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This Prequel Could Be One Of 2020's Best Switch Games

The Wii U and Nintendo Switch have shared not one, but two award-winning Legend of Zelda titles: Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors. Breath of the Wild revitalized the open world genre and inspired "clones" such as Genshin Impact and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Hyrule Warriors, meanwhile, transcribed a huge chunk of the franchise's confusing timeline into a fun musou-styled title that stars a who's who of Zelda faces. Using the Hyrule Warriors formula to create a Breath of the Wild prequel for the Switch is the last thing anyone expected, but that's exactly what Nintendo, Koei Tecmo, and Omega Force did with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. And it might be a late entry in 2020's lineup of best Switch games.

While Age of Calamity won't release until Nov. 20, Famitsu already posted its review, and Gematsu provided a handy translation. Famitsu is widely regarded as the most respected video game magazine in Japan (although some of that clout has evaporated as of late), but its reviewers are notoriously difficult to please. Age of Calamity, however, managed to achieve the impossible and acquired a score of 36/40. The translation site ryokutya2089.com delivered some of Famitsu's talking points. According to translations, Famitsu found Age of Calamity "highly satisfying as a spin-off of Breath of the Wild" that feels like a good blend of classic musou action and Breath of the Wild's combat.

While Age of Calamity didn't achieve a perfect score, such a feat is still rare. A perfect 40/40 is only reserved for a tiny collection of titles, including past Zelda games such as Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild. A 36/40 is by no means an insulting score, as it places Age of Calamity in the same prestigious category as titles like Nioh and Hyrule Warriors — slightly below games such as Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Astral Chain, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Persona 5.

While the future looks promising for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, you must remember that Famitsu's glowing review does not guarantee the game's stardom. The magazine is merely the first to publish its game review. Plus, the site is not without its share of divisive scores that stirred up controversy (e.g., Death Stranding's 40/40). But Famitsu's review is still a solid start. Only time will tell if other outlets believe Age of Calamity can live up to the standard Famitsu believes the game set.