The original release of Hyrule Warriors on the Nintendo Wii U and the eventual Nintendo 3DS port brought one of the most ambitious genre crossovers in the history of Nintendo, and it couldn’t have hit the mark more perfectly. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, however, exceeds the standards of the original and has brought one of the best experiences the Nintendo Switch platform has to offer. This is in part due to the inclusion of all the previous iteration’s DLC, an increase in the game’s performance on the Switch hardware, and the additions of some much-needed quality-of-life updates to make the gameplay less tedious.
If you’re not sold on the game and are worried that this Zelda spin-off is lacking content, don’t be. The story mode has at least 20-25 hours of content, and that’s not even the actual meat of this game. The Adventure Mode maps are where most of your hours will be spent. The Definitive Edition includes all the DLC from both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game, so there are 9 Adventure Mode maps in total. 2 of the maps are on Easy difficulty, 2 are on Normal, 2 are on Hard, and 3 are on Hero, the hardest difficulty. The Adventure Mode maps are replicas of classic and newer Legend of Zelda game maps. You must beat a scenario (scenarios take up one square of each map) and unlock other parts of the map. You acquire items along the way which you can use to help you uncover secrets, such as new characters, weapons, and heart containers.
On top of the Story and Adventure Mode maps, there are also Challenge Mode maps. There are three challenge modes: Battle, Boss Battle, and Ganon’s Fury. Ganon’s Fury is my favorite of the three. In Ganon’s Fury, you play as Ganon in his beast form and pummel waves of enemies both good and evil. Bosses also appear in this mode. I find it incredibly satisfying that I tower over King Dodongo and can annihilate him with Ganon’s powers with no effort. It reminds me of Pacific Rim; two giants duking it out.
I find myself drowning in this seemingly endless content. I’m not sure how I’ll find the time to complete all the maps, scenarios, and getting all 31 characters to level 255 (max level). If you’re looking for a game that has the content to justify the $60 AAA price tag, look no further than this title.
Improved Game Performance for Docked Players
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition runs at native 1080p resolution and targets 60 frames per second in Docked Mode on the Nintendo Switch. The framerate is not consistent, but it plays much better than the Wii U and 3DS versions. This is an action game with tons of things happening simultaneously, so it’s not surprising that the game doesn’t stay locked at 60 frames per second during intense fights with lots of enemies on screen. However, the framerate seems to be consistent when battling one-on-one with harder enemies, granted you aren’t in a huge wave of the smaller ones. Overall, the docked experience is a massive improvement over the original Wii U version and I couldn’t be happier with how much smoother the game feels.
Handheld is a different story, however. I could only play the game in handheld mode for about a half hour before promptly re-docking my Switch. During fight sequences the framerate drops below 30 frames per second and seems to bounce all over the place. It feels very similar to the original Wii U version’s performance. This is strange seeing as Fire Emblem Warriors, which was also developed by Koei Tecmo, runs at a consistent 30 frames per second in handheld mode with minimal drops. My hopes are that they will patch Hyrule Warriors on the Switch to make it on par with the other Warriors title. Hyrule Warriors is certainly playable in handheld mode, but I think you are missing out on a superior experience if you are a die-hard handheld only Switch user.
Much-Welcomed Quality-of-Life Updates
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition was given two convenient updates from the 3DS version to make the gameplay experience less wearisome. One of these updates are the owl statues, which resemble everyone’s favorite Kaepora Gabora. You can use the provided Ocarina item to teleport to the statues on the map once you have activated the statues. In the original Wii U version, you had to run across the map multiple times to save an ally or complete a new objective. It was time consuming and frustrating. The owl statues make navigation easier, and I am very grateful for it.
The second convenience update is character switching and commanding. In Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, you can switch between playable characters instantly as well as command the ones you aren’t controlling to perform a certain action. You can tell them to fight a certain enemy, capture a keep, or aid an ally. On harder maps and difficulties, you often need to be in two places at once due to time crunches, strong enemies taking your keeps, or beating up your allies. This was a nightmare to deal with on the Wii U version, but on the Switch version it’s no longer a problem. I’m glad Koei Tecmo gave the Definitive Edition of Hyrule Warriors these mandatory features.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is the ultimate Zelda fan’s dream spin-off game. The core gameplay of mowing down hordes of Zelda enemies in true Dynasty Warriors fashion as your favorite Zelda character makes this title a must-buy for anyone wanting to feel like they hold the power of the Triforce itself. With hundreds of hours of content, improved visuals and performance, as well as convenience features, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is truly the definitive version of this game.