Joystick: ‘Hyrule Warriors’ is a love letter to the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series

Published 6:25 pm Saturday, October 4, 2014

“Legend of Zelda” fans got a treat last week when “Hyrule Warriors” was released on the Nintendo WiiU.

The game, developed by the “Dynasty Warriors” team at Koei Tecmo, is a love-letter to the “Legend of Zelda” series through a hack-and-slash game. It works similar to many “Dynasty Warriors” games — you play as a hero who fights thousands of peons on a battlefield. Eventually you come face-to-face with equally powerful heroes and villains you must conquer to complete a stage.

It’s a simplistic yet addictive style of game that many have criticized over the years because it seems tedious. Yet “Dynasty Warriors” critics are missing the point: Taking control of your favorite characters and beating up a whole bunch of people feels awesome.

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That’s the secret behind the hack-and-slash genre, and it’s exciting to see Tecmo Koei collaborate with different intellectual properties. “Dynasty Warriors” is a winning formula and more series are taking advantage of its interest.

Koei created the first “Dynasty Warriors” game in 1997, which was oddly enough a fighting game based off of a previous strategy game series. The game takes liberties with an ancient Chinese historical tale, the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” which pitted three countries against each other for control of China.Though many of the characters are historical figures, their exploits have been turned into myth for centuries.

“Dynasty Warriors 2” changed the game to a hack-and-slash, giving players the opportunity to experience battles and the mindless fun of going to town on a ton of enemies. Since then, Koei has created a powerhouse series with numerous lucrative spinoffs and enough success to ensure a merger with Tecmo, which has developed such series as “Ninja Gaiden.”

Koei Tecmo have also branched out to other fictional universes under the “Dynasty Warriors” brand. Developers have created games for the “Gundam” TV series, the “Fist of the North Star” and “One Piece” mangas, and now the “Legend of Zelda” series. Koei Tecmo will likely get huge business through their partnership with Square Enix for the upcoming game “Dragon Quest: Heroes,” which will likely be a huge hit in Japan and abroad.

It’s smart to branch out to more universes to attract people to the “Dynasty Warriors” brand. The games are a lot of fun and the dream fights created through a “Dynasty Warriors” game is enough to grab many fans’ interests. Here’s hoping Koei Tecmo continues with even more “Dynasty Warriors” partnerships.