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Dynasty Warriors

Arslan photo

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend feels like an old-school Warriors game

In all the best ways
Sep 17
// Chris Carter
Current anime games are insane to me. This generation has basically made it possible to play an animated TV series, with a stable framerate to boot. Games like One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 on the PS4 run as smooth as silk, and manage to maintain an aesthetic that looks nigh indistinguishable from anime. Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is one such game.

Dragon Quest Heroes is a fast-paced, challenging spin-off

Sep 11 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]310289:60328:0[/embed] Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below (PS4)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: October 13, 2015MSRP: $59:99 Set in the kingdom of Erusaze, humans and monsters live in relative harmony with one another, until one day, the capital city of Arba is attacked by an army of monsters led by an evil sorcerer. Taking up arms against them are two heroes from the king's guard who must band together a group of adventurers, warriors, and even monsters of their own from across the land to combat the legion of foes seeking to destroy civilization. Given the scope and detail of both the Dragon Quest series and the Musou titles, the story does well to fit itself nicely into the themes and styles of both. With the vivid and colorful setting of the DQ games, which channels Akira Toriyama's signature art style quite well along with the vast number of foes to battle, there's a undeniable richness to the world. Exploring it was quite a treat. In traditional Dragon Quest fashion, players can name their central character and then proceed on their epic quest. However, Dragon Quest Heroes presents players with the choice of two unique characters, Luceus and Aurora, both of whom are fully voiced, have their own personalities, and posses their unique play-styles. Selecting one will allow players to view the story from their perspective, with the other serving as another member of the party. Much like other titles in the Musou series, players will be able to choose multiple characters with their own unique move-sets and abilities. Many of the classic DQ archetypes and classes are recreated with new fleshed-out characters, and even some returning from past Dragon Quest titles will join your party to battle the evils that corrupt the land. Moving away from the random battles and turn-based combat, the developers incorporated many of RPG systems from the series into their brand of Dynasty Warriors-style combat and gameplay structure. Battles are entirely action-oriented, using quick and strong attacks, magic, and even the tried-and-true Tension abilities from recent Dragon Quest games to beat down the legions of monsters. Stages take place with in vast open areas with waves of monsters, while tasking players with completing objectives from active quests. You'll have to manage your MP for magic attacks, and keep your inventory of support items well-stocked for when you travel out into the field. The gameplay is very similar to titles like Dynasty Warriors, but it still has the DNA of Dragon Quest. I was happy with the marriage of different genres. Even though I felt more a twitch-focused approach to gameplay, I still felt a sense of progression as I grew in power along with my party. Keep in mind, the general structure of Dragon Quest Heroes is focused on the singular adventure with your party. Unlike the other Musou titles, which focus on a particular characters and their campaign, your party of heroes in DQH will be with you throughout your journey, and while you can switch between them during battle with ease, your chosen characters are still the main focus. Eventually, your band of heroes will gain access to a flying fortress made of stone, which will serve as your base of operations as you travel around the world taking on new challenges. With the airship, you'll essentially have a mobile town from which you can shop, interact with other characters, find new quests, and perform any other needs you may need. Battles are much faster and to the point compared to most other Musou titles, which is great for the focus on narrative and the RPG systems. With its October release approaching, this title will be up the alley for both fans of Dragon Quest and the Musou series. For the classic RPG series, this is largely new territory to be exploring. Action-RPG gameplay with its rich and finely-tuned systems would be challenging to do justice, but I was pleased with how Omega Force made the transition. To make things more enticing for the Western release, all the released DLC from the original launch in Japan will be available for free to all players. Even with its new gameplay, Dragon Quest Heroes still exudes the same sense of adventure and wonder found in the much-loved series.
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Includes all bonus DLC for free
I've got quite the soft spot for Omega Force's series of Musou titles. If you've heard of or played Dynasty Warriors, then you know exactly what they are. As the popularity of the studio's games grow with every release, it br...

New Attack on Titan photo
New Attack on Titan

New Attack on Titan PlayStation game from Dynasty Warriors devs incoming

Officially announced for 2016
Aug 05
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: The website has been updated revealing the above trailer for Attack on Titan (working title) for PS3, PS4, and PS Vita coming in 2016. No real gameplay details have been revealed but I noticed when Eren is flyi...
Dynasty Warriors photo
Dynasty Warriors

Dynasty Warriors as we know it turns 15 years old today, so what's your favorite game?

Mine is super old at this point
Aug 03
// Chris Carter
I still remember where I was when I discovered Dynasty Warriors. I was in a Blockbuster Video just perusing some games, and my friend shouted that I needed to hurry up so we could get to a meetup of some kind. So I kind of ju...

Arslan photo

These Heroic Legend of Arslan Warriors screens are beautiful

Two new characters announced
Jul 10
// Chris Carter
Koei Tecmo has decided to dump a bunch of Heroic Legend of Arslan Warriors screens out into the wild for us to gander at, and man are they great. The character Gieve and Farangis have been added to the game, and a few de...

Review: Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3

Jun 30 // Chris Carter
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 (3DS [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Tecmo KoeiMSRP: $29.99Released: June 30, 2015 In a sense, although Chronicles 3 is a continuation of the existing Chronicles offshoot series, it actually ends up being bite-sized take on Warriors 4, but with a few twists in tow. Players will create their own warrior right off the bat and follow a more personalized story, putting them smack in the middle of famous figures like Takeda Shingen. It's a strategy fitting for a portable, even if it takes some liberties when it comes to gameplay. What this does is it allows Samurai newcomers to instantly acclimate themselves without having to know any background on the franchise whatsoever. Even with the last full iteration, it was tough to glean a lot of ancillary backstory about armies and characters unless you had kept up with the series. With Chronicles you can just jump right in, and it will assist you in filling in the blanks. There's a bit of choice involved in the pre-battle cutscenes, but it's mainly an illusion and more of an excuse to learn more about the cast. This goes double for the story, which doesn't really change, and is more of a predetermined narrative for your character. Having said that, the "bonding" system does allow you to unlock new scenes (and a few levels) the more you battle (or pay to drink tea) with fellow officers. [embed]295006:59270:0[/embed] For the most part, gameplay is roughly the same: there's your standard attacks and combo openers as well as supers. It's fast, and despite claims of being "repetitive," it's still a damn fun approach to beat-'em-ups. Chronicles 3 takes things a bit further though (as it has in the past) and allows you to swap between four characters in the battlefield at will, which is better than Samurai's recent two-character mechanic, and a great way to always keep you in the action. Instead of running back and forth constantly, you can just switch to someone else. The main storyline took me roughly 10 hours to complete, then it's off to individual battles while you grind up your character and earn gold to buy new outfits. Instead of a bunch of different bonus gametypes, you'll have a simple challenge mode at your disposal, which is basically a score attack on a timer. Most of your enjoyment will derive from grinding it out for rare weapons and fighting enemies across the span of the entire campaign all at once. It's fun, but its appeal is definitely limited and your mileage may vary. I would have preferred more modes. Sadly, the 3DS hardware has not been kind to Chronicles. The game looks incredibly generic, especially in comparison to the detail that was put into Samurai Warriors 4's new character models. You can't even make out faces for enemy soldiers a lot of the time, much less the set pieces in the background. As a reminder, this review is based off the 3DS version (the only one that was provided), which does have the added benefit of constantly displaying the map on the bottom screen. The 3D effect enhances the experience a bit, but sadly, also contributes to some slowdown. It's never unplayable, but it does make things worse and I don't recommend using it. Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 is held back by the switch to the 3DS, and I recommend just picking up the past core entry instead. In the meantime, I'll attempt to locate a Vita version to see how it compares to Warriors 4, which was also released on the Vita earlier this year. With some of the performance issues smoothed out, this personal story would be more worth telling. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Samurai Warriors review photo
Not quite as punchy on a portable
Samurai Warriors 4 was a noticeable advancement for the series, and added a number of interesting mechanics like instant character switching and more varied move sets for each character. It even solved a few common compl...

Dynasty Warriors photo
Dynasty Warriors

Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors 3DS has all DLC and new characters

Adding Wind Waker characters and stages
Jun 16
// Steven Hansen
Nintendo officially confirmed Hyrule Warriors 3DS at its event today. The team pegged it as a "re-imagining" of the Wii U game and noted that it includes all of the DLC characters from the original, as well as new characters and stages from the best Zelda game, The Wind Waker.
Samurai Warriors photo
Samurai Warriors

Sadly, those Nintendo costumes will not appear in Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 in the west

May 29
// Chris Carter
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 will arrive next month on 3DS and Vita in the west, but they won't be bringing along a really cool piece of content on the former platform -- Nintendo costumes. In the original Jap...
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

Dragon Quest Heroes free DLC adds new character, costumes

Over delivering on value
Feb 26
// Steven Hansen
Dragon Quest Heroes is already out in Japan -- thankfully, it has also just recently been confirmed for a Western release -- and its first wave of DLC is on the way. And it's all going to be free. First up is the Arena Battle...
Dragon Quest Heroes photo
Dragon Quest Heroes

Compare Dragon Quest Heroes on PS3 and PS4

A tribe called dragon quest
Feb 23
// Steven Hansen
Dragon Quest Heroes is out this week in Japan and now we have a direct look at the differences between the PS3 (below) and PS4 (above) versions of the game, aside from being informed that the latter if 60 frames per second, ...
Bladestorm photo

Bladestorm: Nightmare will hit Steam in May

It still has dragons
Feb 18
// Chris Carter
In addition to the PS3, PS4, and Xbox One in March, it looks like the upcoming Bladestorm: Nightmare will be arriving on Steam in May. Nightmare is an expansion and semi-sequel of sorts to the original game, complete with new...
Hyrule Warriors sales photo
Hyrule Warriors sales

Hyrule Warriors had the most successful launch of any Musou game in the U.S.

I still hate Liu Bei
Jan 30
// Jason Faulkner
Nintendo's gambit with one of its most profitable properties seems to have paid off. Koei Tecmo's Hyrule Warriors is the fastest selling of any entry of the Musou series released in the United States. Great DLC and iconi...
Screenshot gallery photo
Screenshot gallery

Text box attacks and more in Dragon Quest Heroes

Dragon Quest x Dynasty Warriors
Jan 28
// Steven Hansen
Dragon Quest Heroes is coming to PS3 and PS4. Non-exclusive property as it is--in fact, we've seen a lot more Dragon Quests on Nintendo consoles recently--it seems to be the PlayStation console answer to Hyrule Warriors, which Jordan is somehow still playing. I think he's even going to buy an amiibo for it.  
Dragon Quest photo
Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest Heroes up for pre-order

Please let the next one be Cybertron Warriors...
Jan 07
// Mike Cosimano
If you're into this sort of thing, the upcoming Dragon Quest-themed Dynasty Warriors spinoff, Dragon Quest Heroes: Anryu to Sekaiju, is now available for pre-order through Play-Asia. It'll run you $66 for the PS4 version...
Dynasty Warriors 8 photo
Dynasty Warriors 8

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires delayed in North America and Europe

Out of January and into February
Jan 07
// Chris Carter
Dynasty Warriors 8 was all set to debut its Empire expansion-like...thing in January, but Tecmo Koei has sent word of a delay in North America and Europe. Now it will release on February 24th in the former, and the ...
Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

What the heck is going on with this Hyrule Warriors concept art?

Rated 'E' for 'Evil half naked woman bathing in blood'
Jan 03
// Jonathan Holmes
The Hyrule Warriors strategy guide came out a while ago, so this art isn't exactly news, though it was news to me as I stumbled upon it earlier today. It doesn't look like many others have taken note of this bizarre sketch fr...
Samurai Warriors photo
Samurai Warriors

FUNimation will stream the Samurai Warriors anime soon

I need to get around to watching this
Dec 31
// Chris Carter
Samurai Warriors 4 came and went earlier this year, and for Warriors fans, it was definitely worth picking up. The Samurai train isn't over though, as an anime called Sengoku Musou will be debuting next year, a...

Review: Samurai Warriors 4

Oct 21 // Chris Carter
Samurai Warriors 4 (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Tecmo KoeiReleased: October 21, 2014MSRP: $59.99 (PS4) / $49.99 (PS3) / $39.99 (Vita) Samurai Warriors 4 is the biggest game in the series yet with 55 total characters, and 12 full story campaigns. It's massive. Old favorites return, such as Geomon Ishikawa, Kojiro Sasaki, and Musahmi Miyamoto, and there are a number of characters who make their appearance for the first time in the series. Whether you're a newcomer or an old fan, this is a great place to start. Warriors 4 follows Omega Force's tried-and-true two-button combo system, with both light and heavy attacks that morph into stuns, area-of-effect, or juggle attacks depending on the order of operations. The neat thing about Samurai Warriors is that it opens up an entirely new combo system with its heavy attacks, called "hyper combos." Instead of using the same light-to-heavy moves you'll also have the reverse available, which gives each individual character at least ten unique powers. This is added on to the fact that every combatant has their own signature power, which can be a special grapple or even a grenade attack. Omega Force has done a great job of further mixing it up with a rock-paper-scissors system, where enemies, officers, and generals may be more prone to normal, hyper, or special attacks. In Samurai 4, you can to use more advanced moves like air recoveries, shadow dodges, guard breaks, and ripostes. You can also switch between two characters at will, which is a nice touch for instant fast traveling. While it's not overly complex, it still offers another layer on top of the traditional Warriors formula. [embed]282659:56010:0[/embed] Having said that, missions can blend together over the course of each campaign. There are a lot of actual venues that range from indoor palaces to vast expanses of woodlands, but at the end of the day you're still going to move from officer to officer, slaying all who are in your way as you carve your path towards the boss character. Past Warriors games have mixed the action up with siege weapons and additional tactics, but Samurai Warriors 4 brings things back to the basics, for better or worse. While the actual combat system has more legs, missions tend to be linear affairs. Playing on hard will force you to try more, like kill enemy banner holders to lower morale, but it's still not as deep as prior games. Thankfully there is full split-screen support for the console versions, as well as online play for the entire campaign and free mode to help alleviate the feeling of repetition. Even if you start to feel in a trance due to the blending mission structure, the sheer variety of the roster will keep you interested for a while. Samurai Warriors 4 does a great job of making you feel like a badass with faster gameplay (especially on PS4, with more enemies on-screen and a superior frame rate). Characters can employ ninja tactics (Kotaro Fuma), use demolition-like weapons (Ujiyasu Hojo), glowing demon swords (Nobunaga Oda), or more traditional methods of combat -- odds are you'll find a style you'll like. The actual quality of the stories vary, but they tend to all have some form of cheeseball humor characteristic of the franchise. It's performed by way of Japanese audio, which is actually perfect for the Samurai line, but there's just one problem -- it's tough to follow what's going on in-game with constant babbling, so you have to constantly look at subtitles to figure it out. While the story and free modes had me occasionally stopping for breaks, the new iteration of the "Chronicle" mode had me playing late into the night. Simply put, it's an Empire-like open-ended gametype that allows you to take your created character on a tour across Japan. You can start off serving the lord of your choice from the story, and from there, you'll begin your travels as a foot soldier into something greater. Not only do the missions themselves have greater variation from the core modes (instead of grand battles every time, you might just stop a band of thieves, for instance), but you'll also have a small amount of choice in terms of how your story plays out. Whether it's denying certain missions from your superior officer or expanding your personal army, there is an element of unpredictability involved. It helps that the character creation process is robust. Not only does Omega Force provide you with a large amount of customization options, but the studio also offers over 20 different weapon styles, from polearms to dual daggers. When everything is said and done, odds are you'll be able to create a male or female avatar you're happy with. Samurai Warriors 4 suffers from the same pratfalls as the rest of the Warriors series on occasion, but the strong offering of content and robust Chronicle mode will keep you interested for quite a while. If you have a friend available to play with locally or online as well, you can expect to play even longer.
Samurai Warriors 4 photo
Goemon is back, baby
While the Dynasty Warriors series is often heralded as the pinnacle of Omega Force's hack-and-slash catalog, the lesser-known Samurai franchise has been churning out some of the best games in the stable. Based aroun...

Hyrule Warriors' 'Master Quest' DLC is worth the price of entry if you're already addicted

Oct 17 // Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors: Master Quest DLC (Wii U)Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja, NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: October 16, 2014MSRP: $7.99 (part of the $19.99 Season Pass) Let's start with the additional campaign. Put simply, it's a prequel and a side-story to the events that unfold over the course of the narrative. You'll see Cia's rise to power, how she recruited Wizzro and Volga, and her interactions with the denizens of each of the "portal" worlds like Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess. It takes place over five missions, all of which re-use maps from the story mode but offer new scenarios. Where these maps really shine are with the game's Hero difficulty. They're some of the most challenging ones on offer, and you'll have to employ some actual tactical thinking to best them without a few retries. The first map in particular is really cool in that it features three armies, all of which are constantly warring as the battle rages on. It also gives you a great look into the character of Volga, who is easily the star of the new update. Link's new Epona weapon is surprisingly one of the best parts of the package. It functions very similarly to horses in the Warriors series -- outside of the fact that you can't actually get off said horse. Attacks range from charges (with the classic carrot icons from past Zelda games) and area-of-effect abilities. In other words, Epona can be used in every map without an issue and kicks a lot of ass. I really liked the added touch of the shadow aesthetic when using the Dark Link skin. [embed]282707:56003:0[/embed] The new map is titled the "Master Quest," and gives you another board to work through in Adventure Mode from square one. Although hardcore fans probably breezed through the first map without too much difficulty, Master Quest is going to put your skills to the test. Every piece of the map features a certain challenge requirement, like "no healing of any kind," or a time limit on your objective. This is on top of the fact that a lot of the levels are just harder in general, and some require the use and mastery of the new characters. In my mind this is a great way to do DLC, as it's a natural progression from the first map. I would have liked to have seen something drastically different like a monochrome or Game Boy Color-themed Link's Awakening map, but the missions speak for themselves. Having said that, if you didn't dig the first map, you probably won't bother to complete this one, and you should wait for the next DLC pack to hit -- unless you like the idea of costumes and 8-bit weapons for your troubles. Finally, the last part of the paid Master Quest add-on is two costumes for Cia and Lana. These are essentially holy-themed getups, and while Lana's isn't all that special, it drastically changes Cia's appearance from evil to good, which is something. Still, it's not nearly as enticing as a Fierce Deity or Toon Link skin, per se. While the three free extra characters aren't technically part of the DLC, buying Master Quest unlocks a few perks, like their higher-level weapons and the ability to use heart containers on them. They're also some of the most fun characters in the game by far. Cia's badassery speaks for itself. As one of the core villains of the game, she uses her magic abilities and her whip as weapons. She can throw energy balls, summon flying discs to attack groups of enemies, and even summon a small army of Dark Links to lay waste to the battlefield. She's an AOE-oriented character but still holds her own in one-on-one situations. She also feels completely unique, even from Lana. As a neat bonus you'll also get two extra costumes right off the bat, including a hatless skin and a skin without her mask. Volga took me completely by surprise, and ended up being one of my new favorite characters. He plays similarly to a polearm character from the Warriors games, which should make more than a few fans happy. His "dragon" aspects are also well done to the point where it doesn't feel like they're overdoing it, and wings and claws will sprout during specific attacks. In terms of raw power he's one of the stronger characters in the game, giving you an extra viable roster option if you're the min-max type. Wizzro on the other hand feels weaker at first, but he's a highly technical character that shines in co-op. What's cool about him is that the vast majority of his attacks are ranged, putting him in a class of his own. He's adept at juggling and has a very useful beam attack that can be aimed at single enemies or even groups. I really like how the developers allowed him to use some of the basic moves of the Poe enemies but keep his own style. Hyrule Warriors is on a roll. Not only does the base game have more gameplay than nearly anything released in 2014, but the DLC does a decent job of augmenting the experience. While I'd like to see a little more original content in future DLCs, the three characters alone will add hours of entertainment.
Hyrule Warriors DLC photo
It's not as new as I would have liked, but it keeps me going
Hyrule Warriors is a massive game. If you want to 100% everything, get every weapon, and max out every character, it could last you roughly 200 hours or more. I'm hitting the 100-hour mark myself, due in part to the new ...

Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warrior's first DLC pack will highlight the villain Cia

Check out the new video
Sep 30
// Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors is out, and people seem to be really digging it so far. While a lot of you may be done with the campaign and are currently working on Adventure Mode, there's still more story to come with the first paid ...
Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Cucco's are still deadly in Hyrule Warriors

That's Hyrulian for 'chicken'
Sep 26
// Chris Carter
If you aren't familiar with the Zelda series, Cuccos are adorable little chickens who never attack the player character for any reason. Ok that's a lie, if you mess with a Cucco, you'll likely wind up dead, as they summ...

Review: Hyrule Warriors

Sep 17 // Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja, NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: September 26, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The madness that ensues in Hyrule Warriors may not be canon, but it's explained rather well. Characters provide their typical grunts and guttural sounds over a text-based dialog system, but every level begins with a special voiceover narration -- a first for the Zelda series. The actor that provides the voice fits the mystical theme of the game well enough (even if she under-delivers a tad), and I found myself enjoying the story, no matter how tertiary it is to the real action at hand. What you're getting is a typical tale of dark vs. light, with Link and his crew battling the evil Cia (a newcomer created for the game) and some villains from the hero's past. It's all very predictable, almost in a comical fashion, but a lot of love and authenticity was put into the characters, as they all operate how you think they would after meeting each other. The development team also put a lot of work in when it comes to differentiating every character (both aesthetically and mechanically), and the cast feels wholly unique. Control-wise, Hyrule plays like your typical Warriors game with the addition of one extra (items, which I'll get to in a moment) -- meaning it's insanely easy to pick up and play, even with no prior knowledge of the series. The "combo" move setup returns, allowing players to press the standard attack button any number of times for a full combo, with the option to alter it with the special attack button. For instance, if Link attacks twice then uses a special, he'll summon a projectile with his sword, and if he attacks three times then prompts a special, he'll use an air-juggle launcher, and so on. All of this works seamlessly with the Hyrule cast, since every character has a radically different moveset. This is rare in a Warriors game, but I found myself liking every playable combatant, and since characters have two distinctly different weapons that alter their movesets on top of that, odds are you will find a play style you'll gel with. For example, it's amazing how they translated Fi into a hack and slash so well, as she looks and plays like she was transplanted 1:1 from Skyward Sword. No one feels like a clone character. Sub-weapons are also included, and seek to differentiate Hyrule from its pedigree. Bombs, arrows, and the hookshot (among others) all make an appearance, and all serve a purpose -- like bombing rocks in the overworld just like a real Zelda game. You can also level-up each character individually, and earn "badges" -- a huge skill-tree like system that you can progress through by earning Rupees and materials through normal play. It's an easy and fun progression mechanic that encourages players to replay levels for items without feeling like a grind. The lock-on system is one of the best I've seen in the series, as it actually works as intended. While locked on, you can dodge with the press of a single button, or guard by holding the left trigger and circle around your opponent. The only problem I found is that sometimes the camera gets a little wonky while locked on, but this only happens briefly once every 10 levels or so. When playing on the TV, the visuals are beautiful (though not as amazing as some other current-gen games), and there is hardly any slowdown to speak of. Once again, I'm finding myself glued to the GamePad as a control method. It's my favorite controller out right now, and I absolutely love how it feels. Players can also opt for a Pro Controller or Wiimote and Nunchuk if they please, and controls are fully customizable. There's just one major problem -- Off-TV play feels rushed in Hyrule Warriors, and really exposes the lack of power on the GamePad. Simply put, Warriors games typically display up to 100 models on-screen at once in heated situations, and the GamePad cannot handle it. In some levels -- the Twilight maps in particular, with looming towers in the background -- I've gotten full slowdown spurts as lengthy as 30 seconds (again, this doesn't happen on the TV). Now, the game is doable, and for the sake of experimentation, I completed the entire campaign on hard using Off-TV play. But if at all possible, it's not recommended. While the story and characters are wonderfully presented, the missions are going to be your typical Warriors fare. Even on hard mode the game isn't that much of a challenge, and although many levels have objectives like "capture this keep" or "kill this captain," your main goal 99% of the time is to enter the enemy base and kill the big boss. It can get tiring if you're going at it alone to say the least, since your fun factor is cut down by obtuse objectives, sometimes forcing you to slog to and fro across the entire map. You'll also have to gradually unlock characters by playing the story, starting with Impa by completing the first level, and so on. You won't even have the full cast until you complete the game, which fits in terms of the story (as you have to meet them first), but with many levels limiting you to just one character (Link), it feels restrictive. Thankfully, there is an exploration element in Hyrule Warriors that somewhat mirrors the Zelda series proper to help break up a lot of the repetition. As previously mentioned you can look for rocks to bomb, cuccos to find and mess with, hidden chests to grab, and special items to gather. When there isn't an imminent need to press on, I liked running around levels trying to find things, and it gets even more fun as you accumulate sub-weapons throughout the story. Slashing grass for health and breaking pots never felt this fun in the Warriors games. Your enjoyment is going to be increased ten-fold if you play the game with a friend. Hyrule Warriors features a full co-op mode for two players, but like other aspects of the game, it's very particular. For one, there is no online co-op of any kind. It's a huge bummer that really makes the package less appealing if you can't wrangle up a friend locally. Another thing to keep in mind is the aforementioned poor off-TV play. In Hyrule Warriors, there is no support for split-screen -- one player has to use the GamePad screen, and another has to use the TV -- no exceptions. The good news is that every single level and mode (except the first stage after booting up the game) is playable with a friend. What's really cool is that the second player can pick anyone unlocked so far in the story, even if the first player is limited to say, Link-only. Despite the lack of online play and inherent issues, couch co-op is an absolute blast, and I've played at least 30 hours with my wife, even though the campaign is roughly 10 hours. I cannot state strongly enough how much fun it is to share the experience with a partner. There's also a big bonus that makes up for the repetitive campaign -- adventure mode. This is also fully playable with two people, and features a retro-flavored map from the original NES The Legend of Zelda. You'll explore the entire overworld from the first game as you tackle each "square," which is a challenge level of sorts. Some squares might require you to kill 400 enemies in 10 minutes, and some might task you with killing three or more bosses on-screen at once. After beating a stage you might earn an old-school item like a lantern or a bomb, which can be used on the map to open up even more areas. It's crazy how fleshed out this mode is, and it cuts down on a lot of the fatigue from playing the campaign -- especially since many levels are actually challenging. If you're looking for even more to do, there's 100 collectible Gold Skulltulas that are hidden about the game. If you wanted to complete the story, adventure mode, find every Skulltula, and max out every character, it would probably take around 100 hours at minimum. That's not including the planned free updates and upcoming paid DLC. For instance, over the course of the review, a new challenge mode was even added as an update that essentially delivers more story-like missions. Hyrule Warriors can fall into the same trappings as any hack and slash, but the amount of effort that went into making it enjoyable for Zelda fans is staggering. This is one of the best couch co-op games I've ever played, warts and all.
Hyrule Warriors review photo
A Skyward Link to the Twilight Ocarina
We never could have imagined this mash-up in our wildest dreams. Nintendo, Team Ninja, and Omega Force together, co-developing a game based on the Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors series. Few stranger things hav...

Sony conference photo
Sony conference

Persona, Dragon Quest, Gundam, Disgaea, Bloodborne -- Sony's whole pre-TGS conference

In case you missed it
Sep 02
// Steven Hansen
Sony Japan's pre-TGS press conference took place in the wee hours of Sunday night in North America. In case you missed it, the entire conference, where we saw our first trailer for Persona 5, is up on YouTube. There was a gr...
Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Zelda has a lot of unstable antagonists - Ghirahim gets a new video

Dragon, not lizard - I don't do that tongue thing
Aug 14
// Chris Carter
Mulan's Mushu might not do that tongue thing, but Skyward Sword villain Ghirahim sure does! The vain villain joins the fray in a rather interesting trailer, which shows off his swordplay, diamond animations, and su...
Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Zant brings his craziness to Hyrule Warriors

Check out the mad shadow warrior in video form
Aug 12
// Chris Carter
Zant the Usurper King was confirmed for Hyrule Warriors recently, and man does he look wacky. In addition to flailing his arms around as his main method of attack you can also get a peek at the man behind the mask during a f...

European limited edition of Hyrule Warriors includes that awesome scarf too

No scarf for North America ... yet at least
Aug 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
In all of the Hyrule Warrior Nintendo Direct coverage we never got around to mentioning the limited edition Europeans will see. Which is that you all will be getting that awesome looking scarf that Japan will receive too...
Zelda Wii U photo
Zelda Wii U

Grass cutting CONFIRMED for Hyrule Warriors

It made the cut!
Aug 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Cutting grass is an important part of The Legend of Zelda, you know. So, we were happy to hear series producer Eiji Aonuma confirm during tonight's Nintendo Direct that this time-honored tradition would be making a glorious return in Hyrule Warriors. Who needs online multiplayer when you can chop up grass by your lonesome? Hyrule Warriors Direct [Nintendo]
Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Ganondorf brings a long red mane to Hyrule Warriors

Watch the whole Hyrule Warriors Nintendo Direct
Aug 04
// Steven Hansen
Those flowing red locks rival Amarant, whom I always thought was some sort of chicken man rather than a pasty dude with red dreads, but whatever.  In a nice appeal to nostalgia, Hyrule Warriors also has an Adventur...
Hyrule Warriors Lana photo
Hyrule Warriors Lana

Lana's Deku Stick has some major flower power in Hyrule Warriors

This is probably the most traditional Warriors weapon yet
Aug 04
// Chris Carter
In addition to operating as what looks to be one of the most traditional weapons yet in Hyrule Warriors, Lana's Deku Stick power has a bunch of tricks up its sleeve. It can summon giant roots from the ground, shoot projectil...
Sheik photo

Yep, Sheik is definitely getting some Hyrule Warriors playtime from me

First a badass baton, now a harp
Jul 30
// Chris Carter
Sheik's character trailer is out for Hyrule Warriors, and I'm satisfied. With equal amounts harp carnage, ninja moves, and speed, Sheik is a forced to be reckoned with. Out of all of the fighters I've seen so far, Sheik is one of the fastest, if not the fastest in the game. I love that "ninja run," where characters have their arms backward, while destruction is happening all around them.

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