Age of Calamity; A disappointing prequel


Legend of Zelda. Graphic by Ali Beatty.

Chloe Floros, Editor

Over the years, Nintendo has been responsible for the amazing games in the Zelda franchise. From The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask released in 2000, originally for the Nintendo 64, to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess released in 2006 for the GameCube. In addition to these amazing games, Nintendo has also made installments to the Zelda series that simply do not have the same level of craftsmanship. 

So after Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a truly amazing game, my expectations were extremely high for the next installment of this series for a number of reasons.

Breath of the Wild is a game Nintendo released in 2017 and is one of the most creative approaches to the Zelda series. This game, unlike any other installment of this series, is extremely unique since it was designed to have an open sandbox structure instead of the linear path structure. This means that you are allowed to do pretty much anything right from the start of the game, including going straight to the final boss battle without unlocking anything else.

Other Zelda games such as Skyward Sword and Windwaker have a linear path structure, meaning you need to complete the current objective before you can advance to the next part of the game. Removing this restriction makes each playthrough different and extremely fun.

Another reason why this game is so highly praised by the gaming community is due to its breathtaking visuals. When you first wake up at the beginning of the game, the player is greeted with this amazing camera pan that shows you the world you will be navigating throughout the game; it is jaw-dropping. Each place on the map has its own unique feel, and the more you play, the more the map starts to feel like a home.

This is a very highly regarded game and took the world by storm with a 97% rating on Metacritic, 4.8/5 on Common Sense Media, and a perfect 10/10 rating on IGN. Considering these ratings Nintendo’s next installment in the Zelda series had particularly big shoes to fill. 

Then came Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity released on November 20, 2020. Not only is this game the second installment in the Hyrule Warriors series, but it is also a prequel to Breath of the Wild. The Hyrule Warriors series was created by Nintendo to put their own spin on the Dynasty Warriors franchise, which is a hack and slash and video game that’s been around for over 20 years. And to be honest, Age of Calamity did not meet my expectations

When I first learned of the game’s release, I was so excited. I expected a very similar structure to Breath of the Wild and I was eager to traverse the world I got so familiar with in the previous game. 

To my disappointment, the game just simply nowhere near as good as Breath of the Wild. The structures of each of these games are so different from each other. Age of Calamity features a map that has quests that you select and complete in a very linear way. Unlike the previous game, the only time you are walking around the world is when you are completing challenges, which restrains the amount of exploring you can do. 

In addition to this, most of the challenges and quests are big mobs of enemies that you have to defeat in order to move on. There are very few challenges that require puzzle solving which is a big reason that this game did not impress me. The Zelda series is known for its challenging puzzles, and without them, the game loses its classic “Zelda” feel. 

While the ratings for the new Zelda game are not terrible, they are not as good as Breath of the Wild’s. Hyrule Warriors got a 78% on Metacritic, 4.2/5 on Common Sense Media, and 9/10 on IGN.

Overall I expected this Zelda game to be just as creative and innovative as Breath of the Wild was, but it wasn’t. There wasn’t a lot of exploring to do and the story in my opinion was nowhere near as captivating or interesting as Breath of the Wild’s. The game isn’t bad, but I definitely think it could have been better.