A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a fantasy action/fighting hack and slash game available for the Nintendo Switch. The game serves as both a sequel to the original Hyrule Warriors game while also serving as a prequel of sorts to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Players take on the roles of various characters from Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, fighting against large swarms of enemies in fast paced combat. Violence is steady, with players using a wide range of weapons and abilities in combat, but there's no blood or gore shown onscreen at any time.
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What's it about?
Return once again to the world of Hyrule in HYRULE WARRIORS: AGE OF CALAMITY. One hundred years prior to the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the kingdom of Hyrule fell victim to the second Great Calamity, orchestrated by the primal evil known as Calamity Ganon and the army of monstrous minions under its command. While the Calamity was held at bay, the cost was high and the history of the battle was lost to time. Now the tale can be told, as Age of Calamity takes players to this turbulent time of Hyrulean history and details the events of the Great Calamity. Players can take control of Link, Zelda, Impa, and others as they use their unique skills and abilities to carve a swath through swarms of Ganon's forces. You'll take on missions and challenges while collecting resources to craft an arsenal of powerful weapons and cook up a buffet of meals for the occasional boost. Over time, you'll upgrade your heroes and dive back into the fray as you attempt to defeat Ganon and stop Hyrule's destruction.
Is it any good?
There are a lot of times that spinoffs amount to little more than using an established franchise to drum up interest is an offshoot genre. Then there are games like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which don't just borrow from an established franchise, but actually add to it. Unlike the first Hyrule Warriors, which has its own original story disconnected from the rest of the Zelda franchise, Age of Calamity is directly connected to Breath of the Wild. Everything from its playable cast to its maps and missions to its artistic style evokes that game, as it uses gorgeous cutscenes and engaging storytelling to give players the chance to live out the events of the Great Calamity, which directly led up to the actions of that Switch game and yet, until now, was only vaguely referenced. It's a key moment in the history of The Legend of Zelda franchise and filled with all kinds of rich lore and fan service.
While the story in Age of Calamity is a big draw, gameplay is obviously just as important. Like the original Hyrule Warriors, Age of Calamity is a completely different style of game than most Legend of Zelda fans would be used to. It's closer to an arcade button masher, with players hacking and slashing their way through hundreds of enemies at a time. There's still some skill involved, such as proper timing for combos and dodging or maneuvering to keep from being overwhelmed. The game does run the risk of getting a bit repetitive, but missions are usually just long enough to keep this from happening. It helps that the action is broken up with crafting and cooking elements, as well as plenty of story focused cutscenes. Also, the addition of items from Breath of the Wild, such as the glider and the slate, bring an extra layer of familiarity to the gameplay. It's a different experience for sure, but it never feels like it's out of place. Instead, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is that rare spinoff that earns its spot in the grander Legend of Zelda story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity affected by the cartoonish nature of the gameplay? Would the impact be stronger if the gameplay was more realistic?
How do spinoff titles like Hyrule Warriors benefit from the popularity of their parent franchises? How do things like downloadable content and amiibo support help to extend the game's playability versus the cost to gamers?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo of America
- Release date: November 20, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: April 6, 2021
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