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What critics are saying about Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

In the second week of November, Famitsu posted its early review of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. The magazine gave the unexpected love child of Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors an impressive 36/40, which suggested that it could end up being one of 2020's best Switch games. Famitsu's analysis also set the stage for a slew of subsequent stellar reviews.

The main draw of Age of Calamity is it melds Hyrule Warriors' musou action with Breath of the Wild's mechanics, and sites such as IGN and The Verge praised the resulting combat. These outlets loved how the game combined the "1 vs 1000" musou fights with Breath of the Wild mechanics such as the Flurry Rush and Shiekah Slate runes. Moreover, IGN and The Verge adored that each playable character brought something new to the table. Every hero sports unique mechanics, and no two characters use runes the same way — one might springboard off a cryo block, another might use it like a battering ram.

Unfortunately, many outlets didn't believe Age of Calamity nailed its second selling point, that being an expanded look at the story of how Calamity Ganon destroyed Hyrule. IGN stated that while the narrative is engrossing, it doesn't expand on Breath of the Wild characterizations. Every character in Age of Calamity acts the same way they did in BotW's flashbacks, for good and for bad. Moreover, Age of Calamity introduces an unexpected time-traveling sub-plot, which could result in a few unexpected plot-twists to mix up the story. However, this element is apparently a very "your mileage may vary" inclusion.

While Age of Calamity is solid in terms of gameplay and slightly less so in story, it crumbles on the technical front. According to sites such as The Verge, GameSpot, and IGN, the fast action takes a toll on the framerate. The Switch hardware simply can't keep up with all the effects and on-screen assets. Additionally, these outlets didn't appreciate the lack of online co-op, especially because local multiplayer is a haven for framerate drops despite already toning down effects and graphical fidelity.

Also, reviewers found the hotly anticipated epic Divine Beast segments divisive. Eurogamer viewed wading across the battlefield as a nigh-unstoppable siege elephant, bird, salamander, or camel as the perfect palate cleansers. However, Nintendo Life saw them more as plodding turret sections that made the Divine Beasts feel less like powerful weapons and more like graceless titans.

Overall, critics believed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors veterans will get a kick out of Age of Calamity, even though the Switch struggles to run it at a consistent framerate.