Even though I'd obsessively played Hyrule Warriors just over six months ago, I picked up the 3DS version, Hyrule Warriors Legends, pretty soon afterwards. I hadn't been planning on playing it that much, and for a while I just dipped into occasionally to slog through some of the story missions. For people like me who have already poured tons of hours into the Wii U version, it was more than a little daunting to have to start back at zero. But more than that, there was a definite problem with pacing in that the new Linkle stages are few and far between: they're spread out throughout the story mode, so you can't just play them all from the get go. Similarly, the new Wind Waker stages are tacked on to the very end of the story mode, which was also disappointing. On top of that, you can't really dive deep into Adventure Mode, the real draw of this game and the Wii U game for me, because although Toon Link and Medli are unlocked from the beginning, you can't bulk them up with badges until you get to the Wind Waker stages, which makes tackling missions featuring them not really worth it. It's also disappointing that the adventure mode maps only unlock after you beat the previous one, but it makes sense in terms of setting the pace of this version of the game.
So there's a lot of delayed gratification until you do get through the end of story mode. Once I'd gone through all that, then playing through the Wind Waker stages and unlocking all of those new characters was pretty fun (as are the other two new characters, Linkle and Skull Kid). That Wind Waker content also includes two new stages and two new bosses. The game does have some twists on the gameplay seen in the Wii U version, the most obvious being the abilities to switch between characters in some missions, and to warp to different parts of the map. There are also the "My Fairy" features, which are kind of fun. In that you outfit your fairies with clothing to boost their elemental abilities, and you feed them to unlock special abilities, the most useful of which by fair is the one that restores the health of an allied keep. The fairies also enable you to use a ridiculous magic-based nuke attack that clears out scores of enemies in one blast. The downside is that it makes the focus attack abilities (the previous sole use of magic) much less useful, and a lot of missions become way easier than they were before. Also, food drops end up competing with weapon and material drops, which is a bummer as getting good drops tends to be low probability anyway. It's also disappointing that you can only hold nine fairies at a time, which makes it sort of pointless that there are five fairies to find in every adventure mode map.
I ended up getting completely sucked into the game and playing it obsessively, and I'm up to 65+ hours with all characters and level 1 weapons unlocked, and a big chunk of the first adventure map missions completely done (highest rank and all items collected), and the first section of the second adventure map completed. Speaking of which, the second adventure map, which is based on Wind Waker, mostly consists of "defeat X enemies" missions, so it feels fairly repetitive. I found it was best to mix things up with the story mode (which has the warp mechanics) with the first adventure mode map (which doesn't include the warp mechanics). Linkle's main weapons (the crossbows) adds a new unique mechanic to the game, but the other new characters don't feel that unique.
I played on a New 3DS XL so I can't say anything about people's complaints about how it runs on a regular 3DS, but it worked pretty well, despite feeling rather cramped, with very rare slow down. Lana's summoning gate weapon gets downgraded to just summoning a sphere for its attacks since the 3DS didn't have the horsepower to summon fully animated monsters as in the Wii U version, but otherwise it didn't feel like there were many concessions from it being ported from the Wii U version. The game feels easier overall, in part because the first adventure mode map only unlocks level 1 weapons, and also because of the new mechanics, such as warping and the fairy nukes. It's nice to have a portable version of the game, but I am looking forward to playing the Wii U version on an HD screen again.
I feel less compelled to get the DLC for this version of the game than i did for the Wii U game. The Wii U DLC (all of which is included here) introduced a lot of fun new characters and weapons and adventure mode mechanics, whereas I'm not very excited about the 3DS DLC content, aside from Marin from Link's Awakening. I'll probably get it eventually, but I hadn't played with the Wii U DLC characters much before, so I enjoyed spending time with them. I continue to be astounded at how many hours I've poured into these two games despite the repetitiveness of the gameplay, but I'm glad I can finally set this game aside for now so that I can finish other games that have been begging me to play them for ages. We'll have to see how long I can hold out before getting sucked back into the world of Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends...
Don't delay with these Hyrule Warriors Legends links:
- Some relevant links can be found in my previous post about the Wii U version
- The official site includes some wallpapers
- Launch trailer
- Entry at zeldawiki.org
- Interview with the producer on Marin's inclusion
- FAQ on GameFAQs
- Review at NintendoLife