Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Demo Impressions

Article by Joshua Jordan

To set the stage I am a big fan of the original Hyrule Warriors game when it released on the WiiU back in 2014. I had never played a Dynasty Warriors game prior to playing Hyrule Warriors but I was a fan of all things The Legend of Zelda so I knew that this was going to be a game I needed to play. The game impressed me so much I spent countless hours fighting hoards of classic Zelda villains and trying to unlock every weapon and character. Not to mention that I also bought the 3DS version that released two years later and the Definitive Edition released on the Switch in 2018. From the get-go, I could tell that there was a lot of love of Zelda history put into the game. Yet I feel the one downside of the game was its story. Which wasn’t bad but I feel it could have been better. Yes, I know that the story wasn’t the focus of the game it was just a springboard for the fact that all these Zelda characters were in the same place. Yet Zelda games for the most part have always had a compelling story and with that expectation, Hyrule Warriors missed the mark for me. That minor flaw has seemed to be dealt with in the new game Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity which was announced several months ago. In the announcement trailer we go a brief look at the story of Age of Calamity and found out it was is a prequel to the events in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Then out of nowhere just recently, Nintendo dropped a Direct Mini online with a closer look at the Age of Calamity and the announcement of the release of a demo. After hearing of the demo’s release earlier in the day of the writing of this article I had to try it out and I thought I would share my thoughts on it.  Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition | Nintendo Switch | Games | Nintendo 

My Impressions of the Demo

Warning: Gameplay spoilers ahead! However, there will not be any story spoilers

The demo throws you right into the action after a pretty lengthy cut scene setting up the premise of the game. If you played Hyrule Warriors previous to Age of Calamity you will have no problem with the control scheme as it is identical to the original but there are a lot of new additions. In the first game, it was definitely a pretty mindless button masher. You have combos and defensive moves that you could perform but they weren’t really all that important to progress. In the demo, it gave me a variety of button commands that I could implement to do a wide variation of attacks from using my default weapon to using the Sheikah Slate and even being able to pick up weapons dropped by enemies similar to Breath of the Wild. This gives the gameplay more diversity and different ways you can address a situation. The best part is that I didn’t feel overwhelmed but encouraged to experiment with my different attacks.

One of the biggest ways this game will be much different than its predecessor is the art style, cut scenes, and environments look exactly like they do in Breath of the Wild. So much so that at times while playing the demo I almost forgot I was playing a different game. This was heavily talked about and shown in the original announcement trailer but it’s different once you actually play the game. I love this because even though the gameplay is different it feels like one cohesive narrative, which is much appreciated. 

If you played Breath of the Wild but haven’t played Hyrule Warriors I wouldn’t worry too much as the game’s story acts as a prequel to the events in Breath of the Wild and the gameplay is very simplistic.  I am not sure about just going into the Age of Calamity without playing Breath of the Wild though as I feel you defiantly get more appreciation for the Age of Calamity’s story if you already know the just of the story from Breath of the Wild. I would only hazard a guess that it could be possible to play the game and enjoy it but more enjoyment would come from actually playing Breath of the Wild. 

The demo is much longer than I expected as I clocked in almost 2 hours before the demo ended. I feel if you want to get a good feel for what you’re in store for come November then I highly suggest downloading the demo which is now on the Nintendo E-Shop as of today. On top of that if you play the demo the save file you create will carry over to the full game once it releases. If your a fan of Zelda games and especially Breath of the Wild you will not be disappointed by this demo.

 

Song of the Deep – Ubernerd’s First Impressions

Song of the Deep 1st impressions logo

When I was younger you didn’t have the instant information about video games that we have today. You learned about them two ways: either you heard about the game from friends or you just happened to walk into a store, see a box for the game and if it impressed you enough you bought it. Now with the internet it seems that we know everything about a game before we even play it. I am not saying that this is a bad thing but there is something to be said about the feeling you get from discovering a great game. This feeling I thought was long dead until just recently, as I am starting to discover the joys of indie games. As I get deeper and deeper into them I find myself finding a great game I get that same feeling of discovery that I got back when I was a kid. But getting information about their games to people like me is harder for indie game developers because they are smaller companies and usually either don’t have the money because they are using most of it toward making the game or they aren’t backed by big names like Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft. Although sometimes these companies do try to help because these are new titles that no one has ever heard of, it can be quite difficult. These developers typically have to rely on social media and other unconventional ways to get the word out about their game. Getting this information from these sources in my opinion is no different than when I was getting it from kids on the playground. You may have had a vague concept of what the game is but it really wasn’t until you put the game in your system and played it that you truly knew what the game was all about.

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“Song of the Deep” is a wonderful example of having that feeling of discovery. Over the last year or so every time I would step into a GameStop I would hear about this game through their TV channel that plays over the counter. I generally go in looking for something specific and don’t pay much mind to their TV channel so I didn’t get a whole lot of information on the game. The only information that I would seem to get was that it plays similar to games like Metroid and Castlevania or as some gamers like to call it “Metroidvania.” In addition to that information I also knew that the creators were Insomniac Games, also known for Ratchet and Clank, who partnered with GameStop to distribute Song of the Deep. This is why GameStop has been trying to promote the game as much as possible. This knowledge, plus the fact that the game was only $15, was enough entice me to preorder it. Yet similar to when I was a kid, I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into until I put that disc into my PS4 and started to play the game.

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Before I get into what my first impressions of Song of the Deep are let’s set up the story a little. The main character of the game is a girl named Merryn whose father is a sailor and as part of his job he would sail out each morning and then come back every evening. Before Merryn would go to bed her father would sing songs and tell stories of his adventures out at sea. These songs and stories would include all the creatures he would encounter, histories of the deep that he would discover, sailor ticks that he picked up, and so on. Even though she figured like any good sailor her father was stretching the truth she enjoyed listening to them. One day Merryn’s father goes out to sea but never comes back and after waiting a long time the girl decides to go after him. She creates a submarine with parts that her father left from older trips and sets out to go find him. What she discovers is that her father’s songs and stories weren’t exaggerations of the truth- they were the truth. It’s your job to try to find out what happened to Merryn’s father and see if you can save him.

sotd_Merryn_concept

Starting off with my first impressions, yes, this game plays like a Metroidvania game should, but it’s so much more. The style of artwork kind of reminds me of both an old fairy tale book and the style of art used in the Rayman Legends video game. The artwork is stunning, beautiful, and just mesmerizing to look at. At times I would find myself actually getting attacked by enemies from behind because I’d sit and stare at the beautiful scenery all around me. The music is just as mesmerizing as the scenery. I find myself calmed by the music even at the most frustrating times in the game. The gameplay is simple enough and reminds of a mix between Ratchet and Clank, Ecco the Dolphin, and an old Jaws game for the NES. Where “Song of the Deep” really shines for me is the story. Video games as a whole don’t necessarily live or die on story like books or movies do. For instance some video games can have an amazing story but terrible gameplay (i.e. “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”), while others have very little to no story but amazing gameplay (i.e. most fighting games). This game exceeds at storytelling and also weaves the tale in a very unique way by having a narrator talk as you are playing. You’d think that this would get old after a while but after playing the game for several hours now it makes me want to find out what is going to happen next.

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No video game is one hundred percent perfect. There is always something that can be improved. For “Song of the Deep” there are some problems with dropping frame rates and some minor glitching throughout the game. Yet in my opinion this is no problem and is not diminishing my experience at all.

So in conclusion if you are looking for a game this summer to play, you’ve got a PS4 or Xbox One, you like old school games, and have spare $15 you will not be disappointed.

Video and podcast to come soon!

Übernerd’s First Impressions of Splatoon!

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Splatoon logo

Very few things these days can truly be called “original.” We have reboots, sequels, and rebooted sequels and this can be true for many things movies, comic books, and even video games. There is one company that I feel has been trying to do “original” work and that is Nintendo. Now I know every video game system gets its Mario and Zelda game but Nintendo always tries to do something new. This brings us to Nintendo’s new game Splatoon. It hard to really put Splatoon into one video game genre, at its core it’s a third person shooter very much like Star Wars Battlefront or Gears of War but much more family friendly. However it also adds elements of platformers like Mario and puzzles and boss battles like Zelda.  It a very original idea out of a genre that I think is starting to get stale. Now to be truly honest this is my first play through of Splatoon. I have only had a chance to play the single player and only a few levels. So these are just my first impressions but I wanted to just give you Arcaders out there a quick look at the game itself so please look out for more of my adventure on Splatoon coming soon.

What are you Impressions? Let me know below or on Twitter at @talesftgamegrid or on Facebook at facebook.com/talesfromthegamegrid