The 3DS is a strange system with what Nintendo decides to move over from Console to Handheld. The New 3DS hasn’t had a great run, so far we have only got one major exclusive, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, but secretly Nintendo has published a second one, just minus the cool black case.
Yes, Hyrule Warriors Legends is a New 3DS title, I mean sure it runs on your older systems but it doesn’t run well – about half the frame rate well. While we can sit here and debate how many fps the human eye can see, in a game like Hyrule Warriors, running at 15-20fps compared to a mostly solid 30 makes a huge difference. Movement and attacks are more sluggish and when you have a long combo string you can really tell how much slower it is. Is it playable? Yeah sure, but the word ‘playable’ could also be applied to the CDi games. Also for the 3 people that still use 3D, well that’s only on the new 3ds, it looks fantastic don’t get me wrong, but also that frame rate dips heavily making it not worth it.
Well now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the word port. 3DS is no stranger to ports, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask… I’m starting to see a trend here. However Hyrule Warriors Legends isn’t so much as port as it is its own game. Legends has 95% of the content of the Wii U game (the only thing missing is Challenge Mode), and has even more characters, story and adventure maps making a huge game gigantic. The graphical differences between the two versions are akin to Super Smash Bros, with the 3DS opting for a more cartoony art style and lower amounts of enemies onscreen at any given time to help with performance.
The gameplay is also completely rebalanced, and changed. You can now control multiple warriors (up to 4 depending on the scenario) on the battlefield and command them to certain parts of the maps, and a new item the Gold Ocarina that allows you to teleport around the map’s owl statues. This allows for completely different strategies to be implemented, such as grouping multiple warriors around big bosses now buff your attack, drain their magic and reduce their weakness meter. Or even command the AI to capture keeps while you are doing something completely different, and because of this, the difficulty has been juggled around.
Some missions are harder due to the increased enemies and objectives to make up for having multiple warriors under your control, and for the most part, Adventure Mode has been taken down a few notches. Some of this is in part to cheesing the game with 2 or more characters, but mostly the level cap has reduced from 255 back down to 99 making some adventure mode challenges so much easier without level 150+ enemies to worry about. It’s worth noting the level cap for Wii U also started at 99 and increased with each DLC Pack, we are getting the first of 4 rather soon so it will be interesting to see if it stays solid or increases.
Hyrule Warriors Legends makes a lot more sense on a portable system than a console with scenarios’ lasting anywhere from 5 -20 minutes, and the ability to now save and put the 3DS into sleep mode mid battle makes it a great game to pick up and play on the bus or during your lunch break. It’s a shame the 3D and the frame rate couldn’t be worked out on the original systems, sure it will make some people upgrade their consoles, but most will just skip this game and hold onto their XL or 2DS.
With 9 new story scenarios, 5 new characters, 1 new adventure map and another 4 maps and 5 characters coming with a $20 season pass this game is easily going to take you hundreds and hundreds of hours to complete, and while I’ve played 40 hours of the game, I have only finished the Story section, which honestly is more of a glorified tutorial taking up about 5% of the actual game.