There was a moment when something clicked while playing the demo for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. At first, it was chaotic and there were so many button combinations and things happening that it was hard to focus on what I had to do.
But I soon realized that this is a game you can experience for what it is. You don't need to perfect any one technique, just... let it happen. Everything opened up after I figured out Link could do a devastating shield slide straight out of Breath of the Wild, then I just rode the wave.
The demo is about two hours long. It features three playable characters and a few battles. You can also upgrade weapons and interact with the game's map. It's a lot of enjoyable content.
This Musou, developed by Koei Tecmo Games and Nintendo, is a treasure for Zelda fans, especially those that want more Breath of the Wild content. The demo alone fills in a lot of the blanks in the time period before the original started back when the war was in full swing.
We see King Rhoan give a Braveheart-like battle speech, and then defend the castle while taking down familiar BOTW enemies. The Sheikah slate is back too. Both Impa and Link can use it, as well as Zelda.
Getting to see Zelda step out of her damsel in distress archetype and actually fight is great. The cutscenes are what I wanted from BOTW and supplement the intuitively satisfying experience. I didn't play the first Hyrule Warriors, so I can't compare it to that, but sending a cadre of enemies up in a plume or performing a special move feels right.
Without spoiling too much of the story, I will say that there's a time travel element. A tiny guardian travels back to help our heroes. Every detail is carefully curated, and BOTW fans will recognize artifacts, enemies, landscapes, and easter eggs everywhere they look.
Elements from BOTW, like cooking, creating weapons, and other upgrade tasks are all here but you do them from a large menu screen where you decide what mission to play next. The demo ends after you are tasked with finding the four champions. Fortunately, you get a chance to see Purah in her normal form and Robbie as an energetic young man.
Age of Calamity adds so many shades to BOTW that I found myself wanting to go back to the original. It's technically a prequel, but I think of it more as a companion piece.
I felt like I was just getting started when the demo ended. I want to go into Korok Forest to watch Hestu dance, venture to Gerudo Desert, and see Urbosa in the desert wind. I am interested in how Revali's Gale will be implemented in battle and how the tragic story will unfold.
I did have some slight camera issues during battle and noticed some clipping against walls. Health was also an issue for me. Many times I would run away from an objective to find items, which weren't plentiful. The game is extremely forgiving in that area, however, for the most part. Avoid powerful enemies and you can last a long time with just one heart.
All in all, it's a solid and welcoming addition to ongoing Zelda lore. The developers really put the extra work into the game to come out with something truly special. Look forward to fighting Hyrule's biggest battle yet when the game releases on November 20.
Have you taken advantage of the lockdowns around the world to finally launch your copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? With this article, you can find all the essential guides you need to get your adventure in Hyrule started!