On paper at least, Hyrule Warriors Legends is a solid business decision. As the 3DS enters its twilight years (no pun intended) AAA software is becoming increasingly hard to come by, and seeing as Koei Temco's Warriors engine already exists on the handheld, Hyrule Warriors is, on face value, a pretty straightforward title to bring across. However, business concerns rarely get the pulses of players racing, and it's impossible to ignore the fact that a great many fans seem disinterested in playing through this crossover release a second time - and with significantly worse visuals, too.
While it's true that those of you who have completed Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U, purchased all of the DLC and totally exhausted the game's addictive Adventure Mode might struggle to build up any kind of enthusiasm for this portable iteration, that doesn't change the fact that this is, from what we've played, an incredibly accomplished offering that does the 3DS proud and manages to successfully capture the essence of the home console original.
We'll save a detailed breakdown of the differences and enhancements for the full review, but in brief, it's worth noting that Hyrule Warriors Legends pulls together all of the DLC released on Wii U thus far, but loses the Challenge and co-op modes present in the home edition. New content is included, such as an epilogue based on The Wind Waker, new characters and the amusingly-titled My Fairy mode - which we'll touch upon in more depth in our full review - but by and large you're playing very much the same game as before.
That's not to say that subtle changes aren't felt here and there; it's now possible to switch characters during a mission using the touch-screen and this allows you to deal with perilous situations a little quicker, as well as reduce the amount of time you spend dashing around the map trying to shore your defences, capture keeps and save fellow warriors from certain doom. It's also possible to gain boosts and dish out additional damage to bosses when friendly characters are nearby, which encourages you to work together with your allies rather than assuming the traditional job description of "One Man Army".
Of the new characters introduced for this portable outing, Linkle is perhaps the most interesting for the lifelong Zelda afiando. While she was for a short time rumoured to be the near-legendary gender-swap of hero Link, she's a character in her own right here, with a narrative string which winds its way through the story-based Legend mode alongside those of the other main protagonists. Wielding two crossbows with uncanny skill, she's a joy to control as well as being an interesting addition to the main cast and its dimension-mashing plot. Linkle - along with Toon Link, King of Hyrule, Skull Kid and Tetra - are all fresh entrants with new moves and tactics to explore and master, and for this reason alone they should prove to be a major selling point for followers of the franchise.
Visually, it shouldn't come as a massive shock to learn that Hyrule Warriors Legends is a considerable downgrade from the Wii U original. A lot of detail has been sacrificed to ensure that the game remains fast and playable, with character models losing plenty of complexity and levels looking a little sparse and barren. The 3DS can't compete with the Wii U in terms of pure graphical grunt, of course, but these alterations are also an attempt to ensure that the crowded action that has made the Warriors series so famous can be replicated on the smaller screen. While it might look substantially worse than its domestic parent, Hyrule Warriors Legends still has some impressive moments, usually centered around your attacks and their dramatic effect on the hordes of enemies which dutifully line up for a whacking. In this regard, the game "feels" like an incredibly close match to its Wii U forefather.
We've already touched upon the fact that Hyrule Warriors Legends is best experienced on the New Nintendo 3DS family of systems, although it's worth pointing out that we've not personally had chance to play it on an older 3DS model. Even so, there are occasional moments on the New 3DS hardware where the frame rate becomes a little jerky, and it's not uncommon to see character models vanish and reappear when the camera pulls away to show a stage event, such as showcasing a new pathway. Despite the rough edges the game is mostly smooth and fast, and as a result the core "Warriors" gameplay is intact and largely undiminished.
Another thing that we can't help but notice is that Hyrule Warriors Legends feels superbly suited to handheld play - it's arguably more at home here than on the Wii U, despite the graphical disparity. While the Legend Mode has lengthy missions which often threaten to outstay their welcome, the Adventure Mode - with its fantastic old-school Zelda maps - offers up bite-sized challenges which are perfect fodder for bus rides home or a quick burst of play while you're waiting for your evening meal to cook. This ability to effortlessly drop-in and drop-out of the game is sure to find favour with 3DS owners - we certainly found ourselves appreciating it more than we expected.
While Hyrule Warriors Legends may be retreading old ground, it's important to remember that there are over 50 million 3DS owners in the world and just over 10 million Wii U owners - so simple maths would suggest that a viable audience exists for such a venture, despite its familiarity. We'll save more definitive judgment for the final review, but at the moment we're enjoying re-sampling this action-packed fusion of genres more than we anticipated.
Oh I'd love to play through all the content, if Nintendo weren't screwing over all their Wii U fans, by not letting us buy the new DLC. Such a scumbag move on Nintendo's part.
I haven't picked up the Wii U version yet and I wanted the golden compass/clock so I preordered it.
Nintendo is missing out on DLC sales if they don't port the Linkle and Windwaker side stories to the Wii U version. I doubt people will double dip and buy the 3DS version just to play those two side stories.
It's a port, they don't really need to update the old version at all as they need to sell the new one. Plus it's still early to bash Nintendo. I have a gut feeling they'll sell them as DLC to the Wii U version at a later date.
I'm certain most of us are waiting on the Wind Waker content to be released for the WiiU as DLC so give us some answers Nintendo!!
Sell them or announce it now and they'll lose initial 3DS sales. Either they sell later or not at all.
People double dip ALL THE TIME, so why would this be any different? For sure a good (small) chunk of sales will actually come from people who have already played the Wii U version (mainly the hardcore). I mean most people have double dipped somewhere at some point, I guess the only issue is that this is so soon after the Wii U version, but with extra content and new play mechanics. Considering the Wii U version sold around a million units, I'd say there are plenty more opportunities to make this one sell more.
This would be a $40 dlc pack purchase for me, as I'd never play this game on the go. It should be possible to transfer the new characters and then just resell the game, right?
"although it's worth pointing out that we've not personally had chance to play it on an older 3DS model."
How is that even possible, was it provided to you as a download on a new 3DS? Of those 50mil 3DS how many are the new models? I'd bet more than half are the old ones. Maybe you can do a poll asking your vast readership about "new" 3DS ownership?
@rjejr Review copies are usually downloads these days, yes.
i'm buying this since I never bought the Wii U version, plus I play on my handheld more than my Wii U. I have a New 3DS
@Damo Not for GameXplain. They do box openings of review copies all the time.
Do most Wii U owners have a 3ds?
Do a lot of 3ds owners not own a Wii U?
Is this game being released in the hope that Nintendo gamers with both consoles will buy both games?
Games like this, and Smash Bros and Xenoblade are much better suited to a large. The fact that they can be squeezed into a small screen does not mean that they should be.
Half of the amateur stuff or retro handheld games we see on the Wii U, really belongs on the 3ds and a lot of that, not even on the 3ds, but it should be on smartphones.
Hmmm, never used Challenge mode, and while co-op would be nice, I've rarely had anyone to play that with either, so it's hard to miss it.
The Wii U version had minor technical issues as well, so 3DS' shouldn't bother me.
I own the WiiU version already, but I'm excited for the 3ds release. My 3ds gets ways more play time than my wiiu now. I think this is a better fit for portable, for me anyway. Can't wait to play as Tetra. The switching characters sounds great, I spent way too much time having to run to different keeps on opposite sides of the map, so I think this will make it more enjoyable.
Fun as always, but with lower graphics, not a shocking preview I must say XD
Gotta admit that I've been hyped for this game for quite a while, but I'm not sure I'll eventually get it... Really loved it on Wii U, but it scares me a little to restart everything again, especially when on Wii U I played a ton of hours and barely scrapped the surface of the whole content.
@abbyhitter We're based in the UK and not the US, so they may well still send out physical copies there. It's been a while since we were sent a physical disc / cart, with the obvious exception of limited edition items, which Alex usually unboxes on the YouTube channel.
@abbyhitter Physical copies occur when there's a meaningful item in the special edition, otherwise its just digital. The compass isn't meaningful whereas an amiibo that unlocks content, a bundle containing all 3 games in one or a gamecube adapter to allow you to use GC controllers is.
@Damo Well that makes sense. But didn't anybody at NL get a copy downloaded to an old model that they could have lent to TW for a peak? If Nintendo only gives 1 per reviewer and forces it to be on the newer models I can't really blame them though, would be the smart move on their end.
Sorry if I derailed the comments section again.
Never played this on the U, so I'm looking forward to experiencing this on 3DS. Seems more like the kind of game I'll want to play in short bursts.
Great game with great mechanics! I loved it on wiiU and I should advise you all to play it on WiiU instead of 3ds, if you have the choice. But if you only have a 3ds, don t miss it! I am curious to see how it really runs on old 3ds....
For WiiU owners, if you enjoyed it, you can also grab warriors Orochi 3 on wiiU. Same gameplay and ton of contents
Looking forward to this game. I never played the original on Wii U but always figured with as simple as the gameplay is, the grind would be better suited for the handheld. I hope it gets a good score. At least above a 7.
@Tsurii Yeah, it all makes sense, but it doesn't seem fair. I'm still waiting for a "new 2DS" so people can get their choice of console format w/ built in NFC readers and better/faster hardware. Why bother making the old CPU just for the 2DS, just put the new one in all 3 models.
Last time I played a game in the same genre was about 8-10 years ago with Dynasty Warriors on the psp which I loved.
Did pick up HW for WiiU back when it released but due to work etc & generally struggling to play games on the big screen, I never got round to playing it.
This however being on the 3ds suits me perfectly so will be picking this one up for sure regardless of the slowdown & all.
I might pick this up if I have the money to spare. I have the Wii U version, so it's not like I'd be missing out. But I'd buy the 3DS version to get some more characters and extra modes.
I would totally prefer the Wii U version if there was a GOTY type of deal going for it but seeing as this is a much cheaper option this will be the version to get for me. I waited ages for Hyrule Warriors to drop in price on the Wii U but now that this version is nearly out that solves my problem right there.
Look me in the face and tell me you didn't pre-order both Smash games.
Meh. There's no way I'm going to okay through all that again, on a smaller screen, with interior graphics and controls. But cool for newcomers, surely there are a lot of people who didn't get to play it on Wii U.
... There are not over 50 million 3DS owners in the world though. There are over 50 million 3DS systems sold. I'd be shocked if the actual number of 3DS systems in active use is over 30 million.
The only way Nintendo is getting more money from me on Hyrule warriors is if they put the DLC on the Wii U. Then it all comes down to price as well. It would be a kick in the teeth if they priced it high when a game at a lower price has all the content.
Is it really ok to say there are 50 million 3DS owners? With only 50 million consoles sold, I personally own 3 of them, a friend of mine owns 2 and another owns 3 as well so it is not 1 console per person. Plus, a lot of the New 3DS sales would also be people who upgraded. I wouldn't be surprised if that number was really only half to 2/3rds.
Yeah, I uh... I own six 3DS's of various kinds >w< What can I say? I'm a sucker for special editions.
Still hyped for this. I've been gaming mostly on PS4 and PC for a while now, so I've got some catching up to do on 3DS.
All things considered, I am really looking forward to this game.
I wish the Wii U version had that "Switch between various warriors" function. There would have been so many other missions that I could have made it through with less hassle with that feature.XD
Also, the "my fairy" stuff looks like a blast, and I wish that was cross-version content as well...
I finished the main story in my Wii U version and immediately after that, I got constant crashes so I couldn't okay the game anymore. So I'm hyped for this! I'm more of a handheld gamer anyway.
"50 million 3DS owners in the world and just over 10 million Wii U owners" Yeah but how many are N3DS owners? This game is awful on the old 3DS. I was going to get this, until i saw that gameplay.
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