The Nintendo Switch had one of the strongest launch titles of all time with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This title reinvented a lot about one of the oldest franchises in gaming history and became a huge seller for the platform. That level of popularity brought in many new fans eager to get their hands on the next Zelda title.
While the wait for Breath of the Wild 2 goes on, Nintendo announced Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity as a prequel to the original Breath of the Wild. They obviously want to draw in fans of the original game to try out this new offering; however, the way this game plays may surprise you if you’re not familiar with the Warriors style of gameplay. It may look like Breath of the Wild, but everything you learned playing that game won’t help you in Age of Calamity. Here are the tips and tricks you need for this more action-packed Zelda experience.
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Age of Calamity is a Warriors game at heart. If you played any of the Dynasty Warriors titles, or even the first Hyrule Warriors, then you know they are all about taking on massive amounts of foes single-handedly. Unlike a normal Zelda title, where more than two or three enemies could be overwhelming, you’ll be slashing your way through hundreds of foes every mission. There are larger and more powerful enemies you’ll run into, but the majority of the mobs are nothing more than minor obstacles.
Give your characters orders
Probably the most foreign element to anyone jumping into this game from a normal Zelda experience is the tactical aspects. The missions you’ll undertake place you on big, intertwined maps with multiple outposts, lines of conflict, and objectives. You’re not meant to take this all on by yourself one piece at a time, but to direct your other characters to go and get things started while you tackle something else. Open up your map from the menu and direct your companions toward objectives as often as possible. Even if they don’t complete whatever task you send them on, having them there to swap to will save you a ton of time traversing the map.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
There are a lot of enemies and outposts on each map, but don’t feel like you need to clear out everything before moving on. You can easily get by without bringing the game to a grinding halt by backtracking and clearing every single encounter there is. Yes, outposts do reward you with materials and prevent new enemies from spawning, so you shouldn’t ignore them completely. Just find a balance that doesn’t make you feel like you’re just doing busywork.
Learn the new combat style
We’ve been pushing how different this game is from any normal Zelda game, but there are some things that carry over. For one thing, never succumb to button mashing. Not only will this make the game less engaging, but you’ll be less effective too. Every character has their own combos you will want to experiment with by combining your regular, strong, and special attacks. Some may be better for crowd control, while others are better used on a single, powerful target. Don’t forget about aerial combat too! Keep experimenting and don’t let yourself fall into a boring pattern.
Another cue taken from Breath of the Wild is the flurry rush attack. The move is back here and performed the same way. If you can manage to dodge an incoming strike at the very last moment, time will slow down for a few moments as you unleash a, well, flurry of attacks. Blocking is still a solid defensive option, especially if you don’t feel confidant dodging yet. Parrying also makes a return. If you were a pro at deflecting Guardian laser attacks, your practice will pay off in this game too.
Two items you’ll be picking up are the elemental rods and Sheikah Runes, but don’t get too precious with them. In a game like Age of Calamity, it might feel tempting to hold these tools until you really need them, but for the most part that’s a waste. Rods are fantastic for exposing certain enemy weak point gauges once you learn what elements are effective against them. You’ll get more charges back for rods every time you defeat a Wizzrobe, so don’t fret about running out.
Sheikah Runes should be used a little more carefully. Their best uses are as counter-attacks against the tougher named enemies you’ll come up against. You’ll see the Sheikah Rune appear above their head when the right moment to use it comes up. Use it to temporarily stun them and open up their weak point gauge.
Unlock characters as soon as you can
One of the most fun aspects of Hyrule Warriors is the huge roster of characters you can play as aside from just Link. While there aren’t quite as many in Age of Calamity — at least not yet — there are still plenty of unique characters you won’t get the opportunity to play as in any other game. Once you reach chapter two, you will get the chance to take on character missions for the four champions from Breath of the Wild: Mipha, Daruk Revali, and Urbosa. Beating each one unlocks them in your roster. Prioritize doing these missions to expand your roster early so you can mix things up as you play.
Prepare for battle
The Warriors games let you do a lot to prepare yourself for each upcoming mission. The last thing you want to do is ignore all these mechanics and just rush from one mission to the next unprepared or you’ll run headfirst into a massive difficulty spike. This is especially true if you enjoy playing as all of the game’s many characters.
Leveling up can be done in two ways. The first is to just replay missions or side quests you’ve already done. Most of the game’s main missions force you to include Link as a character the first time around, but when you replay them, you can bring in anyone you like to level up. Alternatively, you can level up at the Military Training Camp by spending rupees. The only limits on leveling characters this way is how much money you have, and what your highest level character is. You can only pay for a character to match your highest-level character.
Fuse your spare weapons
You’ll end up gathering plenty of weapons by the end of just a couple of missions in Age of Calamity, but since your trusty blades no longer break, you might wonder what you’re supposed to do with your spare arsenal. By heading to the blacksmith, you can choose to either sell or fuse your extra weaponry. Selling might seem like the simple option, but fusing is far more beneficial early on. Not only are weapons worth very little most of the time, but fusing them helps ensure you are always strong enough to tackle the next mission.
Fusing weapons will still cost you rupees but acts as the system for leveling up your primary weapon. By fusing your spare weapons into your primary weapon, it will gain experience and level up as well as potentially learn new skills. These skills are all random, but always beneficial, such as increasing damage for every 100 KOs. You can see how your weapon will be improved before you spend your resources fusing it by looking at the yellow text in the fusing menu. You should also try to fuse weapons that have the same effects present. This is called Seal-Matching, and will result in that effect being more powerful, plus other bonuses.
Cook up a tasty dish
Cooking makes a triumphant return, and is just as in depth and valuable as it was in Breath of the Wild. Each recipe obviously requires you to have the necessary ingredients, but as long as you explore levels thoroughly, you should gather enough for most dishes. Check out all the meal effects you have available and pick the best one for the task at hand. If you know you’re going into a mission where you’ll be facing a lot of fire-based enemies, prepare a dish that buffs your fire defense, for example.
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