In 2014, Omega Force produced its finest Dynasty Warriors clone to date, fashionably suited for the world of The Legend of Zelda. As a result, Hyrule Warriors became one of the Wii U’s most notable titles, despite its repetitive action nature. Now, that same experience has arrived for the Nintendo 3DS with Hyrule Warriors Legends, complete with a few new additions to the team. But is it enough to carry over the game to the portable front?
The game is about what you’d expect for a Warriors clone, as you beat up hundreds of thousands of smaller soldiers while taking over keeps, assisting soldiers that are in dire need, and fighting bosses that can be a genuine pain in the neck. Not much has changed with the formula, so what you get out of Legends is likely the same level of play as Hyrule Warriors. So if that game didn’t make you go nuts, neither will this one.
While overly repetitive, the controls are somewhat responsive throughout the game, letting you chain together stylish combos with each character. Even Zelda, a Princess who normally doesn’t get in on the action, can kick a fair amount of butt. Of course, the Super Musou attacks are also noteworthy, lighting up the screen like a fireworks display.
As you proceed through each mission, you gain the option to combine weapons for better usage, as well as unlocking new combo attacks and characters to help mix things up a little bit. It’s a welcome feature, though it still doesn’t quite change the fact that you’re still killing thousands of soldiers over and over again. Some folks might prefer that type of power, but others may want a bit more variety out of it.
It’s great to see some new characters take the stage, like the King of Hyrule, Tetra and the “female Link”, Linkle, who is likely to be the target of many jokes. At least she can hold her own, so there’s that. And being able to switch between characters instantaneously is a nice trick, I admit.
With all these different characters, you’d think that the game would be an easy recommend. However, there’s something very clear that gets in the way of that – the somewhat flimsy presentation.
That’s not to say the game’s a complete failure. Omega Force did its best to convert the engine over to the 3DS handheld. But it can only take so much before the cracks appear in the work.
For instance, on the older 3DS, the game runs VERY sluggishly. The frame rate drops often, details are often tossed by the wayside, and there’s not even an option to play the game in 3D. That’s kind of a cheat, even for older hardware, since it’s run far more intricate games than this one.
That’s not to say the New Nintendo 3DS gets a fair shake. Once you turn on the 3D in that version, it runs just as slowly, especially when bosses appear on the screen. The 2D mode is all right, but the game still isn’t quite as detailed as it could be. It’s kind of a crap-shoot if you want to get the most out of Hyrule Warriors Legends, because no matter which way you cut it, you don’t. Even the cutscenes look shoddily crafted over into the game, with no new 3D effects to speak of – and that just has “port” written all over it.
The music’s okay, with most of the game’s original soundtrack carrying over, but the audio isn’t always the best overall, as sound effects and character voices get awfully repetitive in their own right. It’s not bad, but more variety and personality would’ve gone a long way.
I’m torn on how I feel about Hyrule Warriors Legends. On the one hand, the gameplay has never been better for a Dynasty Warriors-esque clone, and the characters and combos really build up to something spectacular. On the other, this port is obviously rushed, with no real time to iron it over before its release. Even if you want to play in 3D, you’ll find its performance hinged by a number of technical issues. And if you have an older 3DS? Hoo boy.
It’s best to enjoy the original Wii U version if you can, as that’s the superior one to go with. Legends isn’t bad if you absolutely need your fix of hack and slash on the go, but it’s far from the, ahem, legend-ary title it could’ve been.