Review: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is one big love letter to Breath of the Wild fans

A better story in every single way.

Ever since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild released back in 2017, I have been longing to learn more about the world, its history, and its characters. More importantly, though, I have always been curious about what exactly happened to cause the world to fall into ruin in the first place.

The DLC for Breath of the Wild came and went but only added extra things to do, not much lore. While a sequel for the game has been confirmed to be coming to the Switch in the future, fans were still left wondering what exactly happened in Hyrule 100 years ago.

With Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, we finally get the answer to those burning questions, the chance to explore the massive world before it fell into chaos, and to finally learn the truth about what happened during the Great Calamity.

The prequel unfolds

In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, you play as a series of characters from the Breath of the Wild series 100 years before the events of the previous game. Unlike a traditional Zelda game, however, you play through the events in a hack-and-slash Musuo-style game (or Warriors, as it is also known in certain countries). For those unfamiliar with the genre, Museo games have you fighting down thousands of enemies in a large-scale battle while trying to complete objectives, quests, and secrets.

The game was made by Koei Tecmo, the creator of the Dynasty Warriors series, and it’s the second Hyrule Warriors game. It does not follow any of the storyline from the original Wii U game which, for those who haven’t played it, was an original story that included characters from various Zelda titles from the past two decades.

While I won’t go much into the story of Age of Calamity due to spoilers, what I can say is that this version of Hyrule includes a time-traveling companion which leads to… shenanigans.

The story, though, is nearly perfect, and by far more than I could have hoped for. It’s full of surprises, depth, and great characters, and it’s clearly a big labor of love by the Koei Tecmo team toward the Zelda series, and Breath of the Wild in particular.

Strong from start to finish

I'm Starting To Actually Get Excited About 'Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity '

There is so much on offer in this game. For starters, you have a huge cast of characters from Breath of the Wild, with each having their own unique skill set. Each has their distinct weapon, apart from Link, who can wield a sword and shield, two-handed sword, and a spear — he’s the only character in the game to have multiple weapon types and gameplay options at his disposal.

Outside of the main story, you will also be able to take part in a series of optional challenges. Even on the easiest difficulty, some of these challenges are a true test of skill that button-mashers won’t be able to overcome. You must use each character’s strengths, weaknesses, and skills to overcome these challenges on your journey to 100% completion. 

There are a host of secrets, including hidden characters and new costumes for Link, littered around the map to find. You even get to ride each of the four Champion’s Divine Beasts from Breath of the Wild. These are little segments that allow you to take on hoards of 10,000 enemies and lay waste to them in small battlefields.

All these optional and story quests flesh out the characters of the Breath of the Wild universe. You finally get to see what the champions were like in the past, how they interacted with each other, and more. In the end, you wind up caring about these characters far more here than in Nintendo’s 2017 epic.

The grind

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details

Age of Calamity will not be for everyone. For those unfamiliar with the Musou genre, the games are quite grindy, with you having to fight hordes of enemies again and again to get items in hopes of progressing and leveling up your characters. 

For those who just want to complete the main quest, that shouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re looking to collect everything, you can expect to be playing for several hundred hours before you have all the resources you need.

The combat can get pretty repetitive, and you’ll often be sticking to the same combo buttons that deal the most damage. Fights and bosses turn into button-mashing free-for-alls as you whittle down long health bars, then move right onto the next foe.

We also need to talk about Divine Beast segments of the game again for being a bit lacking. While they were hyped up in the trailers, the Divine Beast portions are linear at best and will have you crying for more. It’s a bit disappointing, but still, it’s pretty fun.

The verdict

Age of Calamity: How long does it take to beat the new Hyrule Warriors? –  HITC

All in all, Age of Calamity is really good. The story is so much better than much of what we got in Breath of the Wild, and there is hundreds of hours of content to play with.

The sheer amount of characters, all with their own movesets and abilities, means there is something for everyone. The game is also filled to the brim with secrets, hidden collectibles, and puzzles that even die-hard Zelda fans will struggle with.

It is challenging, entertaining, emotional, and above all else, it’s fun. It’s the pinnacle of the Musou series, and fans of both Zelda and the Musou franchise will be screaming for more. It is far better than the Original Hyrule Warriors and is another amazing title in the Switch’s ever-growing library of excellent titles.

Final score:

9 / 10

+ Excellent story that is far better than the one told in Breath of the Wild
+ Compelling characters and gameplay
+ Tons of content and secrets which will keep you entertained for hours
+ One of the best Warriors and Zelda games to date.
May be a little grindy and repetitive for some players.
Disclosure: A copy of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was provided for review by Nintendo