Picture it: It’s 2013, and you’re a Nintendo fanboy. You’re simply itching for a new Legend of Zelda game. The desire burns within you, consumes your very being. The wait is as maddening as a bad case of scabies. You turn on a Nintendo Direct, and you see it. You hear the Overworld theme. You see the pretty colours. You see action! You see adventure! You see a Samurai Warriors spinoff game in the Zelda universe! It’s everything you ever dreamed of and more! It’s coming to your underappreciated Wii U! The game is finally released and you’re first in line. You take it home, and boot it up. It’s pretty fun. In fact, it’s damn fun. Nothing amazing, sure, but it’s as enjoyable as a table with a flood of kittens on it. But it’s not enough. You want more. You need more of Hyrule Warriors and you need it all the time. As if by magic, you get word of a 3DS port. Your happiness knows no bounds! Got that in your head? Congratulations, you’re the first person to welcome this port!
Hyrule Warriors: Legends, as you’ve probably guessed, is the 3DS port of the Wii U bestseller. Now, considering that I played very little of Hyrule Warriors I was a little more receptive of this new version than most people. Hyrule Warriors was a heap of fun, and I looked forward to more! I’ll grant (again) that I’ve never been a massive Zelda fan. I played Twilight Princess back in the day, beat Ocarina of Time once, and Majora’s Mask twice. With that said, I always interpreted Hyrule Warriors as a game for me: Somebody who knows the basic Zelda characters, but needed an introduction to some of the other iterations of our main man Link. So, I inserted the game cartridge expecting as silky-smooth a single-player experience as I got on the Wii U. After all, how hard could it be to optimise a game with a pre-existing engine? Pretty difficult, as it turns out.
It’s always something! “Help Zelda”, “hey listen”, “what are you doing in my house”…
“My name is not important. What’s important is what I’m going to do.”
My personal experience with the game’s performance was fine, as I’m currently rocking the New 3DS system, but what I found when I loaded it into my standard 3DS was simply atrocious. Framerates are inconsistent and choppy, textures were popping in and out, the visual effects are below-par, the whole shebang. Hyrule Warriors is a game that will consistently throw large amounts of enemies at you in combo-heavy combat, so these slowdowns were really detrimental to the whole experience. Even on better hardware the resolution was as shoddy as some kind of Android port, with some pretty hasty-looking shrinkage of texture maps. It’s difficult to make out these textures unless you’re familiar with the Wii U version, and this affects the artwork on the menus as well. It’s disappointing for everything to look so bad, as the Wii U version was gorgeous in every aesthetic aspect.
Does the port have its upsides? Sure does. Quick-swapping characters is a godsend, and directing your comrades across the map with the touch screen makes the game a little more strategic. Legends feels less like a mindless hack-and-slash and more like a mindless hack-and-slash with at least six brain cells. As was the case with Hyrule Warriors, Legends offers a vast multitude of fan service and includes all the DLC characters from the Wii U version (including Linkle, the cutest damn character in the whole game). The game also comes with a download code for said DLC for the Wii U port. Nice touch. But are these plusses worth putting up with the game’s downsides? Unfortunately not.
You don’t wanna know what she’s smiling at.
Legends is the little game that couldn’t. If the bad textures and all the pop-in that comes with them weren’t bad enough, the performance issues (particularily the framerate) and butchered art are what solidifies Legends as a game to pass up on. If you have the Wii U version, stick to that. It’s less dangerous to go alone than with this game.
Reviewed on New 3DS and standard 3DS. A free copy was provided by Nintendo.