Hyrule Warriors, a Dynasty Warriors style game that has been popular on the Wii U and saw a subsequent release on the 3DS as Hyrule Warriors Legends. The handheld version had added content in the form of DLC which included new maps, characters and even an extra story mode as well as all of the original and DLC content from the Wii U version.
Hyrule Warriors has since been re-released on the Nintendo Switch as the Definitive Edition. This review will set out to determine whether this version of the game is worth the purchase for those who have already played on either the Wii U or 3DS versions. Or if it is only worth it for those who are new to the game.
Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition at its core is the 3DS version of the game in terms of mechanics and style. However, it is more impressive graphics wise than the Wii U version and even runs much more smoothly in combat with more fluid animations in both TV and handheld mode.
In an overall sense of performance the Definitive Edition is easily capable of putting more units on the battlefield for players to cut through and feel more epic in doing so. This is without a sacrifice to general performance, FPS and graphics.
It must be noted that the game did have one or two drops in FPS in handheld mode during long sessions of play. However these sessions tended to go on for 8 hours at a time and only a few of these sessions had a drop in FPS in handheld mode near the end of the session. There have been no drops in FPS in TV mode.
Mechanics and Multiplayer
In the previous segment we covered how at its core the Definitive Edition is essentially the 3DS version with all the DLC but with enhanced performance and tighter gameplay aspects. In the 3DS version you had the ability to switch between playable characters on the fly, as well as the ability to command generals via the pause menu to carry out multiple actions.
With the Definitive Edition these features are enhanced. Unlike the 3DS the Nintendo Switch has a major benefit in that it does have co-op multiplayer. These features are still active in multiplayer and are available to both players (in the case of switching there needs to be at least one character spare).
For example, in one situation that was tested when playing as Impa and Sheik, Link was considered a switchable companion. Whoever switched out freed up their currently played character. This can allow veterans of the series to “take over” without taking the joypad out of the other player’s hand.
A problem with the Wii U version was that in multiplayer the number of units was halved to accommodate a second player in the game.
The Switch version doesn’t have this problem, meaning that there are enough enemies to go around and make both players feel epic.
Our only gripe with multiplayer was that at the start player 1 picked everything for player 2 including characters and weapons. In a competitive scenario this could be seen as unfair, however as this co-op this is more of an annoyance than a disadvantage. This means that player 2 has to put all their trust in player 1 to choose a fair character.
Sadly it’s not all roses, the current handheld options leave much to be desired. Unless you are willing to hold it with the joycons attached to the screen and with the screen between your hands the text and informational blurb on missions, and in cutscenes (which there will be many), is too small to read at a glance.
This means that players would need to pause more often to make sense of what was being said rather than being able to enjoy the game.
If you’re like us and prefer the use of joypads at a distance, either in car journeys or at a friend’s house you will find the size of screen very disorientating as everything has been shrunk to fit.
Even though this game is on a console that can be played either on a couch or on the go, tablet mode isn’t much of a viable playable option, until they release the bigger Switch.
Whether or not you have played previous versions of Hyrule Warriors it is still worth the purchase for both fans of the series and newcomers. It is a straight upgrade from the Wii U version and all of the content from the 3DS version is available from the start as well as being an improvement in performance, graphics and general gameplay.