It’s not often that we see any specific game become so popular that it’s ported from console to handheld just a year and a half after its release. In fact, I can’t think of a single instance in which it’s happened. Sure, the 3DS has been great for bringing back old classics like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and Xenoblade Chronicles, but all these games were more in the realm of remakes, being brought back from old generation consoles and revamped with updated graphics and a 3D effect.

Hyrule Warriors, on the other hand, isn’t old. It’s not a classic that needs to be revamped, and it’s certainly not a game that people have already forgotten about. Yet in just a few months we’ll be getting Hyrule Warriors Legends, the amped up 3DS version of the Wii U game that we all unexpectedly loved. While no one would have guessed that a Zelda spin-off would be getting this kind of treatment, I don’t think it comes as any surprise to us why.

Story

If you were like me, and enjoyed Hyrule Warriors as much as I did, then you were happy enough just hearing the game was being ported over to your handheld, letting you play it on the go. Never would we have expected it would receive a general overhaul and be given new content on top of what was already in the Wii U version. So, when I heard that there was going to be extra story added into the game, I was ecstatic. Sure, the plot of the original Wii U version wasn’t incredible, but that didn’t make me any less excited to mow down hundreds of enemies in mere minutes with some of my favorite Zelda characters.

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We don’t know a lot of details about the extra story added, but we do know that it’s an epilogue, following on from the original story told in the Wii U version, which will be playable in Legends as well. We also know that Linkle, Legends’ new character, is set to appear in her own side story, though it’s unclear if this side story and the epilogue are one and the same thing. Linkle’s side story is described as being “behind-the-scenes,” and has her traveling to Hyrule Castle with her Compass, encountering Midna in her true form and Skull Kid (and hopefully some of the other DLC characters) on the way. In the epilogue, we’ve been told that it will feature new stages and characters from Wind Waker, a game being newly represented in Legends. One level is to be based off Windfall Island, Dragon Roost Island, and Forsaken Fortress, and another is to take cues from the Earth and Wind Temples. Lastly, we know that both the Helmaroc King and Phantom Ganon are set to appear as Giant Bosses.

Gameplay

As far as gameplay goes, there aren’t that many differences, but the changes they have implemented are significant. While the game does use dual screens on the Wii U, playing with two screens directly next to each other is still a vastly different experience. With this updated dual screen experience, players now have the option to tap on the character portrait of any character currently on the field and immediately switch over to that character while playing. This is going to prove extremely helpful, as in the original Wii U version switching characters mid-battle wasn’t even an option, so being given the option will allow for much more coverage of the map at a much faster pace than previously possible.

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We also have confirmation of two new items for the game, though more could be on the way. The two that we know of, however, are the Golden Ocarina and the Hammer. The Hammer is a heavy item that allows you to activate Warships on the battlefield. Warships are a new map feature in Legends, which allow you to destroy Stone Heads that block your way by smashing down a peg that resides next to them. The Hammer also allows you to weaken the Helmaroc King, a call back to the Skull Hammer from the bird’s game of origin.

The Golden Ocarina is used to activate the newly implemented Owl Statues. When in possession of the Ocarina, any fighter can place down an Owl Statue at any point on the map, and then use the Ocarina to immediately return to that point later. Again, this new feature is going to prove extremely useful in covering the map more quickly, which was an issue I frequently found myself facing while playing the original.

We also know that Ganondorf is getting a new weapon in the form of his Trident, which actually looks pretty awesome. Personally, I like it better than his Great Swords weapon, especially because it brings us back to classic games, like A Link to the Past.

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Lastly, we’re going to see the introduction of the Smash Boost Power effect, a feature that is activated once you gather up all four fighters on the battlefield against a boss. Once activated, the Magic Gauge is fully restored.

Expect to see the return of all gameplay modes except for Challenge Mode. Legends will also be compatible with amiibo, though it’s not likely that there will be any changes on that front from the Wii U version. Also, due to the hardware limitations of the 3DS, Legends is only going to be one player, instead of the original’s two.

Characters

Hyrule Warriors had a fantastic playable roster of almost every character we could want from the Legend of Zelda series, and Legends is no different. Due to its lack of a Challenge Mode, Ganon and Giant Cucco will not be returning as playable characters, however every other regular character will be available to the player. In addition, five new confirmed characters have been announced for the release of Legends, and all five will be transferrable to the Wii U version. The characters are as follows:

    Tetra:

    A fiery pirate leader with an attitude, Tetra is a fan favorite hailing from Wind Waker. Though she’s technically Zelda in disguise, much like Sheik, she’s unaware of her status as a princess and leads a brigand of somewhat competent pirates instead. Wielding a Cutlass (an enlarged version of her dagger) and a hand pistol with the classification of a water weapon, she’s transported into the world of Hyrule Warriors along with Windfall Island for unknown reasons.

    Tetra looks to play just a bit slowly, but with power behind her blows. With the advantage of a weapon in each hand, she’s got the potential for quick and unique combos that range from close quarters with her saber to further reaches with her gun. And even though she may or may not be aware of the fact that she’s Zelda, she still has an affinity for Triforce-related combo moves…

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    Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule/King of Hyrule:

    It’s fair to assume that with the arrival of Tetra also comes the arrival of her kingdom’s ruler, King Daphnes Nohansen. Known simply as the King of Hyrule in Legends, his fight style is very untraditional, using the sail he adorns as his lovable King of Red Lions form.

    Though he uses magic to carry and smack down enemies with the opened sail, his real potential shines when it comes to his combos, allowing him to transform into the boat and summon waves and other water moves. Though an extremely slow looking character, he’s bound to be fun if for nothing more than his uniqueness.

    Toon Link:

    Now a staple in the Legend of Zelda universe, Toon Link has become his own character away from classic Link, and that’s no more obvious than in Hyrule Warriors Legends. While you might think that the developers could have just cloned Link’s moves over to the new character, they’ve instead created a moveset and playstyle completely unique to the adorable hero.

    A little awkward and slightly goofy, but much more expressive, he comes across just as he does in any of the games he’s been featured in before (especially Wind Waker). With a One-Handed Sword that glows green just like in the game, he hacks and slashes his way through enemies in a way only someone of his stature could. He moves quick, shouts a lot, and he even has a spin attack that just a little too much for him to handle. Basically, he’s everything we love about seeing Link as a cartoon.

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    Skull Kid:

    Surprisingly not introduced in the Majora’s Mask DLC pack for the original Wii U version, Skull Kid is finally making his debut as a playable character in Legends. Followed by Tatl and Tael, he uses his wooden Fairy Ocarina to play, dance, summon, and use dark magic to bring down any who stand in his way. Naturally, he also has the ability to use the Moon to his advantage, as you would expect.

    Skull Kid is another character being introduced that’s incredibly unique, and from the trailers alone, it’s evident Nintendo’s really embodied his character when bringing him over to the new game. Creepy as ever, Skull Kid looks to be like a lot of fun as a playable Warrior. Just try not to let all his laughter get to you.

    Linkle:

    We’ve already gone over Linkle on Nintendo Inquirer, so we’re not going into too much depth here. However, Linkle is a brand new character introduced for Hyrule Warriors Legends, much like Lana and Cia were for the original release.

    Wielding dual crossbows that have been classified as fire weapons, Linkle longs to be like the ancient heroes of Hyrule, and her playstyle demonstrates that. Don’t be fooled, though, as she’s still entirely her own character and doesn’t imitate anyone (except for maybe her Spin Kick). Linkle looks to be like an incredibly fun and extremely exciting new addition to the lineup, so get ready for this firecracker.

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    While only these five have been confirmed, there’s no telling what other characters Nintendo might bring into Legends and the original game. With Wind Waker now being a part of the lineup, it opens up the list of potential characters even further; it could possibly even lead to more games being represented. Personally, I’m hoping to see Medli, Makar, or Vaati make appearances as playable characters next. Let us know in the comments who you’d like to see make it in as a Warrior!

My Fairy Mode

My Fairy is a new game mode that was introduced briefly in the newest promo trailer for Legends, without much context or detailed information. The new mode will accompany Adventure Mode specifically, and acts as a minigame that allows you to befriend Fairies and then later use them to unleash powerful attacks during your adventure.

Each fairy serves as a partner or companion to the Warriors of Legends, and while players can befriend multiple Fairies, only one can be taken into battle at a time. Once befriended, Fairies can be taken care of and raised in ways such as feeding them and customizing them. Over time, they will level up, which will grant them new skills and abilities for use in battle. Their magic will also increase with their level, allowing them to accompany Warriors into even more difficult battles.

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Everything you need to raise your Fairies can be found within Adventure Mode. For example, special types of Food can be found, which will grant or increase certain skills or stats. When it comes to raising your Fairy, however, the player is given a lot of freedom, meaning that they can raise their Fairies to be balanced fighters or specialized in specific skills. Lastly, each Fairy is completely customizable, and able to be dressed up in Fairy Wear. Currently, it is unknown how to obtain Fairy Wear or if it grants any bonuses to the Fairies, but some Fairy Wear is shown to resemble outfits from Zelda characters of different games, like Zelda’s dress, Link’s tunic and the Fused Shadow, among others.


Preparing for the release

Hyrule Warriors Legends is less than a month away from its January 21st Japanese release, and only a few months from its North American and European releases on March 25th. With all this information, it’s hard to imagine we’ll get much more before the game hits store shelves, though that shouldn’t be discouraging in the slightest. Since the original’s release on the Wii U, there’s been a fair bit of downloadable content added, and with the game coming back into the forefront of gaming news, it might be the case that we’ll be seeing more content in the future, even after the release of Legends. We’ll keep you updated on any more information about the game, so keep your eyes peeled!

Check out all the official Hyrule Warriors Legends promotional videos below!

E3 Trailer | TGS Trailer | Promo Video | Tetra | King of Hyrule | Toon Link | Skull Kid | Linkle

Check out the Hyrule Warriors Legends official website!

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Written by George Comatas

As a wannabe social media personality and professional in the world of sarcasm, George does his best to always adapt to the changing world around him. He considers himself a maverick: a true-to-heart gamer with the mind of a pop star. Whether this makes him revolutionary or a setback, he's yet to find out. But one thing’s for sure; he's one-of-a-kind.

George Comatas