Title: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Developer: Omega Force
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Hack and Slash
Release Date: November 20, 2020
How we got the game: We bought it.
When Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was announced, we were thrilled to see a spin-off game that took place in Breath of the Wild. Advertised as the prequel, we were super excited to see the actual calamity that caused the soft apocalypse that is the current setting in Breath of the Wild.
While Age of Calamity didn’t quite deliver on that particular note, it was still a great spin-off game that we both enjoyed!
When we saw the trailer we assumed it would be a bittersweet game from beginning to end because… well, Calamity Ganon destroys everything. The game as a whole did not disappoint. While there are some things that we wished happened instead, we still thoroughly enjoyed our time with Age of Calamity.
The best part? We were able to play the game together.
Age of Calamity was advertised as a prequel to Breath of the Wild. As such, we had a good idea as to what the story was going to be even before we turned the game on. It was supposed to be the story of Calamity Ganon beginning to take over Hyrule. Link, Zelda, and the other characters would valiantly beat back the forces of evil throughout the story. We fully expected to lose.
Honestly, we were okay with that idea. It would hit us right in the feels and we were totally looking forward to it. However, it didn’t quite turn out that way.
I was so looking forward to us losing. I know that sounds awful, but knowing how Breath of the Wild begins, it would have been so cool to play a game where we lose. All in all, people were disappointed with how the story was executed, but I actually thought it was great. The series is made up of the same characters but they’re different versions of themselves. It’s understood that these are the same characters from different timelines. Even the chronological order of the games includes different timelines.
With that said, Age of Calamity is a prequel and still brings us to to the time where Breath of the Wild begins (give or take 100 years) but it’s a separate timeline where we actually win. I don’t know if that’s canon but it is to me and I think it’s brilliant.
I believe the original Breath of the Wild timeline is the canon one. Age of Calamity begins with the start of Calamity Ganon rampaging, and a baby Guardian bot somehow is able to go back in time to help warn Princess Zelda and company of the upcoming calamity. They all know it’s coming, but the baby Guardian appears to let them know the calamity is coming sooner rather than later.
The game proceeds to take the player through levels actively recruiting the Champions and other allies to fight against the upcoming calamity. Players are able to experiment with the Champions’ different weapons and fighting styles, including the Divine Beasts themselves.
The cutscenes with the baby bot were delightful. I loved the story and character development that was shown throughout the game. Whether it’s canon or not, I’m pretending it is.
Overall, it was a solid story. I won’t explain how it exactly ends, but I think they did a great job with it, considering the different timelines. It made me all the more excited for Breath of the Wild 2, wondering how they’ll do that.
Being developed by Omega Force, a division of Koei Tecmo, Age of Calamity is the second Hyrule Warriors game that uses the traditional hack-and-slash and fighting gameplay that Omega Force is known for. Borrowing Nintendo’s characters from the Legend of Zelda series, the two Hyrule Warriors titles bring another genre to the fans of one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. In my opinion, it totally works.
Age of Calamity in particular utilizes several characters that each have unique weapons for the player to master during the missions and levels. The majority of characters were involved with the story — along with a few bonus characters — that helped keep the story focused.
Since this game takes place 100 years prior to Breath of the Wild, it’s not just Link going on this adventure. Zelda joins in on the fun along with Impa and, of course, the champions as you recruit them, with a few extra characters picked up along the way.
Each of them had their strengths and speed and it was great. My favorite character to play was Mipha with Zelda being a close second. Link had his sword, Zelda had the Shiekah tablet, Mipha had her trident, Urbosa had electricity… the possibilities of groups to have for each level were endless. It kept the game fresh and allowed us to approach each level differently.
Compared to Fire Emblem Warriors, the Hyrule Warriors titles has much more diverse rosters. Fire Emblem Warriors was saturated with swordsmen, but the characters in Hyrule Warriors each had unique playstyles. In Age of Calamity, I very much preferred Revali’s speed, gliding mechanics, and arrows, with Link being a fun character in a close second. Certain scenarios required the player to choose a couple of extra characters, allowing the player to switch between characters in the middle of the level as well.
No matter which character you chose — or needed to play if the story called for a certain character — each of them utilizes similar button combinations to execute fighting combos. Generally, the Y button was the basic attack, with the X button being thrown in among the button-mashing to create different attacks. The Sheikah Slate runes were also common abilities for every character, even if each ability was used differently depending on the character. Special gauges would fill as you defeated enemies, eventually allowing your character to use special moves for massive damage.
The gameplay was certainly fun. I button-mashed for the entirety of it and I fought pretty well if I do say so myself. Could I have done better if I remembered the button combinations? Probably, but we made it out alive regardless.
There were a ton of side quests in between the main story events. These quests were similar gameplay to the main story but they were training and rescue or escort missions and such. Completing these upgraded the characters in numerous ways such as giving them another heart to their health, giving them a new weapon, adding a new combination to their attack set, or giving them an extra gauge for their special attack. You can go down a huge rabbit hole to buff your characters.
The Nintendo Switch has excellent graphics, and it was wonderful returning to the world of Breath of the Wild with Age of Calamity. Obviously, Age of Calamity didn’t have the open-world exploration that Breath of the Wild has, but the scenery is still beautiful.
Of course, with the hack-and-slash gameplay, there were a few times when the frames dropped. Lag didn’t happen too often, and it may have been worse with two players rather than one, but the occasional interruption still jolted us from the game once in a while.
I believe the lag was more so because we were playing together. In fact, the split-screen was top and bottom which actually made it somewhat difficult. The camera control wasn’t the best and sometimes I felt like I couldn’t see well because my scene got cut off at the top because that’s where Kris’s view began. Sometimes, it got a little confusing but it was still manageable.
It was so cool to see the characters in a new light and see more of them as well. Zelda had awesome character development and the Champions had more of a personality since we were all going on this long journey together. I think the cutscenes were easily my favorite part of the game. Give me a movie, I’ll be happy with that.
The music was amazing as well. Composed by a team consisting of Kumi Tanioka, Reo Uratani, Ryotaro Yagi, and Haruki Yamada, the music was a nice accompaniment to the levels as we cut down waves of enemies before us.
Going along with Rachel’s movie comment, the music and sound effects were more prominent during the cut scenes. While playing the levels, the music was there in the background and we enjoyed it, but it could be missed with the excitement of the levels themselves. Rachel and me shouting excitedly to each other probably didn’t help either, to be fair.
That’s true. The gameplay didn’t have the music prominent as much but we also might not have been paying too much attention.
Out of all the music within this game, my favorite was the rendition of Zelda’s Lullaby. I don’t know why I was surprised to hear it in the game, but it was a pleasant surprise and I thought it was such a lovely version of the song. I definitely want to track down this soundtrack.
Age of Calamity has addicting gameplay and, despite a linear story, plenty of side quest levels to beat. Forging weapons, unlocking characters and outfits, and improving the roster of characters throughout all the levels give the players plenty of game time. The main story has a decent runtime alone, as well, and players can go through it solo or with a second player.
Considering how much we enjoy seeing and playing these particular characters, we’re sure to go back and complete the side quests and levels that are still left.
I believe we would have been able to beat the game a lot sooner but we got distracted by side quests. Honestly, I don’t think we’ve really put a dent in them, either. There are so many!
This game is probably brutal for a completionist but you’ll be able to pour hours and hours into this game whether it’s the main story or not. I’m sure we’ll be going back to this game again at some point. It’s too good not to.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity receives…
8 out of 10 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!