I missed out on so many great Wii U games because I just never got around to buying the console. The Wii let me down, and the Wii U just didn’t seem to offer anything I “needed”. Apparently, I was wrong – with Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 2, and now Hyrule Warriors (among others), I’m starting to see that the Wii U was a way better console than I thought. This is our Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition review for the Nintendo Switch.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is a collaboration between Tecmo Koei and Nintendo that brings that characters of the Zelda series into their own Dynasty Warriors-esque game – much like Square’s Dragon Quest Warriors. It works marvelously, with its own great take on the Zelda story, tons of playable characters from the series’ storied past and present, and loads of replay value in its many game modes.
Story-wise this time, Hyrule is plunged into darkness without its hero being “chosen” already, Hyrule Castle is invaded, and Link is just one of many soldiers in training. But he helps fend off the onslaught, and Zelda and Impa realize he just may be the Hero of Time. They give him the fabled green tunic and away you go – meeting characters like Sheik, Gorons, and so forth as you track down the evil and try to find Zelda who disappeared after the attack on Hyrule Castle.
Breath of the Wild it isn’t, but as someone who’s loved Zelda since the 80s, it works remarkably well to give the game’s many missions some semblance of meaning. But it’s the combat and the different heroes that take center stage in Warriors games, and Hyrule Warriors is no different – with Link, Zelda, Sheik, Impa, Ganon, and so many more on offer and with each of them playing remarkably different, there’s a whole lot of fun to be had. What’s better is that Hyrule Warriors has simultaneously 2-player co-op so you and your bestie can hack and slash your way through Hyrule together.
The combat is button-smashing at its finest, as the game doesn’t try hard to make you feel skilled. One button for light attacks, another for heavy, and another for specials. Then there’s jumping and dodging for good measure. The Warriors games have long been about hacking and slashing dozens of enemies at a time, but they’re often also kind of janky and bug-addled. That’s not the case here, as it’s clear that the extra funding and development help from Nintendo, plus the extra time in porting it over to the Switch definitely helped, I’m sure. When N says “Definitive Edition”, they mean it.
There are 29 heroes to level up, outfit with gear and skills, and just plain play around with. Even Tingle gets a go in Hyrule Warriors, which basically made the game an instant buy for everyone, I’d wager. Midna and Skull Kid are both there too. It’s essentially a Zelda fan-fiction bonanza, minus any weird romance things some folks have drawn up. There was a 3DS Hyrule Warriors Legends game, and those levels (focused on the Wind Waker stages) have been brought over to the Switch version as well, making this the most complete edition of the game yet released.
There are multiple modes to play too, from the Legend mode – sort of the base, story-driven experience, to the Adventure Mode that has you playing through a reimagined 8-Bit Zelda map to complete specific challenges and rescue Zelda from Ganondorf. Mind you, the stages are fully 3D maps, just the “overworld” map is based on the original Legend of Zelda, with themed items and progression. It’s really in-depth, and adds a whole lore more gameplay to the game’s single and two-player offerings.