One million troops.
Well, not quite. One of the most astounding differences between Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch and its previous iterations (see our outstanding Wii U and 3DS reviews) was the shockingly improved visuals, performance, and draw distance as Link and Midna blasted through hundreds of enemies, looking dashingly handsome on the gorgeous Nintendo Switch screen whilst doing so. Developers Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo have left not a single stone unturned – Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is indeed the ‘definitive’ version of this stellar hack n slash title, packing this title with all previous DLC, expanded Amiibo content and improved performance. You’re getting a four-year-old title, but with two years-worth of meticulous updates, improvements and additional content to sink your teeth into. Zelda fans, you’d be ‘sword of’ crazy to miss this.
If you’re reading this review right now, you probably fall into one or more of three distinct categories – you love musou games, you’re a Zelda-maniac, or lastly, a passionate Nintendo Switch owner. If you fall into the latter audiences, think of Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition as a musou-flavoured cake, with Zelda frosting. At its core, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is, of course, a ‘Warriors’ game, providing endless combatting and sword swinging, while the game throws hundreds of lifeless, ragdoll-like enemies at you to sharpen your blade with. Whilst musou games generally feel a little empty at times, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition changes that, capturing the Zelda universe in a fun, exciting new way while leaving the iconic swordplay of previous Warriors titles firmly intact.
If this happens to be your first time experiencing Hyrule Warriors, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your first few encounters. After finishing just your first level in Story mode, you’ll unlock more than half of the playable warrior roster, as well as several maps that you’ll gain access to in Free Play mode. Hyrule Warriors centres its plot around the evil arch-nemesis Cia, sent by Ganondorf to wreak total havoc on Hyrule Castle. In order to restore Hyrule to its peaceful state, Link and his fellow heroes must fight through Cia’s army, gradually taking back Hyrule as you conquer each stage. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition features a vast lineup of Hyrulean heroes, including Link, Impa, Sheik, Midna, Lana, Zelda, Ganondorf and many others.
One of the coolest features about Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition and its playable characters is the ability to play as Link in many forms – Link (as portrayed in Hyrule Warriors), Young Link and even Toon Link. Many of Hyrule’s sometimes forgotten faces are surprisingly featured here, including Tingle, Skull Kid, Ravio and Tetra. There is an indescribable feeling about Hyrule Warriors that I can’t say I felt playing another popular skinned Warriors title, Fire Emblem Warriors. Despite providing a near-identical premise of pure, fun-filled sword-fuelled bloodshed, there is somewhat of a unique grin plastered across my face as I run about as Link, dealing continuous attacks to Zelda-themed enemies with Hyrule Castle just over my shoulder. There is no doubt I feel a closer connection with a themed Zelda musou than any other musou title before it, and you very well might encounter the same experience as I.
Graphics and Sound
While Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U highlighted that Nintendo’s failing hardware genuinely had some firepower tucked away at the back of the shelf in the visual aisle of its hardware supermarket, the Nintendo Switch (whether it intended to or not) simply goes one better. While the vibrance, colour and beautified character models are definitely a highlight, I have an obligation to write home about the draw distance and overall visual performance. What was sometimes a fuzzy sprite nestled away at the back of your gamepad (and an indistinguishable mess on the Nintendo 3DS), distant enemies and approaching allies are all drawn to near perfection. While I agree that we’re seeing what is essentially a polished, updated and patched version of a previous title, the Nintendo Switch further proves that portable doesn’t always mean powerless. Throughout my playthrough, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition performed smoothly on my television, whilst portable mode held together just as well.
Having experienced Hyrule Warriors for the very first time here on the Nintendo Switch means this – I’m tipping myself to spend tens, if not hundreds of fun, enjoyable hours with my Nintendo Switch, fixated on Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition. Whilst the Switch is quite obviously seeing a large number of remakes, remasters and new editions invited to its library, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition has been built and polished time and time again, so much so that it’s clearly assembled with love and incredible detail by Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo. If you’re a musou guy, a Zelda-crazed girl, or a Nintendo Switch guru of sorts, you’ve been summoned by Link himself to make this title a must-buy. With endless content, new levels, character customisation, and a perfectly crafted, tried and tested game mechanic, it’s timeless hack n slash fun at it’s finest.
Thank you to Nintendo for providing a copy of Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition for review.