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I’m not sure what’s even happening –  I LOVE Hyrule Warriors. It’s an absolute blast. I haven’t played a whole lot of Dynasty Warriors games in the past, but I have played enough of them to know that this is THE SAME GAME.

Regardless, it’s still fun. Though Zelda sort of makes everything fun. If I’d been running around as Xi Zhou or the like, it wouldn’t have been as fun. I haven’t spent any time with Xi Zhou, to be honest. Sure, he looks cool as he’s chopping through a forest of enemies but there’s no real air of familiarity. That, my friends, is what Hyrule Warriors does right.

First and foremost, let’s be clear: it’s a non-Nintendo Zelda game.

Hold on. I need to go wash out my mouth.

In all seriousness, I didn’t know that to expect with Hyrule Warriors. I know that Dynasty Warriors is a hack-and-slash game, and that’s not my usual cup of tea. I’ll play an RPG any day of the week, but this is a Zelda game. Well… kind of.

After giving the game a hesitant try, I’ve gotta say – it’s fun, despite the fact that this is NOT your usual Zelda title. It plays like a Playstation game, only you’re playing as Link. It’s largely because of this that I was initially so torn. Once I got past that, though, everything fell into place.

If I can get on board with one aspect of this game, it’s the visuals. I finally feel like the Wii U is living up to the next-gen standard. The multiplayer brings the frame rate significantly down, so I do recommend the single player. But wow – the world is vibrant and beautiful; there’s so much detail that I don’t know where to begin to describe it all. I was blown away by how stunning the graphics are. The cutscenes look better than real-life, and the game play looks like a next-gen console should look. So well done, Nintendo.

The controls are remarkably smooth. Play with the gamepad. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT play with the Wii remote and nun chuck. Rather than pressing a button to attack, you shake the Wii remote. You shake it to attack, and the entire game is pretty much straight-up attacking. You’ll be shaking that Wii remote like a new bottle of ketchup. Just another reason to stick to the single player. Can’t go wrong with both higher quality graphics AND smooth controls. The game actually feels like a Nintendo game, which I can appreciate. The controls are complex enough to be interesting but still simple enough to be fun.

I was most excited for the ocean of playable characters. For the first time in my life, I whooped bad guys with Impa. I had never dreamed of playing as Impa! Honestly, I’ve never had the craving to, either. But she rocks — Impa wields a six-foot sword that’s as thick as a microwave, so you can imagine how well she cuts down enemies with ease. She has a demeanor that screams “I’M THE COOLEST,” and she’s right. Impa is the coolest. If you’ve been following along and reading my articles for a while, you’ll know that I was the most pumped to play as Zant. Well, I really just wanted to play as the bad guys. I’ve spent my whole life playing as Link. What I want to do is step into the shoes of the villain, and Hyrule Warriors did not disappoint. The bad guy storyline is relatively short-lived, but boy, it’s a doozy.

All in all, Hyrule Warriors is an all-out hack-and-slash. If that’s not your thing, it’s not the end of the world. But it really, truly is a fantastic game. Tons of secrets, loads of unlockables, an army of awesome characters. And, let’s face it, chopping down a hoard of enemies never gets old. There’s definitely charm to Hyrule Warriors. It gets my recommendation.

Even though a hack-and-slash Dynasty Warriors knockoff may not seem appealing, trust me. It’s fun.

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