legends ones were a lot more shiny.
However there was one problem that really stood out to me that really ruined the tone of the battle and that was the sky, I know this is unimportant but I feel this may be a recurring trait across other battles in the actual game. Rather than being dark and stormy the sky is a bright blue with white clouds, honestly I think this detracts from the tone of the battle I really liked the Wii U games battlefield blanketed in an eerie darkness during the battle and this just isn’t here. We are at war in Hyrule Warriors Legends so I should not essentially be being told to be happy, it isn’t a big thing but as I said I feel this may be something carried over into the full game and it simply does take something away from these battles.
In terms of gameplay at its simplest level Hyrule Warriors Legends maintains the simple combat system that made Hyrule Warriors so great to play, this I felt has been carried over well to the 3DS with a particular nod to the New Nintendo 3DS model of system which adds more to the game. The systems small C-stick helps with targeting enemies and switching between them, a feature I didn’t notice using a regular 3DS.
Additionally I really like the expanded battle system of Hyrule Warriors Legends, as part of the demo we do get to try out the new character switching feature which allows you to switch your character between playable characters on the field. In the first battle we were afforded the opportunity to use Link, Zelda and Impa and I think this will add a lot to Legends, I don’t expect this version of the game to feel like I am the only one who is useful on the battlefield with the ability to control varying characters and own the battlefield. One thing I did notice as part of this feature was that a new mission was added to the campaign, it was only as simple as battling some big enemies but this worked when I was allowed to play as Impa while Link and Zelda were busy elsewhere. Honestly I see this feature really growing on me and allowing new opportunities in old campaign missions, at least that is how I feel right now.
Before I wrap this up there was one further issue that really bugged me while I played the demo and that was the absence of any real camera controls. The game may afford me the opportunity to lock onto enemies but this can be more annoying, and the game only allows me to see the direction I am looking in, or at least as far as I can tell. Again a small issue that I think might annoy me in the full game, though I might also get over it but right now it is a frustration.
So, does Hyrule Warriors Legends demo get me excited for the full game? This is a question that I can answer with a yes but then I feel the game is also shrouded in a lot of mystery, I wonder if the new mechanics will be as long lasting as I imagine, I also wonder what else the full game might be hiding. I was honestly surprised by the demo and I didn’t think I would be so impressed by it, I look forward to seeing the full game and seeing if my thoughts from this demo change.