Sometimes video game companies release a game to tide fans over that becomes much more interesting than a spin-off should be.
This is the case with Nintendo’s “Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity,” released Nov. 20 for the Nintendo Switch.
After the success of 2017’s “Breath of the Wild,” Zelda fans wanted more of the truly open world experience the game had to offer. At E3 2019, Nintendo revealed a teaser of a sequel to the game in the works, although not much has been said since then.
When “Age of Calamity” was announced in September 2020, only two months before its release, fans were excited yet skeptical how such an out-of-the-blue title would hold up, especially taking place in the “Hyrule Warriors” spin-off series as opposed to being a main series Zelda title.
The game was proven to be much more of an immersive experience than it was made out to be.
“Age of Calamity” takes place 100 years before the events of “Breath of the Wild,” with the villain, Calamity Ganon, on the verge of being resurrected.
What makes the story so interesting just starting out is the inclusion of characters that were only addressed in flashbacks in “Breath of the Wild.”
The champions of the Divine Beasts – Mipha, Daruk, Urbosa and Revali – were present only in “Breath of the Wild” cutscenes but are now playable and integral parts of the story.
In addition, characters who were seen in “BotW” as old NPCs are now young, playable characters as well.
Because of the connection “Breath of the Wild” players have made with its story, the stakes and characters seem really important.
The combat is practically the same as the first “Hyrule Warriors” game with a few helpful additions.
Included in “Age of Calamity” are the various Sheikah Slate abilities players can use in combat, with every character using them in a different unique way.
The main hub map is truly nostalgic of “Breath of the Wild,” looking exactly the same yet with missions and side quests replacing travel points.
Traversing the areas that were explored in “Breath of the Wild,” now in a “Dynasty Warriors” environment, is a unique role-reversal.
Just as the first “Hyrule Warriors” pays homage to many Zelda games throughout the series, “Age of Calamity” does that specifically with “BotW.”
Fighting against the same enemies, traversing the same landscapes, it truly captures the essence of “Breath of the Wild.”
The game does a great job at making the story interesting, and a large reason for that is the frequent cutscenes before and after missions.
“Breath of the Wild” was the first Zelda game to feature voice acting, a feature that should have replaced the bland scrolling text dialogue a long time ago.
“Age of Calamity” continues this trend of voice acting in their cutscenes as well as in gameplay itself.
Hearing the voices of these characters gives them much more personality, making players much more invested.
The two and a half hours of overall cutscenes gives so much opportunity for the story to be expressed and told.
In comparison to the first game, the overall feel of “Age of Calamity” is very similar. While the art style replicates the style of “Breath of the Wild,” the gameplay remains relatively the same.
The crowds of monsters seem to be smaller and not as concentrated as before, yet this opens the door for more advanced enemy encounters with their defeat becoming much more enjoyable.
Even with it being a side-series game, fans still hypothesize where “Age of Calamity” fits into the ever-confusing Zelda timeline.
The events that conspire at the end greatly expand the possibilities of what the “Breath of the Wild” sequel has to offer.
Although there has been no news regarding the “Breath of the Wild” sequel in sight, the recent announcement of new “Age of Calamity” DLC shows Nintendo is trying to keep Zelda fans at bay with its sequel title being repeatedly delayed.
Overall, “Age of Calamity” proves to be a game that captures the essence of “Breath of the Wild,” while still providing a new and immersive experience for old and new fans.