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indigoasis

Thoughts on Age of Calamity (Spoilers, btw)

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Hello, yes, I would like to share opinions on video game that I finished a couple of days ago. Thoughts are in the spoiler tag. This isn't any kind of organized review at all, I'm just kinda gushing over how awesome this game is.

~ ~ ~

Spoiler

Overall, I found Age of Calamity to be a super enjoyable experience. The music absolutely bops, and the roster is amazing. It's really awesome being able to play as the characters from Breath of the Wild's backstory and really see their untapped potential come to fruition as playable characters, as well as their counterparts from the future. I know the "future champions" showing up is kind of like a deus ex machina, but they're playable now, so it cancels out. Korok Seeds also make a return, but they're not as bad as in BotW, especially since they have more use than just inventory expansion. I still used guides to find them, though.

The story was also pretty good, and I found Zelda's character development to be fairly solid, too. I initially didn't like how negative she was on herself since I hate seeing people being so down on themselves. I understand that she had a bit of an inferiority complex, but the moment she awakened her powers so was so satisfying. Confidence came to her like she got hit by a truck, and I loved every second of it. I do find it interesting that, in both instances where she awakened her power, Link was in danger. Her powers awakened when she was in extreme distress for the safety of Link, which I think really illustrates how much she cares about him and how integral he was for her growth as a character, especially since she had been comparing her progress to his not long after he pulled the Master Sword.

Anyway, as a game, it's super duper good, and you should play it. It's a great Warriors game, and a great companion game to Breath of the Wild.

More thoughts in the second spoiler tag:

Spoiler

As for where this game fits in the timeline, if it even does, I would put it in a parallel timeline. I think that this game could still potentially be canon. The only thing that made events between AoC and BotW so drastically different is the inclusion of Terrako, the little timeline-hopping Guardian introduced at the beginning of the game. In the Champion's Ballad cutscenes in BotW's DLC, we see Zelda recruiting the Champions, and Revali mentions the "little knight with the darkness-sealing sword," meaning that Link already holds the Master Sword in his possession. At the beginning of AoC, Link doesn't have the Master Sword, and he doesn't get it until after the Champions have been recruited. With Terrako hopping between timelines, I believe that his presence caused a butterfly effect, which is a theory of how even something seemingly insignificant or small can cause drastic changes to future events. The discovery of Terrako led the gang to have him analyzed at a Sheikah research lab, leading them to see what the future holds in store for them and going off to recruit the Champions as swiftly as possible. Finding the knight that seals the darkness came later. 

Of course, there's also the fact that the Terrako of AoC's world was possessed by Calamity Ganon, as well as Astor's whole existence. While Astor could still exist in BotW in the deep shadows, the Ganon-possessed Terrako needs explaining. One possible theory is that Ganon Terrako was only possessed in AoC's world upon the arrival of Terrako from BotW's timeline, where he had laid dormant up until Zelda's power activated. 

Of course, all that shatters apart since I'm pretty sure Link already has the Master Sword by the time he's appointed as Zelda's knight in BotW. AoC might just be an alternate universe then! (or just not canon, lol)

thx for coming to my ted talk

edit: oh yeah, also, Link dies in BotW because he never had a shield like he does in AoC

Edited by indigoasis

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Gameplay-wise, I really enjoyed Age of Calamity. Before I even started playing, being able to fight as Zelda, with movesets for both the Shiekah runes and her sealing magic, was a huge selling point for me. BotW's Zelda is my absolute favorite take on her character so far, and her gameplay in AoC doesn't disappoint. After she basically spent all of BotW trapped in Hyrule Castle playing chase the Ganon, this was her big moment to shine (and hopefully not her last one either), taking charge on the battlefield in her white goddess dress, spells blazing, flattening the everloving crap out of some monsters. As for the combat itself, the traditional Warriors gameplay blends itself perfectly with so many of BotW's mechanics (perfect dodge, paraglider, Shiekah runes) and iconic locales (admit it, we all wanted to see what Hyrule Castle and Akkala Citadel looked like back then). The greater focus on aerial attacks was such an amazing idea too, since it adds so much more variety to movesets like Mipha's, Teba's (go pluck yourself, Revali) and even Zelda's with her Cryonis attacks and Luminescent state. Really, everything about AoC's gameplay makes for a fun and unique Warriors experience. The only bits I didn't like were the slow-ass Divine Beast stages, they're awkward af to control and there's really nothing about them that I found fun. It's just mashing R until everything's dead. That feels more like a chore than anything. But whatever, it's not like there's enough of them to take away at all from my enjoyment of the game.

The story on the other hand left a lot to be desired imo. Maybe I'm being a little naïve expecting that deep a story from a fighting game, but overall AoC's plot just felt too bland and cliche to really stay invested in. I didn't like Terrako at all and time travel's one of my least favorite story gimmicks unless it's really done well like in OoT and MM. I get that they wanted to tell a brand new story where the Champions survive and live happily ever after and blah blah blah, but this wasn't the way to do it. I wish they'd have let us experience the original story first, complete with the tragic ending, and then given us a "what if the Champions survived" bonus story without the time travel gimmick. I didn't like how the game advertised as a BotW prequel basically skipped over everything that actually led up to BotW. Aside from that, a lot of the other story elements felt very forced, like how the game handled Astor betraying the Yiga Clan. Instead of Zelda and the Champions suddenly having to deal with two opposing factions who are out for each other's blood as well as hers, Kogha suddenly just up and joins her! Like, I get that they're both against Astor, but Zelda still kinda wants to kill Kogha's god and for some reason he's okay with that. I guess he's just that nuts lol

Overall, I was very impressed with AoC's gameplay, but I felt like the story could've used a bit more polish. But I'm happy as long as Zelda can Lysithea the hell out of some Lynels so it's all good lol

Edited by RainbowMoon

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I can't review anything about the game itself as I haven't played it. But, if I did play the game, I wouldn't be able to separate the game from the marketing that surrounded it, so I'm going to share my thoughts on that:

There's no getting around that this game was falsely-advertised. I've seen many attempts at refuting that claim, and they have all been easy to disprove. Yes, no one at Nintendo said the exact sentence, "This game is a direct prequel to Breath of the Wild", but there are many ways to say, "this game is a direct prequel" without saying the word, "prequel", and Nintendo's marketing made a lot of those statements.

For an example, if you go on Nintendo's website for the game, even now it still says stuff like the following:

Quote

See Hyrule 100 years before the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game and experience the events of the Great Calamity

Join the struggle that brought Hyrule to its knees. Learn more about Zelda, the four Champions, the King of Hyrule and more through dramatic cutscenes as they try to save the kingdom from Calamity. The Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity game is the only way to see firsthand what happened 100 years ago.

Before release, how is anyone supposed to interpret this as anything other than, "this game takes place 100 years before BOTW and is a direct prequel that tells the story of the Calamity"? Even now, with hindsight, some of this is still either incorrect or misleading; for one thing, Hyrule is certainly not brought on its knees, and we only see Hyrule 100 years before BOTW for 2 minutes before the egg goes back in time; with the game from there on taking place in an alternate past that isn't 100 years before BOTW, as BOTW doesn't happen in this alternate timeline.

Plus, the very first announcement for the game opened with Impa's line: "The history of the royal family of Hyrule is also the history of Calamity Ganon" followed by the line from the king: "I think you are now ready; ready to hear what happened 100 years ago." Those lines, and the context behind when they were said, tells the audience watching the announcement something very specific. This is reinforced when Aonuma follows the trailer by saying, "This game takes place 100 years before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In that game, the Great Calamity that occurred 100 years prior was mentioned, but the actual event itself wasn't shown in full. In this game, you'll be able to experience the events of the Great Calamity." One of the game's producers also reiterated the "experience the events 100 years prior to Breath of the Wild" claim that is made untrue by the game taking place in an alternate timeline. 

And these aren't the only ways in which the game was falsely-advertised. Some have pointed out in comments and videos online that various clips of cutscenes in the pre-release trailers have bits missing from the equivalent cutscenes in the game, with those bits being anything that would've given away the alternate timeline. Not necessarily story spoilers; just the alternate timeline itself. 

I've seen people point out that the demo included the scene where the egg goes back in time, and that's true. However, the demo released on October 28th. By that point, most people who were going to pre-order the game had already done so. And, even after the demo released, the trailers continued to hide signs of the game taking place in an alternate timeline, and I pulled those quotes from Nintendo's website today. Even after the demo released, the marketing for the game didn't change. 

 

Now, obviously, false advertising is far from the worst thing a game company did this year alone (cough Cyberpunk cough), but that's the thing: whenever Nintendo does something bad, another company almost inevitably does something worse within a month to the point of it almost being like clockwork. I honestly wonder if joy-con drift would have gotten nearly as much attention as it did if PS4 for XBox1 controllers snapped in half like a Kit-Kat after being used for over an hour.

Edited by vanguard333

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2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

I can't review anything about the game itself as I haven't played it, but if I did play the game, I wouldn't be able to separate the game from the marketing that surrounded it, so I'm going to share my thoughts on that:

There's no getting around that this game was falsely-advertised. I've seen many attempts at refuting that claim, and they have all been easy to disprove. Yes, no one at Nintendo said the exact sentence, "This game is a direct prequel to Breath of the Wild", but there are many ways to say, "this game is a direct prequel" without saying the word, "prequel", and Nintendo's marketing made a lot of those statements.

For an example, if you go on Nintendo's website for the game, even now it still says stuff like the following:

Before release, how is anyone supposed to interpret this as anything other than, "this game takes place 100 years before BOTW and is a direct prequel that tells the story of the Calamity"? Even now, with hindsight, some of this is still either incorrect or misleading; for one thing, Hyrule is certainly not brought on its knees, and we only see Hyrule 100 years before BOTW for 2 minutes before the egg goes back in time; with the game from there on taking place in an alternate past that isn't 100 years before BOTW, as BOTW doesn't happen in this alternate timeline.

Plus, the very first announcement for the game opened with Impa's line: "The history of the royal family of Hyrule is also the history of Calamity Ganon" followed by the line from the king: "I think you are now ready; ready to hear what happened 100 years ago." Those lines, and the context behind when they were said, tells the audience watching the announcement something very specific. This is reinforced when Aonuma follows the trailer by saying, "This game takes place 100 years before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In that game, the Great Calamity that occurred 100 years prior was mentioned, but the actual event itself wasn't shown in full. In this game, you'll be able to experience the events of the Great Calamity." One of the game's producers also reiterated the "experience the events 100 years prior to Breath of the Wild" claim that is made untrue by the game taking place in an alternate timeline. 

And these aren't the only ways in which the game was falsely-advertised. Some have pointed out in comments and videos online that various clips of cutscenes in the pre-release trailers have bits missing from the equivalent cutscenes in the game, with those bits being anything that would've given away the alternate timeline. Not necessarily story spoilers; just the alternate timeline itself. 

I've seen people point out that the demo included the scene where the egg goes back in time, and that's true. However, the demo released on October 28th. By that point, most people who were going to pre-order the game had already done so. And, even after the demo released, the trailers continued to hide signs of the game taking place in an alternate timeline, and I pulled those quotes from Nintendo's website today. Even after the demo released, the marketing for the game didn't change. 

 

Now, obviously, false advertising is far from the worst thing a game company did this year alone (cough Cyberpunk cough), but that's the thing: whenever Nintendo does something bad, another company almost inevitably does something worse within a month to the point of it almost being like clockwork. I honestly wonder if joy-con drift would have gotten nearly as much attention as it did if PS4 for XBox1 controllers snapped in half like a Kit-Kat after being used for over an hour.

Yeah, that's a pretty damn spot-on assessment. They definitely realized that they'd make more sales if people thought they were getting a direct prequel to BotW, and so they did everything they could to market it as one. Really begs the question of why they didn't just make it a prequel to begin with.

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9 minutes ago, RainbowMoon said:

Yeah, that's a pretty damn spot-on assessment. They definitely realized that they'd make more sales if people thought they were getting a direct prequel to BotW, and so they did everything they could to market it as one. Really begs the question of why they didn't just make it a prequel to begin with.

Agreed; they definitely knew what would sell more. 

As for why they didn't just make it a prequel to begin with, I can only speculate: 

1. Some have suggested that Nintendo or Koei Tecmo planned a prequel and "chickened out" and I'll admit that even I thought that at first, but that theory is undermined by the alternate timeline being such a core part of the game as well as the Zelda team working closely with Koei Tecmo likely meaning that both dev teams would've needed to "chicken out". The decision to make this an alternate timeline rather than a prequel almost certainly happened at the beginning of the game's development. 

2. I've seen theories suggesting that Nintendo didn't see a direct prequel as profitable or as having much potential, or that it would've been considered "too dark" or "too depressing". Again; I understand this theory, but it is undercut by a number of things:

  • BOTW2 has been stated in interviews as being planned to be "potentially darker than Majora's Mask"
  • Nintendo saw fit to publish Torna: The Golden Country: a tragic prequel to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 made by Monolith Soft (which Nintendo owns), as its own separate thing to the point where people could buy Torna without buying XC2
  • Nintendo marketed Age of Calamity as a direct prequel, so clearly at least someone at Nintendo thought it was marketable

3. My current theory originates from one particular word that a lot of people have been using as a metaphor to describe the plot: fanfiction. The story in Age of Calamity does have a lot of parallels to the kind of fanfiction where the fanfic writer tries to "fix" something they see as wrong with the original; usually in the form of giving their favourite characters a happier ending. When a canon piece of media has a story that reads like one of those types of fanfics, from what I've seen, it's usually a story that has been written with one thing in mind: fanservice, and what could be more fanservice-y than an AU story where everyone gets to have a happy ending?

Looking back on the announcement video, when the producer lists the different things the Zelda team worked closely with them on, he says, "including gameplay direction, graphics, world, and all dialogue." Nowhere in the list does he mention story. I don't know much about Koei Tecmo games, but from what I've seen, fanservice seems to be a common pattern in their writing. 

But this is just speculation. Personally, if they really wanted a "happy ending campaign", I think they should've made both an original timeline prequel campaign and an alternate-timeline campaign. 

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Yeah I'd say I liked it. 

The primary gameplay loop is just really good. The day to day gameplay is solid like any other Warriors game but you also get a ton of variety in terms of playable characters. Every character plays differently without any character feeling like a clown or even vaguely similar to the others. The enemies are equally varied with them coming in all shapes and forms. The various sidequests are mostly varied though I am not a fan how the vast majority of them come with a time limit. It seems making sidequests difficult by artificial means rather than making them actually difficult. But that's pretty much the only downside I can think of for the gameplay. 

The story is a bit more of a mixed back. I liked it well enough. It was a cute, competent and fanservicy experiences. I can very much live with the story we got but I'd be lying if I said it was the story I wanted. The champions all came across really well, and it was particularly cute to see Mipha and Daruk bond with each other. The time traveling is something I could have done without but when I move past that I'd say the future champions came across very well. Teba and Yunobu stopped being complete nobodies, and Mipha and Sidon, as well as Urbosa and Riju had some very cute interactions with each other. For the villains Kohga was amazing while Astor was just terrible. In the story Zelda is both the highlight as well as an aspect that doesn't entire work. Everything that's great about her in BOTW is still great about her in BOTW Warriors. The problem is that her harsher side got softened significantly. She's never starts out as hostile to Link, she never has to grow into being his friend and so this cheapens her distress at seeing Link in peril, since their friendship didn't have that growth as it did in the main timeline. 

While BOTW Warriors doesn't have the wow factor of the original Hyrule Warriors its gameplay is probably better. As far as Warriors crossovers go this is among the better ones. 

51 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I don't know much about Koei Tecmo games, but from what I've seen, fanservice seems to be a common pattern in their writing. 

It kinda depends on the game. Koei is only a middle sized publisher but they have a gigantic library of games. This library ranges from the super campy warrior games, to various crossovers or intensely historically accurate simulation games. But as far as Warriors games go it usually leans more to the fanservicy side, as the genre kinda demands it does. Still sometimes they do so very competently, and other times they take it way too far. Many extremely popular characters tend not to survive any early death with even the iconic Lu Bu practically always dying in the first couple of stages. They might survive in hypothetical modes but in the main story they remain dead. The Warrior Orochi series often takes these characters that the storyline couldn't give their due and turns them into main characters. That's a very great example of fanservice. The bad example of fanservice would be Warriors Orochi 4 where every character that didn't get their due gets ignored in favor of the same bunch of popular major characters we always see, which is a bit of fanservice so bad it significantly cripples that particular game. 

1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

Yeah, that's a pretty damn spot-on assessment. They definitely realized that they'd make more sales if people thought they were getting a direct prequel to BotW, and so they did everything they could to market it as one. Really begs the question of why they didn't just make it a prequel to begin with.

I partially suspect that making a straight up prequel was the original idea but that eventually they deemed it as too limiting in terms of playable characters. Adding time travel and a heroic Kohga added a good 6 characters. Its possible they might have been inspired by the ''fight destiny!'' plot from FF7 too. However I don't really think Nintendo did ''everything they could'' to market it as a direct prequel. If you want to trick people about such things then you don't release a free demo where a time traveling guardian is introduced in the first couple of seconds. The secret was out a good month before the game got released.  

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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23 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

It kinda depends on the game. Koei is only a middle sized publisher but they have a gigantic library of games. 

I see. Thanks for the info (I'm only cutting the paragraph to reduce space). What did you think of my overall theory that the plot may have been written with fanservice in mind?

I agree that one reason was probably for additional characters. The sad part about that is it's not even necessary; those characters could've been unlocked through side stories or other bonus content. For example, the four new-generation champions could've been unlocked through side-stories that take place between The Calamity and Breath of the Wild (and these side-stories, being side-stories, wouldn't even have to necessarily be canon).

1 hour ago, Etrurian emperor said:

However I don't really think Nintendo did ''everything they could'' to market it as a direct prequel. If you want to trick people about such things then you don't release a free demo where a time traveling guardian is introduced in the first couple of seconds. The secret was out a good month before the game got released.  

By that point, a lot of the damage had already been done: almost everyone who was going to pre-order the game had already done so. Plus, not everyone played the demo, and all the pre-release trailers and other marketing continued the "this game takes place 100 years before BOTW and lets you experience the events of the Great Calamity that had been mentioned but not fully shown in BOTW" narrative. 

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1 hour ago, vanguard333 said:

My current theory originates from one particular word that a lot of people have been using as a metaphor to describe the plot: fanfiction. The story in Age of Calamity does have a lot of parallels to the kind of fanfiction where the fanfic writer tries to "fix" something they see as wrong with the original; usually in the form of giving their favourite characters a happier ending. When a canon piece of media has a story that reads like one of those types of fanfics, from what I've seen, it's usually a story that has been written with one thing in mind: fanservice, and what could be more fanservice-y than an AU story where everyone gets to have a happy ending?

The sad thing is, it's not even a particularly good "fix fic". There's ways to change the outcome of the story without resorting to something as cliche as time travel. Especially since the source of whole the time travel element isn't even an established thing in BotW. Why does this tiny toy Guardian that nobody's ever seen or mentioned before have a built-in time machine of all things? God only knows.

1 hour ago, Etrurian emperor said:

Adding time travel and a heroic Kohga added a good 6 characters.

To be fair, adding a "villain mode" side story would've given us a playable Kogha too, along with Sooga and Astor. And that would be a lot more believable than the guy who basically walks around with an Evil inc. business card suddenly turning unironically good.

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1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

The sad thing is, it's not even a particularly good "fix fic". There's ways to change the outcome of the story without resorting to something as cliché as time travel. Especially since the source of whole the time travel element isn't even an established thing in BotW. Why does this tiny toy Guardian that nobody's ever seen or mentioned before have a built-in time machine of all things? God only knows.

I see. That's interesting to read. I heard the sound the egg makes to go back in time is the Song of Time, but doesn't the Song of Time require the Ocarina in order to work? 

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51 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I see. That's interesting to read. I heard the sound the egg makes to go back in time is the Song of Time, but doesn't the Song of Time require the Ocarina in order to work? 

I can't remember if Terrako played the song to go back in time at the beginning, but I know it didn't in the scene where it summons the four "new Champions" from the future. Not that it makes sense either way, since you're right about the Song of Time needing the Ocarina to work.

Oh yeah, and Terrako not only has the power to go back in time but also pull people from the future through a wormhole. Good thing that's what little 5 year old Zelda decided to program it to do and not, like, toast waffles or something lol

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The game is really very pleasant ... In addition to the scenario extremely well done and really well attached to the universe of breath of the wild, I take a real pleasure in chaining the battles to discover more each time.

ShowBox Tutuapp Mobdro

Edited by avensis

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I wanted to play this for what it was advertised as; a (clears throat DIRECT PREQUEL TO BREATH OF THE WILD.

No comment on gameplay; I couldn't pick up the game.

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1 hour ago, Jingilator said:

I wanted to play this for what it was advertised as; a (clears throat) DIRECT PREQUEL TO BREATH OF THE WILD.

No comment on gameplay; I couldn't pick up the game.

Same here. I didn't want to say anything about what I was hoping for, as I've heard, "You're just a fanboy upset this game didn't meet your impossible expectations" too many times whenever I brought up the false advertising, so I didn't mention it. But, I honestly would've loved to play an actual direct prequel to Breath of the Wild. There were a ton of possibilities for a truly epic moment:

There could've been a mission where Link and Zelda flee from a horde of corrupted guardians, and Link tries to protect Zelda but is inevitably overwhelmed. 

The fall of Akkala Citadel could've been expanded on: did the soldiers think they could win? Were they drawing the guardians to the citadel to protect fleeing civilians? 

There could've been a mission where the Sheikah protect Link's body as they bring it to the Shrine of Resurrection.

The final mission could've been Zelda marching through the destroyed Castle Town by herself, armed with her newly-awakened sealing power, before approaching Hyrule Castle and confronting Calamity Ganon (in its flying boar head form; a form we still have never actually fought him in despite it being the form he's in for 99% of his screentime) in an epic showdown that ends with Zelda sealing away the Calamity for 100 years. Then, there would be a montage showing Hyrule going from how it is just post-Calamity to how it is just before Breath of the Wild, and then it ends with the player hearing Zelda say, "Open your eyes. Wake up, Link". 

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I have no particular attachment to the story of BotW, so that whole false advertisement thing isn't something that concerns me a lot.

The game has plenty of things that compare favorably to the original Hyrule Warriors but there is the pretty big fundamental issue that there is no... how should I call it? Map design?
I was initially wondering where the officer list was, but after a few maps it was quite apparent that the reason it's kinda hidden when in other Warriors games it's the first thing you see when you open up the map is that the battlefield at large doesn't actually matter.
Enemies don't advance. They don't threaten your outposts and allied officers. They just patiently wait for you to approach them. The battlefield only matters in the sense that it forces you to run around a lot between fighting.

I've never agreed with the claim that the Warriors series is just mindless button mashing. The games I played always required you to put some thought into how to spend your attention, else you'd lose the battle at large. But this game? It really is just a mindless button masher.
 

Edited by BrightBow

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Great game. Clearly a non-canon one and took a completely different approach than what I thought they'd do. I'm trying to get 100% completion in it and play a bit when I can. I think the only character I don't have yet is Calamity Ganon. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do but he still hasn't popped up. There must be something I missed.

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I just finished the game myself, so I may as well do my write up here instead of the usual place.

Spoiler

Presentation: It's more than just an art style, as a lot of Breath of the Wild enemies appear in the game and behave exactly as they do there. My brain was having a mental crisis, as I felt like I was wasting my weapon's durability, only to realize over and over again that that's not a thing, and there was never a benefit to hoarding other resources. Despite the focus being on breath of the wild enemies, though, there's a lot of meticulous attention to other elements. Very infrequently, you'll encounter enemy captains of the goron, rito, etc tribes, with their own movesets that weren't a thing from the source material. Characters make specific comments to specific other characters in and out of battle. Each little challenge and mission is given context to what you're doing and why it's important. None of these things are essential to enjoying the game, but you can tell that the designers didn't just turn in their assignment. They really cared about the source material, just as they did for the original hyrule warriors, even before you look at these insane movesets they came up with for characters.

The game can fall short on a technical level. A lot of attacks, both from the player and from enemies, just fail to connect when they obviously should. These interactions typically benefit the player most of all, but it gets pretty obnoxious that you can flawlessly dodge an attack but since the game never registered that attack as going to hit you, you don't get your flurry rush. Oddly enough, Breath of the Wild had the same issue...The camera is problematic too. During weak point finishers or other cinematic moments in a cramped space, the camera seems helpless to decide where it should be positioned and your character can end up completely out of frame. Getting backed up against a wall will also place your character completely out of frame, which can hamper your ability to dodge or aim if you're not mentally prepared for a pseudo first person view. Also, once I failed in a story mission because I didn't understand the objective, and found that the last checkpoint I established was a permanent failure state. Nothing I could do could get me past the next part in the time I had left. No sugar coating it, that's pretty bad. Game can really use some more patching.

Story: The time travel business starts out inoffensive with a new character clearly designed after BB-8, but it gets weird when more characters from the future start appearing. I think they could have been soundly kept out of the plot and instead just be unlockable extras, maybe with unique post game missions introducing them. As they are, it just feels like they're cramping the style of the current-day champions, who really have no opportunity for character growth despite having somebody new to bounce off of. Feels like a missed opportunity, is what I'm saying. The only character that does have growth is Zelda, and her dad. And well, if you could only choose 2, I guess that's the perfect allocation for this particular plot. The way Zelda awakens to her power is honestly perfect this time around, not just as a desperate attempt to save Link, but a desperate attempt to save somebody she care about. It just makes me wish other characters had something to do besides ferry her from plot beat to plot beat. Link, well, he's sort of always been more of an unfeeling plot mcguffin than a protagonist. Zelda's voice direction is so non-descript that you can't really engage in her angst. And a lot of cutscenes before the halfway point of the game are just of characters awkwardly fidgeting around the little robot. I'll admit one cutscene got a genuine laugh from me though. And there's some genuinely good action sequences like nothing seen before in a Zelda title. Among Zelda plots, you're looking at high mid tier at worst, but there's very obvious room for improvement, and the effort they did put in makes it clear that the writers wanted something nuanced beyond your standard nintendo fare. 

Gameplay: The playable characters are excellent, each with unique mechanics and quirks to learn and unique interpretations of the rune attacks. I remember the delight in learning that revali can dash cancel his stasis attack after firing the arrows, allowing him and some other characters with that quirk to add their own kind of freestyle combat. Challenge missions feel much more like they've been designed and playtested by hand, rather than generated at random by a computer. That's not to say the completion process never feels repetitive, but I appreciate the shorter length of each mission and greater emphasis on seeking out which ones have the rewards you care about. While rankings may be gone, missions with time limits felt rather strict compared to previous games. Thankfully they corrected some major issues - like the timer continuing during a lengthy special animation or weak point finisher, but the timer does not pause or slow down at all for flurry attacks which feels like an oversight. Also, sometimes completing something unlocks a new thing to do on the map, and I wish the game were more transparent with that information. I was very choosy about what to do next, but after finishing the game I clean up an old forgotten mission, only to realize it leads to a 5% passive bonus to earned experience. Would have gotten that sooner, had I known about it.

The ability to mark ingredients you need is helpful since vendors will pulse green if they have what you need. And missions where that material is a potential drop are similarly highlighted. I also noticed that challenges that ask for specific resources start pulsating yellow, indicating that you have what you need to complete them without having to check manually. It’s very considerate game design, although I wish the pulsing were more noticeable in docked mode, where my eyes are not so close to the screen. Overall the completion experience is much improved. Gone are the days of pulling up online guides to know which fort has the thing you’re looking for and how many KOs you need to stop and grind before clearing the main objective in order to secure the highest rank. This game has no rankings to worry about and its secrets are much more engaging to locate on your own. You don't have to worry about triple checking that you got everything just to avoid having to play that exact mission again. Optional missions with multiple stages of objectives also have checkpoints, which can also be great when you need it.

Generic enemies take much more of a beating than in other warriors games where it's typically a one or two hit kill. At first, it felt like a slog, having to do full combos for half a dozen KOs, but I came to realize this is not a game about arbirtrarily raising your KO count to 1600. And enemies having more health makes your whole moveset feel more valuable beyond figuring out which move is the wave clear and which does the most single target damage. Situations are varied enough that everything feels useful, or at the very least not a waste of your time. Some of the combat encounters could have been designed better around the warriors style of combat. I appreciate the lengths they went to to make enemies authentic to Breath of the Wild, but the Stone Talus fights are janky and not fun. I'm always spamming bombs to blow up the arms early, or spamming certain moves from the front to hit his back weakpoint just because the hitbox is reaching high and far enough to do that. The prompt to ride on his back has an alarming rate of failure as your character jumps past its back, accomplishing nothing. And if they're an ice or magma talus, you take damage just by touching them. These guys just grind the game to a halt, I wish they weren't around at all.

Ordering characters around the map makes a return, walking unhurriedly to a destination, like in previous games. Though they no longer take damage passively around strong enemies. And actually get work done on their own as I notice enemy health bars fell considerably just by them being there for an extended period of time. Nonplayable allies also put in work just the same. It takes a while to see noteworthy results, but it's free damage on an enemy at no cost to their own health, which is better than in previous games where they accomplished virtually nothing beyond being a warp point you could move around the map. This would imply that moving them around is vital, however, in this game, whenever multiple objectives appear, your characters just split up and head toward them without need of the player's input. That's very considerate of the developers, but it gives the impression the game has no tactical depth when the few choices that would exist are just made for you. 

Gushing: Is it any coincidence that we meet Hestu when searching for the chosen one who can wield the master sword? I think not. Definitely one of my favorite characters to play as, and excellent voice acting too. Wish the game had more original characters like it. I also love that two characters whom you'd think would fight similar still have different styles, like how Teba is a more hand to hand fighter than Revali. Rhoam is also a lot of fun, and feels like he may be the remnants of an Old Man concept that I'm certain they would have considered for the original Hyrule warriors. Riju is a blast to play as, mainly because you're playing as her pet. When I first used the paraglider as her, I don't think I ever laughed harder at such a simple sight gag. My all time favorite moveset is Zelda's sheikah slate. Once you understand her quirks with regard to runic attacks, it's just a lot of fun setting up dominoes and knocking them down. I also like that the unlockable characters take serious work to unlock. I love that the narrator switches from Rhoam to Zelda, after a certain point of the game

Verdict? Hot takes?: Look I've already been the guy who wasn't impressed by Breath of the Wild for years. So when I say this game was more fun than Breath of the Wild, it's not a hot take to me. Age of Calamity being a better warriors game than BotW is a Ubisoft game? Duh. Music is improved by virtue of having actual music, double duh. It's better than Hyrule Warriors back when that launched for Wii U, but what about the definitive edition that's also on Switch? I dunno. HW on Switch has more content in a literal sense and the fanservice is more fun since it shouts out nearly every zelda game. But Age of Calamity is a game you actually could see yourself completing and remaining engaged in every step of the way. It's not out to waste your time by demanding you play missions multiple times for all the collectibles, and character progression rewards are appropriately spread out in a way that the game's grind feels much more natural as something you'd want to do anyway. But zooming out from the microscopic details, it's still a warriors game, and warriors games only seem to aspire to be swimming in 7s crossover hack and slash video games. In the future I hope to see more concepts that relate to the licensed properly. Like, say, if there were a Hyrule Warriors 3, search for ways to give us some authentic Zelda dungeon or puzzle solving. It seems cheap if you're only content to give us the aesthetics of the source material, but not the gameplay that is also characteristic of that property.

Anyway, I had fun with the game. Maybe a little more than I expected. Hestu had better be in BotW2. Good night.

 

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I like it, but I don't love it. For all of its faults, I still think FE Warriors is the smoothest, best-playing Warriors game with the best mechanics.

 

Age of Calamity has impressive movesets and a best-in-genre narrative (unless Persona 5 Strikers lives up to its predecessor), but I find myself not enjoying its objectives. Split objective pressure is rarely a thing, so the character swap gameplay is wasted and it loses a lot of what makes the Musuo genre click as a result. Also, fuck off with the scavenger hunts. The heart pieces & skulltulas were the worst part of HW, and the Koroks in HW AoC aren't much better.

 

The worst flaw, however, is that the game really doesn't let you beeline the story campaign. There's a LOT of side content, very little of which is fun, and the level increases of the main story missions happen so rapidly that you really need to do the side quests. It's the opposite problem to FEW, where the short campaign content is bad and the hundreds of hours of side content are generally fun and well designed traditional Warriors content.

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2 hours ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

The heart pieces & skulltulas were the worst part of HW, and the Koroks in HW AoC aren't much better

Koroks? What do they do?

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8 minutes ago, lightcosmo said:

Koroks? What do they do?

Expand your weapon inventory, just like BotW. Also various consumable, magic rod and Hestu upgrades. Oh and there the 100% completion reward.

 

Spoiler

The badass tunic from the first HW.

 

Edited by Fabulously Olivier

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47 minutes ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

Expand your weapon inventory, just like BotW. Also various consumable, magic rod and Hestu upgrades. Oh and there the 100% completion reward.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

The badass tunic from the first HW.

 

WHAAAAAT!? how many are there!? 

Also, that's awesome as a reward!

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Well, now there's an upcoming expansion pass. Based on what the reveal listed, what do you think is going to be in it?

I predict that everything they listed is a complete lie that will still somehow be twisted when people argue, "Technically, they didn't lie about the content of the expansion pass...

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2 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Well, now there's an upcoming expansion pass. Based on what the reveal listed, what do you think is going to be in it?

Obviously, we're gonna be getting new characters, so that's exciting. My guess is that Robbie and Purah might be some of those new characters based on the character line-up art that they showed in the trailer. We might also get Sooga and Astor since they aren't playable in the base game, but definitely seems like they could/should be.

As for new weapon types, I think we might get a whip of some kind based on a sketch that's shown really briefly. Other new weapon types would probably be for the characters that I mentioned before. 

I think a neat idea for a new stage would be those three big mazes that you can find in Hyrule in BotW. That, and the big snow field north of the castle.

Uhhhh... let's see.... vignettes are just descriptions, so the current ones will probably be updated. I'm not entirely sure what to expect, but I figure the guesses I made about the characters might be pretty good.

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16 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

I predict that everything they listed is a complete lie that will still somehow be twisted when people argue, "Technically, they didn't lie about the content of the expansion pass...

To be fair, nothing on the list says anything related to story, so I'm not expecting much.

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10 minutes ago, Jingilator said:

To be fair, nothing on the list says anything related to story, so I'm not expecting much.

True 🤣.

 

16 hours ago, indigoasis said:

Obviously, we're gonna be getting new characters, so that's exciting. My guess is that Robbie and Purah might be some of those new characters based on the character line-up art that they showed in the trailer. We might also get Sooga and Astor since they aren't playable in the base game, but definitely seems like they could/should be.

Certainly possible, though I wonder what movesets Robbie and Purah would even have. Would Robbie attack enemies with blasts of electric-guitar noises that he creates by doing dramatic poses?

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