Review Round up: Age of Calamity Does the Zelda Franchise Justice

The Latest Musou Game Resonates Well With Zelda Fans

Three years after the launch of the Nintendo Switch, one game still stands the test of time as perhaps the best exclusive to hit the system, and that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For a launch title, Breath of the Wild is still massively popular as fans are still enjoying the overworld gameplay, finding new things to do or going in for a second or third playthrough. While a sequel for Breath of the Wild was announced in July, 2019, we did not expect to see another entry in the series for quite some time. Hence everyone’s surprise when Nintendo announced earlier this year that we would be getting a prequel, and not just any prequel, a prequel made in the style of Hyrule Warriors. Developer Koei Techmo is known for their musou–or warriors–style games, providing players with a massive roster of characters with unique weapons and abilities waging a massive war. Now that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is out, let’s take a look at initial reviews and see how the game holds up in comparison to it’s sequel Breath of the Wild and the original Zelda warriors game, Hyrule Warriors.

Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity

So far reviews have been mostly stellar with Age of Calamity coming in at an 80 on metacritic–a whole 4 points higher than the original Wii U release of Hyrule Warriors. While it might not be Breath of the Wild’s 97 metascore, it is a very solid initial score for a musou game with other recent entries such as One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 with a score of 68, and Fire Emblem Warriors with a score of 74. Our very own James Paley gave the game a score of 85, praising the game’s extensive content and fun combat–read his review right here.

Keep in mind, as the game isn’t available to the public yet we can’t really compare user scores. As more reviews for Age of Calamity come out, the score might change a bit here or there but let’s take a look at a few of the reviews out so far.

IGN: 90 – Cam Shea
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity offers a welcome trip back to a world I’ve clocked hundreds of hours in. Its hugely varied roster of characters, solid combat mechanics, fun progression and clever adaptation of Breath of the Wild’s vision of Hyrule is a joy to play and discover. While there are some missed characterisation opportunities, Age of Calamity is still a blast from start to finish.

Twinfinite: 80- Zhiqing Wan
There are so many systems in play here, but somehow they all come together to form a solid, cohesive experience that makes this game so damn hard to put down. Throw in a cast of extremely likeable characters, and set it in the rich world of Breath of the Wild, and you get one of the best musou-style games that Koei Tecmo and Omega Force have ever put out. If you just want more Breath of the Wild content, don’t pass up on this one.

Nintendo Life: 80 – Gavin Lane
Approached with the knowledge that this is a full-featured side-dish, you’ll have a very good time hacking and slashing your way through Calamity Ganon’s minions in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; just remember that despite its sparkling presentation, it is still not a Zelda game. What it is is a brilliant Zelda-infused Musou experience filled with varied and satisfying combat and Breath of the Wild additions that work beautifully within the boundaries of the Warriors template. The care and attention given to detail here is hugely impressive. We found performance to be adequate and, crucially, it didn’t affect our enjoyment throughout — just be prepared for a slideshow once the pyrotechnics start in two-player co-op. In many ways, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity could be exactly the game you need right now.

While the majority of reviews are 75 or above, there are a few that dip down into the 60s.

GameSpot: 60 – Suriel Vazquez
It’s strange to think of a bungled story leaving me so lukewarm on a Zelda game, even if it is a spin-off. But paying off its premise is the burden a prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is tasked with. The main reason I dove into Age of Calamity is because I love its world and the history it tries to remember. So for a game to retread them and proclaim to have something new to say when its inspiration’s most striking moments come from what it leaves unsaid is a big ask. But my problem with Age of Calamity isn’t that it fails to live up to that responsibility. It’s that it doesn’t even try. It doesn’t have the courage to see things through.

VGC: 60 – Matthew Castle
A hugely entertaining love letter to Breath of the Wild let down by uneven performance that scuppers the game’s ludicrous highs.

So, what do you think? Will you be picking up Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity this weekend? Let us know in the comments here, on our Twitter, or Facebook.