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Review: Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch

It seems like Nintendo wants to bring all of its Wii U games to Nintendo Switch, with numerous ports such as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Bayonetta 2 available now, and even more in the publisher’s pipeline. Hyrule Warriors is the latest example of this ongoing practice. Not only was it initially developed for Wii U – a Nintendo 3DS version was also released a few years ago. Nevertheless, the Switch’s Definitive Edition aims to offer a complete package to fans.

The Legend of Zelda fans would argue that you shouldn’t delve into Hyrule Warriors thinking it’s a Zelda game; otherwise, you might be left utterly disappointed. It’s a spinoff that was essentially created as a love letter to the beloved action-adventure series. With this in mind, you could get a ton of enjoyment out of the game as it is brimming with fan service that longtime Zelda fans would appreciate. This comes in the form of recognizable characters, locations, music, sound effects and items that combine to form a compelling tribute spanning from the original NES game to Breath of the Wild.

As its title implies, Hyrule Warriors is basically a Dynasty Warriors game with a different coat of paint. It was developed as a collaboration between Nintendo and Koei Tecmo, which is known for creating some of the most iconic hack-and-slash video game franchises, including Dynasty Warriors. Hyrule Warriors plays almost identical to Dynasty Warriors, where gameplay primarily revolves around destroying the throngs of baddies in your path in order to claim the battlefield and reach your next objective. While this may sound enticing, it gets a bit repetitive after using the same moves and tactics to defeat thousands of enemies on a single battlefield. Needless to say, there’s a lot of button-mashing involved as well.

There are a total of 29 playable characters to mix things up, from Link, to Sheik to Ganondorf, but each one is controlled using the same buttons and combos. The animations and grunts are different, but other than that, they pretty much feel like the same exact characters in different bodies. The game does a good job putting the spotlight on supporting characters like Impa and Link’s female counterpart, Linkle, by placing them in a role of a significant hero in their own right. Every character eventually intertwines with another’s story, so it’s interesting to witness firsthand how they crossed paths and the nontraditional relationships that develop between them.

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Battles can get very chaotic, especially when there is a boss you are tasked with taking down within a certain time limit. But the chaos is somewhat subdued when you get close to a comrade or foe, particularly non-player characters. You’ll often find them gazing at each other and going in circles until you come in to interrupt their staring game. This also applies to the main characters, which means protecting them should be a priority, as you’ll be forced to restart if at least one of them fails by losing all of their hearts. There are various missions within battles, such as guiding Bombchus to their targets or protecting the Deku Tree, but they are accomplished using the same chief method – simply overcome the obstacles that stand in the way.

There are animated segments between battles that contribute to the overall story. For the most part, it’s a standard Zelda-style tale that also involves two new sorceresses – Lana and Cia. Cutscenes are dramatic and entertaining until they are disrupted by on-screen text. Akin to typical Zelda fashion, characters don’t speak but instead spew out words that you have to read. This feels extremely outdated and unnatural, especially in a game that puts an emphasis on nonstop action. This concept is arguably the most awkward during gameplay in battles, when you have to abruptly shift your focus from combat to reading the words that are supposedly coming out from characters’ mouths.

Even though it looks practically identical to the Wii U version, the game is visually appealing in both TV mode and handheld mode, but it runs best when docked at 60fps. Its simplistic controls allow for playing with a single Joy-Con controller for up to two players in split-screen co-op. While this mode doesn’t compromise the enemy count, you might prefer having the entire screen to yourself due to everything that’s simultaneously happening on the battlefield.

The Definitive Edition packs in all the content of the previous iterations on Wii U and 3DS, including every piece of DLC, so there’s a ton to do. If the game gels with you, you could easily be playing for countless hours. In addition, it introduces new Breath of the Wild-themed costumes for Link and Zelda. If you already own either the Wii U or 3DS version, these two outfits might not be enough to convince you to shell out another $60 for what will essentially provide you with the same experience. But if you had to choose between the three, the Definitive Edition would definitely be the way to go due to being in HD and portable – it’s the best of both worlds. However, if the aforementioned nuisances such as mute characters are a turnoff in your eyes, you might want to consider spending your Rupees toward the more original Fire Emblem Warriors instead.


A review copy of Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch was provided by Nintendo UK. 

58 thoughts on “Review: Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch”

  1. Hyrule Warriors for the wii u got 8 here in this website. And it’s a really good game imo, so this game being en evolution of the past game, having extra content and enhanced framerate, I’d consider at least 8,5 .sorry, this game is amazing, it’s the only warriors game worth playing and having lots of fun imo

    1. Thanks for the feedback :) I believe the review for the previous version was by Colette, however this review was from Alba. Different person and different opinion. A seven is still a good game and nothing to be sniffed at.

      1. Definitely nothing to sniff at.

        I would give this a 9. I spent so many hours on the Wii U version, but I don’t mind that I’ll be doing exactly the same with the Switch version.

        I guarantee that this will beat my 185 hours of Breath Of The Wild playtime, and probably my 225 hours of Splatoon 2.

        Can’t wait! :)

      2. My apologies for saying that there was not a news tip. I completely forgot about the menu button being apart from the WordPress icons.

    2. Fire Emblem warriors is superior in my opinion. This review is someone else’s opinion too. Maybe you should do your own review if you don’t agree with this one?

      1. Yes, I’d say that you can make your comments in the comments section. Although, you do have to watch out for those who strongly feel compelled to leave skathing replies to your comment.

    3. Plus, you’ve got to bear in mind that the original received that score because it was an entirely new game back in 2014. :) It’s four years old; a port; contains all the DLC; but doesn’t necessarily add anything ‘new’ besides a few themed clothing skins etc. Critically, I agree with what Alba’s written and the final score here. And based on that, I would have given it the same.

  2. I don’t really like warriors games. Combat is too repetitive for me. But like all other crossover warriors games I’ll give it a shot. Fire emblem wasn’t bad so if this is better than that I think ill enjoy it enough

    1. I think Hyrule Warriors is better than FEW, only thing I don’t like about FEW is how all the warriors feel about the same in the 3 categories melee, bow and magic. Also too many freaking Sword users…
      On HW all of the characters feel unique, even if they use same kind of weapons, and all main characters have more than one weapon to choose from.

      1. I see what you mean – those Fire Emblem characters sure love their swords lol. Link would fit right in ;) Hyrule x Fire Emblem Warriors, anyone??

  3. Meh don’t like these games, hammering one button all the time gets old quick, on my WiiU I’d give it like 6-7/10

  4. These games are all pretty copy and paste, so it just comes down to how much you like the source material.
    Being said, Hyrule Warriors is my favorite Warriors simply because it features the Zelda series, with Dragon Quest Heroes taking second because it features Dragon Quest.

    Of course, by that logic, I should like Fire Emblem Warriors because I love Fire Emblem. But lo and behold, that one bores me to tears (partly due to me being pretty sick of seeing Awakening and Fates everywhere).

    My point being it’s pointless to compare these fan service Warriors games because in the end it just boils down to if you like the source material.

    1. It is basically like any other Warriors game except with a Zelda skin. The fan service definitely does appeal to a large number of players though.

      1. Exactly. A lot of people, myself included, care very little about the Warriors series in general, but will still play Hyrule Warriors simply because it’s Zelda.

    1. Thanks :) it’s the most inconvenient during battles imo; is it too much to want to focus on fighting and the dialogue at the same time? ;)

    1. Thanks for this review. I didn’t know anything about this game series and you explained what I needed to know very clearly. I think it’s also worth mentioning that it is refreshing to see such a sober and balanced review of a game – pointing out its strengths AND weaknesses. Far too many reviews of games, for some reason, are on one end of an extreme and usually on the “yes you should definitely buy it” end, which only raises questions about bias. This review did not suffer from a lack of objectivity and I rate your review 9/10! The game sounds good, though not my cup of tea.

  5. ??? every character in any fighting game, moba, FPS etc are controlled using the same buttons lol

  6. I would call FE Warriors superior in basic gameplay, as I think the weapon triangle adds just enough depth to the main gameplay to be more interesting but not too complex. However, everything else is better in Hyrule Warriors, especially stages, fan service, and music.

    Definitely buy HW Definitive Edition if you’ve never tried out a Warriors game before or if you never played the original, but having bought the original game (+DLC), the 3DS version (+DLC), and FE Warriors, I don’t think I can do this to my wallet or free time.

    1. Weapon triangle goes out the window when you use your built up awakening.
      I like though how stats bring some flavor to the mix, like choosing right character to battle high def low res enemies (and vice versa).
      Like one arena where final enemy was self healing Xander (high DEF), I had about same level Lianna paired with lower level Azura, neither could do the damage to properly negate the healing effect. Mage or any unit with effectiveness to riders would have blown that Xander away.
      Though I think effectiveness is too effective in the game.

    1. It probably wouldn’t feel much different tbh :/ guess it depends on the person, but it probably would be worth it for someone who loved the core game in the first place. Good thing about the Switch version is you don’t have to worry about buying DLC to see absolutely everything :D

  7. Prince Sidon, plus all the BOTW Champions need to come in a future update! Plus a fallen Hyrule stage with Guardian minibosses.

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  9. I’m a little disappointed they didn’t add the four champions from Breath of the Wild but this game is still a fantastic all-in-one package nonetheless.

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  12. This game is not gonna be everyone’s cup of tea (which would explain why the Wii U version got an 8.5 from this same website).
    For me, it is! I have the Wii U & 3DS versions of this game.

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  17. I dont play any of this type games. But videos look Nice. Repeating battles grinding heroes power or player must be vety good in action games? I 100% complete Bloodborne but mine playstyle is very defensive. In this game is too Hart time limits in levels? I mean If i try beat 100%??

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