It's hard to believe that Nintendo could pack in a whole Wii U disc's worth of Hyrule Warriors content plus DLC into its tiny 3DS handheld system. But that's exactly what they did with Hyrule Warriors Legends — and shockingly, it runs smoother than its console counterpart.
Legends, like Hyrule Warriors, contains the same hack-and-slash gameplay from Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors franchise, just wrapped up in The Legend of Zelda universe. (Basically, you run around various battlefields with different warriors and kill thousands upon thousands of enemies. Trust us, it's incredibly addictive.)
Fortunately, Legends upgrades the gameplay of the console version. Gone are most of the frame-rate slowdowns from the Wii U — though if you put the game on 3D mode (available only on the New Nintendo 3DS), you will start to see the game crawl — and new mechanics such as teleportation via Owl Statues and switching between characters are a godsend. (However, it would've been nice to have been able to transfer your progress between the Wii U and 3DS editions so that you wouldn't have to start over the game from scratch.)
The new playable characters in Legends add much to the mix as well. For those who groaned about the addition of the female Link-wannabe Linkle, be prepared to swallow your pride. She's bad-ass and one of the best keep-sweepers in the game.
We also tested the game on both the New 3DS and old 3DS — and yes, there is a slight frame-rate difference between the two. The New 3DS version is also better to play as you can more easily switch through items and target on the fly using the additional buttons. However, you'd only notice these differences if you compared the two. If you have an old 3DS, you'll have no problems enjoying the game.
Aside from the obvious graphical downgrade from the Wii U, Hyrule Warriors Legends is an incredible game that surpasses its console parent and is one of the best games available for the 3DS. In fact, if Nintendo would have called it Hyrule Warriors: The Definitive Edition, there wouldn't be any disagreements from us.
About Robert J. Ballantyne
Robert J.Ballantyne is a senior editor at Popjournalism and Creative Director at Artsculture.ca. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star.