Hyrule Warriors is the next major release on Wii U, with Nintendo no doubt hopeful that it'll kickstart a sustained period of solid sales for the home console, with subsequent months also bringing a variety of major releases. It's also the first high-profile and direct crossover for the Zelda franchise — aside from cameo appearances and outfits — and caused quite a stir when revealed in December 2013. Impressions so far show that it fundamentally plays like a fairly standard Dynasty Warriors title, yet from another perspective it's crammed with characters, items, stages and references that will be immediately familiar to fans of Nintendo's franchise.
A lot has been revealed and shown, most recently in the Hyrule Warriors Direct, so we thought we'd combine as much information as we can into one handy place, to help us get a better grasp of what's coming ahead of its September arrival in the West.
Some key points — we're sticking to officially confirmed details from Koei Tecmo and Nintendo, and not referencing leaks or information emerging from the impending Japanese release; spoiling the whole game is not our plan. Also, this will be a dynamic feature, so anything we miss will be added in over the coming days to give the full picture.
Let's get to it.
Primary Weapon — Hylian Sword
Additional Weapon — Magic Rod
Additional Weapon — Gauntlet
Primary Weapon — Rapier
Additional Weapon — Wind Waker Baton
Primary Weapon — Giant Blade
Additional Weapon — Naginata
Primary Weapon — Harp + martial arts
Primary Weapon — Hammer
Primary Weapon — Zora Scale
Primary Weapon — Shackle
Primary Weapon — Parasol
Primary Weapon — Scimitar
Primary Weapon — Goddess Blade
Primary Weapon — Demon Blade
Primary Weapon — Book of Sorcery
Additional Weapon — Deku Tree Spear
Additional Weapon — Summoning Gate
Primary Weapon — Great Sword
Each character, also depending on the weapon in use, will have unique Special Attacks used to clear out a large number of enemies.
Racking up combos also fills a magic guage, and when that's full you can use Focus Spirit, which heightens the destructive power of the character.
Additional Items / Collectibles
Bow — Used for attacking distant enemies.
Hookshot — Climbing to new areas and more.
Bombs — Widely seen in demo builds, used to clear routes and in the King Dodongo boss fight.
Boomerang — Another long range weapon for defeating multiple enemies.
Chain Chomp — Shown being swung around (not dissimilar to the Gauntlet) by Link.
Bombchu — Much larger in size that those seen before, a demonstrated use was to blow up a wall blocking progress.
Moon from Majora's Mask — Use a hookshot to pull the moon to the ground and destroy enemies.
Gold Skulltula — Find these to obtain illustration pieces.
Non-Playable Boss Enemies (at time of writing)
General Battle Progress
Stage areas are a significant size and with multiple areas in Hyrule Warriors, with various objectives given in each. There are Keeps placed around the map, so claiming these as territory is a priority to tilt battle in your favour and claim victory. Triggered events take the form of enemy Captains, which are tougher to fight; giant bosses also appear in this respect. The appearance of new enemies prompt changes in Victory conditions — when a stage is cleared, you're then ranked on your performance.
Character and Weapon Progression
Battles naturally level you up, and sometimes enemies will drop items — you use these to craft badges. Badges are then used to boost weapons on the item tree, increasing the number of attacks, improving combos, the number of times you can use potions and special attacks, extending abilities such as Focus Spirit time and more.
Different weapons also have their own unique Skills, that boost a particular feature such as life hearts, attack damage and more. A weapon with an empty skill slot, meanwhile, can be fused with another weapon to increase its skills.
This initially takes place on a retro-styled, grid-based overworld — below.
Moving onto an area will often move you into a typical Hyrule Warriors battle with some unique victory conditions, though some parts will bring up an NES-style screen — image below — that may task you with finding a hidden item; once you find the item you then fight for it in the game's modern world. Completing challenges will unlock grids, with the idea being to explore the whole area; there will be special items and even playable characters that can only be accessed through this mode.
Co-Op is local multiplayer only, with one player on the GamePad screen and the other using the TV; we're told to expect a drop in visuals to accommodate the dual screen play. Online co-op is not included, though some online features are expected.
Costume Set DLC
Demon King Costume Set — Club Nintendo members in North America and Europe will have four weeks from the title's release date (below) to register the game and receive this DLC for free.
Ocarina of Time Costume Set — Available from select retailers as a pre-order bonus in North America, European details to be confirmed.
Twilight Princess Costume Set — Available from select retailers as a pre-order bonus in North America, European details to be confirmed.
Skyward Sword Costume Set — Available from select retailers as a pre-order bonus in North America, European details to be confirmed.
Off-TV mode is supported on the GamePad.
Cuccos feature, and if you attack them they'll — of course — become angry; they can be used against enemies as allies, however.
Japan — 14th August
Europe — 19th September
Australia — 20th September
North America — 26th September
The various limited editions in Japan are unlikely to make it to the West, though the DLC outlined above will in some cases be pre-order bonuses. The Official Nintendo UK Store has unveiled the bundle below, however, which includes a rather colourful scarf.
Plenty of information there, and below is the recent Hyrule Warriors Direct that goes through many of these details. Are you excited about Hyrule Warriors on Wii U?