Something happened to me with a game that I can only remember happening a small handful of times. I bought a game not once, not twice, but three times. Yes, three separate times. That game, was Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition.
When Hyrule Warriors came to Wii U, I bought it and all of the DLC they offered for it ($69.98 total cost). I was quite happy with the game, but it got exceptionally difficult very quickly. Then, a couple of years later or so, I purchased Hyrule Warriors Legends for New 3DS and it’s combined DLC pack that gave me all the added content on both consoles (59.98 total cost). This time, they made some serious quality of life improvements to the game, and added just as much content as they did in the previous game. Difference is, that the extra characters from the 3DS version were also available in the Wii U, courtesy of the new Season Pass. Then, the unthinkable happened. Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition was announced. For the low price of $59.99 you get all the past DLC from both games, all for the standard price of a normal retail/digital release from Nintendo. I couldn’t resist (even though, at this point, I’ve spent $189.95. Ouch!)
So let’s get into the nitty gritty of this game. One of the things that was awesome about the original Hyrule Warriors was how well it performed. I seem to remember it performing at a solid 1080p 60 frames per second. It was gorgeous. And to put that game on New 3DS, AND get all the content from the previous game as well as the new content that nearly doubled the size of the game, it took a performance hit. It was downright ugly, and it performed at 30 frames per second, and dipped a lot. Not to mention they had to drastically cut down on the onscreen enemy count. That sort of left the game looking empty and unpopulated. But that didn’t stop it from being loads of fun. I spent 20-30 hours on the Wii U version, and well over 80 on the New 3DS version.
But Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition. Now that does everything you hope it would do and more. In docked mode, it performs at 1080p and 60 frames per second. In handheld it is 720p and 30 frames per second. But, even in handheld the visuals are stunning. And even wit the hundreds of enemies on screen, it rarely dips in the frames per second category. It lives up to its name. It truly is the version to buy. Some of the other cool features include on the fly character swapping like the 3DS version had, new troop types like the 3DS version had, and even the My Fairy mode that was exclusive to 3DS (with 3D models of all the fairies).
This is also the first time the added story (Linkle’s side story and the Wind Waker line) have ever been seen in the HD engine. And they are even more amazing looking than you remember. In 4 days, I am 3 missions from completing the story, and working on unlocking all the characters in adventure mode.
I guess to put a cap in things, If you liked either of the previous versions, you are doing yourself a disservice by not buying this game. If you are on the fence of playing this game, like I was in the beginning, you really should give it a chance. I really can not think of a reason to not buy this game. Even if it is our second or third time picking it up.
Anyone who listens to Infendo Radio should know that Hyrule Warriors is one of my favourite games of all time. Essentially a game made by fans, for fans, Hyrule Warriors takes one of my favourite series ever and gives it the royal treatment – allowing characters from across the series’ every expanding timeline to meet up and do battle against hordes of enemies, and yes, even each other.
More devout listeners to the podcast might also know that when the game was revealed, I swore I wouldn’t be picking it up. Essentially, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is a prettier, more fully-assembled version of Hyrule Warriors Legends for the Nintendo 3DS. And yet, as the day of release drew closer, so too did my desire to pick it up. Maybe this is why today, all 4 Infendo Radio co-hosts own the game. So, what do I think about it? I freaking love it, of course.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition gets it right at pretty much every level. It truly is the definitive version of the game. And frankly, unless you’ve already played both prior versions, there’s a lot to get out of this one. It has all the enhanced gameplay of the 3DS version, with all the beauty of the WiiU version (and then some). The game plays beautifully, running crisper and more fluidly than ever before.
Without the limitations of the 3DS, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is able to bring back some of the features that were removed from the last version. Animations play out in full, the music player is back, and all of the little shortcuts to save time have been fixed. The load times are also much more reasonable than they were on either version, initially.
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect version of this game, it doesn’t get any better than this. If you already own one version of the game, trust me, you missed out on a lot; this game has everything you missed. If you own both versions of the game, but felt like each one left you wanting that perfect mixture of the two, this is the game for you. Honestly, the only person I can’t recommend this game to is someone who already tried it, and just didn’t enjoy anything about it.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is the most balanced version of the three – the unlockables placement, character abilities and overall flow have been restructured, ever so slightly, to create a much more uniform experience. Each Adventure Mode map features a completion percentage to tell you exactly how much progress you’ve made. Items needed to access new unlockables and map areas are now purchasable, once you’ve found them once, making for a much more streamlined, less grindy experience. It all serves to make this the most accessible version of the game yet, without sacrificing anything that made the game so replayable and, frankly, addicting in the first place.
The only two slight points against the game are minimal. First, the appearance of friend’s “Links” on the Adventure Mode map are gone -This was a largely unused feature originally, but if you really liked it, don’t expect to see it in this version. The second complaint is more justified – this game burns the Switch’s battery. In handheld mode, you’ll notice your system hitting 5% battery quite often, even when you began at full power. If you’re planning on going out, you might want to bring a charging cable.
Hyrule Warriors continues to be one of the best games I’ve ever played, providing enough content to last the average gamer for months, if not years, all without being overwhelming. Admittedly, these feelings come from my strong love of the Legend of Zelda series; without my love for these characters, the game would be much less special. However, there’s still something to love here, even if you can’t tell Zant from Ghirahim. The fact is, this game is incredibly well made, and deserves attention, not just for how well it represents the Zelda franchise, but also for how solidly it performs on the Switch.