The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has cemented itself as one of the greatest video games that I’ve ever had the joy of playing. I can still fondly remember the launch of Nintendo Switch and spending hours that very evening exploring Hyrule. One aspect that was always fascinating to me was the game’s vague narrative. Certain elements of the story do not present much depth, and I found that disappointing. So as you could imagine, the announcement of Koei Tecmo‘s Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity brought me great joy; my family was quite concerned that something was wrong with me because I couldn’t stop shouting. I’m afraid that’s quite a common thing in my household when it comes to Zelda announcements.
In any case, despite being a spin-off title — which in the previous Hyrule Warriors game meant pure fan-servicey Zelda nonsense — Age of Calamity adds quite a bit to the franchise’s overall canon storyline. So without further ado, here are five reasons why you should be excited for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
Revisiting unexplored events with voice acting
Breath of the Wild explored the events after the Great Calamity of Hyrule that happened 100 years ago. This obviously affected the world drastically, with buildings and iconic landmarks destroyed. Link awakened without any knowledge of the past and spent most of the game remembering key sequences leading up to the present day. One of the most interesting additions to Breath of the Wild was voiced dialogue in cutscenes, which was a first for the series. It mostly occurred in flashback events where Link would reminisce about the four Champions of Hyrule.
Voice acting was ultimately underused and overshadowed by the open-ended nature of the game. Fortunately Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be delivering unexplored events that happened before the beginning of Breath of the Wild. The game takes place 100 years ago, where the land was a completely different place. In the gameplay that has already been shown, we’ve seen Lon Lon Ranch, one of the most iconic areas in the Zelda series.
Nintendo and Koei Tecmo have promised an in-depth story that will fill in the gaps leading up to the Calamity. We’ll be exploring various battlefields in the attempt to put a stop to Ganon. Zelda fans already know how this story will end, but it will be interesting to uncover the secrets of this narrative.
More Zelda fan service
If Age of Calamity is anything like the original Hyrule Warriors, we’ll be in for some awesome references and Easter eggs. The most obvious form of fan service is the variety of playable characters. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will feature a really dynamic roster of characters. Of course Link and Zelda are playable, but then you have the likes of Daruk, Revali, Urbosa, Mipha, and even a Young Impa! There might be some obscure characters that we don’t know about yet too, so it’ll be exciting to see if there are any hidden characters when the game releases.
Since it laid the groundwork for Age of Calamity, Breath of the Wild will inevitably receive a lot of references in this new title. One awesome little detail is the Sheikah Towers functioning similarly to in Breath of the Wild. You’ll be able to view the full map of Hyrule in-between missions that allows you to view specific challenges and secrets. Other returning mechanics include the likes of cooking, hidden Koroks, and equippable weapons/armor. For Zelda fans this will be like Christmas come early.
Breath of the Wild mostly focused on the ambience of the world and had very little music. However, the music that was there was well made and fit the nature of the game’s landscapes. Age of Calamity is a different kind of beast; it’s a fast-paced game with a lot going on. The slower, more immersive music of Breath of the Wild won’t often fit the mood of a hack-and-slash Musou game.
We might be treated to remixes of iconic Zelda tracks or maybe some new compositions entirely. During the livestreams that were shown during Tokyo Game Show and Nintendo Treehouse Live, we got a taste of what to expect. It seems to be going for similar instruments used in Breath of the Wild’s soundtrack but with a more action-oriented atmosphere. It could be a fresh spin on familiar tunes.
Potential ties to Breath of the Wild’s sequel
When we first saw Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, series director Eiji Aonuma said we’ll have to wait a bit longer for more Breath of the Wild sequel news. With the 35th anniversary of Zelda coming up next year, teasing the sequel in Age of Calamity could be a possibility. Whether it be a small in-game text reference or a full mission/cutscene, it could be a tremendous way to whet appetites.
In the original Hyrule Warriors, combat could vacillate between mindless fun and utter frustration. It seems that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is improving the combat in a variety of ways, with the Sheikah Slate providing a new tool to fool around with. Each character likewise feels distinctively different, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Mechanics from Breath of the Wild have also migrated to Age of Calamity, such as the slow-motion aiming of the bow and the enhancements from cooking food. I can’t wait to go a find a Lynel and beat the daylights out of it. Those enemies are something you don’t want to mess with, but I’m eager to try it in Age of Calamity regardless.
There’s not long left to go before Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity arrives. I hope these reasons I’ve shared have encouraged you to give Age of Calamity a shot come its launch on Nintendo Switch on Nov. 20. If you’re a newcomer or a veteran, there’s a lot of content to look forward to. If we’re lucky, Age of Calamity may even present us with some kind of teaser for Breath of the Wild’s sequel.