Tag Archives: Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

Developer(s) – Nintendo EAD

Publisher(s) – Nintendo 

Director(s) – Shigeru Miyamoto & Takashi Tezuka

Producer(s) – Shigeru Miyamoto

PEGI – 7


There are few games that have had as much of an impact on the industry as The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who based the game on his childhood, whereby he would explore the countryside of Kyoto, Japan, traversing forests, glades, and caves. He created it to try and recapture the feeling of exploration he had when he was a kid. And the game has a heavy emphasis on exploration for a game of the time, as well as combat and puzzle-solving; things that would go on to become staples of the series. Although This game wasn’t the first to do a lot of the things it does, indeed the designers also took a great deal of inspiration from the Ys series by Nihon Falcom, The Legend of Zelda did all these things bigger, better and all at once, therefore going on to become more influential. 


Graphics – 8/10

Though a fraction of the quality of a modern-day AAA mainstream in terms of the technical side of the graphics, back in the day, they were exemplary. The developers did an exceptional job with this game, especially taking into account the lack of outlines and the limited color palette of the NES console. Locations vary from the countryside to mountains to lakes to dungeons; again, all things which would go on to become series tropes, with the likes of Death Mountain and Lake Hylia. The conceptual design would also go on to be adapted bigger and better for future titles, with enemies such as iron knuckles, gohmas, and moblins going on to become iconic. 


Gameplay – 8/10

The objective of the game is to explore the landscape of Hyrule to find the missing pieces of the triforce artifact in order to defeat the game’s final boss Ganon. Along the way, there are weapons and armor upgrades to find as well as new items used to traverse new areas and solve puzzles in the game’s dungeons and take on what have now become some of the most memorable boss fights of the NES era. Unless you have a strategy guide, however, there’s not much direction given. Even a lot of the elders that can be found throughout the game give hints that are actually translation errors. For example, the elder who says “10th enemy has the bomb” was supposed to have said “look for the lion key” But these days, that kind of thing only adds to the charm of the game, and with a strategy guide, it’s pretty enjoyable; players won’t have to waste hours of their time trying to bomb every piece of wall to see if it will reveal a secret opening like what kids back in the day found themselves doing. Outside the dungeons, there are a lot of additional items to discover, such as more powerful swords and health upgrades. When players acquire more weapons and items from dungeons, it only adds to the overall experience making it more enjoyable as time goes on. 


Controls – 8/10

The control scheme of this game isn’t perfect, however. After being introduced to the series at a later time with A Link to the Past, I could see how much the original game was sorely lacking the feature of being able to move Link diagonally. As he can only be moved up, down, left and right, it can cause unnecessary complications; especially at times when the player is surrounded by enemies in some of the later stages of the game. Besides which, however, the player interface was actually unlike most things are seen in gaming prior, and it’s impressive to think how many different items the player could equip with what was quite a limited control scheme by default. 


Lifespan – 7/10

The game can be made to last there around 2 to 3 hours, which whilst meager by today’s standards was revolutionary at the time. It’s double that, even, taking into account the additional hard mode that was added to the game due to the excess amount of space left on the cartridge. I personally would’ve preferred a bigger world with more to do than to have had the hard mode added, but I’m nitpicking at this point; there were few games that were made to last longer at the time. 


Storyline – 8/10

The original Legend of Zelda game is set in what Nintendo calls the era of the decline following the events of A Link Between Worlds. It introduces us to the game’s protagonist Link, who must assemble the triforce of courage in order to defeat Ganon and rescue Princess Zelda, thus saving Hyrule from Ganon’s tyranny. Future games in the series would go on to tell this story in increasingly inventive ways, but this is where it all began. Born partly from a few scrapped ideas that found themselves into later games in the series, the story is an epic odyssey that despite how many times it gets repeated, still holds up to this day. 


Originality – 9/10

Though like any good game it had its share of influences, this game was revolutionary at the time and would go on to become a beloved classic and played by millions all over the world for 35 years now. It spawned an entire series of beloved games within that time, many considered by fans to be better than the original, but in many other fan’s minds, this remains to be one of the best; if not, the best. It birthed one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises and provided a gaming experience like never before. 



Overall, while The Legend of Zelda isn’t my personal favorite in the franchise, (by some distance, that honor would go to Ocarina of Time), the fact of the matter remains that it is, and always will be a classic. Whilst presenting some issues in conjunction with the time this game came out, the enjoyment to be had and wonders to discover far outweigh any of those issues and remains a certified pleasure to play after all these years. 



8/10 (Very Good)

Q&A With Pixel Heart Studios

For my next foray into the discovery of new titles on crowdfunding platforms, I found another title in development, which was particularly significant to me as a Legend of Zelda fan. Airoheart, under development at  Pixel Heart Studio operating out of Gold Coast, Australia, is a 16-BIT adventure RPG created as a clear love letter to the classic Super NES title, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, whilst at the same time taking influence from other classic RPG series; such as Final Fantasy. The game boasts a massive open world, puzzle-solving, and combat. The project has been successfully funded on Kickstarter and is due for release very soon, much to my excitement. Eager for more knowledge of this excellent-looking title, I contacted the game’s lead designer, Samuel North, to have answered a few questions I had in regards to this game and what made Pixel Hearts want to create a game in the same vein as the beloved Nintendo classic. Here’s what Samuel North of Pixel Heart Studios had to say about Airoheart:


Airoheart 1

What were the influences behind your game?

Of course, the main influence of Airoheart is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I was a big Nintendo player and was also inspired by the storytelling found in the Final Fantasy series. I always felt that’s where the Zelda franchise had fallen short. Yes, it had charming worlds and characters, but I never really connected to any of them on an emotional level as I did with many of Final Fantasy’s characters and stories.


I always (personally) preferred the gameplay in TLOZ… it’s open-world exploration, real-time combat, and puzzle-solving/platforming combinations. And, knowing how brilliant A Link to the Past was, especially its world, level designs, and progression. It was always in the back of my mind. “Why aren’t there more games like this?” “I wish there were more like this!”. So, after finishing my College studies in Game Development. It wasn’t long before I knew it was the kind of game I had to make! I had the mindset of combining the richer storytelling from FF and bring it into a new world that played somewhat like ALTTP.


Airoheart 2

What has the developmental process been like?

One huge learning experience… I had created several smaller projects in college and all had been 3D games, so it was the first time doing 2D. I had to learn a new way of programming things. But with just myself working on the project at the start, I had to learn and do everything, from all of the pixel art graphics, HUD/UI, programming, and sound design.

It has been a lot of fun though, and seeing how far we’ve grown as developers is very humbling. If you could see some of the pixel art assets I had created for the game, in the beginning, you’d be shocked. Quite bad! But it’s okay, it has been a long process of developing skills and just going back over things again and again, and making them better and better. While everyone can always be improving their skills, we’ve certainly hit our ‘groove’ now, so to speak and development is not slowing down!


How close are we to seeing the finished product?

Very close, it has come such a long way! I believe we are on the home stretch. I still wouldn’t want to release until everything is perfect though. That’s something we all agree on.


What has been the most exciting aspect of development?

The world-building… Creating a new world, with new characters, writing stories, backgrounds, and lore. Just making the world come to life and feel fun to explore is really rewarding! We love seeing the characters we’ve created come to life and interacting together, having story scenes play out.


Airoheart 3

What has been the most challenging aspect of development?                 

Honestly, having fresh mechanic ideas in particular for dungeon rooms, platforming, and puzzle creations. We’ve got all your typical dungeon standards… your pressure plate traps, swinging ball and chains, fall pits, etc. things you see all the time. So, we want more mechanics that are less conventional. For example, at the moment we are incorporating the rune/magic system into the room puzzles to a greater degree. We have a Rune that turns the player into a feather (the main purpose previously was for losing aggro from enemies), now if you turn into a feather above a grate, you can fall through it and land in the room below. Things we hope are new and interesting to players and encourage lateral thinking.


You mention on the Kickstarter page that the dream doesn’t end with Airoheart. Have any ideas for future games been considered this early on?

Absolutely… Airoheart is certainly a foundation that we can build on in the future, and an IP we want to expand. Its core gameplay is rooted in its storytelling, exploration, dungeons, platforming, and puzzle-solving, just like its inspirations. But all that can act as a base, in which for future titles we would love to add things like professions, crafting, survival, social affinity/reputation, house building, a much larger world and plot, the list could go on. This is a genre not seen too often, and it is one we would love to expand upon and even bring into the mainstream if we can. This can be done by sticking to it and building upon it more and more. Ideas for a second title’s story have formed and also what we want it to look like, not only visually but gameplay-wise too.


How well has the game been received so far?

Really well, it’s exciting and very encouraging to see how many people also want another game of this genre. It’s definitely a big nostalgia hit for a lot of people including ourselves.


What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?

Initially PC and Mac, but afterward all the main consoles, so PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. That will take more time and funding to develop.


Obviously, Airoheart is a heartfelt love letter to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. What are your fondest memories of that game?

Simply exploring that world for the first time, spending hours upon hours discovering every little secret I could when I was young. There was really nothing like it at the time.


Have there been any ideas at this stage of development that has since been scrapped or reworked?

Yes, I had initially planned to have a gathering and crafting system for multiple professions such as alchemy, blacksmithing, and carpentry. I had also begun to incorporate a leveling system where the player could increase their strength or speed among other attributes. After a lot of thought and discussion about the scope, time, and budget constraints. And also considering the overall game itself, we decided certain aspects such as these were not necessary and were just going to take up valuable time and possibly make the game more complicated than what was needed. For example; would leveling have been necessary for A Link to the Past? We didn’t think so. Rather, we decided to leave such things to a later and also bigger title.


If you had the opportunity to develop a game with any company or any franchise, which would it be, and why?

That’s a hard question, but probably Square-Enix back in the 1990s. There are so many beloved titles I would have loved to have had a part in.


Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?

Yes, follow your heart. Make the kind of game that you want to see out there. Not just those that make the most money, like multiplayer. It will help you get through a very long and challenging process. Develop self-discipline and time management skills, I’ve found these to be equally as important as any programming or artistic skills.


Where on the Internet can people find you?

The best place to find us would be on our website at https://www.pixelheartstudio.com/ which has links to our FB and Kickstarter page too.


Do you have anything else to add?

Yes, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been interested in or supported Airoheart! You don’t realize the world of difference it makes for small indie studios such as ourselves to hear your kind words and encouragements. Indie’s really put their hearts on the line when they put their games out there for the world to see. Every single one of you is greatly appreciated and we wouldn’t be here without you! Thank you. 


I’d also like to thank Samuel for taking the time to share with me and readers the details of this incredible-looking title and to wish him the best of luck with the game upon release. If you’re interested in helping Pixel Heart reach their stretch goals on Kickstarter, you can support them via the link below:


In the meantime, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it and talking with Samuel about this game; The Legend of Zelda series is my favorite gaming franchise of all time, and I’m always excited to see new games made in the same vein.

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch & Wii U)

Developer(s) – Nintendo EPD

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director – Hidemaro Fujibayashi

Producer – Eiji Aonuma

PEGI – 12


Four years in development, and released as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch, as well as being the last game to be produced by Nintendo for the Wii U, and met with an overwhelming amount of critical acclaim, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild retains some conventions of the Zelda series, but gives players a much more open-world and open-ended experience than ever before. It also incorporates elements new to the series, such as breakable weapons, cooking food, and brewing elixirs, using a variety of different armor sets and a massive variety of things to do and quests to complete, which puts many open-world games to shame. Whilst this isn’t my favorite Zelda title (that honor would go to Ocarina of Time), Breath of the Wild has unanimously cemented itself as, in my opinion, one of the greatest video games ever developed, and most certainly worth the amount of praise it has been given worldwide.


Graphics – 10/10

Incorporating cel-shaded visuals reminiscent of games in the Wind Waker series, as well as Skyward Sword, Breath of the Wild takes place in a post-apocalyptic Hyrule, which is mostly abandoned countryside with the exception of a few small settlements and towns, including Gerudo Town, Rito Village, Goron City, Zora’s Domain and both Kakariko and Hateno Village. Despite the devastation that ravaged Hyrule a century prior to the start of the story, the in-game world looks captivating, to say the least. Hyrule still retains a staggering level of natural beauty, as well as curious ruins and additional places to explore.

It’s also interesting as a Zelda fan to be able to identify the many different buildings that have appeared throughout the series that now lie in ruins, such as Lon Lon Ranch, the Temple of Time, and the Bridge of Hylia. The game’s soundtrack also does extremely well to add to the atmosphere of this new Hyrule, as well as fit in with each respective situation the player may find themselves in, be that either simply traveling throughout the land in peace, or when battling monsters or mini-bosses. It’s also refreshing to see that the conceptual design of the series, in general, has undergone some dramatic changes, concerning elements like Link and Zelda’s conceptual design, as well as the elements of futuristic technology that existed in mass before the events of the game, such as the Guardians, the shrines and the watchtowers scattered throughout Hyrule.


Gameplay – 10/10

The gameplay has also been dramatically changed to give players a Zelda experience like no other since. The main objective is of course to defeat Ganon, but players may choose to either put this off for as long as possible and go off and do many other things there are to do in the game, or they can even choose to go straight ahead to the final boss from the get-go. Either way, players will not be at a loss for how best they wish to approach the game. Players will also not find themselves with a lack of things to do, since there are a wide range of different side quests and collectible items to find, such as building your own house, completing all 120 shrines, finding all 900 Korok seeds, finding Link’s lost memories, filling the Hyrule Compendium and conquering the four divine beasts to name but a few. As far as gameplay goes, it is unanimously the most extensive Zelda game in terms of things to do, and I was thoroughly impressed from start to finish.


Controls – 10/10

In terms of controls, I also didn’t come across any unnecessary complications. The climbing system is actually reminiscent of what a lot of people tend to do when playing games such as Skyrim and Oblivion; trying to find the best route to climb up mountains despite how steep they may be. In Skyrim and Oblivion, for example, players do this without the game encouraging them to do so, but in Breath o the Wild, this is actually an integral part of the gameplay and is widely encouraged. The combat system can also present a welcome level of challenge in my opinion; especially against multiple enemies.


Lifespan – 10/10

With a massive amount of activity to engage in, Breath of the Wild can easily be made to last over the 100-hour mark, which dwarfs the lifespan of every other major entry in the Zelda series, as well as a vast majority of video games in general. Zelda games would generally last a long time prior, but the sheer scale of this game puts every one of them to shame in this respect.


Storyline – 10/10

The place of Breath of the Wild in the Zelda timeline is uncertain, as Nintendo has not revealed that, but the game takes place in the land of Hyrule 10,000 years after Calamity Ganon had attempted to invade the land, but was thwarted by Link and Zelda, with the aid of four divine beasts and futuristic technology developed by the Sheikah race. A century prior to the start of the story, Princess Zelda conducted further research on Sheikah technology and chose four champions to pilot the divine beast in case Ganon were ever to return. Upon Ganon’s return, he turned the divine beasts and the Sheikah technology against Hyrule, using it to ravage the land, while he remained confined to Hyrule Castle. After fighting the menace, Zelda returns to Hyrule Castle in order to ensure that Ganon is kept confined there, whilst link is taken to the Shrine of Resurrection to awake 100 years after Ganon’s return when he is then tasked with freeing the divine beasts, and to finally defeat Ganon, and drive him out of Hyrule once again.

Being the first main entry in the Zelda series to include voice acting, the story is a lot more emotionally charged than ever before, and it offers a much newer perspective on each character, excluding Link, who is still the same silent protagonist. Although the voice acting is a little below par, the game’s story is a welcome departure from many conventions of past Zelda titles; the portrayal of Princess Zelda herself, for me, being the best feature. Players are sternly reminded of the reason why the series is named The Legend of Zelda since she carries an aura of mystery and beauty, and to a much greater extent than before, a great depth to her character that Shigeru Miyamoto was inspired by in the first place when naming her after Zelda Fitzgerald; the wife of the American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Originality – 9.5/10

Breath of the Wild is definitely much more evolutionary than it is revolutionary in my opinion, which is why I would personally place it beneath Ocarina of Time. Regardless, the game takes the concept of open-world gameplay, and introduces a wide range of new ideas and gameplay elements, making it one of the most unique titles of the eighth generation. It seems Nintendo has looked at a lot of limitations in open-world gaming and developed on them, such a in the case of climbing mountains compared to The Elder Scrolls games. I’ve heard people complaining that there isn’t enough in Breath of the Wild to make it seem like a Zelda game, but to me, that’s a reason that makes the game stand out so much in a positive way since Nintendo has become accused by critics of merely recycling the games, and giving them a new coat of paint; particularly where games for the Wii U are concerned. But to me personally, the departures that this game seems to have taken from the rest of the series are positive ones, and it makes for the best Nintendo gaming experience in a very long time.



Overall, Breath of the Wild is most certainly one of the best games Nintendo has ever developed, as well as being one of the best games ever developed in general. There is a lot of things to do, the world of Hyrule has never looked so compelling, and layers will be engaged in the story on an entirely different level to anything seen in the series before.



9.5/10 (Outstanding)

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Developer(s) – Nintendo R&D 4

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director(s) – Tadashi Sugiyama & Yoichi Yamada

Producer(s) – Shigeru Miyamoto

PEGI – 3


Released the year after the original game, and to universal acclaim and sales eventually peaking at over 4 million units worldwide, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link made many radical departures from the first game. Whilst exploration and travel was handled using the top-down perspective synonymous with the first Legend of Zelda, combat was represented through a 2D side-scrolling perspective, and working very similarly to games such as Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, thus joining a class of NES sequels that were drastically different to their predecessors, alongside Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters and most famously, Super Mario Bros 2. Personally, I found that although this formula has never been able to quite match the same level of enjoyment with the classic top-down Zelda formula used in the likes of A Link to the Past or A Link Between Worlds, I still found the first game extremely entertaining, and a strong entry in the series that still holds up even after almost 30 years.


Graphics – 8/10

Making a significant departure from its predecessor, the second game in the Legend of Zelda series displayed many improvements in visual presentation from a technical standpoint. Sprites and scenery are much more detailed, and there is an abundance in enemy variety; some of which have gone on to become staples of the series, such as the Moblins, the Iron Knuckles, and perhaps most notably, Dark Link. In the timeline of the series, this game is the latest following the game over scenario in Ocarina of Time, which leads to the decline of the land of Hyrule, so like many of the games in the series, it has a level of conceptual design that has since continued to deviate away from many familiar elements like Hyrule Castle and Kakariko Village, and thus, it still continues to stand out in this respect. It’s also interesting to consider how the names of towns in this game were later reworked into other entries; most notably, Ocarina of time.


Gameplay – 7/10

The developers adopted a style of play for the second Zelda game that went against almost everything the original game was based on, and a style of play that has not really been seen in the series since. Instead of the game solely focusing on the bird’s eye view synonymous with 2D Zelda games, the developers instead opted to use 2D side-scrolling mechanics for the combat side and even incorporated a classic RPG style of play whereby Link would level up in order to become stronger over time. Whilst Nintendo has never chosen to focus on this style of play again (and most definitely for the better in my opinion), it still made for a particularly fun game; certainly one of the better titles on the NES. Combat is addictive, as well as challenging. Whilst it may not have been innovative for the time, since it was largely based on games such as Castlevania and Faxanadu, it still worked surprisingly well.


Controls – 9/10

Since both styles of play portrayed in the game were quite prominent at the time, especially 2D side-scrolling, there are no problems with this game for the most part. The mechanic of the player having to periodically switch between both was seamlessly handled, and combat was handled almost as well as most other games it was based on. The only bad thing I would say about it, as was indeed the case with a fair few side scrollers on the NES (most notably both Castlevania and Mega Man) is that the controls can at times be a little bit stiff and slow to register player commands, which adds an unnecessary degree of annoyance. Thankfully, since this game is much accessible than both the aforementioned examples, it doesn’t cause anywhere near as much of a problem.


Lifespan – 8/10

In all, Zelda II can take around 3 and a half hours to complete to 100%, which by today’s standards may seem like nothing, but it was exceptionally long for the time. Generally, games took little more than an hour or to complete, but there were exceptions made to this rule in titles such as the first two Zelda games, as well as Metroid, Dragon Warrior, and Final Fantasy. Though it may be understandable to wish for a longer lifespan, since the game is certainly addictive enough to warrant at least a few more hours of play, hardware limitations at that time should be taken into consideration.


Storyline – 8/10

The story of the second game takes place some years after the first game during the era of Hyrule’s decline. Princess Zelda has fallen under a sleeping spell, and it is up to Link to seek out Zelda’s caretaker Impa to find a way of breaking the curse, as well as stopping followers of the evil wizard Ganon, who plan to kill Link and use his blood to bring their master back to Hyrule. Interestingly, I found that Zelda II introduced many darker aspects of the series that would also be seen in later entries, such as mature themes and hints of ritualistic behavior reminiscent of the likes of Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. It’s considered a black sheep of the series in terms of gameplay by most fans, but I believe it can also be considered as such in terms of the story too since it has a fairly prominent dark undertone to it. Although games at the time generally relied on players reading the manual, for the most part, it, of course, adds to the experience to look for things like this within the actual game.


Originality – 8/10

As I previously mentioned, Zelda II belongs to a group of sequels that were drastically different from their predecessors, and consequently, this game stands out much more than many others at the time; but in all, in a positive way. Though there would be many future games in the series released that would surpass the quality of this entry, it’s still an extremely pleasurable experience in its own right, which is owed largely to how much it stands out from the rest of the entire Zelda saga.




Overall, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a very strong entry, both despite and because of how different it is to any other Zelda game, and I would recommend it like I would recommend most others in the series. Exploration is rewarded greatly, combat is very addictive, and in my opinion, it is a game that is likely to hold up for another 30 years.



8/10 (Very Good)

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U, 3DS & Switch)

Developer(s) – Omega Force & Team Ninja

Publisher(s) – Nintendo & Koei Tecmo

Director – Masaki Furusawa

Producer(s) – Hisashi Koinuma, Yosuki Hayashi & Eiji Aonuma

PEGI – 12


Hyrule Warriors is a title that combines elements from both the hack and slash gameplay from the Dynasty Warriors series and the world of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series; as well as its many RPG aspects. Going into this title, I was instinctively skeptical, since the Zelda series is one of my favorites and I saw the entire joint venture as a huge gamble on Nintendo’s part. However, I was quite surprised to find how good a game it actually is.


Graphics – 6.5/10

In lieu of the Zelda tradition, the game is conceptually diverse. It incorporates not only a plethora of different elements from different games in the series but a lot of the different visual styles of the different games too. The in-game visuals are very reminiscent of the likes of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, and some of the cutscenes take on a style more akin to a cartoon, similar to Wind Waker. There are also a lot of nice-looking FMV sequences throughout the game to accompany all this. It makes me wonder why Nintendo has Scarcely approved of the use of FMVs in their games. After all, they also worked pretty well in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze too. Some of the new characters do a good job of keeping the series fairly free too. The best example of that to me is Volga; an enemy character based on the boss of the Fire Temple in Ocarina of Time; Volvagia. The issues I have with the graphics stem from the technical side of things. I have spotted a good few glitches while playing, and sometimes the frame rate can drop when enough enemies are on the screen, which makes me question the hardware capabilities of the Wii U.


Gameplay – 7.5/10

Despite the fact that the game is very repetitive, as the main objective is to simply dispatch everything in sight until each enemy base is taken, it’s also very addictive. Omega Force has had a lot of experience developing games in the hack and slash genre l, and they are good at what they do. The popularity of Dynasty Warriors in Japan, as well as its spin-offs, speaks volumes. There are multiple game modes to choose from, giving players plenty to do throughout, and a great amount of in-game incentive for doing it, including new weapons, items, and characters. The fact that there is also a substantial amount of playable characters also gives the game a fair bit of variety. I think Team Ninja has made a much better job of collaborating with Nintendo this time around than what they did during the development of Metroid: Other M, anyway. Hyrule Warriors is much easier to enjoy to me, because not only is it much easier to get to grips with than Metroid: Other M, but because it doesn’t feel like too radical a departure from the main series; as indeed was one of the biggest concerns I had before playing it.


Controls – 8/10

The quality of the controls depends largely on what peripheral is used. Playing the game on the Wii U GamePad, as per the developer’s primary intention, does come with its limitations. Not only do the GamePad’s facilities not truly add much to the gameplay, with the exception of displaying previous progress notifications and players being able to use the touchpad to select secondary items, but after a while, playing the game with the GamePad can end up causing pain in the hands of players if they aren’t careful. I feel as if it is important that I address this issue to anyone who is looking to play the game but may only have the Wii U GamePad to play it on. Since the gameplay in Hyrule Warriors is very intense and action-packed, players may end up tensing their hands across the side of the GamePad, and doing this can cause quite a bit of pain after a good few hours. My advice to players would be to make sure that they try and keep their hands relaxed, and be careful to not tense them up around the GamePad regularly. Most game controllers are designed for players to naturally wrap their hands around, but the Wii U GamePad’s design makes doing this considerably harder. All that being said, however, there are no issues with the actual control scheme of the game itself, and since it centers mainly on button-mashing, I find, mastering the basics won’t be too much of a problem.


Lifespan – 8/10

Though gameplay remains the same throughout, there are still enough things to do to warrant around 30 to 40 hours of playing; maybe even longer if players wish to achieve 100%. There is enough intense and action-packed combat, as well as there being both a strong RPG presence and enough in the way of having to level up each individual character and gaining new weapons and abilities, to keep players interested for an extraordinarily long time for a game of its kind. Out of all the elements of the Legend of Zelda series present in Hyrule Warriors, a delightfully long lifespan is one that I am particularly happy to see attained by the developers.


Storyline – 6/10

Taking place outside of the official Zelda timeline, the events of the story follow Link, who with the aid of several other characters from across the series such as Impa and Sheik, must work to eliminate a new threat headed by the sorceress Cia, who intends to revive Gannondorf in order for him to lay waste to the land of Hyrule and usurp the throne from Princess Zelda. The game works better for fans of the series in a lot of different ways. But no truer is this than in the narrative. It helps to move the plot forward if players already know who everybody in the game already is, as they all come from several different games in the series. If not, some characters will inevitably come off negatively compared to how they were portrayed in previous games. For example, the character Agitha had a fairly subtle role in Twilight Princess, but in Hyrule Warriors, she comes off as considerably less subtle and more unintelligent; and series newcomers will not understand the references to her character in Twilight Princess that are present in Hyrule Warriors. I won’t give away exactly what happens, but one thing that won’t work quite so well for fans of the series is that one in particular plot thread is repeated from another game, and thus discounts one fairly major plot twist. However, having addressed all these issues, I didn’t find the game’s plot to be terrible by any means. Although it still follows the same basic premise that the series has done for almost 30 years now, all the different elements from different Zelda games have been brought together nicely to make for a fairly well written new story. It goes to show at least, that Nintendo is indeed willing to break traditions and take their franchises in new and different directions.


Originality – 6/10

Though for the most part this game draws is heavily influenced by pre-existing elements from 2 different video game franchises, I found that both of these concepts have been taken into fair consideration by the developers, and the result is something, which is somewhat unique in its own right. It may not be the most original end result to spawn from Nintendo collaborating with another developer, but I think if either party had strayed too far from either concept, the game may not have turned out to be as good as it is.




To summarise, Hyrule Warriors, despite its flaws, is a very addictive game and is most certainly worth investing a good few hours in. Even in spite of the many times that Nintendo has either teamed up with or handed over some of their longest-running series’ to other developers, I was worried that something terrible may have come of this in a particular endeavor. But much to my delight, I was proven wrong.



7/10 (Fair)

(Written for http://darkzero.co.uk/)