Remember that game that came out on the Nintendo Wii U a couple years ago called Hyrule Warriors? Well, Nintendo just released it’s sibling — except there is something not right with it. For the sibling’s entire life, it was overshadowed by it’s more successful, grown up counterpart and was given the ‘hand me down’s’ of it’s older sibling’s toys, collectibles and items he no longer enjoyed. I mean, yeah, you can argue that the younger sibling should be proud of what he has, however what he has is a broken down, almost unplayable piece of garbage. Of course, I am referencing the younger sibling as the 3DS port of Hyrule Warriors promptly titled Hyrule Warriors Legends for the Nintendo 3DS.
As a long time fan of the Zelda series, I never could wrap my head around the Dynasty Warriors cross The Legend of Zelda game that is Hyrule Warriors. Sure, it’s a Zelda title, but it wasn’t the traditional RPG that I’ve come to know and love. Between the obligatory button mashing and the poor story-telling, I found with my experience with Hyrule Warriors to be transient. While that experience did change with Hyrule Warriors Legends, it only changed for the worse as you are presented with a near 1 to 1 port of the Wii U version, with terrible frame rate issues. The game’s presentation is a far cry from it’s Wii U counterpart, and it’s visuals are awfully conspicuous, with a graphical style which aches the eyes. While I didn’t have the opportunity to try out the game on legacy 3DS handhelds, this review will mainly talk about the struggles I had with the New Nintendo 3DS’s ability to process this game.
The game struggles to provide the same experience as it’s Wii U because of the reasons I stated above. While at it’s core, it is a 1 to 1 remake of it’s Wii U counterpart, the 3DS struggles to shell out the same performance. Hyrule Warriors was developed with the console in mind and it is blatantly shown that in Hyrule Warriors Legends. While parts of the game will play smooth, when you are faced with a situation with hundreds of enemies on the field, the game slows to frame-drops, from what I can tell, in the single-digits. There are certain actions and events that transpire to give it further performance issues, however, the majority of the game seems to suffer from these performance issues and it’s something that bothered me a lot. my main issue with this is that Zelda is Nintendo’s baby, and so far, the majority of the titles released in the series has blown me away, however, when you are faced with a game that was not properly optimized for a handheld experience, it makes your experience feel empty.
However, the game does play just like it does on the Nintendo Wii U. Using the same control method, players can perform combos and launch field clearing attacks with relative ease. Hyrule Warriors Legends is a game which has been made accessible for all ages to enjoy, which is told clearly by the simple controls, smashing the “A” button until every known lifeform within a hundred mile radius is dead. The issue is, the simpler the game is to play, the less-challenging the game will be to complete, and Hyrule Warriors faces this issue very clearly. The issue with Hyrule Warrior’s Legends is that I had no challenge completing the game besides overcoming my overwhelming boredom.
Hyrule Warriors Legends is filled with little nods to The Legend of Zelda series though, which fans should be able to enjoy and pick up through their adventure with the game. From the moment you boot up the game, you will see all of these subtle throwbacks such as the familiar Zelda music to the first boss fight, being Dodongo, being one of the bosses featured in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. These fan service features of Hyrule Warriors Legends are what make the game, feel like a Zelda game, outside of it’s Dynasty Warriors play style. All of these tie-ins are what made me want to continue playing Hyrule Warriors Legends despite it’s performance issues I mentioned above. The game includes all of the previously available characters, as well as some new additions such as Tetra, Toon Link, King Daphnes, Skull Kid and the dual-wielding crossbow hero, Linkle.
Listen, I am sure there are people out there who love the game, and swear by it. I’m not arguing that. However, when a great company like Nintendo publishes a title that wasn’t initially designed to play on handheld devices, I can’t help but feel a little ripped off. Zelda has always had this monument of trust from gamers, and I feel that a little of that trust will be lost if people enjoyed Hyrule Warriors Legends. The game plays very poorly, and despite the subtle Zelda throwbacks and rich content, it falls flat on it’s face by making the game almost unplayable.