Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity once again threatens to bring Musou to the mainstream with a new collaboration between Nintendo and Koei Tecmo’s Omega Force. This new title is directly (sort of) connected to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild, so a lot of eyeballs are on it. This includes, most likely, folks who haven’t played One of These before. So I, a Musou enthusiast, am here to rattle off a few tricks that apply to both this and other games in the genre. Also while you're here, we have a review too!
There will be some stuff here unique to Age of Calamity of course, but there will also be some tips you can apply across the “Warriors” spectrum, more or less. But before we get into it, I have to stress that the most important thing you can do in these games is play around. You’re gonna have a bad time if all you do is mash the Y-button the whole time. You get out of these games what you put in. With that said, here are some more focused tips.
Get the Sheika Sensor!
Parts of Age of Calamity have you gathering resources to trade for new stuff. That’s how you unlock various shops, as well as combo extensions and permanent life gain for your characters. It can be hard to remember where everything is, but the Shiekah Sensor makes that a moot point. To get it, you’ll need to build up through the Akkala Highlands portion of the map. So, it could be a good idea to start with Death Mountain up in the top right. Complete the “Needed: Researchers” point and you’ll get it. From there, you can store up to two requirements on the map and as soon as a level or shop has one, it will glow green on the map.
Giving Orders and Swapping Characters
Early on, Age of Calamity lets you know you can instantly swap characters in missions with the dpad (when available). You also learn you can dish out orders, sending characters you aren’t controlling to parts on the map. But you can’t be stubborn and stick to your favorite; issuing orders only goes so far, and once the character is where you want them, you’ll need to swap over to actually complete whatever your objective is. Otherwise, the character will hover around, but do the minimum amount of damage to whatever enemy forces are present.
Always Be Dash Canceling
This wasn’t always the case, but nowadays Musou games include some way to interrupt whatever you’re doing to reposition yourself at a moment’s notice. In Hyrule Warriors, you have the dash button, which normally shoots your character forward a little or causes them to run if you hold it. But if you do it in the middle of an attack string you’ll interrupt your combo without losing it. You can do this out of pretty much anything as long as you’re on the ground, so it has all kinds of applications. You can use it to extend a combo, attack without losing momentum, cover distance while still doing damage, juggle mobs, so on and so forth.
Wall Jumps and Paragliders
There’s no jump button in Age of Calamity, but you can use Breath of the Wild’s Paraglider item whenever you’re airborne. Luckily, there are a few different ways to create that opportunity for yourself. Using the Skeikah Slate’s freeze ability can pop your character in the air (depending on your character). If you’re near enough of a wall, you’ll also see the command to wall jump, which will open you up for gliding or other techniques. Some characters also jump in the air during certain combo moves, such as link’s 1 light to heavy uppercut gimmick. Instead of immediately doing the ground strike, you can interrupt with the glider to reposition yourself and maximize your damage.
Practice Flurry Attack and Sheikah Slate Counters
There are two elements in Age of Calamity that demand more strict timing than anything else. When you’re fighting an “officer” unit, dashing just as an attack is about to land slows everything down and gives you a Flurry Attack chance. Also, if an officer unit starts charging up an attack and a symbol appears, you need to quickly use the corresponding Sheikah Slate ability to counter. Both of these techniques will get you free damage and more importantly, free damage to the enemy’s shields. Getting the timing down on these (which can change per character) will make the difference between running through officer units and getting bogged down.
Don’t Stress Over Weapons
Musou games always have weird weapon upgrade systems, and Age of Calamity is right there with the rest of them. The Blacksmith system is a little awkward, but can open you up to some super strong builds. That said, unless you’re playing on the hardest difficulty you don’t need to worry too much about it. It’s more beneficial to focus on filling out the map.
Swiss Army Link
Speaking of weapons, another thing worth playing with is Link’s equipment. The other Champions are great and all, but Link’s top banana status gives him options that totally change his look and moveset. You can unlock various cosmetic equipment that doesn’t alter your stats at all, making LInk look as goofy or cool as you want. He can also equip multiple weapon types, all of which have their own properties on the battlefield. You’ll get a lot more out of Link if you mess with all of his options.
Focus on Objectives
It can be all kinds of fun to go out and tear up the battlefield, capturing outposts and racking up that body count. But you still have to pay attention to what’s going on around you. If an objective pops up, make sure you make it your top priority, usually in the order they appear. Failing an objective doesn’t always fail the level, but it can make things more difficult going forward. Plus, dashing around between objectives breaks up the monotony.
It’s Okay to Pause
Despite its straightforward, fast pace, it can be easier than you think to get disoriented or lose track of something in the middle of a stage. The minimap is usually fine, but sometimes you need more information. Pausing the game gives you a much larger picture of the battlefield, and even lets you check on the status of every major unit on the map, friend or foe. It’s also where you can issue orders, which is crucial.
It’s a Zelda game, come on y’all. Breaking stuff gets you money, health, so on and so forth. But this is a Breath of the Wild-style deal, so that means you can bash trees and other things you may not worry about in other games. This gets you resources, in addition to stuff that only matters during combat. You also want to keep an eye out for food refills, since that’s your standard healing mechanism.
That’s all for now - there are plenty of other little nooks and crannies in Musou games, but we don’t want to spell it all out for you! These games are generally pretty easygoing, so we’re not looking at something that’s as tough as Breath of the Wild here. I’m mostly trying to be a Musou evangelist here, and the best way to do that is by yelling about it at every legitimate opportunity. But hey, maybe you got something out of this guide. Did you? If so, let us know over at Prima Games on Facebook or Twitter.