Party Chat: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Party Chat is a feature when the planets – and the gaming tastes of our staff members – align. Much like the Party Chat feature in Dragon Quest and Tales of series, we gathered the group together for some initial thoughts on the opening hours of the latest, greatest releases on the Nintendo Switch. This week’s topic: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.


Rich

So, I just wrapped up chapter 2 and while this game still suffers from some performance issues, like the first game, this entry is a huge improvement over that one (so far). I like how they have ditched all the confusing menus and streamlined everything into the BOTW map of Hyrule. One of my initial concerns was this game, while billed as a prequel to BOTW, would only have a few cutscenes and mostly be focused on the Warriors-style combat. I really like how they have balanced telling a story and the combat. Really enjoy the cast of characters so far – they all feel unique. Even playing as Link with a one-handed weapon vs two-handed plays differently.

Kierra

Yeah this is a vast improvement to the first. Outside of a couple of the characters, I like playing as the other characters. It’s been a couple of years since I played the first Hyrule Warriors, but I feel more encouraged to play as the other characters rather than just Link.

Rich

One thing that really frustrated me about the first game was the menu system. I found it very cumbersome to figure out what I wanted to do and which mode I wanted to play. The QoL improvements here are great.

Gio

Just the fact that AoC has a story that mostly everyone is already dedicated to plays a huge role into why I love AoC. While yes there are some performance issues, particularly when there are a lot of enemies on screen, it really doesn’t affect my opinion.

Rich

I think the combat is better in this game, too. I think the characters I have unlocked so far offer a wide variety of game play options.

Ben

I’m just surprised to read that Gio actually likes a Switch game that was released in 2020.

Gio

Everything seems well thought out. Everything has a purpose. Even side missions have some sort of a story.

@Ben: Zip your face

Rich

Being able to control the beasts and the perspective switch is fun and different, as well.

@Gio: Party chat over.

Ben

Y’all didn’t end it with #ZeldaIsAnRPG, though.

Okay, I’m leaving.

Rich

Well, this game has more RPG elements than other entries. But yeah, the side missions have a purpose and even doing the quests to find the ingredients to get a recipe has purpose. One of the recipes I unlocked when you cook it gives you an XP boost for that mission.

Gio

If you’ve played BoTW we all have an idea of what leads up to Link waking up in the Shrine of Resurrection, but seeing how it all plays out is awesome.

Ben

Y’all are making it sound like it should have been in talks with the 2020 awards!

Kierra

It was in a tough position since it came out right in the middle of our nominations.

Ben

Because of that, we’ll probably allow it as a nomination for next year’s awards.

Kierra

Overall, I appreciate the simplicity approach that they took with the UI, combat, and just communicating things to the player.

And of course I appreciate the crumbs that they gave for Link’s personality. It was nice to see the little moments when the characters are more than champions, as small as those moments were given the elephant in the room.

Evan Bee

Eh. Despite all of these improvements and enhancements, this is still a Warriors game. Flawed, but fun. A great “turn off your brain” game.

Kierra

I mean yeah. I do think people not familiar with the series should temper expectations (although for some people I’ve already seen, it’s too late for that). This being based around BOTW won’t change the base of the game, which is a Warriors game.

Evan Bee

It’s impressive that they stuck to the visual style and implemented many of the mechanics and ideas of BotW into the game, but… it’s still Warriors. What you see in Chapter one isn’t much different from what you see later.

Warriors excels best in its side quests, IMO,

Gio

Being based off of BoTW is why I like this game. I do not enjoy “Warriors” style games. Not all RPGs are going to be intellectual fodder for the RPG elites.

Rich

Agreed, they added a story to pull me in, otherwise I had no interest in the game. But it’s the same reason why I am interested in Persona 5 S.

Gio

I hated Hyrule Warriors.

Rich

The first game, while it had a fun cast of playable characters, was a horribly put together package.

The amount of story in this game is impressive – really wish we had it in BOTW.

Evan Bee

I’m not saying every RPG needs to be intellectual, and many possess the same pitfalls of repetition that Warriors games do, in terms of combat. But Warriors is best in its side quests because that’s when it tends to shy from “battlefield combat” and focus more on unique challenges, which is where the game engages me more.

Now in terms of the story, well, I’m not sure if I can take it seriously because of its refusal to commit to being an honest prequel. But that’s just me.
Doesn’t make the gameplay better or worse.

Gio

Where have you seen the refusal to being a prequel? It’s definitely a prequel in terms of narrative.

And yes, the side quests are where the crux of player progression is but don’t exclude the main missions. Main mission battles actually play out the narrative, very similar to what Hand of Fate 2 does in their combat scenarios.

Rich

And really that is what most people cared about – if the game didn’t have a narrative and was just Hyrule Warriors 2, it wouldn’t have shipped 3+ million copies in first week.

Evan Bee

Whoa whoa, don’t jump on my throat, here. In terms of narrative and comparing the traditional Warriors objectives- which really don’t amount to much in terms of complexity- it’s hard for a game like this to have organic storytelling take place in its gameplay objectives, and that cutscenes and gameplay are often separate entities in Warriors games.

For example, you can thrash up to a thousand enemies as Zelda, but when she suddenly needs help in a cutscene, she is woefully underpowered. That’s not a great gameplay/story balance.

Now, in terms of this not being an “honest” prequel, it goes back to the notion that ultimately, the game’s introduction of the babeh Guardian automatically makes this a “what if” story rather than a true prequel that ties in the cutscenes of the original BotW with accuracy.
It promises the “experience” of the Age of Calamity without having to be ballsy enough to commit to it.

Gio

I don’t claim AoC to be a masterpiece. I think it does a really good job at telling the events of the Great Calamity. While Zelda does take on hordes of enemies, her powers are quite weak when compared to the rest of the roster. Experiences like you mentioned (where Zelda is weak in a scene and mashing waves of enemies) is seen in countless games, nevermind RPGs.

I just don’t see your areas of concern as immersion breaking as you do. I think the combat is good and varied enough, especially for a Musou style title.

Ben

Yeah I suppose it is a similar, flipside situation where many JRPGs have you “beat” an enemy once, if not multiple times, only to have them be seen at full strength and/or fleeing in the subsequent cutscene. Kind of par for the course in that regard. Xenoblade is awful at this, but I still enjoyed those games.

Evan Bee

I agree with both of you that this is an issue seen across the genre as a whole. It just strikes me as particularly wonky when I see it in Warriors titles, especially since their strength comes from fighting many enemies, not single combatants. But the matter of this being a “what if” scenario miffs me more.

Timothy

I’m enjoying AoC. The only gripes I have are the same ones I have with any Warriors type game. It gets repetitive seeing the same enemies and doing the same combos for a half an hour at a time. What keeps it fun is the story. Age of Calamity probably does the best job of telling a story of any Zelda game ever if I’m being honest.

Rich

I agree with that, I can’t recall a Zelda that tells a story with so much emotion, too.

Another thing I have noticed is while the game may have its tech issues, when you trigger an animation they are very well done and unique based on the character and weapon type
they could have taken a very generic approach to it. Also, I like how they have given character and personality to the champions — that def wasn’t present in BOTW.


Did you enjoy our Party Chat? Any thoughts you’d like to add on the subject of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Ben

Ben

Owner, Webmaster, and Content Creator. Lifelong RPG fan. Husband. Dog Dad. Beer Enthusiast. Weight Lifter.

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