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Hands-On: Hyrule Warriors

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Hyrule WarriorsLike many of you, I’m a huge Zelda fan, but having never played a Dynasty Warriors game, the idea of a crossover had me worried. We’ve seen first hand the problems with overexposing a brand with the recent influx of Mario titles, and with The Legend of Zelda attaining almost mystical status due to its infrequent release schedule, the idea of a spin-off based on another franchise was seen as a bad idea to many.

Thankfully, my fears were put to rest as soon as I picked up the game. Say what you will about the gameplay depth of Dynasty Warriors games, but one thing is clear right from the start of Hyrule Warriors – there is a deep love and affection for the franchise in this game.

Be it the NES Zelda-styled loading screen, or the wealth of characters from different time periods available to play as, there’s a real knowledge of the franchise in here, and while Aonuma has decreed Hyrule Warriors non-canon, this feels like the team-up crossover we’ve been waiting for. Hyrule Warriors is The Legend of Zelda universe’s Avengers.

But no amount of fan service will make up for poor gameplay, and this is where personal taste will come into play. While Hyrule Warriors looks like a Zelda game on the surface, the gameplay is anything but. Based around a given battlefield, the aim is to cut your way through swathes of enemies (and we’re talking thousands here) as you make it to areas, known as Keeps, that bolster your defences (think Star Wars Battlefront but with thousands of battle droids). Beating the boss of that keep, a giant Moblin or aHyrule Warriors Lizalfos for example, earns your side reinforcements. And that’s the extent of the gameplay.

Of course, the battlefield exists while you are in it, so there will be times you are called from your path of destruction for a more focussed task. In my demo, set outside Hyrule Castle from Twilight Princess, I was called away to protect Impa, collect bombs to clear a pathway, and ultimately take down the stage’s big bad, King Dodongo.

There’s also an element of skill in the battle itself, albeit against a mindless army that seems less interested in attacking you than watching you kill their friends. Special attacks, and charge attacks, are built up using a magic meter, and items can be found and equipped on the battlefield (which can also be charged, resulting in a giant bomb for example).

While the roster continues to grow, my demo only included time playing as Link and Zelda, with a sword and rapier respectively. While both control similarly, there’s a distinct difference in their abilities. Link is far more of a brawler, with his sword unsurprisingly being most effective at close range, requiring you to really get in amongst enemies. Zelda however, had a much larger range with the rapier, and special moves such as light arrows allowed for a more tactical approach to battle.

Hyrule WarriorsThe demo I played was just a snippet of the finished thing, and while this section did seem more about the spectacle than the tactics, there are definite hints at a more in-depth game beneath the surface. For Dynasty Warriors fans, it’s the same gameplay but with the classic Zelda touch. For Zelda fans, it’s a love letter to the franchise and a way to celebrate everything about it in a new format. And that seems like as good a reason as any to give it a go.

Thank You and Goodbye

June 27, 2012 6 comments

Notes from the Mushroom Kingdom

In October 2010 I started writing for Nintendo Okie, and now, almost two years later, my time here is at an end. It has been an amazing couple of years for me to work with everyone here and to have been part of such a wonderful community, but as of today my articles are returning to this side of the Atlantic as I will be joining Nintendo Life.

And I could not have achieved this without Nintendo Okie. When I first got in contact with Tony in the Summer of 2010, I had recently shut down my own personal Nintendo site after three failed re-launches and was looking for a way to hone my writing and reach out to a wider audience. Tony’s ad for writers across the world caught my eye, and we eventually settled on the idea of two articles a week – these would ultimately become the weekly Euro News Round-Up and my editorial piece, Notes from the Mushroom Kingdom. Read more…

Rayman (3DS VC) Impressions

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

After years sidelined by the insane antics of the Rabbids, Rayman finally returned to our screens last year with the superb Rayman Origins, a title that not only managed to challenge Nintendo’s crown as the platforming king, but also look fantastic while doing it. The game has since appeared on multiple platforms, with the 3DS release arriving a few weeks ago, albeit to a mediocre response thanks to a poor port being produced. Nonetheless, Rayman’s popularity is at an all-time high, and Ubisoft are naturally keen to capitalise on this.

And what better way to excite the fanbase than to give them a rare opportunity to play through one of Rayman’s first adventures again on 3DS? Thanks to the 3DS Virtual Console, this opportunity has been made possible, allowing Rayman’s self-titled Game Boy Color adventure from 2000 to make a re-appearance and remind fans just what made Rayman such a classic a decade ago. But does this 12 year old platformer still offer the excitement that Rayman Origins can now provide? Read more…

Categories: Reviews, Virtual Console

Euro News Round-Up: Week Ending 23/06

June 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Euro News Round-Up

After a lacklustre E3, we’ve been waiting for a big news reveal, and here it is! This week’s Nintendo Direct had individual presentations across all 3 of Nintendo’s major territories, and Europe got its fair share of big news, with some exclusives thrown in! It’s a big Round-Up at last!

Nintendo Direct Europe Round-Up

Taking place at the rather unfortunate time of 5AM BST, this week’s Nintendo Direct saw NoE President Satoru Shibata take to the stage, or in this case, Nintendo’s German Manufacturing Plant, to unveil the latest news from the company.

The big news was of course the 3DS XL, the giant brother of the current 3DS model, which like the other reasons does not come packed in with a charger or dock. Like the 3DS, the XL has no price point, which has begun a bidding war online, with £180 currently being the leading bid. The new system will be out on July 28th in Silver, Blue and Red.

Nintendo also revealed a handful of new release dates, while reaffirming New Super Mario Bros 2‘s release on August 17th. Also confirmed during the video were FreakyForms Deluxe and New Art Academy on July 28th, Pokemon Typing Adventure with free keyboard in September and surprisingly, Inazuma Eleven Strikers on Wii on September 28th.

Also confirmed were Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask coming to 3DS this Christmas, along with Animal Crossing 3DS and Fire Emblem Awakening arriving in early 2013.

On the eShop, Nintendo are currently running a 20% sale on the top 10 games to celebrate it’s anniversary, so be sure to check that out this week before they go back up in price. And finally, a Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games card book will soon be available to download as the Olympics nears.

Nintendo UK Boss Leaves

Nintendo UK’s David Yerton has stepped down as the company’s General Manager after 20 years in charge, with NoE President Satoru Shibata taking temporary control while the UK arm of Nintendo look for a replacement. I’d like to join Nintendo in wishing him the best in the future after helming the company for almost as long as I’ve been alive!

This Week’s Downloads

Mutant Mudds – 3DS eShop – £8.10
Mutant Mudds gets the infamy of being the second most expensive game on the eShop, but thankfully happens to be a worthwhile download for the rather expensive (and random) price point of £8.10.

Save the Furries – WiiWare – 1000 Points

Goooooal Europa 2012 – DSiWare – 500 Points

3DS & Wii Charts

A good entry for Heroes of Ruin at #5

3DS Chart
1. Super Mario 3D Land
2. Mario Kart 7
3. Mario Tennis Open
4. Mario And Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games
5. Heroes Of Ruin
6. Kid Icarus: Uprising
7. Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever
8. Sonic Generations
9. FIFA 12
10. Rayman 3D

Wii Chart
1. Mario And Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games
2. Mario Kart Wii
3. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
4. Mario Party 9
5. Zumba Fitness
6. Zumba Fitness 2
7. Wii Party
8. FIFA 12
9. The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword
10. New Super Mario Bros Wii

And finally…

We come to the end. Regular visitors to the site no doubt saw on Friday that I will be leaving Nintendo-Okie next week, and with me will go the Euro News Round-Up. It’s been a privilege to provide you all with the latest news from Europe over the past 2 years, and except for some Christmas breaks, I’ve managed to get the Round-Up out to you every week. I hope you’ve found this little glimpse of gaming life in Europe educational if nothing else, but more than that, I hope you’ve enjoyed a weekly look at what’s happening across the Atlantic. And with that, the Euro News Round-Up comes to an end! Thank you to everyone who read it over the past 2 years.

Gaz

Marketing Wii U

June 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Notes from the Mushroom Kingdom

We’re now a matter of months away from the launch of Nintendo’s next home console and while E3 2012 was the first staging ground for Wii U’s launch, there is still a lot of work to be done by Nintendo to ensure the system is flying off stores shelves in a little over four months time. E3 gave us the briefest of glimpses into the new console’s feature set, but with limited stage time and even more limited show-floor space, Nintendo have admitted that we are still yet to fully observe the Wii U experience. And that has to change over the next four months.

As it stands, we only know a handful of things about Wii U. We know what the controller configuration is in terms of the GamePad, although we are yet to see it fully utilised and we know it has NFC (Near Field Communication) technology built-in. We also have a basic understanding of the concept of Miiverse, and we know of a handful of games that will appear at or around launch. And that’s it. No really, that is it. So with just four months to go, let’s take a look at what Nintendo need to do to make sure we’re all ready to go in Q4 2012. Read more…

Euro News Round-Up: Week Ending 16/06

June 17, 2012 2 comments

Euro News Round-Up

We’re still recovering from E3, so as expected very little is happening right now. So in the meantime, why not amuse yourselves with a couple of download titles or check out a top ten game, both of which are provided below (minus the buying part, you have to do that).

This Week’s Downloads

Sonic Blast – 3DS VC (Game Gear) – £4.50

Art of Ink – DSiWare – 800 Points

3DS & Wii Charts

A good entry for Rayman Origins 3DS

3DS Chart
1. Mario Tennis Open
2. Super Mario 3D Land
3. Mario Kart 7
4. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
5. Kid Icarus: Uprising
6. Sonic Generations
7. Rayman Origins
8. Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever
9. FIFA 12
10. Rayman 3D

Wii Chart
1. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
2. Mario Kart Wii
3. Mario Party 9
4. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
5. Zumba Fitness
6. Zumba Fitness 2
7. Wii Party
8. FIFA 12
9. New Super Mario Bros Wii
10. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

And finally…

Nintendo are attempting to find Britain’s Fastest Family by hosting a Mario Kart 7 tournament this August in certain HMV stores nationwide. If you think your family has what it takes, be sure to enter!

Is The Wii Dead?

June 15, 2012 5 comments

Notes from the Mushroom Kingdom

Wii U is big news. It’s such big news that Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference this year was set aside entirely to discuss Nintendo’s next step in the home console market; with even the resurgent 3DS cast aside to a smaller conference to make room for the new console juggernaut. Post-conference, the Wii U emphasis remained, and while everyone was getting excited about Nintendo’s new venture, one console went almost entirely unnoticed – the Wii.

While it was unsurprising Nintendo decided to focus fully on Wii U this year, what is more surprising is that literally nothing was on show at E3 for the current Nintendo platform, a platform that at the very least has another four months of life in it. So what has happened to Wii? Does this mean it now joins the list of dead home consoles? Read more…

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