Hyrule Warriors Legends, a portable port of the Wii U’s Hyrule Warriors, is set to hit the Nintendo 3DS on March 25, 2016. Rather than hit you with a massive review detailing the system of the game, we thought it better to lay down a few pieces of vital information for those considering the purchase.
We reviewed the original version before its release in September of 2014 (it’s been that long!?). Our own Ron Duwell handled the coverage. Our opinions don’t line up perfectly, so I’ll keep this brief. Ron handle’s the game’s systems just fine, but I think he had too much of a hard time enjoying this Musou title for what it is. It’s mindless (and I mean that affectionately). It serves as a greatest hits album with a mindless hook, and it’s fun to slowly improve your warriors, conquer a massive battlefield and absolutely decimate weak opponents.
If you own an original 3DS or 3DS XL, heads up.
Scaling Hyrule Warriors Legends down to work on the Nintendo 3DS was likely no small task. Environments are large, and the game regularly throws, I don’t know, 50, 75, 100 enemies at you on the screen at any given time.
Things get tight, and that absolutely taxes the platform in question. On the Wii U? This game was rock solid. On the New Nintendo 3DS, it runs wonderfully, though we’ll get to how it does with 3D on in the next section.
If you own an original Nintendo 3DS or even the XL upgrade, I’m going to tell you to not buy this game. Don’t do it. Even with the 3D off, the game’s framerate is drastically hampered at pretty much all times. Look, I’m not trying to inject myself into the framerate debate; but, I will say that I’m shocked Nintendo is even releasing this for the old 3DS models.
It’s that bad.
It’s mostly smooth sailing on the New Nintendo 3DS models.
New Nintendo 3DS owners will be just fine if they’re looking to scrunch this Musou action down into a handheld for some portable play. The game runs really well with 3D off, and it runs mostly well with only a few noticeable dips with the 3D on. It’s not too bad in 3D, and the game does look solid with the effect on. Whenever the framerate dipped during my time in portable form, I just switched off the 3D and rolled on.
Sure, it doesn’t look as good as it does on the Wii U. Environments are flat and jaggy, enemies look sort of rough and pixelated and cutscenes often look like they have just a little bit more buffering to do.
However, when it comes to an action game, the framerate matters more than the graphical prowess. Would a game like this both look and run better on a stronger handheld? Certainly. However, the New Nintendo 3DS plays it at the right pace, and that makes the title fun.
The New 3DS also offers better controls.
As if the unplayable framerate wasn’t enough to sway you away from the original 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors Legends, the control scheme should be the nail in the coffin. First, the ability to use the nub for camera control is crucial in this game. You can center the camera behind your character a quick press of the L button, but being able to swing around the whole battlefield is huge.
Also, the New 3DS features the ability to quickly target area bosses with the ZL button, another button that’s not on the old 3DS systems. This is great when you’re trying to capture or save an area during intense moments, and locking on to a single enemy in a field of dozens is crucial.
The bottom line is this: Hyrule Warriors Legends is perfect for the portable mode in its gameplay design. Musou-style games are great for playing in portable sessions, and Hyrule Warriors is an awesome take on the genre. The game does arrive with performance issues for older handhelds, and that’s unacceptable.
If you like Musou-style games and you own a New Nintendo 3DS or New 3DS XL, dive in. Old handheld owners? Don’t do it.